ProdPod: Episode 25 — Is your system too complex?

Is your system too complex?

Well, it is if you spend more time managing your system than your system helps you manage getting things done.


We all have an idea that benefits should be greater than the costs, whether they’re tangible or intangible. And, this naturally implies that your developing, implementing and evaluating a productivity system should be outweighed by the amount of time spent actually getting things done.

Said another way, your productivity system should be divided into three areas (as we discussed in episodes 3 and 4 regarding the special theory of productivity): plan, implement and evaluate. For those prone to plan too much or procastinate, planning and evaluating should be contained to about 20% of your time and energy, while implementing (what we call “Doing” in GTD lingo) should be about 80% of your productive time and energy. 

This may seem simple, but for many people who are highly interested in productivity, we spend an inexplicable amount of time on lifehack.orggtdtimes43folders and zenhabits, learning about new and innovative topics about productivity and organization. We are actually going beyond the 20% of our time devoted to planning and evaluating instead of the activities that are on our lists. Think about this reality the next time you set aside your focus on getting things done and open up a site that distracts you from being productive. Once you start to be mindful and return to your to-do list, I have no doubt you’ll be satisfied that you did!