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Ev Williams: Achieving balance with GTD

evhead: Ten Rules for Web Startups

Ev's ten rules for a startup are all strong, but #10 particularly caught my eye:

#10: Be Balanced
What is a startup without bleary-eyed, junk-food-fueled, balls-to-the-wall days and sleepless, caffeine-fueled, relationship-stressing nights? Answer?: A lot more enjoyable place to work. Yes, high levels of commitment are crucial. And yes, crunch times come and sometimes require an inordinate, painful, apologies-to-the-SO amounts of work. But it can't be all the time. Nature requires balance for health -- as do the bodies and minds who work for you and, without which, your company will be worthless. There is no better way to maintain balance and lower your stress that I've found than David Allen's GTD process. Learn it. Live it. Make it a part of your company, and you'll have a secret weapon.

Right on.

Slightly off-topic, but on my mind...as I commented earlier today, I'm finding myself increasingly uncomfortable framing techniques like GTD strictly in terms of "productivity" (although the ability to be more efficient and productive is definitely a nice perk).

GTD fights stress not by transforming you into a drone or a brainless corporate cog, but by affording a framework for recovering and maintaining smart focus. What you do with that focus is entirely your affair -- clearly people will use it for everything from building a very swell startup to managing their music career and beyond. Gratefully, nowhere does The David say you have to turn into an enormous-toothed White Guy running sales seminars at the La Quinta Inn. In any case, when we're doing GTD right, Ev is right on the money: balance is sewn into every stitch of your week.

Even two years into using GTD, I have to say I'm still pleased -- and sometimes even surprised -- at how well it still works for me. Whenever I fall off the horse, I'm usually just a mini-review away from feeling retuned to my priorities and commitments. I agree with Ev; it's powerful stuff.

I do wonder if there's a better term for GTD's goals and methods than simply "productivity" or even "time management" What do you think? Does it matter?

Nicole Simon's picture

I have yet to find...

I have yet to find a methology which works for me - and while really many, many people are happy about GTD, I am not. I am waiting for the same epiphany I had when I read a book some years ago about time managment, the classical way.

Before that book, all time management bookx always said "you have to sit down, make your list, prioritize it and work on it - this is the only valid way". The german leading man on those books finally came up with something new from an american author.

It said "the old way is monochromatic working, like many people really found that effectiv. But there are others who start to write down a todo list and end up with 30 pages or brainstorming, categories from aa to zz". Bingo.

As for GTD - it is much more like I work, but not enough. I think I will have to wait for a few more years, until we really have GTD meets Minority Report or something else, as I have the feeling, that I really need computer support for this.

For me, tasks feel more like a three dimensional cube you can turn around and have different views on it, and want this information in many places in different slices. sigh This is 2005. Perhaps 2010? :)




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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