Self-management: Bottom-up Approach

Published on April 13, 2015 by Francisco Sáez

Focusing on primary outcomes and values is critical for your productivity. But when is the right moment to do that?

bottom-up approach

“Focusing on values does not simplify your life. It gives meaning and direction—and a lot more complexity.” ~ David Allen

When it comes to focus on doing what’s really important, it has always been completely logical to me to do it from top to bottom. That is, first I reflect on what I want to achieve and why; then I create in my mind some kind of objective or goal; next I define one or more projects that I ought to do in order to achieve that goal; and finally I decompose those projects in concrete tasks upon which I can act (at least the initial tasks which will help me get started.)

However, David Allen (author of Getting Things Done) argues that that model, even though it can be useful when you’re already managing your life efficiently and without stress, is not as good in practice and in most cases, due to the complexity of the world we face:

  • There are too many distractions in our daily life for us to really focus on the highest and most significant aspects of our lives. It is difficult to think about these issues without being conditioned by our current urgencies.

4 Things Engineers Do To Be More Productive (And So Can You)

Published on March 30, 2015 by Francisco Sáez

These four mechanisms will help you be more productive in your work and in your personal life.


As technology evolves and systems become more and more complex, hardware engineers and software developers are constantly looking for ways to stay productive. It is a matter of survival.

These are the four mechanisms we use to improve our productivity and the quality of what we produce. Pay attention, since they can generally be applied in many other areas.


The New "Getting Things Done"

Published on March 23, 2015 by Francisco Sáez

New revised edition of Getting Things Done, a timeless manual of personal productivity.

Getting Things Done

Last week it was released the revised and updated version of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen’s handbook for personal productivity on which FacileThings is based. David Allen has revised the text from beginning to end and changed any contents that, 14 years later, might be incomplete or outdated. He has also added new stuff that he learned in the process of disseminating the method over the years.

Supported now by research in cognitive science which has validated the effectiveness of this methodology, the result is a content that is both more coherent and less dependent on fads and trendy technological gadgets. A timeless handbook for personal productivity, valid for this century and the next.

It’s funny how, after so many years and despite the great changes we are experiencing at the organizational level, the fundamental principles and techniques of GTD remain unchanged. Nevertheless, Allen has taken into account that the way we live and work is changing, and some materials have been updated accordingly.


No More Deadlines!

Published on March 16, 2015 by Francisco Sáez

Just because an executive wants a project done in six weeks doesn’t mean it can be done in six weeks.


“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.” ~ John Ruskin

“I need it yesterday!” Did you ever have to hear that? Personally, I like to imagine people who say such things wrapped in plastic and lying on Dexter Morgan’s table.

Everybody is in a hurry in the corporate world. And don’t get me started about the world of technology startups. One must build a sustainable business before resources run out—and they usually run out immediately.


Control Your Environment

Published on March 09, 2015 by Francisco Sáez

We rely on the environment more than we'd like to think. Use that to your advantage.

control your environment

“You can’t make positive choices for the rest of your life without an environment that makes those choices easy, natural, and enjoyable.” ~ Deepak Chopra

When we try to be effective in what we have to do, when we try to be productive or—from a wider perspective—try to be happy, we are accustomed to act on the factors that we can control and keep our fingers crossed so that other environmental factors that we cannot control show up well, or at least turn out not to be too hostile.

Nonetheless, it seems that we can do more. It turns out that many of the things that happen to us, things that we just complain about because we believe we can do nothing to avoid them, can be controlled indirectly. It turns out that your effectiveness in life is based to a great extent on the level of control that you are able to exert on your surroundings.


The Path to Self Improvement

Published on February 23, 2015 by Francisco Sáez

You know that. There is much potential in you and you want to develop it. But what can you do to bring out the best of yourself?


“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” ~ Albert Einstein

No matter how much you develop the necessary skills to improve any given aspect of your life, you can always get better. There is no book, no method, no person, nor tool that can bring you to perfection in any area of ​​your life. Getting better, improving yourself, is a never-ending process.

Leading a healthy lifestyle, keeping fit, being productive, etc., are things that most people want to do in order to feel better, to lead a happier and more meaningful life. But being physically fit today does not mean that you will be fit six months from now. Having a well-organized and tidy life today does not mean that things will remain like that after a while.


Start to Get Organized: The Mind Sweep

Published on February 16, 2015 by Francisco Sáez

The Mind Sweep is an overall scan of everything that has your attention right now, and the first thing you must do to get organized.

mind sweep

Collecting is the first stage of any kind of organizational work flow. In order to gain control, you need to gather everything that you consider somehow incomplete. The basic principle is that you must know how your world is right now, how the map in which you move looks like, so that you can make a positive commitment to it.

There are a lot of things in your life that do not put any pressure on you. It is all those things that are under control. You turn on the computer and you see the application you need with the data you need. You turn on the heating and soon you get the room at the right temperature for you to work. You need to go somewhere, so you start the car and go there… Things are just like they ought to be.

But in the normal course of your day, there are many other things that demand part of your attention. Your internal radar is activated whenever something pops up that can somehow upset the balance of your universe. This new and strange noise you hear in the engine of your car, what can it be? A message from your bank warning about an account with insufficient funds. A new idea to increase your income that occurred to you the moment you heard some comment somewhere.

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