Productivity (from Talbert)

Robert Talbert, being awesome as always, is writing about productivity. Talbert writes that GTD may have saved his life. This is true for me in the sense that GTD-type plannng has allowed me to keep a social life during extremely busy times at work. I do not use according-to-Hoyle GTD, but rather a version of it that has evolved that works for me.

I love everything that Robert wrote, and I just want to add/paraphrase two things:

  1. The subtitle of the original GTD book is the art of stress-free productivity. I don’t hear much of stress-free part of the system often, but this is the big win for me. Even if I did not actually do more during the course of my day, my stress levels are much lower using a GTD-like system. This aligns well with Robert’s great point that we are humans who should be treated as such, and we all deserve to have less stress.
  2. My other point might seem to contradict what Robert is saying, but I don’t really think so if one considers it carefully. My other point is this: productivity systems allow me to create meaningful work, and more of it. One of my great joys in life is designing classes, and I have more time to do so because of the productivity systems. How is this? Because I spend less doing stuff I don’t like (e.g. going through email). So: assuming that I spend a constant amount of time on work (which I do—this is one of the key components of my productivity system), I spend more of that time on work that is meaningful to me and less time on work that is not. This means that my life is better.

I find that productivity systems are like having kids. You can imagine how much you might love your hypothetical kid prior to actually have the child, but you will actually underestimate the love you feel for your child. Similarly, you can probably imagine how much nicer a productivity system would make your life, but you are probably underestimating how much nicer it would actually be by quite a bit.

3 Responses to “Productivity (from Talbert)”

  1. Min Ro Says:

    I found GTD difficult to implement back when I was a graduate student. Maybe I should give it another read.

    • bretbenesh Says:

      EVERYTHING is more difficult when you are a graduate student. I think that it is totally worth looking again. It is probably best to commit to using the entire system for six months, but it can still be beneficial if you just pick and choose parts that most appeal to you.

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