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  • How does GTD deal with very rapidly changing priorities?

    Good morning,

    I'm new here and new to GTD. I have always used my own system, which is very list based, and it has worked very well for me... until now. I recently changed jobs and now my role has rapidly changing priorities which I am finding it hard to keep control of.

    For example. Normally I would get to work, check my email to see if anything urgent has come in, this takes about 10 mins of scanning my inbox. I then check my lists to see what I need to get done that day, prioritize, and make a start on the next item which needs to be done. Now, with my new job, I am struggling as things come in from left field which I wasn't expecting, some are short ad hoc items, others are quite large and may take me a day or more to complete, but are urgent. These items interrupt my original plan and push my original tasks out of the way, and so I start to feel overwhelmed. My original tasks still need to be done to meet deadlines, but I also need to do the new urgent stuff too.

    Any experience of dealing with things like this would be gratefully received.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    have a complete list of actions, review daily in the morning to choose the most important ones and then start with them. I think there's no magic pill how to do it otherwise.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Nellie View Post
      Good morning,

      I'm new here and new to GTD. I have always used my own system, which is very list based, and it has worked very well for me... until now. I recently changed jobs and now my role has rapidly changing priorities which I am finding it hard to keep control of.

      For example. Normally I would get to work, check my email to see if anything urgent has come in, this takes about 10 mins of scanning my inbox. I then check my lists to see what I need to get done that day, prioritize, and make a start on the next item which needs to be done. Now, with my new job, I am struggling as things come in from left field which I wasn't expecting, some are short ad hoc items, others are quite large and may take me a day or more to complete, but are urgent. These items interrupt my original plan and push my original tasks out of the way, and so I start to feel overwhelmed. My original tasks still need to be done to meet deadlines, but I also need to do the new urgent stuff too.

      Any experience of dealing with things like this would be gratefully received.

      Thanks!
      Hi Nellie,

      I think that the first and most important thing to realise is that GTD will make you more productive, but it won't make you a superhuman.

      GTD will make getting a doctorate easier and more efficient, for example, but it won't allow you to get one in a weekend. The sheer physical volume of work is simply too much for the deadline.

      Overall, GTD can have many benefits for the situation you describe. Perhaps the single greatest is that if you stick to GTD thoroughly, you should be able to look quickly and easily at a complete record of your committments. That means that not only is it easier to make prioritising decisions you can be confident in - because they are comprehensive - you can also see clearly when you are getting to capacity.

      When that occurs, you have a few options. You can either simply refuse to take on new work, or, if that's not an option, you can let your line manager or others who are assigning you work that know you are at capacity. As a result, if something is 'urgent', they need to be clear that getting this thing done will mean something else being delayed.

      You may need to be assertive about this. Workplaces with poor management may simply go on piling on tasks until the subordinate cracks. Usually this is not deliberate - there is a just a lack of communication about what its realistic to expect one person to do, and so those assigning you work assume you can take more unless you tell them otherwise.

      That's just a brief overview - if you have other specific questions about how GTD can be applied to the situation, let me now.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by hagakure View Post
        Hi Nellie,

        I think that the first and most important thing to realise is that GTD will make you more productive, but it won't make you a superhuman.
        Darn!

        Originally posted by hagakure View Post

        Overall, GTD can have many benefits for the situation you describe. Perhaps the single greatest is that if you stick to GTD thoroughly, you should be able to look quickly and easily at a complete record of your committments. That means that not only is it easier to make prioritising decisions you can be confident in - because they are comprehensive - you can also see clearly when you are getting to capacity.
        This sounds good, my biggest worry is that I am loosing a grip on what needs to be done and so will forget something, or forget to tell management that I won't be able to make the deadline.

        Thanks for your answer!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Nellie View Post
          Good morning,

          I'm new here and new to GTD. I have always used my own system, which is very list based, and it has worked very well for me... until now. I recently changed jobs and now my role has rapidly changing priorities which I am finding it hard to keep control of.

          For example. Normally I would get to work, check my email to see if anything urgent has come in, this takes about 10 mins of scanning my inbox. I then check my lists to see what I need to get done that day, prioritize, and make a start on the next item which needs to be done. Now, with my new job, I am struggling as things come in from left field which I wasn't expecting, some are short ad hoc items, others are quite large and may take me a day or more to complete, but are urgent. These items interrupt my original plan and push my original tasks out of the way, and so I start to feel overwhelmed. My original tasks still need to be done to meet deadlines, but I also need to do the new urgent stuff too.

          Any experience of dealing with things like this would be gratefully received.

          Thanks!
          That sounds exactly like my days! For example this afternoon, out of the blue, we received a phone call to buy another company, didn't expect when i woke up this morning.

          You can only do what you can do. Anything that has a deadline needs to have time set aside to be worked on or it simply won't get done, thats the bottom line. So you either have to get good at delegating or just get good at saying no! If you're so overwhelmed that you keep fliting from one thing to the other, you'll never make headway and yor work will suffer big time. The line has to be drawn somewhre.

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