Time Mastery: A Brief Guide

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good work habit time management

This is a brief guide to time mastery for knowledge workers in 2022. 

I'd prefer to call it time mastery instead of time management because the word mastery suggests learning and practicing, and it is about both the skillset and mindset. However, let's not get bogged down by the term, and I'll use the words interchangeably here.

Specifically, you'll learn:

  1. What Does Time Mastery Mean to You?
  2. The Real Problem behind Poor Time Management 
  3. Common Reasons Why Time Mastery Is Difficult
  4. The REEF Principles of Time Mastery.
  5. Seven Steps to Mastering Your Time
  6. Bonus Tips to master your time management skills.

So if you're serious about taking back control of your time, this guide is for you. 

Let's get started.

Your Why for Time Mastery

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find your why. —Mark Twain

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Your why is the foundation for all achievements in life and career. When your why is clear, it is easier to find the motivation to move through hardship. There are two levels of why: 

  1. Why is time mastery necessary for your life and career? Your answer to this helps you overcome the difficulties of learning the new skills required to take back control of your time. 
  2. Why is it important right now? There are days when time management is unnecessary, and you can just go with the flow. But, when it is, you need to define your why so you know what to do. For example, if you need to stay on top of your pile-up of work, it would make sense to organize and prioritize rather than doing your deep work. 

Time mastery means differently to different people. Some may need it to manage loads of work they have to complete day in and day out. Others might want to do it to overcome procrastination. Need to make time for meaningful work? So, it is crucial to define it for yourself, as you can see. 

It means differently from time to time, too. There are times when you need to manage your time to stay afloat and those when you must spend doing work that makes you feel fulfilled. 

Below are common reasons to help you start thinking about your Why for time mastery. 

Importance of Time Management

Resource Guide to Time Blocking Method - featured image.png

My goal in this part of the guide is only to give you some ideas, and I hope you can build on them to find your own why to inspire yourself to improve your time management skills. 

Without further ado, here are the Top 6 reasons why time management is essential. 

1. Time management is vital for your well-being.

Research shows that it is essential for your well-being. In a meta-analysis published in PLOS One, Brad Aeon and his colleagues from Concordia University collated 158 papers from mid-1980 to 2019.[1]Aeon B, Faber A, Panaccio A (2021) Does time management work? A meta-analysis. PLoS ONE 16(1): e0245066. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245066 They found a strong link between good time management and well-being, and the effect is 72% stronger than job satisfaction.

What does this mean? Time management is not only for job performance but also for your well-being. 

2. Time is more valuable than money.

They say time is money, but it is much more valuable than money! If you lose money, you can earn it back, but the time that's gone is gone forever. It is what makes up our lives. So if you can manage your time, you will master your life. 

3. It improves work efficiency and enables you to be on top of your work and life.

If you can manage your time effectively, it is apparent that you can deliver your work on time and be on top of your work and career. You would be better able to estimate the time it would take you to complete a task or project and know when to take on more and when to get focused. Time mastery also lets you negotiate and set a doable deadline for your work and project if necessary. 

4. Effective time management boosts productivity. 

Your ability to overcome distractions and stay focused could also get better when you can master your time management skills. Why? Effective time management requires making time for what matters and enables you to make better decisions for your career and life. We all have 24 hours a day, so it is not the amount of time but how we spend it that determines what we achieve and who we are.

5. Expert performance begins with time mastery. 

Deliberate practice is necessary to attain exceptional performance, but it will not be possible unless you can manage your time. Effective time management is the first step to expert performance. 

6. Good time management helps reduce stress.

A 2000 study found that effective time management could lower academic stress and encourage participation in time management seminars to improve academic success.[2]Misra, R., & McKean, M. (2000). College students’ academic stress and its relation to their anxiety, time management, and leisure satisfaction. American journal of Health studies, 16(1), … Continue reading Although the survey was about college students, I believe a similar correlation also exists at work. If you can manage your time, you can manage your stress and improve your performance at work. 

Simon Sinek Find Your Why

"To inspire starts with the clarity of your why." 


Ask yourself these questions: 

  1. Why is time mastery important in your life and career?
  2. Why is it important right now?

The Real Problem of Time Management

"Time is what we want most, but what we use worst." —William Penn
multitasking

It is not that we don't have enough time. We all have 24 hours a day. No exception. Some people may live longer, but more time does not necessarily make it easier to manage time. More time may require better skills in time management. 

