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Tips&tricks for choosing actions and lack of doing time

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  • Tips&tricks for choosing actions and lack of doing time

    I processed all my actions and organized them into GTD system. I discovered I had a lot to do. Now I have a stress when I need to go into my system to choose what to do. It takes a lot of mental energy to read through 30 calls and choose the most important. When at my office this list grows to 60 actions. Stress grows

    Additional stress provided by lack of discrete time. Meeting with customer, meeting with staff, conference calls, processing time - all my responsibilities as a sales manager. The list of predefined actions has no time to be touched.

    I understand my system gives me all the options. And it is obvious that nobody knows what is more important relative to other actions available. And again and again I would like to ask if there are any tips&tricks on how to simplify the process of choosing.

  • #2
    Someday/maybe, say no or delegate

    Maybe you need more contexts to group next actions into smaller 'lists' to reduce stress when deciding what to do next.

    GTD doesn't expand the time you have to do things. You may need to have difficult conversations to say 'no' to new projects/actions or agree to cancel/defer existing projects/actions.

    If they are
    • next actions that you can physically do now (less than 2 min) - do them
    • can any be delegated to someone else?
    • next physical actions, divided by context (@computer etc) - set aside time on calendar to do them
    • can be done later - move to someday/maybe

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    • #3
      Don't take too much time to decide, just DO

      What I found is that if you have a lot of items on your list and you don't immediately see what is the most important (of course after considering context, time and energy available) it does not matter which one you take.

      In your weekly review it was already decided that all these things need to be done to reach your goals. You can ask yourself why you need to decide again if something is important or not when you are in the doing phase. Somehow you did not finish your thinking about these actions.

      My advise: If you find yourself in this situation, just DO. You will find that the doing will generate energy. Reward yourself for the things you are doing and don't punish yourself for the things you are not doing. If the doing does not bring extra energy you definitly need to look at your actions and clarify how they contribute to your higher levels.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by bhaveman View Post
        What I found is that if you have a lot of items on your list and you don't immediately see what is the most important (of course after considering context, time and energy available) it does not matter which one you take.

        In your weekly review it was already decided that all these things need to be done to reach your goals. You can ask yourself why you need to decide again if something is important or not when you are in the doing phase. Somehow you did not finish your thinking about these actions.

        My advise: If you find yourself in this situation, just DO. You will find that the doing will generate energy. Reward yourself for the things you are doing and don't punish yourself for the things you are not doing. If the doing does not bring extra energy you definitly need to look at your actions and clarify how they contribute to your higher levels.
        The problem is that situation changes a lot already on Monday from what it was on Saturday during the Weekly Review. I accept a lot of new inputs (calls, emails, etc) that generate quite a lot of new actions. I process those into the system and it adds to what it was.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Huda View Post
          Additional stress provided by lack of discrete time. Meeting with customer, meeting with staff, conference calls, processing time - all my responsibilities as a sales manager. The list of predefined actions has no time to be touched.
          In this situation you're doing work as it shows up instead of work you've already defined.

          As long as you decide that the work that's showing up is more important than the work you've already defined then you are making appropriate use of your time and should feel no anxiety about it.

          However, if you're feeling anxiety about it then chances are you're getting caught in the busy trap--doing work as it shows up as a way of avoiding defined work or defining new work. In this situation you *will* feel anxious.

          In response to your anxiety ask yourself these two questions:
          1. Is my inventory of defined work complete?
          2. Will this new work add more value than the work I've already defined?

          I have a feeling that the answer to the second question is "no". Your sales calls potentially generate income. Your staff meetings do not. You may be getting caught in what Stephen Covey calls Quadrant III activities -- urgent but not important. You must say "no" to them and give your attention to what's important (urgent or not).

          If your anxiety is just the result of a big list and you're not sure which to tackle, I echo the advice of others; just start doing. You'll gain momentum and energy as you go.

          Good luck!

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