Useful Productivity Hacks From GTD

GTD Tickler FileI’ve tried lots of different techniques and tools over the last couple of years and some of them help but some just don’t work for me. Sometimes you can just tell straight away but it’s not always that obvious. Every now and then evaluate your processes and identify areas that may be unnecessary or that aren’t beneficial enough to warrant the time involved.

The most important thing when trying to improve your productivity is ‘Learn What Works For You’.

I found a lot of useful tidbits in David Allen’s Getting Things Done book, or GTD for short.

I wrote a very brief GTD review back when I first read the book. Some parts stuck and some didn’t. Over time though I have tailored a few things to better suit my way of working…

Here are a couple of the things that have stuck with me and some of my own experiences of them.
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Is There Something You Are Resisting Tackling?

Dinner For TwoI am a very methodical person, some might say borderline OCD. I like to follow a fixed set of rules in a simple, logical manner. Whether this is due to my choice of career or simply a reason why programming is my career, I’ll never know.

If the rules are well defined then I can crank out work at a pretty good rate. The fuzzier the logic then the slower I can become. If the rules are unknown or very unrestrictive then I can flounder over the simplest of tasks. A simple thing like picking a name for a variable can sometimes waste 5 minutes or so if there are no pre-defined coding rules…

If you find yourself resisting something then it is likely that you have some piece of information missing. Without that missing piece the job seems too hard to tackle and so your subconscious tries to find ways to avoid it.

Noticing these points of resistance early on can be a great boon for productivity!
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The Importance Of Solid Deadlines

Rugged TreeI have overextended myself a bit in recent weeks. I had three big projects that are all due to come to a head at pretty much the same time.

My mistake was that for two of these projects I left the target date pretty much open. This seemed like a good idea at the time because then I could work on them as and when I had the chance. As with all things that aren’t extremely urgent I didn’t find as much time as I would have liked.

Time passed and as there was no deadline I had no urgency. This is not a good situation to be in.

I should have known better than this as I have experienced it over and over again when working for other people. Jobs are not important until someone starts to push for them. Then you start getting questioned about what you have been doing and why it isn’t ready yet…

Once you get to this stage then all of a sudden the job becomes very urgent if you want to keep the customer happy.
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