Productivity and GTD
The pursuit of creativity
I recently read the book A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink. Brilliant, I highly recommend reading it. The author explains how we are evolving from a society that elevates individuals who have developed further the skills that reside in the left brain (Information Age) to a society where those that are committed to develop the skills residing on the right side will succeed (Conceptual Age).
The left hemisphere of our brain processes things sequentially, allows us to understand the language and analyze the details. The right hemisphere processes many things simultaneously, allows us to understand the context and visualize the big picture. Both are necessary for everything and they work together. When, for example, someone tells you something ironically, the left side deciphers the words while the right side puts the context in place in order to understand the irony.
So far, the business world has been dominated by the so-called knowledge workers, well-educated people with much expertise in information handling. But (1) the massive generation of these workers in today’s society, (2) the possibility of getting much cheaper services from workers from countries like India and China, and (3) the increasing degree of automation facilitated by new technologies, make the left brain skills, which have prevailed until now, insufficient—though, of course, they’re still necessary—. A new approach has begun to consider other values like the ability to detect patterns and opportunities, to create beautiful things that appeal emotionally or to combine ideas that never before had been related to build something new.
For companies, it’s no longer enough to create functional products at a reasonable price. These must be unique and attractive.
For individuals, being efficient is not a sufficient condition for success any more. You must offer something else. And you should stimulate your creativity to the fullest.
Some creative people mistakenly think that organization works against creativity. I don’t think so. Having a self-management system allows you to have your stuff under control and saves you from having to react to everything. When you have a method to handle any situation, you’re more relaxed. If you’re relaxed, everything improves. You can do more with less effort, your worries are reduced and your mind is freed to find more space to develop creativity.
GTD: Achieving creativity through productivity
How GTD helps you be more creative? First, you must capture everything that is hitting your mind into a reliable system out of your head (collecting), and then you must decide what each collected stuff means and what you’re going to do to move forward (processing).
In doing so, you’re saving your mind from of a lot of noise, shapeless information with no clear sense, that is bothering you at all times. With all that free space, you have easier access to your receptiveness and intuition. Now you can use your head for more interesting things on a higher level. You can be better. When things that shape your complex lifestyle are under control, your mind opens to new opportunities.
For this not to be an exceptional situation but a way of life, you must get used to conduct a weekly review to clarify your projects and related actions, and keep your lists updated. This habit requires the discipline to spend some time at the end your workweek (between 30 minutes and 2 hours, depending on your activity level), but it’s essential to build confidence and peace of mind for the rest of the week… and all the wonderful side effects involved.