Understanding and Achieving Productivity – Tim Ferriss and David Allen Style!


Business Dictionary has defined productivity as – ‘a measure of the efficiency of a person, machine, factory, system, etc. in converting inputs into useful outputs.’ Well, this also happens to be the most convincing ones in the entrepreneurial world. If there are two people in the world who have redefined productivity, created methods to achieve it and shared them with the world, they are Timothy Ferriss and David Allen.

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For those of you who are not familiar with their works – Tim Ferriss is known for his ‘4-Hour’ book series, is also an angel investor and advisor to social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and StumbleUpon; David Allen is the author of ‘Getting Things Done’ one of the foremost practical productivity theories.

We bring to you some of the best pieces of gold from the massive advice treasure they possess to accomplish the perfect entrepreneurial life. Let’s start with Tim:

  1. To-do lists for the win!

According to Tim, smart to-do lists are the perfect way to start the day for better perspective. He says that an entrepreneur should start his/her day by writing down their intentions, tasks and goals for the day. It gives a clear picture as to what truly matters instead of having to put in scattered efforts.

  1. Say ‘No’:

Philosopher programmer Derek Sivers stated - “If it’s not a ‘Hell yeah!’ it should be a ‘No.’” It also is the principle Tim believes in firmly. While he believes in experiments, he is against taking on extra work for nothing.

  1. Understand and achieve work-life balance:

The word ‘balance’ has a semantic subtlety where one might misconstrue work-life balance to be a scenario where work and personal tasks are completed in the same environment. Which is the exact opposite of what it actually means! Do you have personal time for yourself and your family after a grind at your startup? Could you afford to take a day or two off and find that things aren’t topsy-turvy when you come back? The answer to those questions should be a roaring ‘Yes!’ and this is how you achieve it - if you are at the office, you are at your best there for your employees and customers. If you are at home, your time belongs to you and your family.

70-year-old David Allen, creator of the time management method ‘Getting Things Done’ is a pioneer in the field of productivity. The GTD methodology is about having an understanding of what ‘done’ means and understanding what ‘doing’ looks like. It is also about changing your thinking patterns that will help you focus on the things that matter.

GTD is a five-step process for getting things under control involving six different horizons of focus with importance given to the biggest goal of your life to menial tasks like scheduling phone calls. The GTD methodology has achieved cult status among people who want to better themselves that there are different audio products and a training program of GTD which is franchised. In fact, there are more than 300 GTD apps developed by third parties.

Here is what GTD and David Allen primarily had to say:

  1. The Two-Minute Rule:

If you come across a task that can be done in two minutes, do it immediately. This idea stems from the fact that dealing with a task right away is a finished task and not something that you have to review later. Alternatively, Allen says that this is bound to improve one’s decision-making skills as you are forced to rapidly calculate if a task can be completed under two minutes or not.

  1. Declutter:

Laundry is to home what inbox is to the office. You wouldn’t want to work on a piled up laundry, would you? Same goes with your inbox, declutter it. Make sure there are no emails to reply to which might come in the way of your personal or family time.

  1. Create a filing system:

A simple, easy to navigate filing system using which you can pick up anything under a minute. He recommends an A to Z filing system which will reduce your search time and must always be in your person.

  1. Four-prong method:

Allen proposes a four criterion analyses to determine what you should do with your time: Context, Time available, Energy available and Priority. Given your situation can you work on this particular task? Do you have the time and energy left in you to do it? If answers to these questions are an emphatic yes, are you sure it is important enough to be completed now? You will then know how and when you need to complete the task.

Ever used any of these methods? If yes, comment below and let us know how they have worked for you!

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


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