Getting Things (Almost) Done
Quick thought: almost finished reading GTD, and a cool workshop to make it real
I’ve written a few things recently on my experiences with Getting Things Done; I made it one of my goals to read the book through January, with the aim of hopefully uncovering a few things that would help me get more productive. I have had several projects on the back burner for some time, and was thinking about how I might “make time” to take them forward. As I have read GTD I have been struck by the realisation that the problem is not the amount of time that I have to focus on projects, but how I use my time.
I’ve not quite finished GTD yet, but I am through the main part of the book and have started implementing things. The difference so far is really amazing to me. While I don’t have a full GTD system running around me, all of the little things that I have started – especially the idea of physically capturing everything that needs action – have really helped. It’s quite a profound thing:
- even without a total system up and running I trust that nothing is getting missed
- if something only takes two minutes, I just do it, get it done, get it out of the way – by 9:30 in the morning I can feel like it has been a really productive day
- the idea of stating the next action needed for a project – and the definition of a project as something that requires more than one action – has really revolutionised my flow.
After tweeting about my reading and my blog posts, I was invited by Pascal Venier to a workshop on GTD at the University of Salford, which was yesterday. The workshop was great, and has really helped me already in getting my system more concrete. For a long time I have had this idea that I needed one piece of software, or one paper-based medium that would cover everything – and this just isn’t true. I struggled with capturing notes in multiple journals, notes on my phone, two email inboxes and so on: my problem was not that I couldn’t find a good piece of software to do everything, but that I didn’t realise that I needed a system that would do it, and that I could make that system for myself.
So it is fine for me to capture short notes on my phone – so long as I output them to paper later. It is OK for me to capture work ideas in my journal – so long as I put them on coloured cards and into the card file alphabetically. This is part of my system, and having that system in place (or the building blocks at least) is having a great effect on me.
My next step will be to minimise the physical inboxes around me: two shelves, a corner of my desk, the top of the printer and the boxes in the corner of the office – these will all become one in-tray and there will be order!
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