Getting Things Done® – David Allen's GTD® Methodology http://gettingthingsdone.com David Allen's GTD® Methodology Sun, 15 Oct 2017 15:13:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 67790724 Episode #34 – Crafting Your External Brain http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/10/episode-34-crafting-your-external-brain/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/10/episode-34-crafting-your-external-brain/#respond Wed, 11 Oct 2017 15:39:55 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=16293 David Allen presents a webinar on how to craft integrated external systems that allow you to focus more productively. He explores the cognitive science behind the external brain, what the purpose of it is, and how you can use it most effectively with your GTD system.   Listen Now   Subscribe or Download iTunes Stitcher […]
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David Allen presents a webinar on how to craft integrated external systems that allow you to focus more productively. He explores the cognitive science behind the external brain, what the purpose of it is, and how you can use it most effectively with your GTD system.

 

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GTD Public Courses http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/09/gtd-public-courses/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/09/gtd-public-courses/#comments Thu, 14 Sep 2017 13:57:53 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=16247 GTD Public Courses are offered regularly by our Global Partners around the world.
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GTD Public Courses are offered regularly by our Global Partners around the world.

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Commitments kept in your head http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/09/commitments-kept-in-your-head/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/09/commitments-kept-in-your-head/#comments Mon, 04 Sep 2017 22:47:46 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=16233 What’s on your mind?
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What’s on your mind?

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Going the Distance to Mind Like Water http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/09/going-the-distance-to-mind-like-water/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/09/going-the-distance-to-mind-like-water/#respond Fri, 01 Sep 2017 15:18:23 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=16230 There is a light-year of difference between a system that has merely a lot of our stuff objectified, and one that has 100%. Few people have experienced what I’m talking about, because there are few people who have ever gotten to a 100% empty head—absolutely every project, action item, and potential commitment we have made […]
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There is a light-year of difference between a system that has merely a lot of our stuff objectified, and one that has 100%. Few people have experienced what I’m talking about, because there are few people who have ever gotten to a 100% empty head—absolutely every project, action item, and potential commitment we have made with ourselves and others externalized in an easily reviewable format.

If you don’t have everything in a system that the system ought to have, you won’t have full trust in that system, and you’ll have greatly reduced motivation to keep it up and keep it current. If your system isn’t tracking every computer-related action you need to take in discreet folders or lists, then your mind still has the job of remembering what to do when you open your laptop. You’ll probably leave emails sitting in the inbox or files on the desktop, hoping you’ll remember you need to handle something. There is not full freedom to trust your intuition about which action to take off the list, since your mind still has the job of remembering and formulating all the options. Similarly, if your reference systems are only partially complete, you probably won’t be motivated to get all your reference processed and organized, as soon as it arrives in your life.

How will you know when your reminders and categories are complete? When will you know how much you have out of your head and into your system? Even if you have 99% out of your head, you still won’t know that it’s 99% because of what may be lurking in the 1%. You will only know how much you have left, when there is nothing left!

Either your head is the best place to hold all your agreements with yourself, or it’s not. (You can guess which way I vote.) I can’t imagine any intellectual justification for halfway in between. Yet most people still have over half their life in their heads. They won’t totally trust the incomplete system, nor will they totally trust their head. This fosters latest-and-loudest prioritizing, instead of trusted strategic choices.

A partial system is almost worse than none. In regard to life commitments—99%’s a bitch, 100%’s a breeze.

–David Allen

This essay appeared in David Allen’s Productive Living Newsletter. Subscribe for free here.

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Episode #33 – Wrangling Your Priorities http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/08/episode-33-wrangling-your-priorities/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/08/episode-33-wrangling-your-priorities/#comments Mon, 28 Aug 2017 16:27:51 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=16217 David Allen and Coach Meg Edwards give expert coaching on wrangling your priorities. The discussion includes three common challenges: competing priorities, mapping day-to-day priority choices to your higher level goals, and prioritizing as a group.   Listen Now   Subscribe or Download iTunes Stitcher Libsyn Google Play Music Spotify SoundCloud
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David Allen and Coach Meg Edwards give expert coaching on wrangling your priorities. The discussion includes three common challenges: competing priorities, mapping day-to-day priority choices to your higher level goals, and prioritizing as a group.

