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  • Getting Started Getting Things Done

    I finished reading GTD all the way through for the third time, while on a business trip this week. To date, over the past couple of years I have taken some of David's ideas and applied them in my own work flow system - ideas such as 'trying' to keep my inbox empty, setting up action folders in email, the 2 minute rule etc. I even make lists that are contextual at times, but I haven't gone the whole hog and followed right through.

    At the same time, I have also been partially using the Time of Your Life ideas (RPM/OPA) for those that are aware of the program by Anthony Robbins. This is more a covey-esque values based, roles based planning tool.

    I have decided this week that I don't need to have one or the other. I can have both.

    For me the strengths of GTD is in the day to day work-flow environment, keeping on top of stuff as it comes in, and keeping track of it all. And better utilization of those snippets of time where we can get things done. The shortfalls of Covey, Robbins etc are more along the lines of, you can plan your perfect day and then a big wave comes over at 8:30 in the morning and knocks you off your boat and your swimming with the sharks for the rest of the day.

    The strengths though of RPM/OPA are more in the 20,000 ft up and larger project plans - especially in the areas where you can have multiple threads going through a project to achieve the larger outcome.

    In my current role - newly appointed as President of a company, but also the only employee right now (this is a start up of a subsidiary with the aim of recruiting more people once we get cash flow going and sustainable growth) I am finding that I have to switch roles quickly from sales, to delivery, to strategic review, to accounts, to ordering stationary etc etc. I need to be able to be consistently aware of whats on my plate horizontally, but think vertically as needed as well.

    Several months into this role I am finding some of my weaknesses are leading me to have to work harder to compensate and ultimately could limit the growth that I would otherwise achieve. In the past I was able to just work through these weaknesses, now I have so much, I don't have the luxury.

    One of these weaknesses is in organization and filing. So the insights of David in this area, and record/note keeping etc, capturing everything was really useful. AND the idea of checklist is something I really like right now. I have been in this role long enough now, to review my main routine tasks and indentify an order to these processes in order that I can optimize them in terms of the workflow - a simple example here is that I frequently send to prospects both sales brochures but also technical manuals. Now, these are both located in separate folders and in fact file structures on my PC, so it always take a minute or so to switch between one and the other - now I have made a copy of these files into one folder where I can access them all immediately - it will work for 80% of the time - 80/20 rule!

    In addition to re-reading GTD, and already being versant in OPA/RPM, I supplemented my reading with Managing Multiple Projects by Irene and Michale Tobis and also Taming the Paper Tiger at Work by Barbara Hemphill. Additionally, I am going to read the new Brian Tracy book on Time Management and I may get the Personal Efficiency Program by Kerry Gleeson. I had a look at this at the store today and liked some of the insights she had too.

    I am learning that simlplicity is important but also adapting the systems so that they work for you is essential too.

    I had tried in the past to make GTD fit into RPM/OPA. This doesn't work. Neither does OPA/RPM fit into GTD. But the too I believe can be operated together and supplementary with the main tools of GTD focused on the runway and 10,000 ft and OPA/RPM being more valuable as a system at 20,000 ft and upwards. So this is my core system. Then I am adding in additional insights from managing multiple projects and taming the paper tiger at work as I go along. It was really interesting reading all of these in a massive immersion - seeing so many similarities - Hemphill for example also talks about a two minute rule, and Tobis focus a lot on next actions. But there are differences and insights too. And they spark some questions - which I will ask in separate threads to facilitate the discussion.

    So here I go. I am just starting the collection process at home this weekend. No small feat - moved home at the beginning of the year and started a new job too. Got a garage full of boxes that need processing. Maybe 100+ in total. So I don't think I'll be doing that this weekend, but I am starting on current first and doing a mind dump.

    Paul

  • #2
    Re: Getting Started Getting Things Done

    I had tried in the past to make GTD fit into RPM/OPA. This doesn't work. Neither does OPA/RPM fit into GTD. But the too I believe can be operated together and supplementary with the main tools of GTD focused on the runway and 10,000 ft and OPA/RPM being more valuable as a system at 20,000 ft and upwards.
    I agree. In fact, I continue to take "goal setting workshops," and just fold all of that into the "review phase." When I review goals lists (some weekly, some quarterly, some yearly) I simply identify any lingering next actions...easy, physical, visible steps to begin moving on those goals.

    So this is my core system. Then I am adding in additional insights from managing multiple projects and taming the paper tiger at work as I go along. It was really interesting reading all of these in a massive immersion - seeing so many similarities - Hemphill for example also talks about a two minute rule, and Tobis focus a lot on next actions. But there are differences and insights too. And they spark some questions - which I will ask in separate threads to facilitate the discussion.
    The "core system" is going to be different for each person. I'm looking forward to hearing more about yours. The best system I have build allows me to believe this:

    "This helps me do what I said I would do, in the time that I promised."

