Simplicity killed the productivity star

Tue, Aug 15, 2006

Simplicity Rules

Yes, sometimes things can be too simple. But why?

I’m reading Ready for Anything by Getting Things Done author David Allen. Allen has a good point about how too simple can go wrong:

To-do “lists haven’t worked because they were an attempt to compress very different and discrete functions into one event and context. If you try to make something too simple, it will make everything seem more complex and difficult. Yes, we’ve all been up against the wall of too many things screaming at us in our head, and we’ve gotten temporary relief by ‘making a list.’ But these Band-Aids don’t work as an ongoing strategy.”

Recently Noah Kagan inspired some good discussion about the return on time. A few of us posted tips in the comments. Stuff I try tends to be time compression tricks, such as the Power Hour and the four day week.

But those are tricks. And tricks tend not to work forever. Just like the to-do list provides only temporary relief.

So far, Ready for Anything seems a little more accessible than Getting Things Done, perhaps because it’s in list form (subtitle: “52 productivity principles for work & life”). Hopefully I’ll find not just useful tricks, but something lasting that helps me discover what is important to me and how to accomplish it.

See also: Elliot’s personal prioritizing formula.

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Brian Ivanovick Says:

    Hey Adam,

    Thanks for the welcome back — I really appreciate it.

    I thought this post was excellent because it’s going to help me be more productive this week. While reading it I was reminded of this post:

    The basic point is that you have to vigilant with your focus and delegate everything that isn’t a top priority. That’s what separates Admins from Executives.

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend,

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