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  • I have mastered GTD when...

    I was wondering, how does someone know they have achieved mastery of GTD?

    some of the things I think that would need to have been instilled are;

    - weekly review
    - next action, someday/maybe/project lists etc.
    - empty inbox daily
    - effective use of calender

    anything else friends??
    Last edited by stayfly; 07-03-2007, 09:14 PM.

  • #2
    When they quit caring whether they have mastered GTD?

    More generally, when they are too busy Getting Things Done to worry about their task management system, and the system works well enough to stay out of the way.

    Katherine

    Comment


    • #3
      I'd second Katherine's comment, but would also add to the initial list - when they have applied the GTD principles not only to the day to day grind but also to the higher level things that impact on their lives.

      Kim

      Comment


      • #4
        re: When You Know You've Mastered GTD

        I just recently had to think through this for my own GTD setup since I designed the Ready-Set-Do! GTD approach on the Mac and just added a reporting feature that coaches users through 10 productivity "belt levels".

        I've kept these secret so that Ready-Set-Do! users have to graduate through each belt level in order to discover what that level of productivity means and what the next belt is. As I thought through the various belt levels I realized that there is an "ebb and flow" to mastering the GTD workflow. One first learns each of the GTD habits:

        1. Empty Your Head
        2. Get Inbox to Empty
        3. Treat Hard Lines of Calendar as Hard Lines
        4. Get Actionables/Next Actions Done
        5. Get Clear on Projects
        6. Follow Up Waiting Fors
        7. Get Reading Done
        8. Do Daily Review
        9. Do Weekly Review
        10. Keep Them All Going

        But that's only the first round. As one gets more proficient and works on each of these habits in more depth one begins to see that there is a pattern of times for "thinking" and times for "doing". (1), (2), (5), and (9) are key times for thinking. The rest are times for doing. Each time a person gets through juggling all 10 of those habits they become more and more aware of the thinking/doing pattern. Since the mind can only focus on one thing at a time -- and one can really only master 1 habit at a time -- one has to focus on each of those components in order to graduate to higher and higher levels of productivity.

        Are you feeling overwhelmed with how long you've gone not knowing all the things you know you're not doing? Then you need to focus on the 'Thinking' of GTD -- Do a Weekly Review, Get clear on All of Your Projects, Do a Mind-Sweep to empty your head.

        Are you starting to go numb to your lists of things to do on your action lists? Then you need to focus on the 'Doing' of GTD -- Take everything with you and have it on hand and just crank through them. Crank through your reading. Crank through your next actions. Go to the locations you need to make things happen and just whittle your lists down.

        The more and more one does this, the clearer the horizon becomes and more subtle and subconscious things come to the fore. New projects, insights, and ideas suddenly begin popping up. You start capturing feelings you have about relationships with people around you, what you think about your career, dreams you have for your future, etc. You start capturing these but you also begin to see that there is a "vertical dimension" to them that needs to be refined and clarified. How do all of these relationships and projects interconnect with your deepest values and life roles, etc.? This begins the journey through the same original habits, but now with a resolve to see how they instinctively connect with higher outcomes you envision, with your life roles, and, ultimately, with why you exist.

        There will be times of keeping that ebb and flow going -- of mastering both the thinking and the doing components of the workflow. And there will be times of falling off and having to start juggling the habits all over again. Each time, though, one becomes more and more proficient, and eventually "graduates" to that next level of productivity.

        How will one know when they've mastered GTD? The difficulty is that many GTDers neglect some of the more subtle aspects of the workflow and thus they may think they've mastered GTD when they've only mastered a few of the habits. What does it mean to Get Clear On Projects, for example? On *all* your projects? It doesn't mean listing a project and coming up with one next action to put on your list! It means clarifying the primary purpose, the standards, the outcome vision, and all of the components of the project. How many people have done that for all of their projects? My guess is more need to. It may seem like a lot of work, but that's one of the GTD habits that can't be neglected if one wants to become a "master" of the GTD workflow.

        In my view, the sign of someone who has mastered the GTD workflow is someone who trusts their system and who trusts themselves to work that system when they need to. The easier one finds it to think about the things they need to think about when they need to think about them and the easier one finds it to do the things they need to do when they need to do them, the more likely it is that the person is becoming a master of the GTD workflow.
        Last edited by Todd V; 07-01-2011, 11:51 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by stayfly View Post
          I was wondering, how does someone know they have achieved mastery of GTD?
          "A new monk came up to the master Joshu. 'I have just entered the
          brotherhood and I am anxious to learn the first principle of Zen,'
          he said. 'Will you please teach it to me?'

          Joshu said, 'Have you eaten your supper?'

          The novice answered, 'I have eaten.' Joshu said, 'Now wash your
          bowl.' "

          Rolf

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Todd V View Post
            I just recently had to think through this for my own GTD setup since I designed the Ready-Set-Do! GTD approach on the Mac and just added a reporting feature that coaches users through 10 productivity "belt levels".

