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What We Talk About When We Talk About Productivity

On the Life-Changing Magic of Having and Using A Trusted System

Every so often, I find myself feeling like things have come a bit unraveled in my life — like I have lost control. I can see all of the symptoms — unread mail piling up, chores not getting done, deadlines sneaking up on me. And often, I attempt to treat only the symptoms. I ignore the underlying disease. And that disease is almost always the same thing: I have abandoned my system. I’ve stopped following GTD.

Productivity is For Everyone

I started doing GTD in earnest back in 2010. That was when I got my first salaried job, when I got married, and when my name became attached to a mortgage. I understood that if I was going to take those steps, and take on those responsibilities, I had better take some sort of principled approach to doing it. My generation’s mantra of “follow your passion” just wasn’t going to cut it. For me, GTD was the way to plan out and live a life with some measure of confidence. It was a way to calm my ever-scattered brain, and instill some sense of focus and purpose. I know I’m not alone in this either.

Your Life is Not Just Yours

I think this is especially true of those of us working on self-improvement and productivity, but it’s not limited to us. We feel like we’re doing this on our own. This endeavor, and the systems and projects we take on, are only ours. After, all, it’s my life, right? I own it. It’s just me in charge, right?

Curing an Existential Disease

So my focus lately has been on something that I have always suspected to be fundamental to living my life in the best way I can: GTD.

It Isn’t Just About You, But…

If you take anything away from this scatter-brained preach-piece about productivity, let it be this: productivity, when done right, is not a selfish thing; it’s about calming your inner storm, so you can be infinitely calm and patient for others.

Written by

Author of “The Wabi-Sabi Way” and “Be, Think, Do”. Subscribe to my newsletter “Woolgathering”:

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