Staying on the GTD Wagon (Part III)

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.

Staying on the GTD Wagon (Part II)

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.

Staying on the GTD Wagon (Part I)

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.

Day 10 of 48

Sometimes the news that hits you like a ton of bricks is actually what you expected all along. I can’t really explain any more than that, but today, Dan Miller’s 48 Days to the Work You Love has me recreate my resumé. This is probably the oddest resumé I’ve ever created, but maybe that’s been my problem. I’ve shaded out details I think are better left private, but what’s your feedback? Would you hire me to be your composition master? I’ve got some work yet to do, but here’s a glance:

My Resumé

Behavioral Change Odds (Stacked in Your Favor)

Thanks to the outlet I have in space-age wasteland (and the fact that people continue to read it), I apparently have a 95% chance of making my vocational changes work. This Occupational Adventure post points out that:

[A 1993 BYU study] shows the chances of a change being incorporated into one’s life in various scenarios. When a person…

Says, “That’s a good idea.” 10%
Commits, “I’ll do it.” 25%
Says when they’ll do it. 40%
Plans how to do it. 50%
Commits to someone else. 60%
Sets a specific future time to share progress with person they committed to. 95%

I’m making significant progress on my goals. Thanks!

Day 3 of 48

Today, I read Chapter 4 of 48 Days… which started off talking about goals and actions. If there are two things I can handle, David Allen made sure they were goals and actions.

Dan Miller outlines a 5-step decision-making process:

  1. State the Problem: Easy. My career and my calling don’t match. I don’t work in what I’m passionate about (music).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Day 2 of 48

Yesterday, I told you that updates on my 48 days to the work I love would be sparse. Oh well. Dan asks this today:

If you want different results next year, what will you change in what you are doing now?

I agreed yesterday that change is the key to progress. Something has to change, and I’d like to see it change this year. We already know that I’ve got plans to make changes. My daily 4 lines of text to music is going well and I’m still constantly thinking of ways to make my calling a reality. I talk a lot though. Talk doesn’t make change for progress. I do need to consider my plans very carefully because I have three other human lives that are affected by these decisions. I plan on doing this, of course, but I need to be deliberate in my strategy. Now it’s time for church.