Are Productivity Tools Making You Less Productive?

Published Monday, May 14, 2012 8:57 PM

Technological advances have produced a tsunami of productivity and time management tools. Gadgets, tablets, and apps galore allow for the possibility of 24/7 connectivity. But do these tools make you more or less productive? A recent New York Times piece by productivity and time-management guru David Allen,  creator of the phenomenally popular Getting Things Done work-life management system, argues that people are often overwhelmed by productivity aids. The end result? Decreased productivity.

In order to recalibrate your resources and learn how to say no when necessary, Allen recommends five tips for cutting through life's chaos and creating the relaxed focus that allows for reflection, review and critical and creative thinking.

  • 1. Grab a notebook and write down all the tasks and issues that you face in your work and personal life. This initial exercise can take up to six hours cautions Allen, but corralling everything that occupies your brain space is the first step in allocating resources to tackle what's on your mind.
  • 2. Consider each item on your list. What outcome do you desire? What steps do you need to take to get there? Be sure to knock off any action items that can be done in a few minutes or less. You will whittle down your to-do list and free up your mind considerably.
  • 3. Next, grab a calendar and get cracking: set up reminders for everything left on your list, arrange meetings, schedule calls, set aside blocks of time for e-mails and specific chores.
  • 4. Keep yourself honest with regular review of your tasks. Allen suggests setting aside two hours every week for this maintenance.
  • 5. Finally, with your focus honed, and your important tasks identified (and unimportant ones set aside), you are free to "deploy your attention and resources appropriately."

Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed with information and tasks? Do you think using David Allen's tips could better help you focus your attention? Share your thoughts here and on the Pendaflex Facebook page.

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Beyond FoldersTM is written by a team of Pendaflex associates passionate about time management, communications, productivity and workplace organization.  Believing in  "continuous improvement" on both a personal and professional level, they share their unique perspectives on subjects of common interest to our readers.

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