What would you do if you had 48 hours a day just for work after all that for recreation, rest and relationship? If you don't manage your time better, you will experience similar consequences to those that you would for having too little time and too much to do. 

So, the real problem of time management is not the amount of time you have in a day; rather, you don't manage your time well enough. Put another way, people want better time management, but few make an effort to manage their time. For example, most people do not have an organizational system to stay on top of their tasks—those who do often fail to improve it to better follow through with their commitments. 

If you want time management to work, you must first work on your time management.

Common Reasons Why Time Mastery Is Difficult

Good problem solving requires identifying the root cause. In this chapter, you will learn common roadblocks that make time mastery difficult.

It requires efforts to learn the skills. 

Time mastery could be simple but not necessarily easy. You will have to learn a system or framework that works for you. And then practice them regularly. 

When you expect that time management should be easy, you could bump into this roadblock and give up. Psychologists call this the Optimism Bias. People tend to be too optimistic for their own good, so their plan for better time management takes a hit when it turns out differently. 

So, if this is your roadblock, you should change the way you expect about time management. Think of it as a skill set you have to develop over time. It takes effort but will be worth it. 

That's why I prefer to call it time mastery. 

You are feeling overwhelmed. 

The chances are that you have failed, trying to master time management and would feel overwhelmed with the thought of trying it again. 

Being overwhelmed, regardless of whether you have too much to complete or it is merely how you feel, negatively affects your ability to think and act rationally. It could also prevent you from managing time and completing your tasks. 

But, remember this:

When you feel you do not have time to plan your day, that could be when you need to do it most. One way to overcome overwhelm is to create a precise plan with appropriate boundaries of what you can do and what you cannot within the limited time. Decide what to focus your energy on and what to schedule on your calendar. 

Distractions are everywhere!

Don't get distracted

There are two types of distraction: internal and external. 

External distractions come from emails, text messages, chat applications, social media, and interruptions by other people. Today's most significant source is the smartphone, where you have almost everything you need: entertainment, connection, learning, and work. 

The second type of distraction is internal, and we tend to understate it. Surprisingly, almost half of interruptions are self-initiated.[3]Laura Dabbish, Gloria Mark, and Víctor M. González. 2011. Why do i keep interrupting myself? environment, habit and self-interruption. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in … Continue reading Some of the most common self-interruption behaviors include: 

  • stopping what you are doing to capture an idea or task; 
  • doing something you just realized you forgot; 
  • following a random stream of links when researching on the internet; or
  • watching videos on YouTube; or eating something.

Procrastination affects your ability to use your time effectively. 

Get help

Not all procrastination is bad. But it is when you procrastinate to avoid doing what you're supposed to be doing. We often procrastinate on complex tasks, which could usually make us feel good. And because we fail to do it, we feel wrong about our ability to manage our time. 

An excellent way to beat procrastination is to make the task so small you can do it without much effort. For example, if you procrastinate on writing a report, you can begin by just writing the outline. Also, you can define your success as being able to write for only five minutes. 

You need motivation to get started. But what we don't know is that getting started also motivates us to keep going. 

Recommended reading: Guide to Overcoming Procrastination: 16 Actionable Tips You Can Use Now

You do not write down your plan.

Too much structure could kill creativity and flexibility in their day, and that's what some people relate to planning. But research shows that planning can ease anxiety arising from unfinished tasks[4]Masicampo, E. J., and Roy F. Baumeister. 2011. “Consider It Done! Plan Making Can Eliminate the Cognitive Effects of Unfulfilled Goals.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 101 (4): … Continue reading Also, planning does not necessarily mean a rigid structure. 

Recommended reading: The psychology of the to-do list - why your brain loves ordered tasks (The Guardian)

If you have not done it already, go ahead and create a to-do list. "Simply writing them the tasks down will make you more effective." (Masicampo and Baumeister 2011) 

Or we plan too much (or too little). 

time blocking image

This could be an illusion of control, the belief that we can control the outcome of a situation that in fact, we cannot. It explains why people at casinos throw their dice harder if they want a high number and gently if they  need a low one.[5]Dobelli, Rolf. 2013. The Art of Thinking Clearly: Better Thinking, Better Decisions. 0 edition. Sceptre. Or it might be the effect of the planning fallacy, a tendency to underestimate the time it takes to finish a task. 

