How to Design Your Own Time Management System

I just read an interesting post over at Lifehacker in which the author, Gina Tripani, notes that she has needed to practice a simplified version of Getting Things Done (GTD®) in order to make it work for her. She explains why, and wonders if anyone else is also doing what she does, which is to take elements that work for her, and use them, while not using others.

I responded to her blog with the comment below. After writing it, I changed the tag-line of this blog as I realized something powerful and different about 2Time – it’s built on the idea that we are all different, and need to design our own systems.

I think the focus needs to shift away from teaching people to follow any one system to teaching them how to develop their own system, and find their own enlightenment, so to speak. I use elements of GTD, and other systems also, but I find it an every other system limiting. Not because they don’t work for the system’s creator, but because I am not them. The problem with their approach is that they give the user something like a “perfect recipe”. When a user needs to deviate from that recipe for any number of reasons (as we all do) there is no help… we are on our own. I remember “following” one system a few years ago and actually feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing things the “right” way!A good art teacher does not say — paint like me. Instead, they encourage students to paint for themselves, and they teach them “How”.

I noticed the comment from someone at the GTD site who said that this post is for “those who struggle with full GTD system implementation”. The truth is… there might be 10 people on the planet who don’t struggle with implementing the “full” system… and they all work for GTD… LOL!

The rest of us need help in creating our own time management system, and then more help in evolving it to fit our changing needs over time.

We are simply missing the “How” when it comes to designing our own systems. We don’t know where to start, and we don’t know what the fundamental design principles are. We also don’t know how to craft our habits over time to meet our goals.

I am trying to answer these questions myself —