I thought it would be good to start the week with a post that is intended to make you think a bit.
When I had the KeenerLiving blog, one reader left a comment that we should all think about:
i was all excited to become a “GTD black-belt” until I realized I was spending an inordinate amount of time organizing my work rather than doing it. I cast aside my @lists this weekend and just Got Things Done. My lists are way out-of-date, I’m keeping stuff in my head (gasp!), and I feel closer now to a “Mind Like Water” than I did when I was practicing GTD.
Today, there are countless executives, mobile workers, and workers of all types, who get a lot done without ever having read David Allen’s and Stephen Covey’s material.
But, of course, David Allen and Stephen Covey have provided tremendously useful productivity advice. There’s no way I would suggest you not pay attention to them. They’re smart guys, with a lot of experience in helping people be more productive (may Dr. Covey rest in peace).
What I do suggest you do think about, though, is whether you are over-using their systems, putting more effort into managing your productivity than it is giving you in return. It is so easy to get caught up in tweaking a time management system, and in spending inordinate amounts of time pouring over your lists.
Some people are constantly looking for tips to help make them more productive, without stopping to notice that the system they are using is good enough, if they would just use the damn thing. Sure, we all need reminders of tips and tricks that we may have forgotten about. You need reminders. I need reminders. All God’s children need reminders, like the one by Covey to “remember when you are climbing the ladder of success to make sure it’s not leaning against the wrong wall.”
But, if you find yourself frequently browsing GTD blogs for tips on how to do better, or if you never feel like you are in a state of flow, then maybe it’s just time to simplify your system. Strip it to the basics. Stop worrying about whether David would think you are black-belt GTD’er or whether Stephen thinks your life is balanced just right.
Sometimes life is hard because we make it that way. We make things more complicated than they really are.
If you feel like your system is complicated, and that you just can’t get life to move the way you want, step back and look at whether you’re making it harder than it really is. Spending too much time tweaking gadgets and software to help you manage your time? Use a paper-planner. Millions of people, including lots of executives, use them very effectively.