The GTD with Gmail Whitepaper gets a mention in Wikipedia (Principles of GTD Organization) and an external link. It’s pretty awesome that the author mentioned me by name. I love the smell of The Long Tail.
A (quite infrequent) review of Google Analytics showed a big spike in traffic (zero-something) referred from en.wikipedia.org and I thought “now that’s a new referrer.” No wonder my comment spam has gone through the roof lately.
It seems that the one carryover from brick-and-mortar, manual, old school business to the new knowledge-based economy is that upper management likes to have meetings. Meetings are necessary. Meetings suck. Here’s my meeting school:
Meetings are good:
- Task assignments are best identified by the team, rather than just direct orders by a superior.
- Resource allocations are easier with the minds of many.
- Well executed meetings facilitate brainstorms.
Meetings are bad:
- Tyrants use meetings for short-sighted task assignments.
- Long or frequent meetings waste the time of the team.
- Reactionary meetings facilitate blamestorming.
Make your next meeting productive. Set a timer, bring a list of things to talk about, don’t shoot down ideas, and come up with next action lists.
I’ve talked about little victories before and I think this is important to keep Getting Things Done. Two tips to help gain little victories:
- Track the little things. If I’m about to go to the store to go get light bulbs, I’ll go ahead and track the task. I’m not gonna forget to go to the store, and probably not forget the one thing that I’ve gone for. But when I write down the “run to the store and get light bulbs” action, a bubble floats up that I should check the supply of AA batteries. I’m out. If I had gone to the store, I would have discovered the battery shortage after I got back and the bulbs were out of my mental stack.
- Brainstorm for easies before a review. Even if you keep a tight system, there are probably a few things in your psychic ram you could afford to dump. Before a review, think about the things you think or know you’re about to do and get them down. They go a long way to reinforce confidence in your system and they might remind you of another action, or uncover some creative idea that will make you millions.
It’s much harder to stay on top of your GTD if the system isn’t working for you. GTD works, so don’t blame the system. There are a number of small things that can go wrong, however, if you aren’t careful.
Exercise regular reviews. If you aren’t reviewing, you aren’t Getting Things Done. I review my action list a minimum of once a day. I review my action list when I think to myself “what should I be doing?” I review my Someday/Maybe list at the first of every month, and whenever I’m feeling day-dreamy. I review my project actions every time my brain switches contexts to that project.
I’m starting another series on GTD. I hear from a lot of people that they have a hard time staying in it once they start, so this will be a series of quick tips to keep it going.
Unify your inboxes. Since I use gmail for GTD, I never fall down on keeping my gmail inbox squeaky clean. In addition, the constant reminder that I need to process all items with David Allen’s method keeps me going.
Stay tuned for the next tip for keeping up with your GTD.
Dan Miller outlines a 5-step decision-making process:
- State the Problem: Easy. My career and my calling don’t match. I don’t work in what I’m passionate about (music).
- Get the advice and opinions of others. I’ve been working on gathering information from resources on the songwriting and publishing businesses and talking to friends, colleagues and other musically inclined folks.
- List the alternatives. I kinda did that here. I know there are still more alternatives. I found out about Pump Audio yesterday. They provide bumper and background music for television programmers and advertisers. The catch is that they draw upon independent artists and have a revolutionary system for their clients to find the music they’re looking for. I think with enough practice, this could be a viable mechanism for success – I just need practice.
- Choose the best alternative. Here’s where I’m struggling now. I have a regular full-time job, a half-time youth ministry position, a new family and I’m trying to launch as many of these passion-based ideas as possible to gain a foothold somewhere. I think to just survive I’ll need to spread out my proverbial eggs. I just need some focused direction here.
- Act. The pudding’s in the details, isn’t it? If this were easy, everyone would be doing it. It’s not though. The counter-intuition really kicks in here and says “don’t jump” – but I have to.
An important detail of this process is that it should take a maximum of two weeks. While reviewing some old scribblings in my Moleskine today, I saw that I first mentioned this whole “I need to be doing my passion” rant on March 23rd. That’s more than seven months. Seven months is more than two weeks. C’mon Bryan.
Dan mentions having a goal, natch. Luckily, David Allen got to me first, so I’ve probably got a few gimme days here. His criteria for vocational goals are much like the Fred Gratzon passion intersections I mentioned previously. I know what these are, and I also have specific goals for my family, my income and my health that are in my “Someday
/Maybe” (I really like to make more of a commitment than ‘maybe’).
I’m still really enjoying (and I predict benefiting) from reading this book. I did do a quick countdown today and the 48th day is December 9th. I’m hoping to be working hard on my new vocation by then, and I’d like to see lots of you local readers at a show in January.
Reader’s Digest has a feature, Only In America, which highlights “Ideas, trends and interesting bits from all over” – all over America, I presume. October’s edition of this feature included two very interesting storiettes. The first of these mentioned David Allen and GTD, clutter busting, and feng shui.
The fruit of the meme, however, was a brief about Jacob Berendes, who runs a small record label in Worcester, Mass. A friend of his had recorded one blues song a day for an entire year and it inspiried him to find an everyday activity. The Macguffin here is that he went for the “original stuffed toy a day” idea. His toys are quite interesting but the true fruit is, oddly enough, in the root of this idea.
Since the progress of my goals is evident but slow, I am inspired to squeeze this idea into my schedule. I don’t think that ‘writing a song a day’ is an achievable goal, so it doesn’t pass the SMART test. It’d be much more realistic for me to come up with a progression a day, or a melody line a day. For now, I’m going to brew on this and leave the loop open for now.
Check out this beautiful little URL: fancy!
This brings me to my Next Action list.
Big deal, right? Well let’s rope in some other technology (that I’m already using) to sweeten the pot of gold:
- I posted the aforementioned URL into del.icio.us (a social bookmark manager that you definitely should be using) so it can be accessed easily by me from anywhere.
- Since my Firefox installations all have a live bookmark on the bookmark toolbar to the RSS feed of my del.icio.us “daily” tag, I tagged the Gmail Search for Starred messages URL as “daily.” Since I perform a Firefox “Open in Tabs” on my “daily del.icio.us” live bookmark at least once a day, I have an automatic actions review reminder.
- Since I use Quicksilver to
launch applicationsdo all of my work for me, and I have the del.icio.us module installed, I can now type: “cmd+space, a, c, t” and have my action list in seconds.
Wow, I’m easily excited.
It has been brought to my attention by friends, people I’ve never even met and by the little voice in the back of my head that it’s been a long time since I’ve posted. While this is true, there is good reason.
I set out here to offer, support, and field good ideas on productivity and on making life better for like-minded people. Productivity is a high aim.
I could probably find a reason to post every day.
Since my posts on GTD with Gmail, my readership has gone way up, and it seems I’ve stumbled across even more clever ways to implement GTD. I’ve seen several people bouncing all over the place on their implementation schemes. I won’t spell out the irony. Merlin and others noticed it and posted on it before I did. Expounding would be unnecessary.
My goal here isn’t to provide people with something to read so that they can avoid work. The goal here is to provide and collect ideas so that we can get our work done and move on to more important things.
So, worry not, I’m still here. From time to time I’ll be selfish and ask you for feedback or a solution. Today, now that I’ve thoroughly wasted 5 or 6 minutes of our time with this exercise in hypocrisy, I’ll ask that you go do something that’s been hanging out on your action list or project list with no progress for way too long.