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GTD is Not About Time-Management


In the hundreds of GTD workshops we’ve conducted, the one resounding concern people want to address is time management.

I call it the ‘I don’t have enough time’ syndrome.

From CEO’s to interns, its symptoms have spared none.

We complain about not having enough time, but when we do get the time we asked for, we don’t end up achieving anything exponentially more. 

Why is this? Let’s try to decode the problem.

It begins here: What you think is the problem is not the problem.

We are obsessed with the idea of time management and believe it to be the foundation that will cement the path to productivity.

The more emphasis we put on planning every minute of the day and ensuring our actions follow our plan, the more conscious we become of the ticking clock.

The little constant tick tock in the head reminds of what you didn’t get done, what remains to get done, what will never get done.

It makes you feel stressed, you start projecting into the future, procrastinating, getting distracted, eventually not getting the work done.

All of which, to describe in one word, is simply counterproductive.

I could give you 42 hours in a day, and the process and outcomes would still be the same.

Time-management is a misnomer.

Time cannot be managed or controlled. Everyone gets the same number of hours and minutes every day. It’s not like you can save minutes from day to spend on another.

Productivity is not about time management. 

It’s about managing your attention.

You have to quite literally think of it like the real estate of the mind.

Your mind is basically a room. The more furniture and unnecessary decor you add to this space, the more cluttered and heavy it gets.

The trick is to have a clean, minimalistic space, that is functional and you know exactly where what is.

So that you know how and when to work on your objectives and be mindful of your present goal.

A mind space that is truly clear and light has many benefits. Not only does it help you focus like never before but also allows you to be creative, strategic, focused and meaningfully engaged.

You need to bring order to the chaos inside your head.

GTD helped me understand how to exactly do this.

It allowed me to collect what has my attention, process what it means, put it where it belongs and review it frequently.

End result? A mind that is not holding on to anything, and is truly focussed, relaxed and in the present.

A mind tuned to produce stress-free productivity.
Now, who wouldn’t want that?

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