Productivity and GTD

10 Reasons Why GTD Works

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
"The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order." ~ Alfred North Whitehead
Blog productivity

In the headline that accompanies the title of his latest book Making It All Work, David Allen uses a word game to indicate that the principles, practices and productivity techniques of its GTD method are equally applicable both at work and in personal life, and moreover, something fantastic occurs when you manage to integrate it all together: “winning at the game of work and the business of life”.

If you face your work as if it were a game, something fun about what you know its purpose, boundaries and rules, you eliminate much of the stress because, in your mind, all these parameters are well defined. You get clarity.

Similarly, if you incorporate efficient and effective practices to your day-to-day activities, those which are supposed to be personal, you can greatly increase your ability to server your family, your well-being, and your free time.

GTD works because the principles that lie underneath this methodology have implications that go far beyond a simple personal organization system. Actually, it works for all these reasons:

  1. GTD has been developed, tested and empirically validated for many years, in real situations with real people. David Allen discovered which self-management techniques worked and why they worked. The key here is the why, because if you know the principles by which a technique is effective, you can apply it accordingly.
  2. GTD is a formula to face anything you can encounter in your life. It teaches you how to accept, evaluate, integrate, organize and reassess it when necessary.
  3. GTD is system-independent, which means that you can adapt almost any organizational system with which you feel comfortable to implement its principles.
  4. GTD is something natural. Although it is not simplistic, their practices are based on fundamental and universal principles. It is pure common sense.
  5. GTD is complete. The five stages of the workflow let you keep your daily activity under control, while the six levels of perspective help you maintain the proper focus on your commitments.
  6. GTD lets you start with what you have, just making an inventory of the commitments that make your current reality, before making any value judgment about it.
  7. GTD provides enough structure to cover a complex situation, but also offers the flexibility needed to have a stable system valid for different situations and states of growth.
  8. GTD has been designed to deal with surprises and changes in priorities, something that is definitely a constant in today’s world.
  9. GTD is not a time management tool. Time is what it is, you cannot manage it. GTD allows you to manage yourself, your focus, and your actions.
  10. GTD, as I started stating in this article, treats your work and personal life equally.

Work and personal life are two sides of the same coin, and you can be successful in both areas if you internalize a set of productive behaviors that allow you to effectively deal with any aspect of life: you have an idea, you capture it in a trusted system that ensures that you can process, organize and retrieve it when needed.

It is increasingly common to experience stress, the feeling of losing control and the inability to focus on what we should. So you need a system that allows you to regain balance when is lost, and gives you more freedom, not more work. And that system may well be GTD, just because it works.

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