Productivity and GTD
Is GTD only for geeks?
"My three most important productivity tools are: the trash can, the delete key and the word 'no'" ~ Patrick Rhone
GTD (Getting Things Done) is a productivity methodology that was introduced in the USA in 2001 by David Allen. His book has become a worldwide reference manual on self-management. In 2008 it had already been published in 28 languages and been sold over a million copies.
Surely, much of the success of GTD is because, at the beginning, it was widely adopted by the high-tech world—bloggers, programmers, geeks, etc.—, which certainly helped to spread its benefits quickly and virally. It is estimated that an average of 50 new blog postings about GTD are published every day on the net, only in the English language. There are also hundreds of personal productivity applications and programs that, one way or another, embrace some of the fundamental principles of GTD.
There is some kind of alignment between GTD and the geeks’ way of thinking—“geeks” understood as people who are fascinated by computers and technology. After all, programmers are always trying to design systems that allow them to work less hours. The nature of computing is to make things easier, faster and more powerful, or put in other words, to get more done with less effort.
Programming is an intellectual exercise that requires long periods of concentration. Attention is a scarce resource; when it is exhausted you have to recharge it doing other things that do not require such an effort for a while. The smart thing is to code when you have a high level of attention and to do other less productive things when you do not.
And that is, more or less, the GTD philosophy. As a programming language, the model gives you a way of dealing with everything that you may encounter in your daily life; it gives you the “routines” and “methods” you need to accept, evaluate, integrate, classify and organize everything that might show up conveniently.
It is true that geeks are, by their own nature, eager early adopters. And GTD was a new and different approach that questioned some things taken for granted in traditional time management and organization systems (priorities?). It also introduced a completely new concept: Stress-free productivity.
Although geeks like GTD, I think it can be useful for everyone. It is not a rigid system but a systematic approach. It does not rely on any particular system or software. It is a model that anyone with a minimum of organizational capacity can implement, without inventing new things, just adapting what was already being used to exploit the advantages of GTD.
What do you think? Is it for you, too?