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Human Potential in the Age of Exponential Tech

GTD Part 2: Time Management for Knowledge Workers

I’ve merged two GTD philosophies and technologies to produce a system that is the embodiment of perfection and efficiency. Sort of like the borg! (If you’re not familiar with Star Trek Terminology then just read on.)

In the first part of this mini-series I spoke a little bit about GTD philosophy including David Allen’s Getting Things Done, and Merlin Mann’s fantastic 43folders

The power of the system lies in the ability to assign tasks a context which takes into account where you are and what you have at your disposal at that time. So if you’re out and about vs. if you’re at your computer.

Which is all fine and good unless you’re like me, and the tasks are mainly done on your computer. Then I stumbled across Dan Sullivan, business strategist extraordinary, and the brain behind the Entrepreneur’s Time Management schedule.


The system outlines three “types” of days that Entrepreneurs should use to manage their time. From the site

1) Free Days

A Free Day is a 24-hour period, Midnight to Midnight, in which you, the entrepreneur, do not engage in any business-related thinking, communication, or actions. The idea is that by taking time away from the business to rejuvenate, you’ll tap into more energy and creativity.

2) Focus Days

A Focus Day is a 24-hour period, again Midnight to Midnight, in which you spend 80 percent of your time on the activities that create results for your business. On Focus Days, you concentrate on your most important business-related activities, relationships, and opportunities.

3) Buffer Days

If Focus Days are for performance, Buffer Days are for rehearsals. On Buffer Days, you handle all of the details that would otherwise distract your attention on a Focus Day. You use these days to catch up, clean up messes, delegate, and learn new skills. You use them to maintain and restore simplicity and order in your life – what could be more satisfying than clearing a week’s worth of phone calls to return from your to-do list?

How to use the days

Consider the emphasis and breakdown — Free Days first, then Focus Days, and finally Buffer Days, in a ration of about 3:3:1.


Ok, so stay with me here, I know it’s a lot.

You have David Allen who says we need contexts in order to be efficient, and Dan Sullivan who gives entrepreneurs a way to divide up you week. Mix them together and you get: a great set of contexts to use!

So now, I list all my tasks according to whether they are buffer tasks (Emails, phone calls, research), Focus Tasks (Writing, Consulting, Learning) and Free tasks (Readings, watching tv, hanging out)

At the beginning of each week I identify when each of my buffer, focus and rest days will be and voila, all my tasks are no organized based on priority and resources available.

It’s been working wonderfully for the last two weeks and I have been getting a lot more done.

I will let you know how the system is working, but so far, so good!

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