Become Linchpin with GTD


In 2010 Seth Godin published the "Linchpin". I’ve read it few months ago and found it to be fantastic and indispensable (pun intended) resource for thinking about career, delivering results and creating value.
The key concepts of the book  make a point that the jobs were you were told what to do are gone now. It’s up to you to find your best path that makes you invaluable.

Who are linchpins

They are the third team, they are not manager nor labour. They are artists providing unique value, crossing the borders and even breaking some of the rules.They hold the organisation together, they are indispensable for any company to grow, to innovate and to move forward. It’s not easy to replace them.

"Godin’s definition of a human linchpin is somebody who works outside of the established rules to achieve unexpected results. They exert emotional effort into their work and create new and innovative products and services. These innovations can be called art, and rightly so." (Seth Godin’s Linchpin: a review)

Why would you like to be a linchpin?

Why in your right mind would you like to challenge things, propose new solutions, do something against the flow? Ask yourself below questions and see what are the responses.

Do you like to work on new projects?
Do you like freedom and ability to choose where you put your attention?
Do you like to be creative and come up with new solutions?
Do you like tinker?
Do you like to push the boundaries and see what’s new?
Do you like to go an extra mile to provide great service or product?
Do you like to make your customers happy?

If you have answered yes to any of those questions than you’re on your way to becoming a linchpin whether your know that or not.
If you think yes would be your answer, where do you see yourself when this pops up in your mind? Now you know how it’s to be a linchpin and why would you like to be one.

How GTD can help you become a linchpin?

Getting Things Done methodology is about creating mind like a water. A state in which you maintain your ultimate focus and clarity about the direction you’re taking. Using various tools and techniques you keep on top of your priorities and goals.

As consequence you’re able to manage your projects, respond to incoming interruptions and requests in a way that allows you make biggest possible impact on your organisation.
Sure it will not always be easy, perhaps it will be more difficult for you than for others. This is a privilege and a consequence of being a linchpin. You venture onto a new territory and you need to create a path on your own.

With greater clarity it’s easier to focus on things that are important and bring you to the ultimate goal. Your project list allows you to define your current a future priorities. Your action list helps you maintain focus and help you make the most of your working day.

All the elements of good self management included in the GTD methodology will help you become indispensable. This is what employers want. They look for people that can work on their own, spot opportunities for improvement and deliver the results.

Where to start?

Start capturing your ideas and thoughts. Keep piece of paper, notepad or a smartphone and write things down.
Make decisions and clarify things. Look for next actions and clear outcomes so ideas can move forward.

Get into habit of tracking things projects, actions, waiting for items.

Review of your commitments. Know where you are with your projects and actions. Don’t aim for emptying lists. Simply review to know your priorities and decide where to put your attention.

Do you see your self as a linchpin? Do you have any tips for people that what to become one?
Please share those in the comments section.

Weekly links for 27th of June

A weekly collection of posts and articles about productivity, time management, tools and technology.

  1. My secret to becoming more Producteev …
  2. Making It All Work
  3. Episode 48: The Magic of Thinking BIG
  4. 15 Useful Project Management Tools – Smashing Magazine
  5. Steve Leveen: A Tabula Rasa Is Peace of Mind :: Articles :: The 99 Percent

If you have any interesting articles please share them in the comments section.

Google Alerts and Productivity


Part of any business in staying on top of the changes in their niche. You need to know what’s going on, what are the developments affecting your industry. Perhaps your are interested in a specific aspects of your area.

With the advent of internet and online newspapers, newsletters, magazines, blogs, etc. it’s becoming more and more difficult to find the right information. Trawling through hundreds of different sources is not practical and effective. You will spend hours going through archives, searching the latest news for that one nugget of information. That’s not where your attention should go. Most likely activities that generate business for your should take precedence.

Enter the world of Google Alerts. This neat, little known product can provide you with great returns.

The main idea behind is to generate scheduled Google searches and deliver the results via email.Don’t worry you will not get a message with million links in it. You can tailor the results and frequency to your needs.

