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Accountability Buddy

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  • Accountability Buddy

    Hi All,

    This is my first post and I am seeking assistance. I have read GTD several times, have partially implemented it only to get busy and watch it go bye-bye on more than one occassion, and drastically need to get control of my life.

    I am so frustrated with how things are going right now I cannot even begin to tell you, although some of you may have once been where I am now. I am living a reactionary life and drastically need to get it under control so I can keep the sanity of my wife and I intact.

    I am asking that someone please help me by agreeing to become my accountability partner. I would like to setup a GTD accountability relationship where we help each other stay on track, work the system, keep one another encouraged, bounce ideas off of one another, etc. This can all be done via email and possibly the phone. I would also be open to the idea of setting up a mentor relationship if that would work better. I know I can make GTD a part of my everyday life and be done with this paralyzing reactionary grind, I am just having problems doing it on an island by myself.

    I am open to ideas of how this may work best. If several people are interested I would be happy to start an email list. If the interest is overwhelming I may arbitrarily set up groups of four to six. Please email me and let me know.

    On My Way

  • #2
    You may get some individual replies to your idea, but let me suggest that this BB represents a host of accountability buddies, so why settle for just a few? Just a thought...


    • #3
      Also, I think this would be much better done with a physical buddy than a virtual one.

      In any event, OnMyWay, could you please describe the process of "watching GTD go bye-bye"? What does that look like? Perhaps we could help you there.


      • #4
        I'm up for it!

        I would absolutely love to have a Buddy for accountability. I love this forum and come here several times a day and there's some great in-depth stuff here, but I wouldn't want the forum/BB to get bogged down with each person's effort to succeed at GTD. I'm sure all the seasoned and efficient GTD'ers do not want to hear that I've processed a small stack of stuff and what should I do now?-type messages.

        The Buddy idea, to me, would be an hourly, daily, weekly check-in source to help me stick to it. I'd love to have someone to brag to that "I've done 10 things so far today" or someone I could whine to that "I can't get started and don't want to--help!" or "What do you think of doing it this way?" I'm sure this forum would hate these types of conversation, so I can see why an email list would work better for these discussions.

        I, basically, need a jump-start on a day-to-day basis and I keep coming here to find one and I ususally get inspired, but I'd love to have someone/s to do it "with" every day. I'm talking about the things that most of you are doing automatically without even thinking you're doing it. I can't let anyone see my stuff or I'd have someone sitting next to me to motivate me, so I need a virtual buddy to account to.

        I've fallen off the wagon (watching GTD go bye-bye) nearly every day since I've fact, my tickler file still equates to May 27...

        I've tried every single GTD flowchart, software, wiki, hipster, etc., out there, but I'm still only getting the last-minute deadline work finished. I have 88 reminders in Outlook that I have snoozed twice today already and have 22 unread emails and no telling how many "read" emails are still in my inbox. It's almost like I love living in clutter and thrive on the rush of getting it done at the very last second. I truly don't want to do this anymore.

        I'm sure I'll love my trusted system...if I ever get there! I love all the planning that takes place toward GTD, but I just don't ever get any further than the planning stage. My middle name is procrastination...maybe it's really my first name.

        I feel like I'm on an island, too, and would love to be rescued.

        Sorry for the long rant.


        • #5
          When it goes bye-bye

          Thanks for the replies. The first time I implemented GTD I got very excited, gathered everything into my inbox, processed it all into projects, NA's, reference, etc. Man, did I ever feel empowered and productive. I was working as a consultant at the time, and was traveling all the time. My NA's associated with my job seemed to grow exponentially and I canned the weekly review. That was the end of it.

          Then from time to time I would go back through GTD and get my NA's going again but I was not consistent. And the weekly review never became a habit.

          Here's my situation now: My wife and I own small business that is doing okay. It could be doing a lot better if I was more organized and on top of things. I am a very creative person, a very strategic thinker but I struggle to be organized and as they say the devil is in the details. I tend to work on what's most interesting/fun to me first and put off the things that I don't enjoy. I put together a work schedule to increase my efficiency but I have yet to follow it. And when my stress level gets high because I've forgotten to do something or I am behind in some tasks -- it's like I check out and procrastinate even more, spending time reading the news, etc.

          My current duties consist of (1) visiting/servicing numerous companies/individuals that refer business to me; (2) calling, following-up, and signing up the clients referred for our services (can be over the phone, email, or meeting in person); (3) keeping the referral sources informed of the status of the clients they've referred; (4) defining new revenue streams; (5) managing a small team of salespeople; (6) developing new referral sources. I personally have about 60 people referred to me on a monthly basis.

          Any ideas/suggestions/advice?


          • #6
            Originally posted by OnMyWay
            and I canned the weekly review. That was the end of it.
            I'll bet! And I think... therein lies your problem! The weekly review is the lynch-pin to the whole system. Keep the weekly review alive, and your GTD system will thrive... let it die, and well, you've experienced what happens!


            • #7
              Originally posted by OnMyWay
              My NA's associated with my job seemed to grow exponentially and I canned the weekly review.
              Did your weekly reviews fail to keep your NA's in check? Were you putting all your NAs on your Next Actions list, rather than keeping some on your Projects lists?

              What did your NA list look like, and what did your Projects lists look like?


              • #8
                Procrastination is a completly different animal

                Procrastination has nothing to do with the Getting Things Done system. You cannot stop procrastinating by doing more faster. GTD is a workflow process for managing your life. Procrastination is about phobias at a psychological level.

                Many times we set unrealistic goals for ourselves then rebel against them when we realize that they are just make work and do not contribute to the real goals in our life. Many of us have made the mistake of trying to implement the absolute best manifestation of a system and succeed only in creating overwhelm for ourselves where none existed before. This is called perfectionism and it does not produce the highest caliber of results as those afflicted with it are wont to believe. Rather is causes missed deadlines and failed commitments, both to oneself and others.