These could explain why we plan too many tasks on our to-do list and think, "planning doesn't work for me."

Further reading: The Illusion of Control - You Are Your Worst Enemy (Interaction Design Foundation)

It's crucial to capture everything on a to-do list and use our brain for thinking rather than storing tasks. But to avoid succumbing to the illusion, we must be selective about what we can do daily. One way is to use the Time Blocking Method. The Ivy Lee Method is also great to deal with the illusion of control, and the Eisenhower Matrix is especially useful to prioritize tasks. 

We fall for cognitive biases that affect our ability to plan and implement it. 

Having a great planning tool is only halfway (or less) to time mastery. Up to 67 per cent of strategic planning fails.[6]Prive, Tanya. 2020. “Why 67 Percent of Strategic Plans Fail.” Inc.Com. October 23, 2020. https://www.inc.com/tanya-prive/why-67-percent-of-strategic-plans-fail.html. Why we suck at planning is also due mainly to these three psychological reasons: the Mere Urgency Effect, the Present Bias, and the Complexity Bias. 

The Mere Urgency Effect and Present Bias explain why we choose urgent tasks over our priority. The Complexity Bias leads us to believe that complex solutions are better than simple ones, so people choose a complicated method to manage their time. And when it does not work for them, they give up and think that time management does not work. 

Recommended reading: 7 Cognitive Biases That Make Us Suck at Time Management

The REEF Principle of Time Mastery

REEF is my abbreviation to make it easy to remember the principle. 

  • R for Rest 
  • E for "Begin with the End in Mind." 
  • E for Energy management 
  • F for First things first. 

So, the REEF Principle of Time Mastery suggests the following: 

Rest properly 

ways to rest

The goal is to feel rested. Unless you rest properly, you lose out on its benefits. And that could explain why some people seem to need more rest than necessary. But the question is this:

How do we rest properly? 

It's important to know that there are two types of rest: passive and active rest. Sleeping and scrolling through Facebook are two great examples of passive rest. As you might have guessed, some forms of passive rest help us recover, and others do not. 

Examples of active rest include exercising, dancing, mountain climbing, cycling, and taking a walk outside. Others are meditation and breathing exercises; in short, physical and sensory activities that allow us to detach from work fall under the active rest category. 

With that in mind, here are a few tips to get proper rest:

Get enough sleep. 

sleep

A standard recommendation is six to eight hours, but you should make it a habit to check in with yourself. If you feel tired too early, the chances are that you need more rest. I'd also recommend using a smartwatch to monitor your sleep to help you evaluate your sleep more objectively. 

Take regular breaks throughout your workday.

Our energy is limited, and so is our focus and concentration. Taking regular breaks throughout your workday makes it easier to get you through the day. It also helps us get better focused and creative at work, alternating between the diffused and focused modes of thinking. 

Try using the Pomodoro Technique and work in 30-minute intervals, with 25 minutes of focused work and five minutes of an active break.

Take proper rest during the weekend. 

active rest

While specific ways of passive rest are restorative, like sleeping, listening to music, and doing nothing, others could be harmful. Usually, those are our favorite distractions like playing our favorite computer games, binge-watching on Netflix, scrolling through Facebook feeds and Instagram and Twitter, chatting on WhatsApp, Telegram, and Messenger. 

So, if you take any of the harmful forms of rest on the weekend, you should consider replacing them with a more restorative one like meditation, exercising and socializing with your loved ones. 

Take a vacation from time to time. 

Research suggests that recovery peaks around day 8, then stays stable or declines. A vacation that lasts for two weeks does not make you happier than one that lasts just a week, and the effect of vacation lasts around two months. However, if you can't do this, go whatever is possible for you. He said that the only lousy holiday is the one you don't take. 

If you're interested, check out my guide on rest and being more productive!

Begin with the End in mind 

Perfectionism procrastination

Stephen R. Covey coined the phrase "begin with the end in mind" in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey encourages readers to visualize their desired outcome and work backwards from there in his best-selling book. He recommended spending most of our time working on scheduled tasks instead of reacting to urgent ones. Those scheduled tasks must contribute both to projects with deadlines and your long-term goals. 

Unfortunately, the latter usually is difficult, and we could get distracted easily from those tasks if we do not plan them. 