The process of setting up an alert i very simple. Go to Google Alerts site. You can log in using your Google account or simply start creating an alert. The advantage of logging in is that you can view all your alerts in one place and you can update them, change keywords, time interval etc.
Now start creating you alert by:

  • defining your keywords and phrases,
  • the number of results in the message,
  • the frequency of notification,
  • the type of the information that you want Google to search,
  • email address to deliver the information to

That’s it, your alert is ready and will be active instantly.

One thing to remember is that Alerts will not be able to show you the information that’s behind so called "walled gardens" on Internet. Certain websites don’t allow Google to scan their content and as result no information will be delivered.

Again rather then spending many hours looking for information just have it delivered to you, it’s worth trying.

Do you use Google Alerts on regular basis to you have unique examples? Please share them in the comments

Productivity a video series

I’ve been going through some of my archives and I stumbled upon couple very interesting videos about personal productivity, GTD, self management. So I decided to share some of the best finds in this up coming series.

When I watched those videos initially there was always something worth picking up and implementing. Sometimes it was a small bit other times it was drastic and complete change to the way I’ve been working. Either way it was always worth spending sometime on it.

I’m starting with a classic. It’s David Allen talking to Google employees in 2007. Although it’s four years old I still find it useful. Enjoy.

If you can’t see the video here is the link to original YouTube source.

Weekly links for 13th of June

A weekly collection of posts and articles about productivity, time management, tools and technology.

  1. How to Make a Moleskine PDA
  2. Dooity: A Lightweight HTML5 To-Do List
  3. Good Hours, Not More Hours
  4. 10 Ways to Save Time With Batch Processing
  5. How mind mapping can help consultants to delight clients – and make more money

If you have any interesting articles please share them in the comments section.

Weekly Links for 6th of June

A weekly collection of posts and articles about productivity, time management, tools and technology.

  1. What You Said: How Do You Keep Notes?
  2. 3 Labs graduations, 1 retirement | Gmail Blog
  3. Managing Content w/ a Dashboard Pt. 3 – Clients | The Mindjet Blog
  4. Video: "Broken Meetings (and how you’ll fix them)" | 43 Folders
  5. Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change

If you have any interesting articles please share them in the comments section.

Keep it slow

I’m learning my lesson to keep it slow. In the last few months I had to cut down my running due to a medical problem that prevented me from hitting my standard pace.

Since I’ve resumed running I can only do it at a very low intensity and pace.This is completely new experience for me as I’m well used to pushing myself hard. First of all it’s very difficult to adjust to new lower pace. I need to be very much conscious of my speed and control it. Often times I need to remind myself to slow down. It’s not always easy because of the by internal idea that only slow people and newbies run at my pace. Need to swallow a lot of pride to feel comfortable but I’m getting there.

What this has to do with productivity?

Well a lot. As more and more stuff is coming my way, I’m learning to accept the fact that I can’t do it all. I need to make conscious hard choices about where to put my attention. Sure it’s often fun and exciting to constantly engaging in new projects and activities but this can’t last forever. At some point something gotta give. I’m learning that I can’t do it all and keep everybody happy because I’m one person.

I have my limits, my time is limited, my attention is limited. There is only so much that I can do in 8-9 hours at work. Rather than except everything and strain your limits constantly try this Delegate, say ‘No’, Delete. May not always be possible but it might be enough to buy you some time.

High volume is not sustainable in the long run. Regardless if you are researching an issue, dealing with a client, drafting a proposal if you get too many of these after a while they become a blurr. All you can remember is that you deal with this before but was it last week, two weeks ago or just on Monday?

You/I need periods of down town to absorb new information, to re-think progress etc.

So keep it slow. Remember the parable where a tortoise and a hare take part in the race. In the end slower one won.


PS. I’ve signed up for Dublin marathon in Oct ‘11. Although I’m anxious to start training and get running I’m taking it slow and gradually build up my mileage.

Photo by LabirinthX