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  • Am I TOO good at GTD?

    At this moment, I am in a position where I have no pressing issues at all. I have no fires that need to be put out, I have nothing that anyone is expecting from me and I have nothing that truly needs to be done.

    HOWEVER, I have about 40 @Waiting Fors from other people. This drives me insane! I only take a little while to get back to these people and fire right back on emails, phone calls, etc, but it takes them FOREVER to get back to me. I constantly find myself just sitting here twiddling my thumbs and surfing this forum to get EVEN MORE into GTD, when I can't even get started because of my coworkers! It's unnerving!

    I am generally a productive person so just sitting here at work, reading some RSS feeds and clicking around on this forum, drives me crazy and makes the time go by VERY slow. I hate to constantly be asking them to get back to me because I feel that will cause hard feelings, but whenever I can't get any work done because of other people, it drives me CRAZY!

    This was more of a rant than anything, but I will propose it as a question. How does everyone else deal with this? Do you have a consistent pattern where you ask for an update on the issue? Do you put in a Deferred task to remind you to get back with them on a specific day? I might start creating reminders in my GTD Add-in with Outlook and simply emailing them a few days after I put in the @Waiting For instead of just following up at every weekly review.

    Am I the only one here?

  • #2
    Originally posted by AdamB View Post
    At this moment, I am in a position where I have no pressing issues at all. I have no fires that need to be put out, I have nothing that anyone is expecting from me and I have nothing that truly needs to be done.

    HOWEVER, I have about 40 @Waiting Fors from other people. This drives me insane! I only take a little while to get back to these people and fire right back on emails, phone calls, etc, but it takes them FOREVER to get back to me. I constantly find myself just sitting here twiddling my thumbs and surfing this forum to get EVEN MORE into GTD, when I can't even get started because of my coworkers! It's unnerving!

    I am generally a productive person so just sitting here at work, reading some RSS feeds and clicking around on this forum, drives me crazy and makes the time go by VERY slow. I hate to constantly be asking them to get back to
    me because I feel that will cause hard feelings, but whenever I can't get any work done because of other people, it drives me CRAZY!

    This was more of a rant than anything, but I will propose it as a question. How does everyone else deal with this? Do you have a consistent pattern where you ask for an update on the issue? Do you put in a Deferred task to remind you to get back with them on a specific day? I might start creating reminders in my GTD Add-in with Outlook and simply emailing them a few days after I put in the @Waiting For instead of just following up at every weekly review.

    Am I the only one here?
    I have got to a stage where I have had very few actions and projects and then wondered if I was doing anything wrong! Can't say that's happening at the moment though.

    If you are doing GTD well I suppose you have brainstormed completely for possible new projects. Have you considered all areas of your responsibility, your department's responsibility, even your bosses responsibility to think of possible new initiatives/projects that your boss or coworkers haven't thought of? Maybe you could ask your boss or coworkers if they has any ideas!

    If you work for yourself then perhaps you can start some projects to make use of your extra free time for social type stuff or start some career development/ self improvement initiatives.

    Or just buy yourself a beer at lunchtime and spend a few extra minutes saviouring the moment... it can't be so bad!

    Comment


    • #3
      Next Action: @brainstorm new job opportunities.

      If GTD has brought you to the point where you literally have nothing to do, then it's time to find a more challenging job.

      Katherine

      Comment


      • #4
        His job is challenging.

        Originally posted by kewms View Post
        If GTD has brought you to the point where you literally have nothing to do, then it's time to find a more challenging job.
        His job is challenging - he has a problem with getting the teamwork done. He does not trust his coworkers that they will do the work on time and he wants check the progress all the time.

        Comment


        • #5
          Pitch in!

          Great that you're so on top of things. Why not offer to pitch in and help a co-worker get caught up??

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by AdamB View Post
            I might start creating reminders in my GTD Add-in with Outlook and simply emailing them a few days after I put in the @Waiting For instead of just following up at every weekly review.
            I put a due date on my @Waiting items, and my task filter is set to not even see those @Waitings until the due date is reached (although I have a separate view set up to see them, if I need to). If nothing has happened by the due date, I'll check in.