 

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5 Signs You’re Getting Better at GTD http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/08/5-signs-youre-getting-better-at-gtd/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/08/5-signs-youre-getting-better-at-gtd/#comments Thu, 17 Aug 2017 16:13:41 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=16209 1. It feels weird to keep stuff on your mind Capturing what has your attention is a key practice with GTD. Getting better at GTD means you are capturing what’s on your mind when it shows up, moment-by-moment and keeping something ON your mind, well, it just feels weird. 2. You empty your inboxes regularly […]
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1. It feels weird to keep stuff on your mind
Capturing what has your attention is a key practice with GTD. Getting better at GTD means you are capturing what’s on your mind when it shows up, moment-by-moment and keeping something ON your mind, well, it just feels weird.

2. You empty your inboxes regularly
No getting around this one. If your inboxes aren’t processed to zero on a regular basis (at least weekly in your Reviews), you won’t fully trust your priority decisions, because of the unknown factor of what’s lurking in any unprocessed stacks.

3. You don’t fight the Weekly Review
The Weekly Review is the glue that keeps GTD together. Getting better at GTD means you willingly create the space and time in your life to get clear, current, and creative and no longer make excuses that you don’t have time for it.

4. You feel good about what you’re not doing
This one is big, but can be subtle at the same time. GTD is as much as about feeling good about what you’re choosing to do, as it is feeling good about what you are choosing NOT to do. The latter comes from having a complete and current inventory of projects and actions so you know what’s not getting done when you are getting other things done.

5. You naturally start projects asking, “What’s the purpose?”
Projects don’t always arrive in neat packages. And, the purpose you see may not be the purpose others see. Getting better at GTD means you clarify the purpose on the front-end of projects, to make sure you and any others on the project are aligned to the “why?”.

How are you doing on these? Any areas of improvements?

–by Coach Kelly Forrister

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Getting Unstuck http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/08/getting-unstuck/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/08/getting-unstuck/#respond Mon, 07 Aug 2017 19:23:53 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=16205 Got any knots? What’s your desired outcome to resolve that? What will be true when you can you declare it done? What’s your next action?    
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Got any knots? What’s your desired outcome to resolve that? What will be true when you can you declare it done? What’s your next action?

 

 

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How’s your altitude aptitude? http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/08/hows-your-altitude-aptitude/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/08/hows-your-altitude-aptitude/#respond Thu, 03 Aug 2017 15:28:52 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=16199 Over the years, it has become more and more helpful in my work to help people understand the ecosystem of GTD® (particularly priorities) by framing their thinking and decision-making around my altitude model: GROUND: Calendar/Actions – The nitty-gritty this-moment doing level. Call Fred. Buy tires. Draft proposal. Email Susan. HORIZON 1: Projects – The things […]
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Over the years, it has become more and more helpful in my work to help people understand the ecosystem of GTD® (particularly priorities) by framing their thinking and decision-making around my altitude model:

GROUND: Calendar/Actions – The nitty-gritty this-moment doing level. Call Fred. Buy tires. Draft proposal. Email Susan.

HORIZON 1: Projects – The things you’re committed to finish that one action won’t finish. Give Barbara a birthday party. Set up my new MacBook. Implement this year’s budget. Hire a new marketing VP.

HORIZON 2: Areas of Focus and Accountability – Current job responsibilities and status of key aspects of your personal life. What are your roles and responsibilities re: work? What areas of your personal life need to be maintained at some appropriate level? Given a review of all of those, what projects should you have on your list that you don’t have yet? Any projects on your list you should dump?

HORIZON 3: Goals and Objectives – The typical strategic level. Goals and direction of the organization and your work. Things you want to accomplish personally, in the longer term. Definition of current and new key result areas.

HORIZON 4: Vision – Career, lifestyle choices. Is this the job you want? Are you in the right game? What does success in the long term look, sound, and feel like? Talents, skills, interests.

