I’m a relatively organized, efficient person, but I can definitely stand to improve. So a few days into 2007 I thought I’d take a closer look at the whole “Getting Things Done” methodology, and revisit Life Balance from Llamagraphics. GTD is practically a cult, and I’m not interested in going overboard with it, but there’s certainly some sound project management and time management wisdom there. But the real kicker is that, in the week or so I’ve been using Life Balance, I’ve been having amazing improvements in my productivity.
I tried Life Balance once before, a few years ago. I remember liking it somewhat, but thinking it a bit heavy and clunky for what I felt I needed at the time. Too bad, because if I’d invested the time and effort to learn it then, I’d probably be a billionaire today. OK, maybe not. But I almost surely would’ve been more effective at both my day job and my songwriting “job,” not to mention the other areas I pay attention to.
See, here’s the thing. You know the big rocks analogy? That’s basically the way Life Balance can work. You set it up with your high-level goals and then iterate them into achievable tasks, which you cross-reference with “places” or contexts. And behind the scenes, the software is keeping track of the importance you assigned to each task and the lead time you specified in order to present you with a viable dynamic to do list. It also presents you with a dynamic picture of how well you’re meeting your balance goals by showing you a nifty pie chart of where you’re spending your time.
Anyway, I’m using it now and I love it. It’s expensive as hell, but I’m thinking I really am going to plunk down the money when the trial is up. Here’s my testimonial: this past week and a half at my day job has been incredibly crazy, and I’ve had to manage my already-full task list and add a whole bunch of extra stuff that just came up. Yet somehow I managed to get it all done AND get songs written and pitched AND keep up with household chores AND make progress on my organization projects around the house AND maintain a reasonable social life. I mean, maybe that doesn’t sound like as much as it is: we’re talking about insane levels of productivity here. I just don’t know if it would have been feasible without using Life Balance to keep me focused on what needed doing next.
I don’t know if that makes me sound like a cult member, but whatever. I’m pretty well convinced. I’m getting things crossed off my to do list that have languished there for months, without sacrificing timely response to the current stuff.