            I like the suggestion to offer to help, although it might require a great deal of diplomacy.

            Comment


            • #7
              It looks like a great time to ask your boss for some additional responsibility and set yourself up for a promotion or at least a good raise at next reveiw time. Either that or enjoy some of that well-deserved vacation time that is accumulating and will expire at year's end.

              I definitely set reminders for following up on waiting-for items. I have almost abandoned a typical waiting-for list in favor of having a next action of following up. I determine a reasonable timeframe for a response depending on urgency, say a week for certain things. I then set the reminder for twice that amount of time (2 weeks) and ping the person then. After two weeks, they usually are not annoyed that I followed up, but are aplolgetic that they didn't get back in a reasonable timeframe. I usually get what I need then.

              If not, I wait 2 more weeks and try again. I like to hit my reminders like clockwork. It makes you look really on top of things if your reminder email chain is spaced out in perfect intervals to the hour. Not one after 9 days and the next after another 15 days, but each at two weeks to the hour. With electronic reminders, it is pretty easy to do that.

              After that you need to escalate it above a polite email reminder. Either give them a phone call or a visit or eventually ask their boss if absolutely necessary. Once people figure out that you are like a steel trap when it comes to tracking their commitments to you, they will probably start getting back to you more quickly.

              But you are right that people can resent it if you get too pushy, so I am always sure to give a generous amount of time and be very polite in the follow ups.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by AdamB View Post
                HOWEVER, I have about 40 @Waiting Fors from other people. This drives me insane! I only take a little while to get back to these people and fire right back on emails, phone calls, etc, but it takes them FOREVER to get back to me. I constantly find myself just sitting here twiddling my thumbs and surfing this forum to get EVEN MORE into GTD, when I can't even get started because of my coworkers! It's unnerving!
                I would imagine that before you started GTD, you were probably a very organized and productive person to begin with. No doubt this is a frustrating situation, but please try to empathize with your co-workers who probably don't have the same knowledge and skills you have developed. I imagine that most of them are trying their best in their current states

                In any case, congratulations! It sounds like you've achieved the GTD holy grail of getting everything done (that you can) and having an empty mind. This is where one of David's maxims come in: "The better you get, the better you better get." Here's where the world opens before you and you get to use your mind/heart/time to do what you really want. You just have to figure out what you really want.

                I echo the comments of others on this thread: If you like your job, assume more responsibility, either by helping the people that you are waiting for or by asking/reading your boss. Otherwise, look outside of your job for growth opportunities.

                I really envy you. I've been "doing" GTD for years, but I've never come close to reaching your state.

                Good luck!

                C

                Comment


                • #9
                  Regarding the W/F, it might help to let them know - nicely, respectfully - that they are holding you up. If you work in the same organization, and share goals and purpose, you might connect with that. You should have the dates delegated, and some people react positively when you give them objective information ("I asked you for x on y, it's been 30 days. I know you're busy, ..."). Finally, maybe share GTD with them (if they're interested) - maybe they're so overloaded that they can't make progress on *your* stuff?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Bingo!

                    Originally posted by kewms View Post
                    Next Action: @brainstorm new job opportunities.

                    If GTD has brought you to the point where you literally have nothing to do, then it's time to find a more challenging job.

                    Katherine
                    My sentiments exactly. My suggestion is that you let your supervisor know that you're lacking for work. Maybe there's something they can give you that suits your talents at GTD organization?

                    Alternately, the supervisor might be able to do something to influence those co-workers to get back to you with their responses.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the great information as always, guys. The day that I posted that, I was in one of those moods and I really had no priority things to do. However, it has picked up a slight bit now because some of the things that I had ordered are here so I can start on some things.

                      Maybe it's because I've only been here for a few months, but I am not used to this at all. Th phone rarely rings more than twice a day, I only get less than 10 emails/day and I only talk to my boss once a week. There are variances, of course, but for the most part, my office is very quiet.

                      I try to make projects for myself and have even designed a goal hierarchy on my whiteboard to decide if the projects I'm working on are in line with my areas of responsibility. For the most part, they are, but I just get very tired of having all these W/F tasks that I can't do anything about.

                      Thanks for letting me vent!

                      Comment

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