            I've kept these secret so that Ready-Set-Do! users have to graduate through each belt level in order to discover what that level of productivity means and what the next belt is. As I thought through the various belt levels I realized that there is an "ebb and flow" to mastering the GTD workflow. One first learns each of the GTD habits:

            1. Empty Your Head
            2. Get Inbox to Empty
            3. Treat Hard Lines of Calendar as Hard Lines
            4. Get Actionables/Next Actions Done
            5. Get Clear on Projects
            6. Follow Up Waiting Fors
            7. Get Reading Done
            8. Do Daily Review
            9. Do Weekly Review
            10. Keep Them All Going

            But that's only the first round. As one gets more proficient and works on each of these habits in more depth one begins to see that there is a pattern of times for "thinking" and times for "doing". (1), (2), (5), and (9) are key times for thinking. The rest are times for doing. Each time a person gets through juggling all 10 of those habits they become more and more aware of the thinking/doing pattern. Since the mind can only focus on one thing at a time -- and one can really only master 1 habit at a time -- one has to focus on each of those components in order to graduate to higher and higher levels of productivity.

            Are you feeling overwhelmed with how long you've gone not knowing all the things you know you're not doing? Then you need to focus on the 'Thinking' of GTD -- Do a Weekly Review, Get clear on All of Your Projects, Do a Mind-Sweep to empty your head.

            Are you starting to go numb to your lists of things to do on your action lists? Then you need to focus on the 'Doing' of GTD -- Take everything with you and have it on hand and just crank through them. Crank through your reading. Crank through your next actions. Go to the locations you need to make things happen and just whittle your lists down.

            The more and more one does this, the clearer the horizon becomes and more subtle and subconscious things come to the fore. New projects, insights, and ideas suddenly begin popping up. You start capturing feelings you have about relationships with people around you, what you think about your career, dreams you have for your future, etc. You start capturing these but you also begin to see that there is a "vertical dimension" to them that needs to be refined and clarified. How do all of these relationships and projects interconnect with your deepest values and life roles, etc.? This begins the journey through the same original habits, but now with a resolve to see how they instinctively connect with higher outcomes you envision, with your life roles, and, ultimately, with why you exist.

            There will be times of keeping that ebb and flow going -- of mastering both the thinking and the doing components of the workflow. And there will be times of falling off and having to start juggling the habits all over again. Each time, though, one becomes more and more proficient, and eventually "graduates" to that next level of productivity.

            How will one know when they've mastered GTD? The difficulty is that many GTDers neglect some of the more subtle aspects of the workflow and thus they may think they've mastered GTD when they've only mastered a few of the habits. What does it mean to Get Clear On Projects, for example? On *all* your projects? It doesn't mean listing a project and coming up with one next action to put on your list! It means clarifying the primary purpose, the standards, the outcome vision, and all of the components of the project. How many people have done that for all of their projects? My guess is more need to. It may seem like a lot of work, but that's one of the GTD habits that can't be neglected if one wants to become a "master" of the GTD workflow.

            In my view, the sign of someone who has mastered the GTD workflow is someone who trusts their system and who trusts themselves to work that system when they need to. The easier one finds it to think about the things they need to think about when they need to think about them and the easier one finds it to do the things they need to do when they need to do them, the more likely it is that the person is becoming a master of the GTD workflow.
            this is fantastic stuff!!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by kewms View Post
              When they quit caring whether they have mastered GTD?

              More generally, when they are too busy Getting Things Done to worry about their task management system, and the system works well enough to stay out of the way.

              Katherine
              that's a nice way to think of it

              I'm more a quantitative type person i.e. if my goal was to be a healthy weight I wouldn't say "when I can live my life in a healthy way" it would be "70 kilos" (or whatever my desired weight was).

              each to their own though
              Last edited by stayfly; 07-03-2007, 11:44 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                You may find my tips/assessment helpful - if you can check off all items, you are a master! Matt's Idea Blog: GTD Workflow Assessment/Tips Checklist

                Comment


                • #9
                  Blog Recommended

                  If you haven't looked at Cornell's Blog yet, I highly recommend it. He's got some great stuff. (You ought to work for David!)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Mastering GTD

                    See Duff's GTD Mastery 100: Checklist for Greatness based on David Allen's book.

                    Interesting list!

                    Carolyn

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      When you finally have zero actions on your actions list, all projects completed, all goals achieved... and all responsibilities long ago forgotten...

                      ...this is my fantasy...

                      and then I will feel a true master of GTD, and indeed the universe.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Maybe...but

                        All Actions finished, all projects completed. Maybe this is what happens when you die?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Barb View Post
                          All Actions finished, all projects completed. Maybe this is what happens when you die?
                          My fantasy is not to be dead! But, indeed you have made a good point.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by cornell View Post
                            You may find my tips/assessment helpful - if you can check off all items, you are a master! Matt's Idea Blog: GTD Workflow Assessment/Tips Checklist
                            Originally posted by ceehjay View Post
                            See Duff's GTD Mastery 100: Checklist for Greatness based on David Allen's book.

                            Interesting list!

