Time Management – The Systems

GTD Flowchart

I apologize to my readers for dragging this series out over several days. I had a business trip planned and some unplanned items that needed to be addressed before I left. When that happens the writing hits the back burner.

I wanted to close out the idea of Time Management with a brief review of the three most well-known systems readily available. That’s not to say there are not many, many more but these are most popular.  When considering implementing a time management system, review the ideas I shared with you in my two earlier posts, consider what’s most effective for you, and remember EXECUTION is the key to any system. If it doesn’t get done, you’ve accomplished nothing. So here goes…

Getting Things Done – The system popularized by David Allen years ago is still the most popular by far. The initial stages of setting up a GTD system will take you some time but once established, maintenance is up to you. Your various “action” lists should be updated daily and your projects reviewed at least weekly. For many, this system is what the doctor ordered. For others though, the upkeep of the lists and the variety of tasks available for “action” at any one time can be cumbersome and thus, limit EXECUTION. As I’ve stated many times, it’s all about your own learning style.

The 7 Habits – Stephen Covey’s system, popularized by the book of the same name and also “First Things First”. Covey organized a system that starts at the very top of your life beginning with your lifetime goals and working downward into the various roles you play in life (Father, husband, employee, etc.). Along the way, Covey’s ideas sparked an industry of high end planners, and related templates to fill those planners. It has its benefits in that it focus on long range ideas but the problem for some is that the nuts and bolts things that need to be done are sometimes forgotten in the planning.

Zen To Done – Leo Babauta’s minimalist system was really the first eBook style system to take off. Productivity geeks rejoiced when a low cost ebook hit the market that combined the best of both Covey’s and Allan’s systems. ZTD as it’s called really is a hybrid that encourages planning for the long term while still requiring a daily effort to get tasks accomplished. The benefit here for many is that Babauta really stripped down GTD to its essentials so it didn’t seem cumbersome to people who had struggled with it before. He then tossed in a few of the larger elements of Covey’s system and added a few tweaks of his own. It truly is an example of what I mentioned in my “what works” post in this series. Your learning style is unique and you should craft a system that makes sense to YOU. Babauta just took his tweaks and made a pile of money with them. Enough so that he is now freelance writing entirely.

There’s the big three of the Time Management world. I will say that I’m presently reading Alan Lakein’s award winning time management book from 30+ years ago that surprisingly gave birth to many of the ideas I read about today. It’s amazing that while many things change, many things still stay the same.

Have fun and happy planning.

Time Management – The Systems

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