The Science of Getting Things Done

Productivity philosophies always sound great on the outside

Photo by J. E. Theriot

Productivity philosophies always sound great on the outside, promising more free time, more autonomy, and a happier lifestyle. But not all of these philosophies deliver, and not everyone will like the same philosophies.

So how do you pick one productivity philosophy over another?

The typical answer is that this is a completely personal decision and you should do whatever works best for you.

We can do better than that. The typical answer doesn’t explain why systems like David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) have such widespread popularity. While good marketing does play a role, I’ve thought of a more satisfying answer based on some recent findings in psychology. I’m talking about two concepts, ego depletion and decision fatigue, which are two of the most fascinating phenomena I’ve read about in the past year. Continue reading