Personal productivity needs control and perspective

2 min readSep 13, 2023


In my last article I discussed how the enormous amount of stimuli to which we are exposed can generate situations of overload and stress, diminish our attention span and, ultimately, negatively affect the management of our commitments.

If you don’t get used to identifying and capturing every new item that comes into your life, whether small or large, simple or complex, important or trivial, they will become open loops that will lurk in your consciousness at all times.

To effectively manage your life you need two things:

  1. A proper control of unfinished business.
  2. The necessary perspective to know what you need to pay more attention to in each moment.


In GTD, when talking about control what we are really talking about is “operational control”, that is, achieving an internal sense of stability whatever the reality of your life and your personal circumstances may be.

You can’t control what happens or doesn’t happen, nor the challenges that come your way, but you can control your involvement and the way you manage your work (meaning work anything you need to do, not necessarily within the professional environment).

To achieve control you can learn the best practices for managing your day-to-day activities, and you can redefine your attitude. You can choose how you engage with everything

The best practices offered by GTD allow you to create the necessary conditions to optimize the operational control of all your pending issues. Having control also allows your mind to have more space to think and create.

In GTD, operational control is managed through the 5-step workflow.


Control is only half of the equation. To reach that state where you are ready for anything you also need to know where you are going and why. That’s what the term perspective in GTD refers to.

Having a clear vision of your personal and professional life, at all levels, is what allows you to define the priorities that will feed your decisions, what is important at each moment and what isn’t. Control is of little use if it gets you nowhere.

GTD has the tools for you to better understand where you are and where you are going. Perspective, also called vertical control, is achieved through the six levels of perspective.

Originally published at