HORIZON 5: Purpose and Principles – Life. Living the one you want? Quality of life issues. Values, balance, style, inner gifts, personal expressions.

So what about this? Well, too often I find people trying to solve a Horizon 4 problem with a Horizon 2 solution. Or trying to solve a Ground-level problem with a Horizon 5 solution. Doesn’t work—and even worse, it creates deep frustration and confusion because they know somehow that the questions that they are posing are good ones.

Whichever of these levels most has your attention is a fine place to begin, and to reassess its contents for yourself. However, trying to solve an out-of-control inbox (Ground) by agonizing about whether this is the job you should have (Horizon 4) is the Serious Pits. That’s why I usually coach on this scale from the bottom up—if your landing gear doesn’t work, it’s pretty hard to make real decisions from any other level! Getting control of where you are is a prerequisite for healthy thinking about where you should be.

–David Allen

This essay appeared in David Allen’s Productive Living Newsletter. Subscribe for free here.

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Episode #32 – The Better You Get http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/07/episode-32-the-better-you-get/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/07/episode-32-the-better-you-get/#comments Mon, 31 Jul 2017 23:10:56 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=16185 David Allen says, “The better you get, the better you’d better get.” This podcast is about how to improve your skills, when you’re already proficient at GTD®. Coaches Meg Edwards and Kelly Forrister will guide you through some of the coaching they would give to a client who already has a solid foundation and plenty […]
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David Allen says, “The better you get, the better you’d better get.” This podcast is about how to improve your skills, when you’re already proficient at GTD®. Coaches Meg Edwards and Kelly Forrister will guide you through some of the coaching they would give to a client who already has a solid foundation and plenty of experience with GTD.

 

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The best ways to deal with stress http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/07/the-best-ways-to-deal-with-stress/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/07/the-best-ways-to-deal-with-stress/#respond Mon, 31 Jul 2017 16:36:59 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=16175 David Allen on the best ways to deal with stress:  Understand first that you’re actually IN stress Determine what’s causing it Clarify what you’d like to have true in the situation—what’s your desired outcome, at least in terms of how you’d like to be feeling? Decide if there is a next action you can take […]
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David Allen on the best ways to deal with stress: 
  • Understand first that you’re actually IN stress
  • Determine what’s causing it
  • Clarify what you’d like to have true in the situation—what’s your desired outcome, at least in terms of how you’d like to be feeling?
  • Decide if there is a next action you can take to make some positive progress toward clarification and/or resolution
  • Engage in some activity or focus that you feel will potentially improve the situation for you.
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Outsmarting Your Mind http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/07/outsmarting-your-mind/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/07/outsmarting-your-mind/#respond Fri, 14 Jul 2017 23:17:40 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=16122 I have the feeling and the hope every now and again that in 25 years what GTD teaches will be such a “given” that we may wonder what it was like to walk around with such pressure and stress from our suboptimal thinking habits. The advent of the “knowledge worker” society has given so many […]
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I have the feeling and the hope every now and again that in 25 years what GTD teaches will be such a “given” that we may wonder what it was like to walk around with such pressure and stress from our suboptimal thinking habits.

The advent of the “knowledge worker” society has given so many of us projects and things to do that are not nearly as clear-cut as work used to be. (Can you ever create a perfect workshop, or write a perfect article for the newsletter?) It has created a world in which we’ve given our minds tremendous work to do. But we’ve also grown up trusting that our minds could (and should) handle it all from beginning to end (because, aren’t they smart!?).

The problem is, much of the pressure I witness going on for people is their mind trying to do things that it doesn’t do very well. Most people are thinking about how they should be thinking about what they should be thinking about. And then trying not to think about that! They’re not finishing the exercise of the thought process required for completing what it should be thinking about, nor ensuring that they have good trustworthy action-level systems in place to manage the task of reminding themselves about the results of what they’ve come up with in that clarifying process.

