A lot of what people write about being productive is centered around doing more. GTD is based on trying to make sure you are able to do more. Most planning systems are based on trying to do more. While I can see the need for this, it is sometimes important to step back and think about what you are really accomplishing.
Doing more is only valuable if you are doing things that really need to be done. A system that just enables you to always be busy isn’t really valuable. Obviously there is some value in not letting anything “slip through the cracks” if you are talking about things like getting your wife a birthday present or going to your son’s soccer game, but letting some things slip through the cracks can be a valuable way to let go of things that just aren’t important.
When you are making lists or putting stuff into your “trusted system,” think hard about the consequences of not doing a particular task. Are the consequences really all that bad? Maybe you really don’t need to do it. Maybe you should replace it with something much more valuable–something that, at the end of your life, you will regret having not done.
Armen Shirvanian says
You are right about doing more. It doesn’t serve a purpose unless it gets us further toward our destination. Sometimes I do more and it gets me a lot of distance, but it doesn’t really help much, and I later regret doing so much for so little result. To-do lists only tend to help when we are well directed.
Nice to read this material on the other end of the busyness issue.
Mark Arnold says
Going in a certain direction to reach your goals (short or long term) involves stepping back and realizing where your actions will take you. This does make you realize whether you are on the right track or not. Think Huge when you’re working towards your goals.
Think Huge is all about:
Vision: knowing where you want to go and how to bring your ideas to life
Time: committing your limited time to what’s important
Perseverance: staying the course even when obstacles threaten your dream
José Miguel Bolívar says
GTD is definitely not about doing more. It’s about emptying your mind to reach a stress-free status. Whether you want to do a lot or a little, GTD is just to serve you achieving it, not you serving GTD.
Ed Martin says
So much of what we do is work by template. For instance, we fill out forms and write long reports because we’ve always done it that way. We write 40 page plans filled with boilerplate because that’s the way the template says, when we should really be writing 1 page plans that really mean something. We could take the time we save in writing and use it for thinking about what we need to say. Less work and more thought is a good thing.