Archive for the ‘Habits’ Category

The Essentials of GTD

February 7, 2008

Note: GTD refers to the book or approach called Getting Things Done developed by David Allen.


In an interesting post at Matthew Cornell’s blog, he makes the point that GTD is difficult to be reduced to a lighter version, because it is packed so tightly. In other words, the system cannot be made lighter than it is, because of the bases it is designed to cover. I shared a comment that I thought that the focus needed to shift from trying to adopt a single person’s system, to instead empowering and teaching users to create their own systems. In this context, GTD is useful as a guide, but not as a new dogma.He responded, pointing me to an interesting post that he wrote on the topic of the essential habits of GTD. Here are the habits as outlined by Matt.

For each one, read “The habit of ____”:

    • 100%_CAPTURE
    • APPROPRIATE_PLACEMENT
    • CONTROLLED_COLLECTION
    • DECOMPOSITION (more…)
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Post-Pilot Analysis (2) – New Equipment

January 26, 2008

visa-hand-and-card.jpgDuring the recent pilot of NewHabits-NewGoals (the course built on the concepts of 2Time), it struck me that every professional has their own home-grown time management system. They developed it in a trial-and-error fashion, mostly starting when they were in their early teens, and picking up bits and pieces from people they admired along the way. These included people they know in person, as well as those who may have written books outlining one person’s particular approach.

However, they didn’t develop it in a systematic way. They didn’t know the fundamentals. Without the fundamentals, they could not develop a complete system or innovate within the boundaries of the discipline in way that made their life easier, rather than harder.

Technology has only made their homegrown systems more susceptible to failure. Email is a great idea. Sending email from a Blackberry in the middle of a meeting is a bad idea. (more…)

Making Habit Change Easy

January 14, 2008

ist2_2628164_smoking_and_drinking_men.jpgThis is quite a good article entitled Installing a new habit and breaking an old one by Stephanie Burns on the practice of changing habits.

In 2Time, all progress hinges on a keen self-knowledge of how to change one’s habits. We are all different, and respond to different sets of stimuli. What we all need to do is to know ourselves so well that whenever we want to change a habit, we can. This is where her article is quite useful.

Here is an excerpt that focuses on making it easy to do the new habit, and hard to repeat the old one.

Strategies in action – here is how it works

You want to start carrying a bit of cash and not using your credit card.

Make it hard to do. Freeze your credit card in a block of ice.

You want to walk or jog each morning to start your day, but by the time you get up and move around you don’t feel like it. (more…)

Multi-Sports and the Inescapable Fundamentals

January 4, 2008

triathlon-pic.jpgI happen to be a part-time, amateur, middle-of-the-pack triathlete.

Since 1997 I have been competing in races that involve a swim, bike and run at a variety of distances, the longest of which was an iron-distance race I did that included a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run.

In this sport, like any of the multi-sports such as the pentathlon, duathlon, biathlon, or decathlon, the athlete comes to learn rather quickly that that there are certain fundamentals that must be mastered.

In the triathlon, an athlete must swim, cycle, run and “transition” (from one sport to another on the fly). In most races, depending on the length, an athlete must also drink and eat.

That’s it for the fundamentals. They are, in 2Time language, inescapable. (more…)

“Email Bankruptcy”

January 2, 2008

email-bankrupt-investor.jpgI just heard the most appropriate term I have heard in a while – “Email bankruptcy”. According to the New York Times the definition is as follows:

e-mail bankruptcy n.

What you’re declaring when you choose to delete or ignore a very large number of e-mail messages after falling behind in reading and responding to them. This often includes sending a boilerplate message explaining that old messages will never receive a personal, specific response. (more…)

Zen to Done: a Fast Critique

January 2, 2008

I have been looking over the set of techniques described in Zen to Done, and I think there is a LOT of value being offered at the site, and the e-book looks like a steal for $9.50, for a document that’s some 80 odd pages long.

Of interest to me at the moment, after a brief glance, are the 10 habits that comprise his system.


  1. collect. Habit: ubiquitous capture.
  2. process. Habit: make quick decisions on things in your in-box, do not put them off.
  3. plan. Habit: set MITs for week, day.
  4. do (focus). Habit: do one task at a time, without distractions.
  5. simple trusted system. Habit: keep simple lists, check daily. (more…)

5 Tips on Changing Habits

December 31, 2007

I found this post in ZenHabits to be a useful one.

In summary, the entry is about the Five Things You Need to Know About Effective Habit Change:

  1. Work on One Habit at Time
  2. Create a Plan and Write it Down
  3. Refine Your Plan
  4. Make Mini-Plans
  5. Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!

Click here to see the entire post.

Thoughts Flying Around

December 24, 2007

brilliant_idea_business_concept_illustration.jpgPart of what humans are unable to control is the sheer volume of thoughts that travel through the average person’s head on a given day. We cannot stem the torrent of useful and useless ideas, bits of conversation, idle fantasies and the like that don’t seem to stop even when we are asleep.

The challenge that we have is to develop habits to deal with at least some of them effectively, and especially when they create time demands.

Part of the trouble I have with some of the language Steven Covey uses in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is that the things he talks about are not really habits at all, because they are not actionable, observable physical movements. (more…)

Learning a Habit I Forgot

November 15, 2007

I am reading the #1 New York Times Best Seller – The Four Hour Work Week and finding it quite entertaining.

As someone who lives in Jamaica, it would seem that I am living the author’s dream to some extent! More on this later, to be sure.

One immediate benefit this book has brought me is that I realized that I had fallen back into the trap of checking email at all sorts of times during the day. I remember scheduling the times when I used to check email, and I even plan to teach it in the upcoming 2Time Pilot. (more…)

Changing Habits Slowly

November 12, 2007

Recently, I did a most interesting test of my personal health on RealAge.com

What made it remarkable is that it gave me back a list of on-the-point recommendations, and it also gave me back an estimate of my “real age”, which I am happy to report is some 8 years younger than my calendar years.

Once I got over my pride at the hard work I have put in over the years, I started looking at all the new things I should be doing, like taking vitamins, sleeping longer and eating more tomato-based products. All in all, it had a list of interesting new habits for me to adopt, and the beauty of the report was that it listed all of them in one single place. (more…)