The First Big Productivity Hurdle

Date: Thursday, April 23, 2009 by GTD Times Staff

Anyone who is entertaining the idea of implementing some form of productivity system in their business (or life, for that matter) will have a lot of resources at their disposal. The Internet alone has nearly 15,000 sites that mention GTD and personal/professional productivity, so right there you’ve got as much surfing to do as the Big Kahuna. As far as books go, you could read thousands that touch on the subject of productivity as well. So, once your eyes stop bleeding, where do you begin?

That’s the biggest hurdle of all.

The more options you have to entertain, the more options you feel that you have to entertain. This is counter-intuitive to what GTD and productivity is all about. While you can spend countless hours reading, researching, adopting and implementing – you are only more educated on different means of getting things done. And that’s all you’ve gotten done. Way to go!

David Allen’s system is tried, tested and true. Many follow it. Others find it too complex; too overwhelming to adopt in one fell swoop (which you really have to do to fully benefit from the system) so they either don’t do it right or let it slide unintentionally. There are other, more “zen-like” approaches to productivity, which get the job done in a different way. You can use software, a Moleskine, the back of a napkin or a Hipster PDA. You can write with any number of instruments, from bullet pens to clutches to nothing at all. You can use multiple things if you want. But, remember, sometimes you don’t want what you need – and vice versa.

(If the rest of that paragraph didn’t confuse you, I bet the last line just sailed by. And it probably made sense.)

The first hurdle is one of the biggest; the size of the rest are often determined by the hurdles around them. To get past this first hurdle, however, you need to get past the multitude of options and go with the one thing that you know best.


Know your habits. Know your strengths. Know your weaknesses. The more you know how you’ll handle working towards a more productive lifestyle, the easier the hurdle will become.  Keep in mind, adopting a more productive lifestyle will definitely lead you down “the road less traveled.” Making the right choice on what system is the best for you will make the trip a hell of a lot easier.

Welcome Mike Vardy as our newest contributor to GTD Times. With his great sense of humor and self-professed productivity expert credentials, we hope you enjoy his perspectives on GTD!

3 Responses to “The First Big Productivity Hurdle”

  1. Paul Gardner says:

    You are so right!

    I especially agree that it’s important you know about yourself. I had to work that out to make GTD work for me.

    I tried quite a few tools in my attempts to implement GTD but everything always got too complicated. One program wouldn’t talk to another and copying and pasting emails seemed to double up on work. As you can imagine, things got pretty ugly.

    Then I came across eProductivity for Lotus Notes and found an integrated solution that kept things just how I needed it – simple.

  2. Paula Eder says:

    This is excellent advice! The multitude of productivity tools available (and therefore choices) can lead to paralysis. Bringing it all back to the fundamentals (“Know Thyself”) provides solid ground for implementing a truly personalized, productive system.

    And another point I’d add – after choosing, there is always the option to modify that choice. Things will evolve …

  3. Yup, you definitely need to know yourself and what you are going to do. It does no good to learn about things to help you “get stuff done” if you aren’t going to use it.

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