Published on September 21st, 2009 | by Kyith13
GTD Series Part 1:The Overview
Folks will be interested to find out how i actually carried out the things thatI often blog about. And this series of articles is an illustration to show how i actually do that.
For this series, I will talk about how i carried out Getting Things Done in my daily personal and work life.
What is Getting Things Done and why do I use it?
Getting Things Done is a method Mr David Allen came up with to help get things out of your brain so that it frees up the memory and processing capabilities of our tiny brain to do the things that actually matters.
Simply put, its a productivity and organizing technique that serves an alternative to Stephen Covey and his method listed in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Getting Things Done or GTD in short ain’t something new. Its been blogged about for sometime but I would recommend for people who want to practice this seriously to pick up David Allen’s book and read it. You won’t get a better picture then from the man himself trust me.
I know different people work differently but perhaps you can contrast it against Stephen Covey’s methods. In that case, do pick up his book to find out more about his method.
I always wondered if i can organize what i do and the things and people that i worked with better and i used to bump around solutions to make things work, organize tasks so that it makes sense to me. But sooner i realise that it just not working. I would just stay away from my task / todo list or my calendar cause they just don’t make sense.
My Experience With the 4 Quadrants
I even tried out marking things into the 4 categories listed in 7 habits of highly effective people and really to me its very hard to make sense.
Consider things like:
Its a good thing to focus on the 80/20 rule, which is the 20% that is most important and matters, but really, as an individual, the 80% needs to get done as well.
Another gripe about this system is that what if the important and urgent things gets too much. Which one should you focus on first? Hey, they are all important and urgent isn’t it?
Do also note that things that are Important and not urgent would eventually move into Important but urgent. In that case, you will really get your hands tied up with alot of important and urgent stuff.
I always think that this only address the problems of managers who look at things on the strategic levels. When you are a small fry like i am, I have to think about the strategic stuff and worry about the small, time intensive things that i cannot delegate to others since i am the lowest of the lowest.
Why i find Getting Things Done better
GTD in a sense, is a god send. I used to think that GTD is all about creating Tasks and categories. That was before i read David Allen’s book and realise that it actually make a lot of practical sense compare to the 7 Habits.
Applying the living with it shows that its not the perfect system. Rather people spend alot of time creating the perfect GTD system. But hey, i think it gives quite alot of tools in the book to create your own system compare to the other book.
It makes sense to me because it explains strategic and day-to-day planning for an individual well.
The 6 Levels of Focus
The 6 perspectives illustrates planning at different levels and how it all adds up.
- The small Actions forms the goal to finish the Projects.
- The projects will eventually satisfy the Area of Responsibility
- Reaching the goals set for your area of responsibility will satisfy your Yearly Goals
- Which should be inline with your Life Goals or 5 Yearly Goals
As an illustration, I will not list out my Vision, Yearly Goals upwards but my Area of Responsibilities.
I don’t think i need to defined whether they are for work of personal since its pretty intuitive. These areas will eventually be your Big Project Buckets or Lists and you might get increase area of responsibility when
- you evaluate that you have new personal goals, and what is the big areas of responsibility that you need to achieve it. e.g. take good care of grandmother whose health is not in the best condition
- when your boss adds more assignments to you such that, you need special attention to it as it consumes much of your mental and physical resources e.g. handle the transition and knowledge transfer of Project B
My Work flow Process
Your work flow process will take care of how you execute the stuff that you get spammed with in life and how to make sense of it physically. Normally this would be where most people need the most help since people don’t normally think every day about what i want to achieve rather when would be a good time to do task A or task B or should i file or throw away this brochure.
The work flow process described treats every thing that comes along as a conveyor belt that gets rinse and repeated every time things comes along your way:
I am not gonna overload you by explaining my workflow but i will be explaining in the subsequent posts how all these will pan out. Having such a workflow looks complex but really it isn’t. Let me just say that without such workflow things that goes within your brain is even more complex than this diagram!
I realise the hard way that its not at all about coming up with the most fool proof plan. You learn along the way the flaws about your plan, about yourself and you improve upon it.
But i do realise that everyone is searching for the holy grail but perhaps there isn’t.Thats why i blog about this so that i hope people can contrast against the way i do things and refine or justify that what they do is better or worse than mine.
Next Up i will talk about Appigo ToDo, my current Life Planning Project Management software.