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I am Productivity (And So Can You!)

Hello, My name is Andy and I’m the new guy here at The Cranking Widgets Blog. While I hope to share far more valuable information in the months and years to come, I’d like to kick things off by getting some answers to the obligatory “who the heck is this guy?” out of the way.

I’ve been interested in getting as much done as possible with the least amount of effort for as long as I can remember. I guess thats the definition of productivity… Work smarter, not harder! However I’m embarrassed to say that I’m a GTD late bloomer. In fact, we only need to travel back in time about a year to discover my roots…

GTD Roots

I am the co-owner of two businesses and wear the CEO hat for both. A certain degree of chaos and stress is something I had become accustomed to. About a year ago things were particularly rough for me. We lost a superstar of an employee in a key role in one of my businesses. Part of being the boss meant my duties grew in order to keep the business running. I also had to find and train a suitable replacement, which ultimately took three tries to get right.

This was about the time that Tim Ferriss released The 4-Hour Workweek. I stopped by the book store on my way home from the office one day and I saw it, bought it, brought it home and devoured it. It was perfect timing based on how overwhelmed I was feeling. A 4-Hour Workweek sure did sound nice, but I was far away from being able to get to that point. I’ve since implemented a lot of Tim’s suggestions in some way, shape or form, but the productivity concept that was most immediately applicable to my situation was the “next action” idea which was combined with “Define three things you’d like to do today and only do those three things.”

I quickly implemented both of these tactics into my ever-evolving, homegrown productivity system. At first it seemed great! Immediately I was invigorated. I was productive… And then about a week later I was back where I started! Overwhelmed and stressed.

In trying to figured out why my vigor and productivity boost fizzled once again, I realized the next action thing made sense for me, the “only do three things” didn’t. There was too much on my plate and it didn’t “feel” right. It had to go.

Discovering The GTD

Ok. Defining a few things to do in a time period didn’t fly with my world, but I researched the next action concept since that seemed to resonate with me. I can’t recall how it lead me to The GTD, but I’d guess it was The Google. I bought Getting Things Done that week and read it over the course of the following weekend. The whole system just made a lot of sense. I was excited, but a little more skeptical this time around.

Starting Monday, I spent the entire next week implementing it. I actually went into do not disturb mode for an entire week. I had three cars, a condo and an office full of “stuff” that was clogging up my psychic RAM, all of which was now dumped in a pile and represented by 300 little 3 x 5 cards. These cards were sitting in my in-basket with all my other files, books and loose papers. There was enough paper at work to cover my entire desk and then another nice pile at home.

I forged ahead and made sure every piece of stuff had a next action defined, projectified and contextified. When I was done I felt a sense of peace and calm that I know all of you know and remember from the first time you emptied your brain and neatly organized its contents. The greatest part for me was that this time, I never went back to that same stressed-out, overwhelmed feeling I had before.

Now what…

Since then, like a good little productivity geek, I’ve tried, failed at, tweaked and loved GTD. I can’t say I’ve always been perfect at managing Andy, Inc. but I can say I haven’t felt the same levels of stress since I discovered GTD.

Just like everyone else I’m a work in progress. I plan on sharing my past, present and future experiences in trying to find success, a little bit of harmony and productive bliss with CW’s faithful readers. Things I’ll be writing about will likely include:

  • Productivity tactics and applications I have found work well and, more importantly, what hasn’t.
  • Tactics for how to take more advantage of the oft-neglected by productivity entusiasts, yet uber-powerful “delegate it” option.
  • Attention management techniques that have served me well and allowed me to dig in and finish my projects.
  • High level, mind like water, 10,000 foot thinking that has helped me get some wins in life.
  • Entrepreneurship and business topics.
  • … Other tidbits that will assist you in your quest for finding your optimal level of productivity and success.

I’m honored to have the opportunity to be part of The Cranking Widgets Blog and I look forward to sharing my failures and successes with you. Productivity is truely a passion for me. I hope I can help you find ways to cut through the clutter, get more done and be productivity. Bye for now!

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