Friday, 21 October 2011

The freedom that GTD gives

I had an amusing moment when I walked into the office this morning. I looked at my inbox and found a note from the previous evening. Someone had called just before I was about to leave the office and asked me to do something for them - obviously I grabbed my notepad, took the details down, and tossed it in my inbox to be processed first thing this morning. But just for a second my brain was surprised to see the note in my inbox!

I trust my system so well now that I was able to entirely forget about that call, knowing that it had been captured and would be processed in the morning. Pre-GTD I guarantee that a part of my brain would have held onto something, just in case I forgot the following morning.

GTD gives me so much freedom to enjoy life away from my responsibilities, knowing that I have captured what needs to be done and can go back to tasks without the worry of things slipping through the cracks and being missed.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

David's article in the recent GTD newsletter, Productive Living, about "listless lists" really resonated with me.

I had suddenly found that my @office list was repelling me last week and used a strategy that I think was discussed in the newsletter (and has certainly been mentioned in various posts around the GTD forums) to create an attractive list again: I moved quite a few items to Someday/Maybe.

I realised that my problem was that I didn't have a Someday/Maybe list that I fully trusted for items that I wouldn't get to this week, but want to get to within 2-3 weeks. I have remedied this by creating a short term Someday/Maybe that I will always check at the weekly review. I don't want to review my longer term items every WR and this was subtly preventing me from using the list to relieve the pressure on my everyday context lists.

I use paper and prefer to work from just one A4 page, so when I reach the bottom of the page I re-write my actions that are still to be completed on a new sheet and toss the old one. My work is such that this works quite well, as I have a lot of short actions that are longer than 2 mins but can be completed in 10-20mins and I can therefore normally cross off quite a number of actions over the course of a couple of days and don't need to re-write a long list when reaching the bottom of the page. However, my workload has been heavier than usual for the last couple of weeks and this has forced me to rethink where I keep a few of the NAs that are not as important. Moving them to the short term Someday/Maybe has been really liberating!

Once again David is spot on - re-negotiating your commitments as your priorities shift is vital to stay in control and ensure that you are confident that you are doing what you should be, when you should be.