Excellent Post on Productivity at 43Folders

30 Dec ’04

Merlin Mann’s 43Folders has been one of my favourite blog discoveries.  In his latest post, the first in a series that runs through Friday, he writes about what he’s learned after a year with Getting Things Done, David Allen’s ideas on productivity.  These thoughts particularly resonated with me:

Far and away, my best takeaway has been the idea of the next action.
Leaning to identify the absolute next physical action that will keep a
project moving  has been a godsend to the way I think about, plan, and
execute my work. When things get hectic, it’s affirming to know that
all I need to do is one, single thing—the next thing—to get closer to completion ….

I have one modest addition to the next action idea that might go
without saying for most people. I try to ensure that any action I
identify as a next action can be finished, front to back, in less than
20 minutes time—preferably in fewer than 10 minutes. So, for example,
while “Write an article on GTD” is practically useless (that’s a project!),
and “Draft ideas for GTD article” is a minor improvement, “Brainstorm
six ideas for a 1000 word GTD article” is right in the sweet spot for
me. Knowing that 20 minutes is my maximum allowable time for an action also provides a handy baseline for planning what I can accomplish over a given day or week.

Merlin nails my feelings about these issues exactly.  As a service provider, efficiency is critical to my ability to serve the client well.  GTD helps with focus – maintaining a concise frame of reference for the project – and that helps me, well, get things done.

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