Our minds seduce us regularly. When you’re thinking of something, some part of you is convinced that because it’s so evident at that moment, it will never forget it, and will supply that information or perspective or thought at the appropriate time and place. If that were really true, that would be great. It’s not. Otherwise you would never even need an external calendar—your head would know exactly where you needed to be when (as well as having a consistently correct view of everything coming toward you in your future!).

When you make agreements with yourself about something (“I would, could, should, might, ought to, etc.”) your mind, dutiful servant that it is, will be glued to that task until it is given further instructions. With no sense of past and future in its short-term memory bank, however, it creates instant and unresolvable conflict if it has more than one thing to do. Learning how to manage this is as straightforward as learning how to scramble eggs. You just have to act from the place that is smarter than your mind.

–David Allen

 

How is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person?—Duc de la Rochefoucauld

 

This essay appeared in David Allen’s Productive Living Newsletter. Subscribe for free here.

 

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Episode #31 – David Allen talks with Dr. Theo Compernolle http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/07/episode-31-david-allen-talks-with-dr-theo-compernolle/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/07/episode-31-david-allen-talks-with-dr-theo-compernolle/#comments Thu, 13 Jul 2017 15:48:50 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=16084 David talks with Dr. Theo Compernolle, a doctor with a 35-year background in medicine, psychiatry, teaching, and research. His most recent book is Brain Chains. You’ll find this interview to be educational, and perhaps challenging, as you learn that we may be using technology in counter-productive ways.   Listen Now   Subscribe or Download iTunes Stitcher […]
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David talks with Dr. Theo Compernolle, a doctor with a 35-year background in medicine, psychiatry, teaching, and research. His most recent book is Brain Chains. You’ll find this interview to be educational, and perhaps challenging, as you learn that we may be using technology in counter-productive ways.
 

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GTD Webinars http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/07/gtd-webinars-2/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/07/gtd-webinars-2/#respond Wed, 05 Jul 2017 18:39:49 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=16028 There are two great live video webinars being offered this month on GTD Connect, David Allen’s online learning center. 1. GTD & Outlook—July 20, 2017 This webinar is packed with practical tips and tricks to get you up and running with a trusted GTD system in Outlook for Windows. Learn how to best structure the […]
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There are two great live video webinars being offered this month on GTD Connect, David Allen’s online learning center.

1. GTD & Outlook—July 20, 2017
This webinar is packed with practical tips and tricks to get you up and running with a trusted GTD system in Outlook for Windows. Learn how to best structure the Tasks section to track your projects and next actions, effectively manage your email and calendar, use the Notes section for storing reference, and more.

2. Guided GTD Weekly Review—July 27, 2017
Experience what David Allen calls the “critical success factor” with GTD, by going through a complete GTD Weekly Review. You’ll get a taste of all 11 steps of the process, with helpful coaching along the way.

GTD Connect also offers a ton of other GTD content you won’t find anywhere else, including over 100 recorded webinars with the GTD coaches, audio and video library, What’s New with David Allen blog, educational articles, Intention Journal, member forums, and more.

Learn more  |   Questions

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Getting (back?) on the wagon with GTD http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/06/getting-back-on-the-wagon-with-gtd/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/06/getting-back-on-the-wagon-with-gtd/#respond Fri, 30 Jun 2017 17:33:33 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=16014 It all makes sense. You want to do it. And yet, you aren’t doing it.  If this sounds familiar in relation to your GTD practice, know that you are not alone. The methodology is incredibly powerful, but only to the extent that one actually uses it. Perhaps because of this disparity, I sometimes see clients […]
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It all makes sense. You want to do it. And yet, you aren’t doing it. 

If this sounds familiar in relation to your GTD practice, know that you are not alone. The methodology is incredibly powerful, but only to the extent that one actually uses it. Perhaps because of this disparity, I sometimes see clients berate themselves, asking frustratedly why, if they know GTD works so well, they aren’t doing it more.

The good news is that a few simple steps can help you start to make the behaviour changes necessary to get back on the Path of GTD Mastery. Furthermore, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or take drastic measures to get going. Here are five steps I have seen work time and again.

