If you’re like me, there are so many tasks that demand our attention. As I get deeper into the business world and try to manage family, work, hobbies, and recreational activities I find it so easy to get overwhelmed. A couple years ago I stumbled upon David Allen’s project called Getting Things Done, often abreviated GTD. What a concept! Get things done. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Yet it’s extremely relevant because life is really about what you produce. You can think, dream, plan all you want – believe me, I have! But at the end of the day it’s ultimately about what you have done, what you have created.
As I wrote about last week, I am really against New Year’s Resolutions. I see too many people pursue drastic lifestyle changes from fitness to nutrition to reading to you name it. And it’s just not an effective way to facilitate changes. At the same time, the new year is naturally a great time to reflect on the previous year and plan out some goals and changes for the next year. This is a good thing, a natural thing, and I would argue one that successful people have mastered.
Today I want to challenge you with this: do you have a workflow? Do you have a set of routines, a list of tasks, or some plan that you follow on a fairly regular basis? I guess I’ll let some people off the hook right now. If you can get up, go to work, be less than inspired, come home and make some dinner after watching a few shows only to return to the tv after dinner, then this post isn’t for you. But if you’re someone who wants to start a business on the side, start a non-profit organization, volunteer somewhere, serve at church, write a book, or change the world, then let’s keep this going. That was a little rant, but let’s be clear: you were created to create. I give you ultimate freedom to decide the scope of that creativity, but contribute something to this society – we need you.
So for me, I wear a lot of hats. Here’s a quick overview of the projects on my plate:
- I am developing this blog which will eventually lead to a small business
- I have a rough (very rough) outline for a book which is very related to the business
- I’m pursuing a masters degree in leadership and management (not really) from all the books and blogs I read
- I’m pursing an actual masters degree in Kinesiology from UW
- I tweet daily as I go through #EatThisBook
- I’m collecting recipes for another book, a fun recipe e-book to come out this summer
- Oh, and I have a family!
I do not (do. not.) say this as a form of bragging. If anything it would be easy to argue that I’m spreading myself out too thin. But this is my reality, and this is my attempt at being transparent (it worked). Here’s my point: none of this gets done if I do not have an excellent workflow to manage these projects. And in another attempt at transparency, I’ll admit that I currently do not have that workflow developed. But I’m getting there. Here’s the kicker: I know from experience that things will contantly demand my time, and I will be a slave to the fun and interesting things on Twitter, blogs and Facebook if I am not careful. Instead I need to have a workflow that ensures I get done the work that’s most important. Sometimes that changes per day, even per week. But it should intuitively make sense that without a solid structure for the day, without a process and protocol for managing inputs that happen over our 18 waking hours of the day we cannot expect to be as productive as we should.
So I don’t have the answers, for you at least. I have a great start for myself. But I want to challenge you to reflect on your daily workflow and determine if some changes (yes, slight changes) could make your day more productive.