Getting Things Done vs. Making Things Happen

I'm a big fan of Getting Things Done and other productivity systems.  I use  Nozbe as my action management app since it's dead simple and works well for me.  I carry a small  Moleskine notebook in my pocket to jot down things I need to remember.  All-in-all, I'm an effective and productive person when I want to be.

Here's the problem: Productivity is a prerequisite.

Becoming productive isn't the goal, it's just another skill.  What you do with your productivity superpowers is what really matters.  Maybe you can plow through whatever gets thrown in your hopper like an Asplundh chipper/shredder . . . you know, the ones that can turn telephone poles into a mulch that's beneficial to your garden in 15 seconds.  Even if you become a highly effective machine, you'll be treated like machine.  Machines are commodities and when their cost outweighs their output, they get replaced by cheaper machines.

Instead of just getting things done, you need to make things happen.

Here's the difference between the two: If you're just an expert on getting things done, then whatever is given to you could be given to someone else who could, eventually, get it done.  If you become an expert at making things happen, then the work you do wouldn't get done any other way.  Can you see the difference in value?  With getting things done, you have given inputs and given outputs and the best you can hope for is that you're worth 2 or 3 or n other people (until they read the GTD book and buy the Moleskine notepad).  With making things happen, you're invaluable . . . you literally cannot be replaced with someone else.  Sure, your employer or client may decide that they don't need what you do, but that's a much more manageable position than an employer or client choosing someone else over you.  Plus, if you're an expert at making things happen then when you notice your workload winding down you can simply make more things happen.

On Monday I'll post a dead simple guide to making things happen.  Since getting things done is a prereq to making things happen, though, please post your GTD resources or questions in the comments.

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