1. Connect with the inspirational purpose
My colleague Ed Lamont speaks about this very well in his article “Goodbye Discipline, Hello Motivation“. Simply put, carrots work better than sticks (and are much more tasty).

So, why are you doing this GTD thing in the first place? For more time with the family? To impress the boss and get that promotion? So you can feel more relaxed and in control? Take the time you need to really connect with that inspirational purpose, and to reconnect with it as you go along. The real reason you’re doing GTD, by the way, stated as though it is already true, can make a great title for the project in your system about getting back on your GTD game. Be sure to get that written down on your project list straight away. It’s a way of telling yourself that you are serious.

2. Ask yourself: What’s worked before?
You are an adult. You have had to change your behaviour many times in the past to get what you want, and to get where you are now. How did you do it?

One client reflected on training for marathons, and how the new habit of morning runs initially felt awful, but by doing it anyway they soon became enjoyable, even irresistible to him. For me, the approach of making very small inroads works to gradually stretch out my comfort zone. For example, when the dentist told me I needed to start flossing, I started out by flossing just one tooth at night. Eventually the habit of getting out the floss became second nature, and I decided that while I was there and ready, I might as well do my whole mouth. (For more on the power of small steps, see “Why Tortoise Really Won“)

These same principles — starting small, acknowledging it will “feel wrong” at first, doing it anyway — are all transferrable to establishing (or re-establishing) your GTD practice. The more important question is: what has worked for you in the past? Now apply those same techniques to upping your GTD game.

3. Replace old rewards with new
Many habits get established as part of a reward cycle. For example, the habit of spending most of one’s day in the email inbox probably has something to do with the feeling of accomplishment when you complete everything there is to do about an email, and can get rid of it. However, it’s not the best way to get an overview of all your options to be nose-down in email all day.

Instead, see if you can replace the sense of accomplishment about “doing an email” with the sense of accomplishment that comes from clarifying and organising all of your emails into projects and actions, getting the inbox to zero. Likewise, see if you can replace feeling important because you are just so busy with feeling on top of everything because you have done your Weekly Review.

You aren’t giving up the rewards of accomplishment — you are upgrading them, and upgrading your definition of accomplishment in doing so.

4. Debrief the present from the future
This one may sound a little odd, but it can be profoundly useful when you are feeling stuck about how to proceed. First, get in touch with that inspirational purpose from step one. Then, embody it. Imagine yourself fully living within that new paradigm of stress-free success. Then ask yourself: how did I get here?

Just as identifying a clear outcome can often help with the next step, so this kind of “flash forward” exercise can often give you clues as to what has to happen — both in terms of what you are willing to do differently, and perhaps what you may need to be willing to give up — to get you to there from here.

In addition to creating a project in your system about getting back on your GTD game, be sure to add as much of this rich detail as possible as “project support” material to review and reflect upon as you go along.

Your imaginary internal GTD master may also have more practical tips for you along the way, so feel free to “flash forward” and ask questions as often as is useful. You may be surprised at how much you already know.

5. Commit to a new habit
Finally, commit to something new. All this connecting with purpose, rewiring definitions of accomplishment, and strategising with the end in mind still won’t get you back on your GTD game unless you actually do some things differently.
The two most common habits I see people take on that help them get going are the daily review and the Weekly Review. For so many people the siren’s call of email is a great temptation. One simple way to beat it is to review your action lists first before you ever open your email. This simple daily habit, like flossing a tooth, will at least remind you that your lists are there, waiting both to receive new clarified input from email and to be worked from as a better approach than just swimming through email all day.

The second habit that really works to both establish and reboot one’s practice is the Weekly Review. In some sense, in the early days, you are falling off the wagon a little bit each week. It’s the Weekly Review that puts you back on, by re-establishing familiarity and trust with your system, and getting you into a virtuous cycle of more relaxed focus leading to more motivation to keep practicing the GTD principles that create the relaxed focus in the first place. Whenever someone is off their game, we usually start with the Weekly Review.

