Interviews

Long-distance GTDers: Miguel Varela

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
Miguel varela

We thought that incorporating interviews with experienced FacileThings users to this blog can help other users to understand the difficulties and benefits of GTD and, surely, to solve some doubts.

Miguel Varela (@varelamiguelou) is the CEO of Teimas Desenvolvemento (@teimas) and one of the oldest users of FacileThings. He joined us in February 2011, when the application was still in beta, and ever since he has done nearly 12.000 tasks on the application, following the GTD methodology.

Francisco Sáez: Tell us something about you. Who are you? What do you do for living? What are you doing in Teimas?

Miguel Varela: I am a computer engineer and technological entrepreneur in an area which is pretty unknown — recycling and waste management. We founded Teimas at the end of 2008 with the idea of providing solutions to a sector which, technologically speaking, is not very modern.

Francisco: How did you get to GTD and FacileThings? What came first, the method or the tool?

Miguel: As the CEO of the company, it is difficult not to lose focus, since there are many little and not so little things such as repetitive tasks, events, meetings, projects and so on which take up your time every day. I used to live surrounded by post-its, annotations in notebooks, journals, etc. and always had the feeling that I was missing things. It was then when I started to look for stuff about personal productivity. I used to visit a blog called El Canasto and towards the middle of 2011 I reached GTD and FT.

Francisco: Do you remember your feelings when you started? Which were the main difficulties? Have you ever fallen off the wagon?

Miguel: The truth is that I found it easy to start with the tool and it immediately added value and peace of mind. For the first time in my professional life I had a centralized point where I could go to and know everything I had to do. While I don’t remember real difficulties it is true that the initial process of emptying one’s head into the tool can be complex. Ever since I use FT every day, and honestly, I would have a problem if I had to work with another system.

Francisco: How would you define your level of GTD knowledge? Are you very strict? Is there any habit which you find particularly hard to put into practice?

Miguel: I am not strict at all and I work with the basic principles of GTD. Simply put I would say that I apply the 5 steps and the reviews, and a little bit of projects, but without overcomplicating it too much. I like simplicity.

Francisco: How do you practice GTD? How do you capture? When do you process? When do you do the Weekly Review?

Miguel: I capture constantly. I do it with the FT application if I am in front of the computer (it’s always open), or by sending emails to the inbox if not. I usually process once a day, first thing in the morning. I do the Weekly Review on Mondays.

Francisco: Which benefits does GTD provide to your work? And what about your personal life?

Miguel: Reliability: the feeling of knowing that you’re not missing anything and that you can fulfill your professional and personal commitments. Not having to waste energy remembering what you’ve got to do — you already spend enough when carrying things out. Neither it is insignificant the "good feeling” it gives to mark a task as done.

Francisco: How does your way of working affect the people surrounding you, co-workers, family etc.?

Miguel: As responsibilities increase, this way of working becomes more important. I try to evangelize the people around me on this methodology, since I think it brings many benefits in a very short time. In fact, we are already four people in the company working with FacileThings.

Francisco: What do you like most about FacileThings? What are you missing?

Miguel: Working with it is simple. I miss an improved app or some improvements in the mobile web app.

Francisco: Improving the mobile app and extending its functionality is undoubtedly one of our most important short-term challenges. We are also developing a new mobile web app. Miguel, many thanks for your courtesy and for the support and feedback you have given us throughout these years.

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