                            Carolyn
                            both of these are EXACTLY what I was looking for!

                            thanks guys

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              this is good too

                              “READY TO TEST FOR YOUR BELT?”

                              Lately some rather sophisticated people have asked me what I initially thought was a rather unsophisticated question: “How do I know what belt I’m at?” In other words, in the martial art of workflow, they wanted to know how well they were doing – how far they were from earning the coveted black belt in the Getting Things Done school of self management. One, a senior engineer, said, “David, you keep referring to ‘black belt’ and several of the attributes it signifies. There must be some way to determine how far along we might be in that continuum.” Though he excused his curiosity in the matter to his system-oriented mindset, I realized he had a good point. When I studied karate, the belt rankings were highly useful as milestones, often motivating me to keep going when I would hit plateaus in my training during which I wasn’t very aware of my progress. As I went from white to green to brown belt rankings over the course of four years, I could sense the next level up as a reachable step, when black belt would seem too elusive a goal.

                              So for those of you who may share that interest in some kind of marker for determining your rank, I’ll proffer a set of characteristics for the belts.

                              White Belt

                              You’ve recognized the art of workflow management as something to get personally better at. White belt is actually a rank to be proud of – it means you’ve begun, which puts you ahead of those who are not conscious of, or not interested in, improving your game. You’ve had a taste of what it’s like to clear the decks, with perhaps a Mind Sweep and an initial gathering of things that have your attention in your work area and maybe at home as well. You’ve become more conscious of your in-basket as a place to toss still unprocessed stuff. You’re writing things down a little more than you previously did, a little more consistently. You’ve made a stab at setting up some sort of list-management tool and structure.

                              Green Belt

                              You’ve got some lists that you use regularly, and you’re comfortable with your system for some basic things. A self-management tool is with you most of the time. You’ve tasted the thrill of zero in your e-mail in-basket a few times. You’ve set up a workable paper-based filing system, and have a labeler you use yourself. You’ve purged and organized at least one major “black hole” storage area at work or at home. You’ve actually done one relatively thorough Weekly Review and tasted the accompanying on-top-and-in-charge feeling. You’ve started to swear by the Two-Minute Rule. You’ve got some sort of portable note-taking device you’re actually using now and then. You try to convince people around you how cool all this stuff is and that they should do it too. “What are we trying to accomplish?” and “What’s the next action?” are creeping into your operational vocabulary with others at work.

                              Brown Belt

                              You don’t hesitate to write things down, even when old-fashioned people around you aren’t. You no longer need a reminder to get your head empty regularly. You’re doing “Monthly Weekly Reviews.” Home and office are equally under control. “List maker” is no longer a pejorative. No notes are left on legal pads. E-mail is a zero at least once a week. Processing your paper in-basket is actually fun, most of the time. You have a “Projects” list that is probably 75% complete and current. In the dentist’s office, you have your own reading material. You’ve stopped interrupting people around you for non-emergency communications, choosing e-mail or notes into their in-baskets instead. You’re feeling comfortable with a big list of undone actions. You’ve set up a Someday/Maybe list and have moved items there from your Projects lists, and vice-versa. You don’t share your labeler. All paper-based reference that won’t stand up by itself is in your files, and you actually like to file stuff. You’re somewhat intolerant of those who don’t exercise the same best practices. You’ve started some good checklists. You know what to do with almost everything. Your next-action lists are actually next actions, not small sub-projects. ... “What are we trying to accomplish?” and “What’s the next action?” are creeping into your operational vocabulary with others at home.

                              Black Belt

                              You have to look at your Calls list to know whom you have to call. You trust your intuitive prioritizing all day long. You can’t stand not doing a complete Weekly Review, and you’re operationally squeaky clean at least every couple of weeks. Your review time regularly takes you down constructive rabbit trails of creative thinking, decision-making, and idea generation. You no longer complain about lack of quality thinking time. You can leave a mountain of stuff in your in-basket and still have a good time, confident it’s all in a trusted system and will get tackled soon enough. You’re using speed keys instead of your mouse. You create useful temporary checklists on a whim. You’re willing to tackle thinking about any project or situation on call. All of your reference files have been reviewed within the last year. Your systems are completely accessible, functional and intact as you move from location to location. Others are highly sensitive to what they bring into your environment. There is little distinction between work and personal – there’s simply a positive focus on whatever you’re doing. You know how (and do) get yourself totally back into control by yourself, when you’ve slipped much longer than you’re comfortable with. You don’t need to convince anyone about the methodology – you’re usually not thinking about it, merely using it. You’ve stopped complaining about e-mail. You’ve lost only a couple of receipts this year. Friends no longer want you to see inside their offices or cars.

                              Black belt – 2nd Degree

                              Time has disappeared, most of the time. You often move fast, but you’re seldom busy. When you’re playing with the dog, you’re not thinking about any of the big stuff – you’ve already thought about it. You know what every key in your desk drawer is for.
                              I'm ALMOST a Black Belt

                              Last edited by stayfly; 07-04-2007, 07:18 PM.

                              Comment

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