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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?

Tim Kimrey's picture

I read Angie's response above...

I read Angie's response above at first as "I get blogged-down in the details..." and was wondering if that was something that comes from subscribing to too many RSS feeds.

I just recently discovered GTD and am in the initial implementation phase. To me it was this amazing revelation of how disorganized I was simply because I had never been taught a method. I think a lot of people assume that organization just happens, and that there are folks who are better at it than others. It had not occured to me that I could be taught.

It's not so much the productivity that matters to me as it is the feeling that I can address what might be an undiagnosed mild case of OCD without visiting a shrink and being a pharmaceutical lab rat. I also like knowing that there are other folks out there looking for a better way to manage.

I just wish that David Allen could get to the kids in school instead of waiting until they are mid-30's and way deep in the mix. Before you get someone to be productive you might need to show them that they are actually being destructive by using ineffective methods.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving - thanks for 43folders it is always a pleasurable read.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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