Solving Unproductivity

I will distribute free copies of Getting Things Done!

Click here to lend your support to: Getting Things Done and make a donation at !

We all want to save the world, but we are remarkably ineffective at it. We leave the car at home once a week, replace a few light bulbs and complain to our friends that the government should do something about AIDS. Perhaps we even donate a bit to charities.

The problem is that it just doesn’t add up. It feels good, but it often turns out there are far more effective things you could do. But how do you decide what the best way is to spend your precious time and money?

And herein lies the answer: who says your time is precious and you have little money? Perhaps you are just wasting it? What if you had much more time and money?

If you really care about the world, why aren’t you reading books about it, talking to politicians and devoting most of your time to helping out an NGO? Why do you spend your time staring at 1000 unread emails in your inbox? Why do you waste your money by paying your bills too late? Why haven’t you started that big dream company yet?

The biggest problem on this planet is inefficiency. If only people could free up their wasted time to do the things they believe in, the worlds biggest problems will turn out to be a piece of cake to solve.

The good news is that this is one of the cheapest problems to solve: teaching people how to use their time more effectively pays itself back many times over!

My favorite book on the topic of productivity is Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. In it, David Allen confronts us with our own blatant inefficiencies and he does so with a great sense of humor. He shows some really simple ways to tackle them. His solutions are almost obvious, if it weren’t for the fact that almost nobody uses them.

He doesn’t ask you to use any high tech solutions except for pen and paper. He doesn’t send you on an expensive three day training course, nor does he trick you into buying a DVD. He just explains you how to use your common sense and how to use your human nature to your advantage in stead of your detriment.

Once you’ve made the transition, you’ll never want to go back. It’s good for you, good for your colleges, good for your family and friends and good for the world.

So my plan is simple: I will use your donations to distribute free copies of Getting Things Done in the Central Business District of Melbourne, Australia.

The only condition will be that people actually read it. For that purpose, I will ask them to leave their name and email address so I can regularly stalk them to see if they’ve read it.

Why Melbourne? First because I live there, and second because it is a rich city where people have quite a bit of free time and know how to enjoy it. That means they can make a significant positive impact on the world at a very low cost to themselves.

What’s in it for me? I don’t think this is going to be a lot of work for me, so most of my ‘income’ will be in the form of fame and glory and the benefits of living in a more productive city.

As an experiment, I am participating in the Amazon Associate program, which means I get a bit of money for every book that people buy through my link. I’m keeping that! Call me evil, but I believe in doing good while making profit; it is the only way to make a huge difference on a global scale.

I will find the best way to distribute as many books as possible with your donated money. I will keep a public record of exactly what happens to the money.

Click here to lend your support to: Getting Things Done and make a donation at !


  1. Oh, god, we’re becoming a religion. We can probably get the word out faster if we distribute free tracts and we can fix the problems in third world countries if we send missionaries there to preach the good word of Action Items.
    Good idea. I just may donate, but there are so many places with problems other than Melbourne.

  2. @Calvin : in fact, Melbourne probably has the least problems in the world, which is exactly why I think it is the best place to distribute GTD.
    Hopefully that will free up enough resources to send the missionaries; $10,000 is not going to get you a lot of missionaries.

  3. You’re probably already going to do this but have you considered registering a few copies with BookCrossing and leaving them in some strategic locations around Melbourne?

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