Getting to Know Eric Mack Part 2

“You can do anything, but you can’t do everything” – David Allen

David Allen in his writing often talks about tracking cleaning a messy garage on his someday maybe list, apparently it’s not an embellishment – Eric Mack remembers the garage very well to this day.

Why does this matter? Because it is true, it shows integrity — something often missing in today’s business world. Time and time again with David Allen and Eric Mack, I consistently see no ulterior motives, except one mission — to make people’s lives better.

It’s important to start with a foundation of honesty when engaging with something as challenging as learning to manage your life and it’s important to trust the people who developed the system you intend to use to manage your life

In the same meeting, I told Eric Mack about how excited I was to use Mindjet MindManager to create a series of elaborate dashboards to map out goals, weekly and daily plans. Eric Mack cautioned me against over complicating task planning with mind maps.

“It is really hard to keep multiple systems in sync so that it is best to stick to one central tool as your list manager” Eric said. “You have to come-up with the hard edges …You have to simplify and keep your systems as simple as possible. It’s like a mechanic’s tool box filled with specialized tools”

Eric refers to this as elegant simplicity. Take MindManager, it is one of the most powerful tools on the market-but you do not want turn your mind maps into your central repository for all your Next Actions. Rather you are better off mapping everything out and then dumping your Next Actions into your List Manager. Otherwise, you are forced into a pattern of double entry which creates twice as much work and twice as much stress, thereby undermining the trust you have in your system.

David Allen describes the intuitive nature of visual mapping and planning in his own life in an October, 2009 article of the GTD Times

“I don’t bother drilling down to next actions on my maps. Too much work to double-enter, and they move too fast anyway.” David Allen writes, “I just do the map, figure next action, then go to my action lists (in Lotus Notes). I’ll sometimes put a shortcut in the notes section of a project on my list, to the mind-map. I just use maps for capturing and developing projects and themes.”

Eric Mack told me a story about how he developed eProductivity with David Allen over several years of work — which taught him a critical corollary of system management. –“If it looks like a lot of work for a simple task, and if it feels like to much work (after 30-days of using it), you are not going to do it consistently”


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