    Comment


    • #3
      That's an excellent quote Jason - and the whole point of applying any system. If I end up spending too much time in the system and not actually the doing, then its counter productive.

      It was really quite an ah-ha moment when I realized that these two systems (which on the face of it most people see as diametrically opposed) are in fact quite synergistic. The RPM people often see GTD as to-do list driven is one example and this is considered bad. But Robbins himself sold his initial ideas on getting people to take action. So managing actions are essential.

      I am really looking forward to adapting this system.

      In some very broad terms here is what I am starting out to-do. I should add that I am fully implementing the 5 stages of workflow, 4 criteria model, the three fold model for evaluating daily work and the six fold model.

      1) Capture 100% of everything that I have to do - committments I have made, or others require of me. Keep these listed as projects. My tweak on GTD is to have these grouped under my Categories of Improvement cf Robbins RPM (which are pretty much the same as Areas of Management). This also helps me generate ideas for new projects too. Additionally I can track approx amounts of time associated with each area - helps keep balance AND avoids overcommittment (something neither Robbins or David address, but is a core concept in Tobias's book).

      2) Identify next actions (real physical actions) required to move each project forward.

      3) put on to a separate list any project that I have planned for the future, but has no action associated with it right now - i.e. it is ill defined at this stage in that I don't know how to move forward, or I don't have time to pursue it. Someday/Maybe

      4) Group next actions by context - e.g. group phone calls on one list, group errands on another list, group things that HAVE to be done in the office on another list, things to be done at home on another etc.

      5) Both Robbins and David advise on weekly reviews. These can be synergistic. How can I say how a project is going cf Robbins if I don't have a good handle on work flow? How can I know if I am achieving anything cf David, if I don't look at the total outcome. In other words each of the two systems offer complimentary ideas here for a weekly review.

      6) Schedule my big rocks according to Robbins. A big ah-has for me is that I notice people on the AR board consistently say they do their RPM review weekly, but only sometimes do the whole planning process on a daily basis - I think this is because of the amount of up-front work required in the method and the inflexibility in the system to accomodate tsunami waves coming at us during the day.

      7) On a day to day basis, in discretional time, utiliize my lists based on context, energy, time available etc.

      Totally re-haul my filing systems.

      9) How I am keeping track of my lists. Lots of systems out there... the one I am starting off with though is very simple and yet I think very powerful. I have created a spreadsheet in Excel, with my master project list, where I record actions as they come to mind but also highlight the next action. I then have separate lists (as different sheets in the same spreadsheet) where I list the next action based on context - e.g. phone, waiting for, errand, home, office, computer, agenda (a list where I put what I want to talk to different people about). In total I have 8 lists which is the max my PDA can allow me to choose before having to go to a second menu - for me the ability to switch between one context to the next rapidly is essential.

      10) For complex projects I am looking at using an outliner in Word at this time. I have played with ListPro, Pocket Informant etc etc on my Ipaq, but I would like to stay native if I can.

      11) Only hard items including appts with myself go on my calendar. Everything else is discretionary - the pt is to avoid overwhelm.

      12) I am thinking of using ACT only as an information record/history of discussions with clients. This is part of my project support material, and would be a loop that I would need to review weekly. But I would not use ACT to manage my actions etc.

      I am at the initial stages of setting this up, but I am really excited about this - I know it will work for me since it's all based on reflection of how I have been operating anyway.

      I'd be interested in getting reaction from others who have tried to move beyond traditional RPM or GTD. And would also be happy to answer questions from anyone interested in how this is working out. I know I will have lots of questions for others in GTD as I move forward.

      Oh - if any of this is garbled - sorry - I did a red eye from the West Coast last night and I've only had about 3 hrs sleep in the last 36.

      Paul

      Comment


      • #4
        I would NOT recommend the new Brian Tracy book "Time Power".
        Its just a big random list of the same old stuff.
        80/20, ABCDE, plan your day, work harder, don't waste time, clean your desk, Goals, Affirmations, etc etc.

        He also tells you to work from 5am-8am. Also, to get to work one hour early, work through lunch, and stay at work one hour later. Hmmm. So that's working from 5am-7pm, which is 14 hrs a day!
        (There are other absurd contradictions like this in that book).

        It is also written at about a grade 8 level.

        It ticks me off when people release books like this, with all the same stuff, repeated over and over. But then again, i don't have to read it, or buy it, now do I?

        If one does buy it, then get it from somewhere where you can return it if you choose to.
        Last edited by CosmoGTD; 03-31-2006, 02:43 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          RPM

          Now this is strange:

          Thirty years ago I learned that companies and organisations have purposes and targets, people get job descriptions and tasks are assigned with action descriptions. And now this whole thing is called "RPM".

          Rainer

          Comment


          • #6
            Kindred Spirits

            Paul -

            Like yourself - I find great value in both systems, and it is quite often having "the right tool for the right job."

            Please feel free to check out my former posts for how I've applied it - either here, or on the Robbins' forum about my integration of GTD w/OPA/RPM.

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