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  • How my learning style (personality) affects my use of GTD

    I have a few friends who really took off with GTD, and continue to use it for over a year now, while I struggle to apply it regularly.

    I was recently reading about Honey and Mumford learning styles, and realized that my friends and I have completely different learning styles.

    Go ahead and read this page on learning styles before continuing:
    Learning Syles


    I was shocked to see just how dead on "Activist" describes me, while my friends more closely resemble "Pragmatists".

    The biggest problem I have as an activist is being "...open minded and enthusiastic about new ideas but get bored with implementation"

    I am never able to finish anything. I start running with a new idea, but shortly after get bored and look for a new solution.


    My question is, how do other activists deal with this issue? Do you find yourself often running with a new idea, just to get bored and never finish it?

    I can usually come back to a project 3-6 months later (which is why I'm looking at GTD again), and continue the project with renewed curiosity, but that's impractical for deliverables. I would like to grab onto something that works (GTD) and stop messing around.

    Steve

  • #2
    Firstly there is a wide range of "learning styles" out there. The page you link to is very brief in its description and I feel you do your self a disservice relying on it. You may find the following link more informative ... it provides much more 'meat' to the learning style (by David Kolb and expanded upon by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford) that you are talking about:

    www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newISS_99.htm

    The key to any learning style; is that we tend to have a strong preference for one element, plus lesser preferences for the other elements. Once you know your preferred preference plus off sets you can work toward balancing the learning/implementing.

    In your specific case, that appears to be the need to plan and track through a project to it's completion. You should give your rewards for reaching pre planned milestone so you remain "open minded and enthusiastic".

    Also consider getting someone to monitor your progress, if you start to fall off the path, they can redirect you back onto it.

    Just some quick thoughts ...

    Comment


    • #3
      Great points, thanks for the reply and the link.

      Down at the bottom of all this, I think of all the procrastination and organization books I have read, all claiming "This sytem will work for anyone", but that's not the case. What I'm seeing more is a necessity for tailored systems given a person's disposition.

      GTD is a great system that works for me on small time scales and for certain projects. If would like to figure out ways to tailor the GTD system for each persons learning style/personality. One size does not fit all.

      I see that a number of people who fail to implement GTD due so because they can't get the "review" properly integrated into their lives. Without review time, the whole system falls apart. Just as you suggest, for me, if I had someone to work with me and make sure I do my review, the system would likely work better.

      So there we have it, the first suggest: Work with another person to ensure that review times are performed regularly.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by bumper314
        GTD is a great system that works for me on small time scales and for certain projects. If would like to figure out ways to tailor the GTD system for each persons learning style/personality. One size does not fit all.

        When I start with GTD similar things tend to happen, I fail, I stop, I start... you know the drill...

        One of the secrets is to keep around the GTD, read about it (there are many forums, google about it) be an expert...

        You will discover that there is more to learn and will be a constant learning process... when you get to be a Green Belt now you will see Brown Belt as an Learning posibility...

        GTD it is a Martial Art... if you do the same Katas everyday at the same time and it is boring... but try add something to your everyday katas and you will looking for the time!

        Hope it helps!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by apinaud
          One of the secrets is to keep around the GTD, read about it (there are many forums, google about it) be an expert...
          This is a good point that applies to almost anything; stay passionate. But there always comes a point when the mindless information gathering is no longer enough. What seems to be missing in these situations is a clear goal. When I started GTD, I wanted to "Get organized". Ok... once that goal is met (which is a hard to measure), a new goal is needed to renew the commitment, maybe "Stay organized" instead. Organization is more of a subjective feeling/state of mind than a measurable goal.

          If you don't know why you're doing something (i.e. having a clear goal), you usually have no reason to be doing it, so you stop.

          Can you think of clear, measurable goal to associate with GTD?

          Steve

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bumper314
            If you don't know why you're doing something (i.e. having a clear goal), you usually have no reason to be doing it, so you stop.
            For your Goals Definition!

            This may help you decided what belt fits:

            White Belt

            * You recognize that workflow management is something you want to improve
            * You've set up an inbox and started to collect unprocessed stuff
            * You've completed at least one full mind sweep
            * You've identified key areas to purge and organize at work and home
            * You have begun to create and work with lists of action reminders
            * You've begun to write things down as they occur to you, before they are urgent

            Yellow Belt

            * You have set up some sort of portable capture tool
            * You have purged and organized your reference and and project files
            * You have started a Projects list
            * You've gotten your email box to zero at least once
            * You are actually putting things in your own in-basket, and getting it empty every few days
            * You have purged and organized at least one black hole storage area in your home or office
            * You label all binders and other items within work areas
            * You have done a complete site walk-around, at work and at home, capturing what has your attention

            Green Belt

            * You encourage and challenge others to implement the GTD principles
            * You said, "What's the next action?" at least three times at the end of work-related discussions or meetings
            * You said, "What are we trying to accomplish?" at least three times in work-related discussions
            * You regularly use a portable note-taking device
            * You have completed your first thorough weekly review
            * You create and use lists such as @Action, @ Office, @ Computer, @Calls, Projects, Lists, Someday/Maybe, and Waiting For
            * You utilize the 2 minute rule on a consistent basis
            * You are comfortable with what to do with random thoughts about projects
            * You carry a self management tool on a regular basis

