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GTD and Peoples Impatience

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  • GTD and Peoples Impatience

    I am new to GTD and love it, but I have a concern. It seems to me that the GTD system involves reviewing lists constantly in order to decide on the NA. However, the people who are are expecting to get the result of my work may be on a different timetable than I am. As a result, they call me asking if I have completed their stuff and actually I haven't start it yet because of other NA on other things that I thought were more appropiate. They get impatient and ask me when I will complete their stuff. In order to soften the blow, I give them a date and now I have lost the ability to make my own appropiate NA decision. Can anyone help me to deal with this human side of GTD?

  • #2
    When a new task or assignment comes my way, I always ask for a deadline or expected completion date. Then I know where to position this task on my calendar or NA list.



    • #3
      I have a similar type job. All of my customers think they are most important, and that their stuff must come first. Though it is great for them to all think they are top priority, it is obviously impossible to function that way.

      I agree with ceehjay, it really helps to lay the baseline ahead of time as to an ECD or ETD on as many actions as possible. You may have to eventually renegotiate, but it does relieve the pressure of being pulled in 19 different directions by 19 different people. Of course, all of them feeling that their "hot item" is most important.

      Perspective and instinct must prevail at that point. All hot items are the hottest from their perspective. Tendency is to grow frustrated and try, as best you can, to please everyone on their timetable. All that will do is decrease the quality of the service they receive, and deep six you (too much stress).

      As a service organization, we cannot function unless we can observe the total landscape (40,000 foot level), and make decisions as to the appropriate next actions.

      You need to negotiate with your customers to the point that you are comfortable with what you are not doing.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jason Echols
        You need to negotiate

        We cannot function unless we can observe the total landscape, and make decisions as to the appropriate next actions.
        How wise, I love this.

        As much as I can I try (and teach) to collect not only their want or wanted due date, but their specific problem : "What do you need my help for? What's your due date for that?"
        • • Often the needed help is not as much as I would have thought by their stated want.
          • Or a first step will be enough for their first due date.
          •More than once, I may provide them with an option they can manage themselves
          • At times I may know their real due date is not as severe as they fear..
        Then if they need much of my time and ressources, I can always close collect by such : "Ok, I know that your problem and constraints are these, and I'll provide you this help. I have to reorganise on my side to propose you a comitment I can keep to, so we can set together the solution. May I call you back to-morrow morning ?"

        A "No now" helps to build trustable "Yes then".

        Negociating brings:
        • + a solution tailored to the problem
          + control of the total landscape
          + agreed and comitted due dates !
        + better use of each other time, ressources and emotions.


        • #5
          Thanks, Jacques. I agree with you totally.

          The way I see it, communication up front is the best way to manage expectations.


          • #6
            I had a situation this week where I was assigned a project by two people in Senior Management. I knew that it was urgent and had been requested by our CEO. Obviously I also have other projects that I am working on that are equally important to other people.

            We met on Tuesday morning and they wanted me to have my part done in a week. I got them to push our next meeting back to Thursday which gave me two more days. I got back to my desk, looked over my lists and decided that it was in my best interest to try to go ahead and wrap this up. I had it finished by the time I left on Wednesday. I focused really hard on this project so that I could get it knocked out quickly. (I also didn't have a strong desire to do it and it didn't want it to be biting on me an old dog all week long. )

            Once I was finished I composed my email these two gentlemen telling them that I had finished and where they could test the application. I then saved this email in my drafts and set an item on my calendar to send that email next Tuesday.

            In the end I will exceed our agreed upon time frame, I have met their original expectations, and I won't give the impression that the next time they have somthing like this that I can do it in a day or that I am willing to drop everything for them.

            It's all about negotiating!