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Ratio of Getting Things Done / Getting Things to Do!

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  • Ratio of Getting Things Done / Getting Things to Do!

    Hello,

    I've just completed my second pass through the GTD book and learned many new things that didn't make it into my brain the first time because I was being overwhelmed with new ideas...!

    My boss is the one that got me hooked on GTD, and we both have come up with the same question/dilemma. How do you handle a situation where you are constantly ACQUIRING more stuff than you can actually DO? It seems that at some point the tide should turn and every so ofter you'd be able to actually DO more and ACQUIRE less...

    I suspect that David's comment of "The better you get, the better you'd better get" applies here. I also suspect that such a situation lends itself to evaluating the need for more staff. I personally have added 1.5 staff members to directly help me, which has helped a lot. That's helped me exchange some old stuff for some different stuff.

    So perhaps I'm answering my own question as I type along...! But I'd still be very interested in any feedback/thoughts/perspectives from other GTDers in a situation like this... How do YOU deal with the ratio of Getting Things Done vs. Getting Things to Do?

  • #2
    Commitments

    The action list is a great tool for giving you an overview of your commitments. If you feel that you are adding more actions on your list than you are able to finish, you have in fact made too many commitments.

    I have run into this situation many times, and before I worked with the GTD methodology I would not have noticed that this was happening, since I did not have a list of my commitments. With an up-to-date action list, you can immediately notice when you are making more commitments than fulfilling them.

    If this is only happening for a short period, there is no problem, but if you keep on acquiring new commitments, you have to take action.

    The easiest (but short-term) solution is to move some of the actions of which you know you that you are not goin got do in the next to week to the someday/maybe list. That allows you to focus on the really important tasks.
    If you are an employee, you can show your action list to you supervisor, so he knows about it, and can take steps to lower the number of commitments you have.
    If you are an employee, you might think about delegating some of your commitments to other people.
    You might also want to rethink about your commitments, and cancel some of them completely to be able to focus more on your core business.

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    • #3
      There's also the issue of personal choice. I often have too much to do because I have agreed to do more work than I actually have time for. I've needed to learn to say "No" to new work.

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      • #4
        it's a constant balancing act

        Great question! I find that adopting GTD has made me much more aware when my "defining work" activities exceed my "doing work" ones, which then gives me *choice* - if the ratio is off, I adjust. Too few new inputs? Then I need to "stir the pot" a bit. Too many? Then renegotiate, using my Someday/Maybe file. One lesson I've learned is that the level of commitment I'm able to handle is dynamic, and GTD allows me to better stay in step with it!

        For those interested, I wrote a little about it here: When inputs exceed your workflow system's capacity.

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