Saturday, April 18, 2009

Marc Anderssons productivity tips at work

I thought I would put Marc Anderssons productivity tips (at least some of them to work today). This concept is also very similar to the Zen To Done (ZTD) concept of Most Important Tasks (MITs). Here is my take on how it fared and how it came about.

I tried to come up with 3-5 things that I wanted to achieve today. Then I first thought of it, I was overwhelmed, everything that I had procrastinated came to my mind and I had a tough time choosing only 5 of them.

Another thing that I realized in this process was that I was not distinguishing between goals and chores. There are things that I have to get done in a day which are part of the projects that I am working on for clients. These are the daily tasks that I have to get done, no matter what. So if I was looking at MIT in this way, then there are basically three or four tasks that I am working on in a given day. In a way these are contributing towards the goal of earning a living, but then there aren't any room for any other personal or professional goals.

Another important task that I have been omitting is in the front of fitness/health. I am the closest to a couch potato. I spend most of my time in front of a computer and get little or no physical exercise. Since I started to work from home, the time spent in front of the computer has increased. So I need to put in a task/goal of weight loss/exercise/fitness to my daily task list at least a few times a day.

Another MIT to put on a list is to blog. Anyone reading this blog would notice how random the postings are. So maybe if I start to update the blog on a more frequent basis, with blog posts becoming a MIT for at least a couple of days a week, would do these blogs a great deal of good.

Come to think of this, my new found fondness to GTD and in particular to blends in nicely with this scheme of things. has a feature where I can define recurring tasks and even create schedules for exercises, blogging with frequencies that I want and they start appearing on checklists, so it does its part of making us guilty of not checking them off (doing them).

Technorati Tags: ,,

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

GTD in practice - an update

This is a continuation from the previous post on my attempt with GTD, Giving GTD a try.

I didn't realize that it has been nearly two months since my first post on GTD. From then to now, I have managed to complete the part one of the book which covers GTD on a more theoretical level and am currently reading the phase of GTD implementation. I also managed to shed some misconceptions that I had about GTD, which I had written in my previous post. One of the main rants that I had was GTD's focus on stuff on the plate and less focus on goal setting.

But reading through the theoretical part, I understood two things:
  1. GTD has goal setting. David Allen calls it views from different altitudes and proposes that we take a look at different areas in our lives from these altitudes.
  2. GTD is not a philosophy on HOW you should set your goals. It is exactly, what it proposes it to be, a WORKFLOW to get things on our plate DONE.
Steven Covey calls this "Clock Vs. Compass". I do not think that we need to think of these as two mutually exclusive practices. I can think of incorporating both these practices, Steven Covey's principles to set direction and GTD to manage the implementation of these principles.

I have been practicing a basic form of GTD. I started with Google tasks after reading a post from somewhere about how to use Google tasks for GTD. Then I came across a more specialized application for GTD, This is a fantastic application for a GTD practitioner to kick start GTD in thier lives. Also, I found it impressive that the site has also incorporated and has road maps on how to use to implement GTD (obviously, ZTD and even 7 Habits).

If you are using a site like this it is pretty easy to incorporate something like 7 Habits' staying on quadrant 2. As even Covey says, the tool should be flexible enough to shift things around and to keep our focus on quadrant 2. I think we can do this with a tool like I am planning on writing a post dedicated to my use of There are a lot of things that I like about that tool and at the same time there are a few areas that I think that can be improved to make the users lives smoother.

So far I have set up the systems in place to capture the tasks and also in my case the processing happens on a daily frequent basis. I am also managing to stay on top of tasks most of the time. But I am currently facing a mini crisis with conflicting demands on my time. And I am hoping that diligent practice of GTD will help me manage that as well.

The other is that I am sincerely hoping GTD would help me tackle my rather bad habit of procrastination. So far, GTD has been helpful in nudging me to get things done rather than putting things off. One thing of setting up next actions, is there is a mental push to get through the next actions. And the daily reminder email from also serves as a daily reminder for me to focus on my daily tasks.

My ultimate aim is to practice a synergetic practice of GTD and 7 habits. I am still not sure whether GTD falls under the third generation time management practices that according to Covey, simply does not work. But for me GTD is more than a time management tool. And if you are using the right tool, it can be used as a fourth generation time/task management tool. And that is what I am hoping would come out of this whole exercise.