Here’s a short, fun article about why I prefer JD Meier’s Agile Results as a foundational productivity system more than Getting Things Done (GTD).
Not that GTD isn’t awesome, it just misses a lot of things given the complexity of our lives nowadays. If you’ve been on the edge about switching to Agile Results, here are 6 great reasons why.
1. Agile Results incorporates goals and outcomes
The one thing GTD really lacks is that 30,000ft cruising-altitude view of your life. With list-upon-list of tasks and more contexts that you can count, there is no real way to zoom out and get a good look at everything going in your life.
When you use GTD, it’s all about the tasks – and all tasks are pretty much equal. You just pick a context and go, regardless of your mood, energy level or deep priorities. This can be great in some situations… and disastrous in others. Simply putting things into a system and then processing things out may be efficient, but you have to put the right things in, otherwise you get garbage-in-garbage-out:
Agile Results lets you create tasks lists based on what is important to you – today, this week, this month and this year. It also has the flexibility to recognize that you may not want to do a particular type of tasks today, and to neatly move those tasks to a better time and place.
2. Agile Results incorporates GTD… sorta
About 95% of Agile Results is about structure, setup and psychology. 5% is processing tasks – that 5% is where you take what you know about GTD and plug it in to crunch action items.
3. Agile Results also teaches the psychology of productivity
GTD is a very mechanical system – which is why it works brilliantly for some, but explodes spectacularly for others.
Agile Results tries to teach you the mindsets, habits and principles behind real productivity as well as the mechanical structures you need to help you work productively. For example, concepts like “death by a thousand papercuts” or “have a compelling why” are important parts of making any productivity system work.
4. GTD was designed for pen and paper
That’s right – GTD was written in the early 2000s for pen and paper applications. True, there are applications like OmniFocus which have made GTD digital, but the system itself is really a classic no-computer-on-desk one.
A great example of this is contexts – when was the last time you thought about contexts as tools or distinct environments? Most knowledge workers today have one tool (a computer) and the environment really doesn’t matter that much – office, coffee shop, study, park – you can work productively from any and all of them.
Agile Results comes with the recommendation to implement it in one of the greatest tools of the modern day – Evernote.
5. Speed, cycles and iterations
One downside of Agile Results is that it is hard to set up. That’s why we wrote a guide about how to do it.
Once established though, Agile Results incorporates ideas about iterations and cycles very, very well. If you mess up today, you can easily do a reset and have a better tomorrow. It recognizes that life is not linear and that it has its ups and downs. It follows the natural cycle of planting, reaping, resting and renewing, and recognizes that we can get better with every cycle.
6. GTD is crisis management. Agile Results is systems creation.
GTD is really about the day-to-day grind and crunching of tasks and inbox items. Agile Results is about setting clear outcomes that you want and then systematically working towards them.
If you are a systems thinker (or just enjoy systems that work), Agile Results is fantastic – you can set up your ideal system or vision, then break it into smaller outcomes at different discrete timeframes, and then into tasks beneath that. This helps you to really focus in on what is important, rather than handling the crisis-of-the-day.
Where to Go Next
Interested in Agile Results? Check out:
- Our Agile Results page, with articles and tutorials for implementing Agile Results.
- Get the Agile Results book on Amazon.com.
- Read JD Meier’s brilliant and very insightful blog.
- Using OmniFocus? We’ve included a new post on implementing Agile Results in OmniFocus in our OmniFocus guide – OmniFocus Premium Posts.
- For more on the psychology and habits of productivity, check out the Asian Efficiency Primer. It contains all our best content in one place.
Do you want to see more examples of our personal systems and workflows? We reveal them all on our Personal Systems seminar. It’s completely free and you’ll get to see the exact step-by-step systems and workflows that we personally use to be insanely productive. Register for the next available seminar here.