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.

FacileThings Calendar: New Views By Day, Week And Month

Published on April 06, 2015 by Francisco Sáez

We have updated FacileThings with new Calendar views and some improvements in the synchronization with Google Calendar.

Today we have updated FacileThings with interesting improvements in the use of the Calendar.

In addition to the traditional view of “event list”, now you have a monthly, weekly and daily view of your Calendar, allowing you to have a better perspective of upcoming events.

calendar month view

The buttons on the top right (1) lets you switch between the standard view and the daily, weekly and monthly views. The system will remember the last view you used and it will be shown the next time you visit the Calendar list. The second button group (2) lets you move through the calendar, going to the previous or next day, week or month—depending on the view in which you are. The “today” button helps you quickly return to the initial state.


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.


GTD Recipes: Actionable Books

Published on March 02, 2015 by Francisco Sáez

How to turn information consumption into living actions within your personal productivity system.

actionable books

Just a few years ago, when you wanted to learn something on your own, all you could do was buy a book written by some expert on the subject. We are now in the Age of Information. If you google on a any subject, you will not only find physical books, but also e-books, videos, essays, online courses, podcasts, and countless articles about it.

Much of this information is even free and immediately accessible. But sometimes it’s too much. Information overload occurs when too much available information leads to a misunderstanding of the matter and results in a problem when making decisions.

A rule of thumb to distinguish the information that you should consume from the one that only generates noise, is taking notes while you are consuming it. If after reading, seeing or hearing something that you thought was interesting, you have not written down any action that may be useful for any of the goals you have defined in your life, you should not continue wasting your time with that source, since it does not provide you any value (of course, books, movies or resources you cosume just for pleasure, are out of this discussion.)

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Productive blogs

  • 43 Folders ~ Merlin Mann

    Time, attention, and creative work.

  • GTD Times ~ GTD Times Team

    The hub for all things GTD.

  • Lifehacker GTD ~ Lifehacker Team

    Tips and downloads for Getting Things Done.