So, there you have it. In a nutshell: get inspired, get practical, rewire what “winning” means, consult your future self a bit, and then take the plunge and commit to actually doing something different.

There is a much smarter way to work and live. You may not have been doing it yet, but you also may already have many of the answers about what needs to change, why, and how to get yourself back on track. Ask yourself a few good questions, listen to the answers, and then get going.

Good luck, and happy wagonning.

–Robert Peake, Certified GTD Coach & Trainer, Next Actions Associates

This article was originally published on the Next Action Associates blog.

 

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The workforce for the next century http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/06/the-workforce-for-the-next-century/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/06/the-workforce-for-the-next-century/#comments Fri, 23 Jun 2017 23:01:19 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=16005 The assumption that everyone can and should do everything they have been given to do is an old industrial paradigm that does not hold water for “knowledge workers” who all have tons of projects that could be done infinitely better. Renegotiating agreements and standards with ourselves and our world is an unfamiliar but required skill […]
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The assumption that everyone can and should do everything they have been given to do is an old industrial paradigm that does not hold water for “knowledge workers” who all have tons of projects that could be done infinitely better.

Renegotiating agreements and standards with ourselves and our world is an unfamiliar but required skill set for the majority of the workforce for the next century. –David Allen

 

 

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Your best thoughts about work… http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/06/your-best-thoughts-about-work/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/06/your-best-thoughts-about-work/#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 15:54:43 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=15991   For more nuggets of David Allen Wisdom, follow us on Facebook or Instagram.  
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For more nuggets of David Allen Wisdom, follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

 

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The dark side of collaborative cultures http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/06/the-dark-side-of-collaborative-cultures/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/06/the-dark-side-of-collaborative-cultures/#comments Mon, 05 Jun 2017 17:24:04 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=15966 The dark side of collaborative cultures is the allergy they foster to holding anyone responsible for having the ball. “Mine or yours?” is unfortunately not in the common vocabulary of many such organizations. There is a sense that that would be impolite. “We’re all in this together” is a worthy sentiment, but seldom a reality […]
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The dark side of collaborative cultures is the allergy they foster to holding anyone responsible for having the ball. “Mine or yours?” is unfortunately not in the common vocabulary of many such organizations. There is a sense that that would be impolite. “We’re all in this together” is a worthy sentiment, but seldom a reality in the hard-nosed, day-to-day world of work. Too many meetings end with a vague feeling among the players that something ought to happen, and hope that it’s not their personal job to make it so.
 
The way I see it, what’s truly impolite is allowing people to walk away from discussions unclear. Real togetherness of a group is reflected by the responsibility that all take for defining real things to do and the specific people assigned to do them, so everyone is freed of the angst of still-undecided actions.

–David Allen, Getting Things Done, pages 262-263.
 
Here’s your challenge GTD practitioners: At the end of your next meeting, be the one to hold the group accountable for asking, “What are the next actions from this meeting and who is going to own them?”

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I want to talk about one of the more mysterious best practices in the GTD®methodology: the art of speeding up by slowing down. I am making the assumption that all of you reading this are on some track of improvement and growth to begin with. I mean, why speed up, instead of slow down, as […]
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I want to talk about one of the more mysterious best practices in the GTD®methodology: the art of speeding up by slowing down.

I am making the assumption that all of you reading this are on some track of improvement and growth to begin with. I mean, why speed up, instead of slow down, as an end-result? If we were here to merely fulfill entropy, the thicker, duller, slower, and generally more unconscious we became, the more on track we would experience ourselves. I have to admit I do have some component inside of me that seems to align with that—my comedy team of Sloth and Indolence, with their cute little assistant, Gravity. Pretty seductive, especially as I move into my later years, to give in to that siren’s call.

There is a more dynamic and more “real” part of me, though. It is naturally buoyant, has direction, is continually expansive and is in upward movement. The trick is how to maximize my alignment with that. If someone asked me whether I would consider expressing that with more effort instead of less, I would say, no, I’m not interested. (For me, increasing productivity means getting a result with as little effort as possible.) But if what we’re getting to here is how to truly access more and more of that refreshing, rewarding, and fulfilling aspect of ourselves, is “working harder” required to get there…? No.

