GTD: Moving From Hope to Trust

Simply put, Getting Things Done has revolutionized my life.  Excuse the drama – but this book has made a huge difference in my life.  Now I don’t want you to think that now everything is perfect and this is the cure-all book that guarantees success.  That’s not what I’m saying.  What I’m saying is that for where I’m at in life, I manage an extremely busy schedule consisting of multiple projects (both personally and professionally), raising two small children, trying to always be a better husband, training for half marathons, and maybe sitting back with a beer and a good book once in awhile.

I’ve always struggled with productivity and even organization.  Still, I’m moving right towards it and I’ve identified “discipline” as a characteristic essential for my success.  I started reading David Allen’s classic management book Getting Things Done.  I also checked out the audio book from the library so I could listen to it now that sports radio is essentially useless until football returns in the fall.  I digress.

One of the most practical advances in my productivity has been the move from hope to trust.  GTD hinges in the following idea: for you to focus on your work, you need a trusted system to collect all your thoughts and projects, organize and prioritize this list, and consistently review this list to make sure you’re doing what needs to get done.  This idea was about three chapters in the book, so don’t worry if you don’t totally get it.  But the part that was always tripping me up was the bucket.  The bucket is where you collect all your ideas throughout the day.  It’s a big list.  I keep mine in Evernote.  My problems was that I was carrying multiple lists and storing them in multiple locations.  I know – it sounds crazy now that I think about it.  One point for humbly admitting my failures.

I had multiple lists in multiple places.  Things got lost OR things were so disorganized that there was no way I could plan my workflow appropriately.  But thanks to Allen’s system, I’ve created a system of my own.  Here’s the catch: I trust that everything is in the bucket or in my Weekly Review.  So I don’t have to duplicate anything.  And I don’t have to worry about “really remembering this task or that list” because it’s all in one place.  Allen calls this RAM, like a computer – constantly having thoughts and ideas stuck in your head.  Less RAM means more time to be productive.

I’m willing to bet you could find a few ways to improve your productivity and manage your stress level better if you read Getting Things Done.

5 thoughts on “GTD: Moving From Hope to Trust

  1. Rolandgreco

    Hans,
    can you write how you use evernote for your lists.
    My biggest problem is that I use several items for my lists. But I have narrowed it down to using paper and mindmanager.
    thanks,
    roland
    rolandgreco@gmail.com

    Reply
    1. Hans Schiefelbein

      Sure Roland. First I strongly encourage you to use one platform for keeping all your notes. I say this from experience – you’ll lose things. Use Evernote. Put every note throughout the day into one note – call this note something catchy. Then at the end of the day you need to process where these notes need to go next. It may be into other notes in Evernote or it may be to an email or a project in a Word document.

      I would have to know more about your workflow to help more with lists b/c they’re so personal. As a quick example, I have a Note for evaluating employees that I add to just about every day. I also have a Note tracking customers and hours on particular jobs. And lastly I have a Note of projects I need to do myself and another Note for what the crew needs to do when we have some spare time.

      Is this helping? I’d be happy chatting more over email – I could show you some screenshots, too.

      Thanks for writing.

      Reply
    2. Hans Schiefelbein

      Sure Roland. First I strongly encourage you to use one platform for keeping all your notes. I say this from experience – you’ll lose things. Use Evernote. Put every note throughout the day into one note – call this note something catchy. Then at the end of the day you need to process where these notes need to go next. It may be into other notes in Evernote or it may be to an email or a project in a Word document.

      I would have to know more about your workflow to help more with lists b/c they’re so personal. As a quick example, I have a Note for evaluating employees that I add to just about every day. I also have a Note tracking customers and hours on particular jobs. And lastly I have a Note of projects I need to do myself and another Note for what the crew needs to do when we have some spare time.

      Is this helping? I’d be happy chatting more over email – I could show you some screenshots, too.

      Thanks for writing.

      Reply
  2. Pingback: Workflow | HansSchiefelbein.com

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