                When dealing with perfectionism and procrastination the absolute worst thing you can do is make more work for yourself by trying to add more controls and reviews into the process. What you really need to do is stop and ask yourself "What is the one action I can do that really moves this project forward", and then do that one thing and close the project for the day.

                For example, if you have problems implementing a weekly review then ask yourself what the real purpose of a GTD Weekly Review is and what you need to accomplish. The GTD Weekly Review is about looking over each of your active projects and defining a next action for each one. That's it. Not trying to plan each project to completion, defining Franklin Covey goals and roles, putting things in quadrants, or making flowcharts. When you try to make a perfect system you will end up with something extremely comprehensive that looks like this, but is just as impossible to implement as it is comprehensive.

                So just look over your projects and identify one next action. Then put away your Projects List and do not look at it until next week.
                Last edited by Bernard; 07-04-2005, 10:25 AM.


                • #9
                  What's the best way to track my work?

                  Bernard --- thanks for the input. Procrastination is simply a method of avoidance. When things are in the form of the amorphous blob of undoability and there is no clear action or direction, it is easy to get overwhelmed and shut down -- "too many open loops, too many inputs, too much negativity, don't want to think about it right now, think I'll surf the web and read the news". At least that's my experience. I do agree that there is a degree of analysis-paralysis where you want it to be perfect and you put together this exhaustive list of things to be done and woops, you just created another amorphous blob of undoability.

                  So, your suggestion of just working on the ONE NEXT ACTION is well taken.

                  One of my prominent duties is sales and I have approximately 60 referrals a month. What are people doing to track stuff like this in GTD?

                  I was thinking I should create a project for each referral and then track the NA's on my calendar (for hard lanscape) and my NA lists. The problem with this is that each time I perform a NA for a referral I will need to immediately create the next NA (for example, follow-up with referral source to let them know you contacted referral) or I will need to have two actions to the NA. I don't have the time to wait until the weekly review to create the next NA. Any suggestions or experiences?


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by OnMyWay
                    I was thinking I should create a project for each referral and then track the NA's on my calendar (for hard lanscape) and my NA lists. The problem with this is that each time I perform a NA for a referral I will need to immediately create the next NA (for example, follow-up with referral source to let them know you contacted referral) or I will need to have two actions to the NA. I don't have the time to wait until the weekly review to create the next NA. Any suggestions or experiences?
                    Why is creating the next NA immediately a problem? (Or, for that matter, having two NAs?) I don't think DA ever suggested that you *must* wait until the weekly review to move a project forward.

                    Like most of GTD, the weekly review is there to serve you, not the other way around. If you need to review something more often than weekly, go right ahead.



                    • #11
                      In my business I get swamped with phone calls on multiple phone lines and my concern is that instead of creating the next NA, "follow up with referral source to inform them contact was made", I will answer the next phone call and forget all about it. That's why I was saying the NA could contain two actions: "contact client and follow up with referral source to inform them contact was made".

                      I was referring to the weekly review b/c that's when I would go back and see that another action needs to be taken. It's possible that it might have slipped my mind until I performed the review. You're right Katherine, I probably need to make the weekly review into a more than once a week action to make sure I have everything covered.

                      I suppose, since it takes less than 2 minutes to follow-up with the referral source I should just do it and not make it into a NA. Sometime's when I read my own posts I am thinking "why are you making this so much work just do the friggin' NA and quit bellyaching about it".

                      Thanks for the response.


                      • #12
                        FWIW, I keep a scratch pad and/or a paper copy of my NA list next to the phone. As I go through NAs--especially batched ones like phone calls--I make quick notes on what the next step is: "requested info, followup 7/13," or "left msg, wcb tomorrow," or "needs quote," etc. I like paper for this because no electronic tool that I've found is as fast for short notes.

                        Then, if I get interrupted or use up the block of time I had for phone calls, I just throw the notes in my Inbox and put them into my system the next time I process Inbox items.

                        For people using paper planners, this is one of the functions of the "log" page, too.



                        • #13
                          Yup, that's me


                          Few things I want to say.

                          #1 Your post describing your behavior may as well been written by me - It describes me to the T. Interestingly enough, I was in Corporate America and I ejected and have started a few businesses. Business is ok, but I just know it could be extraordinary !! if I could just get a handle on our shared obstacles.

                          #2 I've been described as brilliant (and I'll bet you have too) by others but it's hard for me to believe that when so much of the "nuts and bolts" are out of control in my life? I think that people like us have really active right brains with ideas popping up constantly and many exciting and truly magnificent possibilities emerging. This sort of experience can create an overwhelming number of projects, next actions, catastrophe scenerios and the accompanying anxiety. Anxiety & fear are the cause of procrastination. I've implemented many strategies to deal with this over the years (and read more books than I care to admitt) but I'm not satisified that I'm "there" yet.

                          #3 On my way, I'm pretty sure you need to take control of your sales process and perhaps the definition of your service and "ideal customer". David can't do that for you in "Getting Things Done" b/c the demands and challenges of everyones "processes" are different and the book is written for everybody. He does however, allude to special little systems to handle pre-defined processes. You talk about feeling powerful? Having control of your sales process is the Olympics of being powerful !!! I have some suggestions for you and perhaps a specific type of tool that could be adapted to your process depending on things like; a) your conversion ratio (ie of all the referrals you get, how many actually become clients), b) your sales cycle (the average elapsed time from when you first contact a client to when you actually provide them services), and c) the breadth and quantity of services you offer.

                          #4) I've never had an "accountability buddy" so I'm open to try it on.

                          Let me know your thoughts - private or public doesn't matter,