Sunday, 19 September 2010

Interruptions and a very long weekly review

I set out to do my weekly review last Friday at 10am (as usual for most weeks). The review normally takes just over an hour, depending on how busy my inboxes have become and whether I have been able to triage during the week. Little did I know that my review would not be as straightforward as I had hoped at the start. Five hours later, at 3.10pm, I finally managed to finish the review!
It felt like the whole world was trying to distract me from completing my review and getting clean and current. I had interruption, followed by interruption and all were the important "drop everything and sort it out now" kind of problems. But despite these, I still managed to complete my review, although considerably later than planned. Each time I had an interruption, I would put a placeholder in my inbox and knew that I could come back to it after I had dealt with the person or phone call.
My job rarely has such a flurry of urgent activity for such a length of time as it did that day. However, I do have at lot of interruptions throughout the day. Through my implementation of GTD, some of these have been reduced and handled better to allow me not to lose concentration on the task at hand. I have been able to manage the expectations of those that I work for and consequently handle my work considerably better, rather than always dealing with the "latest and loudest." My first question when asked to do something is "when do you need this to be done by?" - this knowledge ensures that I can prioritise it fairly with the other work on my lists.
Interruptions will always be a part of work, but GTD allows me to take control when they happen, rather than allowing them to control me.