Chapter 1: Why ZTD?


The chapter starts with the quote

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo da Vinci

As one can see with my blog…I love quotes. This one reminded me why I am reading this book. I tend to overcomplicate my life and let it run in way too many directions. So simplicity and focus are my zen words in this particular journey.

This chapter explains the improvements that ZTD has over other widely known productivity systems like David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”. ZTD focuses on HABIT changes and simplification within a simple structure.

5 problems ZTD addresses:

1. Problem: Attempting a series of habit changes all at once.

  • ZTD Solution: Focus on one habit @ a time
    • This is a common problem I have when I embark on improving my life. I want to change everything all at once, and then I am surprised when I only end up frustrated and not having accomplished what I set out to do. I really want to take this seriously and will be taking the advice to incorporate only 1 or 2 habit changes every month (or every two weeks) to heart. This will make this blog series a lot slower than I anticipated, but honest change doesn’t usually happen overnight. (Don’t worry there are only 10 Habits *smiles*)

2. Problem: Lack of focus on doing (action)

  • ZTD Solution: Don’t worry too much on capturing and processing the stages but focus on the DOING . It gives tips on how to actually (stress free) complete the tasks.
    • I think this is one of the tenants of the system I look forward to the most. A lot of other programs I looked into in the past seemed so intent on explaining the intricacies of the “guaranteed successful system” but left me wondering how I was supposed to DO the system.

3. Problem: Unstructured Systems

  • ZTD Solution: Offer habits like the “Plan Habit” that sets up simple routines to offer structure.
    • ZTD talks about the diversity of what works for people. Unstructured systems that focus so much on in-the-moment decisions might confuse some people and muddle up the goal of productivity. Yet, the routines ZTD sets up many not work for people that need more wiggle room. I probably fall somewhere inbetween. What I like about the ZTD approach is the “adopt what works for you” mentality. While a simple, not unique concept, it takes a lot of the pressure off my shoulders (almost always self inflicted). I tend to get stressed out when I cannot accomplish what I am “:supposed” to have completed. ZTD is a system that gives you structure but room to individualize based on what works for you…what works for me *smiles*

4. Problem: Too Many Things to Accomplish (Increased stress factor)

  • ZTD Solution: Focus on simplifying and organizing things in life so one can focus (efficiently and well) on the most important ones
    • Triaging is important in many situations in life. I believe that I have a pretty good “last-minute-balls-to-the-wall” triage system that allows me to turn in work, school assignments, pass tests, and meet deadlines, but I lack this skill in the more mundane, less stressful everyday environment. Hopefully by focusing on the important tasks on a more regular basis & not procrastinating until I need my ER room triage system I have been relying on the past couple of years, I can be more productive.

5. Problem: Lack of Focus on Goals

  • ZTD Solution: Focus on the important stuff with continual (weekly, monthly, yearly) review of your goals and where you are at in accomplishing them.
    • Being a results-oriented person, I like goals and achieving them. A lot of the ZTD system seems to refocus energies in order to get to the meat of the issue and link this back to your goals.

I am very excited to start in on this system!

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2 thoughts on “Chapter 1: Why ZTD?

    • Speaking of, I have been so busy lately that I haven’t gotten to delve too deeply into the book. But, what I have gotten into so far has been fantastic! I plan on posting my commentary on Chapter 2-4 later this week. Glad you like the post!

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