Productivity and GTD

To Improve You Have to Keep Playing

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
“Champions keep playing until they get it right.” ~ Billie Jean King
Playing

Creating and running a startup is a tough task. Fortunately, there are methods that teach you how to manage your day-to-day life and help you achieve the product your customers want. Methodologies such as Lean Startup draw a framework of action and put order in a process that has a tendency to chaos.

The road is always full of uncertainty, but if you have a clear vision, it’s just about starting to work, measuring results and learning from them. Making mistakes is normal and often happens (especially in my case.) However, every mistake leads to a correction in the direction. In fact, both successes and failures help you develop a better product — if you are willing to learn.

Likewise, developing the best version of yourself is something complicated. Being more efficient, living calmer, being happier… that’s not easy. Fortunately, there are also methodologies like GTD, which teach you how to manage your attention, get rid of stress, and ultimately, become better. GTD also proposes a framework of action that puts organization into a personal process that, by its nature, tends to disorder.

However, at the beginning of using it, GTD can be misleading. It’s like a mirage. Since the processes that compose it are very easy to understand and are entirely based on common sense, you have the feeling that you are going to adopt it in a virtually instantaneous way. But soon that image begins to dilute.

It is very likely that sometimes, especially when you are implanting new behaviors in your life to try to be more effective, you feel guilty for not doing exactly what the methodology says, or for using shortcuts (such as capturing and processing at the same time), or by avoiding to do some process that you find cumbersome (the Weekly Review, for example).

And it is very likely that you will fail, that you will end up falling off the wagon. Like many people, you will think that if you haven’t managed to put it into practice the first time you won’t achieve it, and you will not even try again.

But think that you can only go wrong when you are playing something, and that the more you play and the more you are wrong, the closer you will be to winning. To improve you have to keep playing.

5 comments

8bb2c9a97155fbcffcc91ca918d103c7
Commented over 2 years ago Cyrus

I have personally fallen off and jumped back on said proverbial GTD wagon so many times that I no longer keep count. It is not that I dislike or do not use the system. Rather, it's that I let myself either go lax or I pursue some other productivity system for a time to determine its worth. Inevitably, I always circle back to GTD and FacileThings. Both are work together seamlessly and continue to provide immense value to my life, both personally and professionally.

8bb2c9a97155fbcffcc91ca918d103c7 Cyrus

I have personally fallen off and jumped back on said proverbial GTD wagon so many times that I no longer keep count. It is not that I dislike or do not use the system. Rather, it's that I let myself either go lax or I pursue some other productivity system for a time to determine its worth. Inevitably, I always circle back to GTD and FacileThings. Both are work together seamlessly and continue to provide immense value to my life, both personally and professionally.

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented over 2 years ago Francisco Sáez

Thank you Cyrus, for your comments and encouragement! :)

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Sáez

Thank you Cyrus, for your comments and encouragement! :)

Cbb121ec56dbd676983a527c7480f4c4
Commented over 2 years ago Tiago M.

While at my annual review - during the last week of 2016 - I realized I needed to continue giving themes to my years:

2014 was the year of health. I started exercising more and eating better. You know, jogging, eating less sugar, less salt, drinking more water etc.;

2015 was the year of productivity. I started clearing my backlog, designing projects, delegating, adding things to my someday list, throwing things away and so on;

2016 was the year of pause and reflection. I had a chance to stop working for some time. I simply relaxed and thought of what I really wanted to happen in all my areas of focus. That "sabbatical leave" was a priceless opportunity.

I started with GTD in early 2014. Everything I learned was put into practice immediately. As my GTD mastery evolved, I intuitively shaped the way I steered my life, which then helped me theme those years. But, I could only do that in retrospect. That is what I realized while doing my last annual review: I wanted to start being the originator, not just a data collector and labeler.

Stephen Covey used to say that things are created twice - there is a great article here by the way (Begin with the End in Mind: ...blog/en/vision). It's amazing how GTD ripens if one seriously apply it.

As you stated, "To Improve You Have to Keep Playing," I always tell people not to give up on GTD if they want to experience real changes. With regard to 2017, instead of a one-word theme, I gave it a Confucianist one: "It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop." Instead of creating more stuff for my life, I decided to complete the projects and reach the goals I have already clarified - slowly, never stopping... Always playing.

Cbb121ec56dbd676983a527c7480f4c4 Tiago M.

While at my annual review - during the last week of 2016 - I realized I needed to continue giving themes to my years:

2014 was the year of health. I started exercising more and eating better. You know, jogging, eating less sugar, less salt, drinking more water etc.;

2015 was the year of productivity. I started clearing my backlog, designing projects, delegating, adding things to my someday list, throwing things away and so on;

2016 was the year of pause and reflection. I had a chance to stop working for some time. I simply relaxed and thought of what I really wanted to happen in all my areas of focus. That "sabbatical leave" was a priceless opportunity.

I started with GTD in early 2014. Everything I learned was put into practice immediately. As my GTD mastery evolved, I intuitively shaped the way I steered my life, which then helped me theme those years. But, I could only do that in retrospect. That is what I realized while doing my last annual review: I wanted to start being the originator, not just a data collector and labeler.

Stephen Covey used to say that things are created twice - there is a great article here by the way (Begin with the End in Mind: ...blog/en/vision). It's amazing how GTD ripens if one seriously apply it.

As you stated, "To Improve You Have to Keep Playing," I always tell people not to give up on GTD if they want to experience real changes. With regard to 2017, instead of a one-word theme, I gave it a Confucianist one: "It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop." Instead of creating more stuff for my life, I decided to complete the projects and reach the goals I have already clarified - slowly, never stopping... Always playing.

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented over 2 years ago Francisco Sáez

Hi Tiago,

I applaud your determination to, year after year, set goals and achieve them. Just keep playing ;)

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Sáez

Hi Tiago,

I applaud your determination to, year after year, set goals and achieve them. Just keep playing ;)

B106331265724a910e735e2ebf3895a3
Commented over 2 years ago Steve

Life is all about playing and I love playing! Thanks for the reminder, Francisco!

B106331265724a910e735e2ebf3895a3 Steve

Life is all about playing and I love playing! Thanks for the reminder, Francisco!

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