If you search for posts on productivity blogs Google gives you more than 111,000 hits. I have had as many as 12 productivity blogs in my aggregator at times including Lifehack, 43 Folders, and my favorite, The Cranking Widget Blog. Most of these blogs promote Getting Things Done by David Allen. GTD as its known to its disciples, is the best book I’ve ever read on time management aka productivity. One year ago, I picked up a copy and read it. Before GTD, I had one of the messiest desks in our corporate office. It was not uncommon for me to spend 30 minutes looking for a piece of paper only to find it in one of numerous piles on top of my desk. This past year my work space has been paper free and its now common for people to walk into my office, ask me for a document, and watch as I retrieve it in less than 30 seconds. More importantly, I’m doing the important things first.
Where I take issue with other GTD disciples is when they become so task-obsessed that they ignore the relationships they need to build and nurture with their co-workers, customers, and vendors. To them the tasks are paramount and seem to occupy their whole universe.
Tasks and relationships are both important and they have a very symbiotic relationship. It is like building a brick house. Tasks are the bricks, but relationships are the mortar that binds them into strong walls.
If you want to improve your productivity, read Getting Things Done, by David Allen. But exactly where on your next actions lists will you focus on growing relationships with your co-workers, customers, and vendors?
For that I recommend How To Win Friends And Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. Sure it was written in the 1930s. But, just as the laws of physics have remained unchanged, so have these laws of relationships. Read the book. Each week focus on a different principle. Look for ways to practice that principle on your family and your co-workers all week long. Write the principle on your calendar, on your computer’s screensaver marquee, and on your hipster PDA. The second week, take up the next principle and do the same. What you are doing here is learning a skill, which if practiced long enough, becomes a habit.
Read both David Allen and Dale Carnegie. Just as bricks and mortar used together make strong walls, practicing the principles espoused by both of these two books will make you much more successful in reaching your goals. Your customers, co-workers, and your family will love you for it.