Don't prioritize what is on your schedule. Instead, schedule your priorities with the end in mind. 

Manage your Energy

Managing your energy is an integral part of time management and productivity. When you feel tired, the amount of time you have does not seem to matter that much anymore. It isn't easy to focus on your tasks and do them well.

Watch the four dimensions of energy: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. 

The physical dimension of energy

Physical energy is the most evident and fundamental dimension of energy. It includes things like sleep, diet and exercise. Lack of sleep makes you feel tired, and you would find it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand. Similarly, overeating carbohydrates could cause you to get into the afternoon slump. Exercise helps relieve stress, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and improve cognitive function. When people exercise, they feel less stressed, more energized, and improve concentration levels.

The emotional dimension of energy 

Emotional energy includes our mental state and how we feel about things going on in our lives. You can maintain emotional energy by doing what you love and being active. You must do what you need to do, but never neglect to make time for what you love. Physical energy affects emotional energy, too. So, you should identify activities that you find fulfilling and captivating to help you boost your emotional energy level. Examples include a mindful walk, a stroll around your office building, or stretching every 60 minutes. Any physical activity that takes your mind off work will do the trick.

And finally, remember that interpersonal relationship matters! You must make time for your loved ones. 

The mental dimension of energy 

The third dimension, mental energy, covers cognitive skills, such as memory, creativity and attention span. So, to maintain positive mental energy, you need to maintain appropriate focus and realistic optimism. Realistic optimism means seeing the world as it is but always being proactive towards your desired outcome. Specific things you can do to boost mental energy include learning something new, solving a puzzle or a Rubik's cube, and meditation.

The spiritual dimension of energy

Spiritual energy is the source of motivation. It covers who we are as a person and what gives us meaning in life and provides a drive for action in all endeavors of our lives. Personal values and purpose beyond self-interest are the driving force for spiritual energy. Passion, commitment, integrity, and honesty are crucial to building your spiritual muscles.

Do First things First.

This principle is based on the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80-20 rule. The idea behind this principle is that 80% of results come from 20% of actions and efforts. Simply put, you will get more done faster if you focus on the most critical tasks first.

An excellent way to know what to do first is by time blocking them on your calendar and putting everything else down for later. It would be great to spend the whole morning working on your most important tasks, but this could vary depending on your role and situation. For example, if you are new in your management role, spending more time leading your team would make better sense. However, I'd personally recommend at least 30 minutes each day. This will create a habit of doing first things first, which you can then optimize when the time comes. 

One caveat: Doing first things first here does not have to mean doing the most important things first things in the morning, and what it means is that you must work on them when your energy is at its peak. 

Seven Steps to Master Your Time (and Life)

In this section, you will learn my 7-step method of time mastery. 

  1. Time audit
  2. Collect 
  3. Organize 
  4. Plan and prioritize your day
  5. Start with first thing first
  6. Take care of your other tasks too
  7. Review 

Let's dive in. 

Step 1: Do a time audit

"Time must be explicitly managed, like money." ~Professor Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

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What you think you do might not be what you actually do. A time audit allows you to get a clear picture of your time baseline and how you spend your time. After completing the time audit, you understand where you are, how much time you have, and where you should spend more time. 

Doing a time audit would allow you to budget your time appropriately on a daily and weekly basis. 

While time budgets may vary from person to person and time to time, you should do it in a way that helps you balance the four dimensions of energy: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. 

Recommended Reading: Realistic Guide to Time Management

Step 2: Collect and organize tasks 

GTD book quote

Do you know why children with attention-deficit disorder (ADHD) usually perform poorly at school? Research found that poor organization skills may be the reason. That could explain why they affect work performance.

So, effective time management should begin with an organization system. Your organization system should allow you to quickly collect everything that gets your attention and return your focus to the task at hand. For example, if you remember that you need to follow up with a prospect while writing your report, you should have a system that lets you quickly capture that. 

The goal here is to clear your mind so that you can get focused on the task at hand. 

"Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them." –David Allen

Have an inbox for incoming tasks and ideas.

Get organized in OneNote

You can simply use a pen and paper. Using a note app on your phone or computer is another option. 

I personally use a task management app as my phone is more accessible to me than a physical notebook. Besides, using an app makes it easier to get organized. A good task management app comes with features to allow you to set a due date and reminder for your tasks. Tasks without a date would automatically go to the inbox folder. You can capture tasks from emails and websites, too. 

