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Do less, do it differently


Can’t remember how I came across this piece in the Harvard Business Review magazine.

But whoever sent it my way: thank you. It reminded me why I struggle with the idea of “time management”.

It’s an interview with David Allen and Tony Schwartz. David offers the Getting Things Done approach, which I tried a while back but discarded. Tony runs the Energy Project which I have much more time for.

David seems to be all about lists and mental activity. While Tony’s approach is much more holistic – focusing on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual domains. That’s obviously more up my street.

David seems to be mainly interested in getting more done in the available time. Through lists.

My argument with that is that it seems to me that life is much more about what I do. Than doing more of it.

Tony seems to be at least partly interested in getting the right things done (a la Stephen Covey: “put your ladder up the right building”).

And he is spot on to focus on habits and breaking them, I think. (Take a look at the work of Ben Fletcher and Rilke’s Room if you want to know how to actually break some habits.)

My argument with Tony, if I had one, would be that, for me, life is more about how I do what I do. About the quality of my experience.

Why is everything about energy and productivity? Occasionally, isn’t simply enjoying life more important?

I suspect that both people are highly energetic, highly capable individuals. Maybe being energetic and productive is what they most value. Good for them. But we’re not all like that.

But thanks both, you’ve reminded me to take the day off. To be a bit more idle that I might have otherwise been. To enjoy the day a little more.

Maybe you’ll do the same. Or read more if you like:

Author: Pete Burden

New ways to organise and lead - for people with 'purpose' #leadership #inquiry #noticing #complexity #communication

2 thoughts on “Do less, do it differently

  1. I agree completely…I recently blogged on this…

    Without downtime, we are driving ourselves on an industrial model.

  2. I really like the phrasing used here: optimum vs maximum productivity.

    This is my view is why the idea of “Time Management” is so much the wrong way to frame the issue.

    Do Less.

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