Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Getting Things Done

My to-do list has been getting a little overwhelming these days both at home and at work. When I first began keeping it, it felt really empowering to be committed to an organized list. Before, I kept everything in my head and on notes scattered around home and at my desk. You can imagine how that system worked! But after a few weeks of dutifully keeping my list, I started to feel a little paralyzed on some of my projects, and soon I started to rebel against my list completely. Looking at the list was giving me anxiety and making me feel guilt and grumpy. I was starting to ignore the list completely and revert back to my old way of doing things – even though it didn’t work, at least it was familiar.

Then, David Allen came into my life. Sometimes things just sync up at just the right moment! David Allen is a NY Times bestselling author and creator of The Getting Things Done System. The tag line to this system is “whether you are a CEO, a student, or a stay-at-home worker, we’ll give you the keys to focus your energies without letting things fall through the cracks. We’ll show you how to create environments and best practices for work and home to avoid burn out and keep you relaxed, focused and productive” Sold! Sign me up.

I decided to just dive in and download the GTD full 2 day seminar. The seminar is an investment, but it is a fraction of the price of attending David Allen’s conference in person, and contains over 9 hours of really good material. The goal of the program is to master the flow of priorities into a manageable system so that your mind is emptied and ready for the present task. He claims your subconscious is usually on an endless loop about all of the things that are unresolved in your life. So this causes a lot of unneeded anxiety and keeps you from truly being focused on the present moment. Rings true for my life!

His system is much more advanced than creating simple to do-lists. He actually doesn’t believe these lists work because people tend to ignore them. Spot on!

One of the things he talks about in this seminar is mastering your workflow into five phases:

1. Collect all of the stuff you potentially have to pay attention to

2. Process: focus your mind on these things and determine they mean to you

3. Organize the results of that thinking into coherent systems that make sense

4. Review and keep current

Then: use this process to move ourselves into trust in terms of our judgments about what we do, and finally:

5. Do

Do you have your own process for getting things done? We want to know what is working for you! Please leave a comment below.

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