I’ve read Getting Things Done several times, and like many people I get different things out of it each time. There are parts of the book that make my eyes roll and help when I have difficulty sleeping, but I normally am reading it to reinforce the basics of the system, the nuts and bolts of the whole idea. Here is what I feel they are, and what I think most people feel they are:
- Capture everything on a single set of lists, and review it once a week.
- Find and use a trusted system – which needs to be simple.
- Have clear, written goals
- Get to work.
Just a quick post today, but for those that didn’t know such things existed, the David Allen Company have released several set-up guides for getting your gear set up to maximize your use of GTD. I’ve used both the Outlook 2003/2007 guide and the recently released BlackBerry guide, and have found them both immensely helpful to organizing my software.
Definitely worth the $10.
I could title this post “shiny things”, the new code for our constant addiction to being distracted. There is the lure of the new – new apps to try out from the application store (more on that in a minute), or new tricks to try out. There is the lure of the flashing pinging light source that tells you that you have new – new tweets, new mail, new blog posts, updated RSS feeds. There is the lure of new products to buy, products to research, new stuff. How much time do you waste tracking down all this new stuff? I know I try very hard to limit it, but it’s tough. Read more…
If you read the post last week about GTD at a new job, it was filled with such promise about staying organized, about working calmly through your systems, about mind like water. Once reality set in, any job can overwhelm, and a new one is no exception whatsoever – often worse, because you are learning what it is you don’t know.
This past week has been a whirlwind of meetings, conference calls, and travelling. So, a short post on how to stay organized in the face of a hectic schedule – whether your job is new, old, or somewhere in between. This is what is currently working for me – your mileage, as always, may vary.
At the end of December, I began a new job, and a really different departure in my career. Without boring you with all the details, I can tell you that the only things I kept were half of my @Errands list, and my @Home list, plus anything to look up on my @Computer list that was a flight of fancy. It was remarkably freeing to dump the remainder of my lists, I have to tell you.
That said, even though I was busy setting up my new laptop, learning about my new company and the new role, and trying to quell the excitement at the new position, on the first Friday of my work I took the opportunity to do a thorough review. I had pages of notes and thoughts on coming into the position, and now I had to cull those for action items, tick off what was done, etc. Plus I had pages of notes from the meetings I had over the previous four days – and they often had additional things on them for me to find out about, handle, pass off, or review. Onto the task list they went, but then I began to think about how I had things set up, and realized that I really needed to stop and get properly set to move on.
I am constantly fascinated by reading various GTD blogs (my word there are a ton of them, and I’m not doing anything to keep the noise down…), and what each person seems to take away from GTD. There are so many things that I’ve decided not to take:
- mind mapping (yawn – someone wake me when science class is over)
- horizons (why rename “goals”)
- areas of focus (again – this falls under “goals” doesn’t it?)
- Capturing every little thing
During the discussion in the book on mind mapping, my eyes glaze over. I skip it when I’m reading it. It’s ridiculous. It’s great if that is the way your brain happens to think. Tony Buzan, the pop psychologist who came up with mind mapping, thinks it’s the greatest thing – and that’s fine, I’m just not buying in. Read more…