Why are you collecting potential actions day-in and day-out in your collection tool of choice? Why are you processing the things you have collected and identifying potential outcomes of the stuff that has just come into your life? Why are you reviewing these things as much as you need to keep them active in your life? Why are you getting things done?

Sounds like a funny question, especially for a topic on Lifehack, whose sole purpose is to show you how to get things done faster and better. But, the question remains.

What is the point of these systems and getting all this stuff done?

The End Game

GTD prides itself with using a bottom up approach to productivity rather than the “traditional” top down approach like Covey and other life-coach type of gurus have tried to teach us. The idea is that by using this bottom-up approach, that is, capturing all of the potentially meaningful stuff in your life, identifying what it is, and either doing it or not, you will be using the best way to clear the decks and eventually find your life purpose. Your end game.

Being productive isn’t the end game. Being productive is the way to reach the end game. David Allen talks about the various Areas of Focus in our lives; the things that drive us as a human being. These can be:

  • Family
  • Spirituality
  • Career
  • Mental health
  • Vitality
  • Hobbies

These areas are the “why” behind getting things done and the reason that you need to be productive. We shouldn’t be getting things done for getting things done sake.

The paradox

So, how do you find your why? How do you get up close and personal with your end game. By getting things done.

OK, now we are drifting down to “na-na-nu-nu” land. You may be thinking, “you just told me that we need some sort of purpose to get things done. Thanks for nothing.”

The only way to find your purpose in life (your end game) is to clear your deck. There is no way (at least not one I have found) that you can experience the awakening of your goals and dreams when you are stressing about over 500 unprocessed emails in 3 different accounts (sounds familiar), have overdue tax bills, and have family members that need your attention because of your lack of attention. We must be able to give ourselves some breathing room.

We do this by collecting and processing these not done stuffs and put them into a trusted system. Once there, we can either commit or “uncommmit” to these tasks and outcomes. That alone is a totally freeing process: taking all of the junk in our lives, answering the question “what is this junk?”, and then purging or doing it now or a little later.

With this process under our belts, we slowly clear our mind and our workload allowing us to finally find our “why”.

Why you can’t find “why” right now

If you have an insane life of too much to do, and not enough time to do it in, then you will have a very hard time finding your end game and what’s important to you. You have to unbury yourself from crap work and tasks to get some breathing room to find your purpose.

The process is the thing

So, why are you getting things done?

Maybe you have identified that you have a family that needs taken care of. That family needs money to buy stuff. The job that you have (maybe even one you don’t necessarily like) is the way that you make money so they can buy that stuff. So, when you are doing the mundane “readying the TPS reports”, you can link this small task or project on your list to the “why” of being an awesome family man/woman.

Your end game is easier to reach when you get the mundane in a system and the mundane is easier to do when you link it to your end game. You only got here because of the process of collecting and processing into a trusted system.

Elevating the process of GTD

It’s time to get away from too many process and tools and tweaks. The process of GTD was made to be done with paper or digital tools. It’s tool agnostic for good reason.

There isn’t too much wrong with tweaking and fiddling with your tools as long as that tweaking and fiddling is to help you accomplish your end game with less resistance, not for the sake of fiddling.

So, when agreeing to a project or taking time out of your day to do one of those little tasks on your lists, remember and be conscious of why you are getting things done. This is the only way to make sure that you are getting the right things done and that the you have the right things to do to reach your end game.

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