One of the subtlest ways that positive energy retreats from us is in our busy-ness. Losing perspective in trying to control everything, finish it all, fix it all—all at once. It shows up in ways like practicing Getting Things Done® out of frustration instead of inspiration, or helping yourself and others out of compulsion, not compassion.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned and continually must practice is that in order to really be in control, I must surrender. In the martial arts things must be held lightly. Grabbing too tight, whether it’s my muscles, my ego, my trowel, or my lists of projects and actions, can be dangerous and ultimately ineffective. I must at a moment’s notice be ready to let go, walk away from it all, and do nothing. Nothing at all. As a matter of fact, your ability to do nothing—to be idle, to daydream, to nap peacefully, to give yourself permission for 100% zoning out—is a hallmark of GTD maturity. And if you don’t believe me, just read the plethora of new data from the cognitive scientists about the need for the brain to rest—daily. That’s a bit tough to do, though, unless you’re REALLY onto the GTD game.

–David Allen

This essay appeared in David Allen’s Productive Living Newsletter. Subscribe for free here.

 

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Managing projects with GTD http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/05/managing-projects-with-gtd/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/05/managing-projects-with-gtd/#comments Fri, 26 May 2017 16:02:28 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=15933 Having a complete and current projects list is one of the cornerstones to GTD mastery. To support you in getting there, here are 10 keys to defining and managing projects: 1. Projects are defined as outcomes that will require more than one action step to complete and that you can mark off as finished in […]
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Having a complete and current projects list is one of the cornerstones to GTD mastery. To support you in getting there, here are 10 keys to defining and managing projects:

1. Projects are defined as outcomes that will require more than one action step to complete and that you can mark off as finished in the next 12 months.

2. Think of your Projects list as a current table of contents of the current outcomes on your plate.

3. Most people have 10-100 current projects, personally and professionally.

4. Current projects have at least one next action, waiting for, or calendar action, in order to be considered current.

5. Projects that have no current next action, waiting for, or calendar action are either no longer projects for you, or should be incubated to Someday/Maybe.

6. Future actions (i.e., actions that are dependent on something else happening first) do not go on the Next Actions lists until you can take action on them. They get stored with project plans.

7. The Projects list and project plans are typically reviewed in your GTD Weekly Review, ensuring each project has at least one current next action, waiting for, or calendar item.

8. It’s fine to have multiple next actions on any given project, as long as they are parallel and not sequential actions (e.g., “Buy stamps” and “Mail invitations” would not both be on Next Actions lists for the “Put on Party for David” project given that you need to buy the stamps before you can mail the invitations).

9. Projects are listed by the outcome you will achieve when you can mark it as done (what will be true?).

10. Effective project names motivate you toward the outcome you wish to achieve, and give you clear direction about what you are trying to accomplish.

How well are you doing on these? Where do you have any gaps? What is going well for you?

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GTD Setup Guides http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/05/gtd-setup-guides-2/ http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/05/gtd-setup-guides-2/#comments Wed, 24 May 2017 16:01:01 +0000 http://gettingthingsdone.com/?p=15929 Our GTD Setup Guides give you step-by-step coaching on applying GTD to some of the best software tools out there. We currently have Guides for: Wunderlist OmniFocus Outlook for Windows Outlook for Mac iPhone/iPad OneNote for Windows Evernote for Windows Evernote for Mac Lotus Notes Google Apps You can get them and see samples here.   […]
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Our GTD Setup Guides give you step-by-step coaching on applying GTD to some of the best software tools out there. We currently have Guides for:

Wunderlist
OmniFocus
Outlook for Windows
Outlook for Mac
iPhone/iPad
OneNote for Windows
Evernote for Windows
Evernote for Mac
Lotus Notes
Google Apps

You can get them and see samples here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are we missing? What Guide should we write next? (No promises, as every tool has to pass our rigorous vetting process, but we’re always open to suggestions!)

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