There's some learning curves but it's a good investment.

Having an inbox for incoming tasks and ideas prepares you for the next step. 

Step 3: Plan and prioritize 

Here is where you process the tasks and ideas in your inbox. There are several ways to plan and prioritize, but I'd recommend that you plan at the end of the day. That way, you will enjoy the benefits of the default mode network, a process in which our brain looks for relevant experiences and associates them with long-term memory. So planning at the end of the day could then let your brain prepare you for your priorities the next day. 

A great tool to prioritize is the Eisenhower Matrix. 

Remember the 4Ds: Do, Defer, Delegate, Delete.

  • Do tasks that take less than five minutes to complete and are urgent and important
  • Defer and schedule tasks that are important, not urgent
  • Delegate tasks that do not need your expertise
  • Delete as many shallow tasks as possible
The key is not to prioritize your schedule but to schedule your priorities. – Stephen Covey.

Step 4: Do first things first 

Again, this is based on the 80/20 rule. So, for most, it would mean doing the most important tasks first thing in the morning; this could mean differently for others, depending on their energy level and chronotypes. It's important to be aware of your energy level and optimize your workday accordingly. Simply put, do your most important work when your focus is at its peak. 

When you know your priorities from the previous steps, time block them on your calendar and protect them. 

Step 4: Take care of your other tasks too

While it is advisable to spend as much time as possible to work on your priorities, you must also attend to your other tasks. 

On some days, you could spend most of your working day working on priorities, but on others, all your days might be filled with shallow tasks. That's normal as long, but if it does not happen all too often, that is a sign that you will need to rethink or negotiate your work responsibilities with your boss. 

And definitely try to optimize your time and energy for your most important tasks. 

I do my shallow tasks and stuff towards the end of the morning shift and day when I can. But you choose what's best for you. It could be the whole afternoon (or afternoon) for them leaving the other work on the other half of the day. 

Step 5: Review performance regularly

This step is crucial. It helps you manage your time (and life) better. 

You should make it a habit to do a daily review (and planning) before you call it a day. Reflection helps us learn and get better. These are three powerful questions to help you reflect: 

  1. What did I do? How did it work? 
  2. How could I do it better next time? 
  3. How can you improve when you have to do similar tasks in the future? 

The habit of review can help you become an expert in your field. 

Bonus Tips

Looking for more? Here are five more tips you can use. 

Say no…

…not only to others but also to yourself. Remember? Almost half of our interruptions are self-initiated. 

Saying no is a way of saying yes to something else that's more important for you at the time. It's about knowing your limits and priorities in life and sticking by them - even if it means disappointing someone else in the process (or even yourself sometimes).

Time block your calendar to work on them when your energy is at a peak. Also, be realistic and politely say no to others' requests if you cannot take on any more work or negotiate a reasonable deadline if you have to. 

Schedule time with loved ones 

walk in nature

Interpersonal relationships, especially those with our loved ones, significantly impact your energy. Time is not worth much if you do not feel good about your relationship with others. (Even an introvert like myself needs it!)

It is not just about the amount of time spent, but also the quality of that time. Playing games, reading a book or watching a movie with your kids are a few examples. Other ways could be:

  • talking and sharing your thoughts with your partners
  • organizing a get-together or going out for lunch with your friends

Quality time means focusing on what they are doing, listening, and understanding what they are saying. 

Delegate

Good work habit 80/20 habit

For managers, delegating is an essential skill. But, you do not have to be a manager to delegate. If you are willing to use the money to buy time, you can delegate. Today, there are freelancers for almost any kind of work you need to get done, and most of them are more passionate about their job than most office employees. Their skills are usually better, too. 

But how do you know when it's time to delegate? Here are some signs:

  • You know what tasks need to be done, and you have a clear idea of how they should be done
  • If you're a manager, you have an understanding of your employees' strengths, weaknesses, skill sets and interests
  • Your employees have the skills and knowledge required for the task at hand

Recommended reading: The 7-Step Process of Smart Delegation

Automate your work

With the rise of AI these days, you can automate almost anything from simple tasks like email organization, canned responses and password management to more complex tasks like proofreading and writing! Want it or not, automation has and will continue to shape the way we work and live. It's unstoppable. 

