The Easiest Hard Rule to Follow

If you pass one tiny piece of paper on the ground, without picking it up, you’re fired. At least, that’s the story I heard once about a standard for employees at Disneyland. Apparently they had figured out how many less human resources they needed to keep the place clean, if it was kept spotless. Think […]

Control or Spontaneity? The Paradox

When people discover the level of personal organization I work within, they often ask, “Wow, does this guy ever have any fun?! He’s so organized!” My response is usually, “Who’s not having fun?” Frankly, I organize for freedom, not for hard work. Much of my personal system of organization was built and is constantly being […]

The Power of Imagery

Imagery is powerful. Consciously exercising the direction of your imagery is a hallmark of mastery—in sports, business, or frankly any aspect of your life. Mental pictures, combined with rich emotional texture, have proven to be highly effective tools for enhancing perception and performance, whether on the track, in the boardroom, in relationships, or simply your […]

Get a Grip on Your Process, or Give It Up

If you’re not willing to commit to keeping your head completely empty, it’s not worth trying to make any “personal management system” work. Give it up.  Don’t kid yourself. Throw your productivity tools away. OK, I’m becoming more direct and succinct. (At 72 I think that serves us both, and I choose not to beat […]

How’s your altitude aptitude?

Over the years, it has become more and more helpful in my work to help people understand the ecosystem of GTD® (particularly priorities) by framing their thinking and decision-making around my altitude model: GROUND: Calendar/Actions – The nitty-gritty this-moment doing level. Call Fred. Buy tires. Draft proposal. Email Susan. HORIZON 1: Projects – The things […]

A Tense Muscle is a Slow One

A tense muscle is a slow one. This is a physiological and demonstrable fact in the martial arts. Could this be true in other aspects of our lives? In karate, the power that can be generated by a punch is primarily due to speed, not muscle. It is the snap at the end of the […]

Get your life back to widget-cranking!

Oh, for a widget-cranking job again! Ever have gigs like that, where all you did was crank widgets? Like a summer job in college? Remember how bored you were, and how psychologically healthy it was? All you had to do was show up. Every morning there was a big pile of un-cranked widgets, right next […]

Personal Productivity and the Inner Seven-Year-Old

There seems to be someone about seven years old inside of all of us, who never matures, and whose behavior either allows us lots of creative expansion and productivity, or causes us to crash and burn. It seems that the smart (adult) part of me has known what to do for years. It knows that in […]