            Brown Belt

            * You stop procrastinating on actions and projects
            * Your @Action list is really a list of next actions and not mini-projects
            * All paper on your desk is stored in an appropriate file
            * No miscellaneous papers remain in your accessories longer than a few hours
            * You've stopped complaining about email
            * You've read something on the road from your Read and Review file
            * You move items from your Someday/Maybe list to your Project list
            * You move items from your "projects" list to your "Someday/Maybe" list
            * You enjoy processing your inbox
            * Your email box is at zero at least once a week
            * You conduct regular weekly reviews (at least 2x a month)
            * You've stopped feeling like you need other people to "get" GTD, for you to stay in control

            Black Belt

            * There is little distinction between work and personal life -- just a focus on whatever you're doing
            * Your system can move between locations as you travel
            * You finished one major project that originally seemed overwhelming
            * Your reference files are reviewed and/or purged within the last year
            * You no longer complain about lack of quality thinking time
            * You fully trust your system and don't stress about uncaptured items
            * Your project list is 75% complete and current
            * You have to look at your @Calls to know who to call
            * You maintain working checklists of 20,000- to 50,000-ft horizons
            * Your mind is, indeed, like water
            * When your mind is NOT like water, you recognize that, and know how to get back to that state

            Comment


            • #7
              Wow, I need to digest this... Thanks for the list!

              Comment


              • #8
                You are welcome! That is DavidCo list... just sharing

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by apinaud
                  One of the secrets is to keep around the GTD, read about it (there are many forums, google about it) be an expert...

                  You will discover that there is more to learn and will be a constant learning process... when you get to be a Green Belt now you will see Brown Belt as an Learning posibility...
                  I think the "keep around the GTD" is a good thing. It's certainly the thing that's helped me apply GTD more effectively than any other "soft" skill I've learned in a classroom. It's important to keep perspective, as well. Spending all day reading the forums and mailing lists isn't going to help you actually get anything done.

                  But seeing it as an improvement process is something that helps me keep at it. I'm another activist, and anything repetitive is a big demotivator for me, so a certain element of "tweaking" and improving the system is good.

                  I thought I'd won; I had got to the point that processing and a daily Next Actions list were becoming second nature, and then I found out my company is being acquired. I'm just about starting to think in the right terms to actually start having things to do (so what if I don't have any assigned projects for the next 2 weeks, I'll find a couple for myself) to get back into it again.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Something else that's important is not to consider the "belts" strictly as levels to acheive. From this checklist, I've got

                    * Almost a Yellow Belt (I haven't done a filing purge yet)
                    * 7/9 of a Green Belt and
                    * 1/2 of a Brown Belt.

                    I think there's an interesting change in focus between these belts. Up to brown, they are things that you do; black is more about effects that you feel. This might well reflect the martial arts approach -- I don't know, since the only one I've studied at all is Tai Chi Chuan which doesn't have a formal ranking system.

                    For some the logical structure and "acheiving" each belt will be a motivator, but for me I don't see that I have to complete all the yellow items before starting on the green ones. On the other hand, I can't hope to check of some of the black belt items until I have mastered some of the lower ones.

                    I also think it's important for (at least some of) these things to happen naturally. It's no good thinking "OK, if I purge my reference files over the weekend, I get my yellow belt". You have to have done it purely because you saw the need to do it.

                    I've just printed the list with the bits I haven't acheived highlighted. I'm not going to make next actions out of them. But I've also added checking this list to the weekly review checklist as well, just to see how I'm progressing and to imbed them at a subconscious level, which is where GTD really needs to operate to be at it's most effective.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by andycwb
                      Spending all day reading the forums and mailing lists isn't going to help you actually get anything done.
                      I can agree more with you... but your own GTD evolution kick you out of the forums and sometimes you just pull back to visit.

                      I made the point to read, or listen, or review something in GTD once a week...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by andycwb
                        Something else that's important is not to consider the "belts" strictly as levels to acheive.
                        As you say, they are only checklists.... Checklist do not mean you accomplish this or that... means things you do naturally

                        Originally posted by andycwb
                        I think there's an interesting change in focus between these belts. Up to brown, they are things that you do; black is more about effects that you feel. This might well reflect the martial arts approach
                        You just hit the nail in the Head... The belts are nothing else than the Change of Focus... that it is the reason it is a check list, not an action lists...

                        Originally posted by andycwb
                        I also think it's important for (at least some of) these things to happen naturally. It's no good thinking "OK, if I purge my reference files over the weekend, I get my yellow belt". You have to have done it purely because you saw the need to do it.
                        That it is a way to see it, I think the list is a high reference list, not an action list, but when your filling gets naturally done, without an effort... you will be focusing as a Yellow Belt... Karate it is not the Katas, not the punches, not the kicks... it is the movements, and the beuty and ease of them that makes you a Brown or White Belt... Not because you can break a table you are a Black Belt... you are just an strong person...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          here's a checklist

                          Here's something that my readers have found helpful: GTD Workflow Assessment/Tips Checklist. In it I try to provide some concrete things GTD practitioners can look at to see where they are, and where they might like to go...

                          Comment

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