Productive Living
David Allen

Hi everyone!

Motivation is a tricky business, and from my experience you actually can't motivate anyone else. They have to motivate themselves. This is certainly a subject for much more exploration than an essay, but I thought I'd pass on one point of view in this area that has been helpful to me over the years.

All the best for a happy and healthy holiday season,

David

DAVID'S FOOD FOR THOUGHT

GETTING OTHERS TO CHANGE

How do you motivate people to change their behavior? This is a common question for managers, executives, coaches, teachers, parents, and anyone else who ever wants other people around them to act differently in a consistent way.

I hear this regularly, because as I work with people to set up systems to maintain focus and increase their productivity, they often complain that one of their problems is other people being unfocused and out of control. "How can I get my staff, my boss, my spouse and my kids to get this?!"

If you want to be good at getting other people to change, ask yourself: "Who got me to change?...and how did they do that?" Bring to mind the three people in your life you would say were most effective in getting you to improve, learn, stretch, and grow in a positive way. What was common to all three?

For me, there was only one common denominator about those people in my life. Whether it was the sweet little old teacher in the 4th grade, or the coach that ran my tail off in high school—they all held a vision of my being and doing better than I was currently doing, they held that as a standard when they related to me, and they cared enough about me to hold me to task when I fell short. (They also all did it lovingly, though it didn't feel like it sometimes!)

Really want people to change? Try that.

 

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being."

-Goethe

 

DAVID'S COACHING TIPS

USING DUE DATES

I only put due dates if they are "hard"—i.e. I have an externally contracted agreement about it. Even then the actions are seldom due on specific days—just the final outcome or some milestone perhaps.

The calendar can be used for red flagging, such as, "3 days until budget draft is due"—i.e. it's some day-specific information about which you'd like to be reminded.

But, indeed, everything on my action lists is for getting done as soon as I can—otherwise they wouldn't be on the list. The calendar just lets me know how much time I might have to work off the action lists.

The Weekly Review is what tees these things up in terms of priorities and urgency. Sometimes in the review, I'll see that I now need to block in an hour or two in the coming week, to get a long action done in some uninterrupted time. And that would be more critical if you worked in a groupware environment in which people are grabbing your calendar time a lot.

 
 
 
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TIPS & TRICKS FROM OTHER GTD'ers

Lori passed along this tip of tracking what you've loaned or borrowed from friends (like your well-worn GTD book!):

I call it my "IN & OUT" list. It keeps track of things I've loaned to others (OUT), or things I've borrowed from others (IN). I was notorious for loaning out books to friends and forgetting who had what. I don't care how long they have my books, etc, I just don't want to lose track of them. And I'd be mortified if I borrowed something from somebody and totally lost track of having it.

It's all on one task list, and looks like this:

  • IN - from Jeff S. audio book Lean Thinking
  • IN - from John A. (2) "La Cuisine" tapes
  • OUT - to Jeanette DaVinci Code
  • OUT - to Bonnie - antique pink serving bowl

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