If you don't know where to begin, I'd recommend you check out Zapiers and IFFT. Just with these two services alone, you can automate 50,000+ things in your work and life. 

Hire a coach

If you can't pull yourself together for time mastery, you should consider hiring a personal productivity coach. You won't have to rely on motivation to learn and practice anymore. Your coach will hold you accountable and help you achieve your goals session by session, feedback by feedback. 

There is no doubt coaching could help. However, the bottom line to ensure success from your coaching program would depend on these two factors. 

Expertise: The coach needs to know personal productivity well enough to provide helpful feedback on the topic. Their expertise would determine how well they could guide corrective actions or behaviors required to help you achieve your coaching goals.

Your readiness: A client's willingness to take responsibility for their progress is a prerequisite for successful coaching sessions. It also helps if you know what you would ask of the coach and can meet those expectations.

Personal Productivity Coach

Conclusion

It may require effort, but you can make time to do what matters. You are capable of exercising, but you must make the time. You are capable of writing, but you must make the time. You are capable of reading, but you must make the time. 

Time is the most precious commodity we have. All of us, without any exception, have the same amount of time each day. How we manage our time determines how we manage our careers and life. 

I hope that this brief guide will be the beginning of your lifelong journey to mastering the skillset and mindset for effective time management. So, know your why and what is important, and ask the question every day before you go to work. This shapes the right mindset. To improve your skillset, remember that like other skills, the more you practice the skills, the better you become at them. Practice makes perfect. 

Book recommendations

If you want book recommendations for time mastery, check out the following:

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

The book is about four thousand weeks in the life of a person. It talks about how we can better use our time and make sure that we are not wasting it on things that don't matter.

It also talks about prioritizing what matters to us and what we need to do to achieve our goals. The author gives us tips on being more productive and getting more done with less time wasted.

It is a good read if you want to learn to embrace the right mindset for time mastery. The Ten Tools for Embracing Your Finitude provides practical advice on what to do best with your time. 

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

To produce at your peak level you need to work for extended periods with full concentration on a single task free from distractions. Put another way, the type of work that optimizes your performance is deep work. —Cal Newport, Deep Work

The book teaches an approach to work with undivided concentration to produce at an elite level. In the first part of the book, Cal Newport, the book author, argues that constant distractions could hold knowledge workers back from producing meaningful work. Major distractions include shallow work, social media, and instant messaging. 

Then, the second half of the book is about how to work deeply. Newport introduces four approaches: monastic, bimodal, rhythmic, and journalistic approach. Furthermore, he goes in-depth about embracing the boredom that we inevitably feel going into the unknown depth of the work. Quitting social media and eliminating shallow work also make up the book's second half. The author argues that you could unlikely be ready for deep work unless you eliminate distractions and embrace boredom.

Again, the book is a great read to embrace the right mindset and improve focus on your top priorities in your career and life. 

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

This is another great book if you want to learn to embrace the right mindset of a time master. 

The book is about the author's philosophy of "essentialism". The author, Greg McKeown, defines essentialism as "the disciplined pursuit of less" and argues that it is not just a personal philosophy but a way to live.

He argues that people should focus on what they need instead of what they want. They should spend their time doing the most important things. The book also discusses how people should be mindful about how much time they spend on social media and other distractions since it takes away from their work.

GTD Book Summary image for social media
The reason to collect everything is not that everything is equally important; it's that it's not. Incompletions, uncaptured, take on a dull sameness in the sense of the pressure they create and the attention they tie up. —Allen, David. Getting Things Done (p. 249). Penguin Publishing Group.

The book teaches a comprehensive productivity system that lets you organize your work and life. The GTD workflow consists of the following five steps:

  1. Capture everything in your inbox
  2. Clarify items in your inbox, so it makes sense to you
  3. Organize your items. If it's actionable, task it. Something that is not actionable but could be needed later on should go into the reference tray. Delete the rest.
  4. Review your lists regularly. Daily review keeps you in control of your day and lets you plan the next day. A weekly review lets you stay on track of your goals.
  5. Engage. Work on tasks based on four criteria: context, time available, energy available, and priority.

It's about productivity skillset and toolset. 

REFERENCES[+]

About the author 

Y Samphy

Samphy is a facilitator, blogger, consultant, personal productivity coach, and lifelong learner. His writing and ideas here focus around productivity and self-improvement.

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