In a series of excerpts published by tech site BNET, Allen discusses the two axes of self-management—control and perspective—and asks you to place yourself in the matrix. (Of course any personal productivity book is nothing without at least one matrix.) Are you a visionary/crazy-maker? Victim/responder? Micromanager/implementer? If things are going well, you've got the right mix of control and perspective, which puts you in the Captain and Commander seat. Allen writes:
Control and perspective are closely intertwined dynamics, but achieving each one involves different approaches, whether the matter at hand is your teenager doing homework, your soccer team's practice, your next vacation, or your product launch. If your kitchen is a mess, for example, cleaning it up and placing all the tools and equipment where they belong will be a very different exercise from deciding what to cook and how to present it. But the two activities remain very connected, in that without an organised kitchen, it will be very challenging to stay focused on the dinner itself; likewise, an insufficient focus on the recipes, the various components of the dinner event itself, and the plan for deploying them will allow the situation to quickly get out of control again.
As usual, Allen's approach appears to be a combination of business-speak and Zen enlightenment (with a sprinkling of sports metaphors about "winning your game"). The concept of self-management alone connotes the idea that you'd manage your monkey mind they way you would an unruly underling at the office. But once he's beyond the boardroom matrix, Allen dishes out his "mind like water" ideas, about paying attention to what's tugging at our subconscious selves and focusing on the big picture. While the executive or high-level manager approach might alienate creatives and cubicle workers, and the woo-woo spiritual stuff might put off business types, if Allen's able to temper it all with real-world scenarios the way he did in Getting Things Done, he may have something here. Then again, if Making It All Work is just a rehash of GTD ideas seven years later, new readers would be better off just buying the first book.
Here's the full list of excerpts (I particularly like the last one on attention):
- Understanding the Matrix of Self-Management
- The Victim/Responder
- The Micromanager/Implementer
- The Crazymaker/Visionary
- The Captain and Commander
- The Matrix Is Relative, Situational, and Fluid
- Paying Attention to What Has Your Attention
Are you a GTD disciple ready to pick up Making It All Work the moment it's available? Or is GTD just so 2004? Take a look at the book excerpts and let us know what you think.