Saturday, December 09, 2006

Me and GTD

I recently came across the work of David Allen, author of "Getting Things Done" and I have to say that it's been a good experience. David's work has built a following online (read more about it at Wikipedia) and off, and revolves around a set of techniques and principles. If you are an enlightened person, and thus an iTunes user, there is a very recent series that David Allen completed with Merlin Mann, the host of 43 Folders. (If you do look for it, search for the "43 Folders" podcast and the series of discussions is called "Productive Talk".)

So, the podcast has gotten me into reading the actual book (all right, listening to it, it's an audiobook--it's a more efficient use of time, see its working already). I have to say, not a fan of audiobooks because of the cheesy "marketing jingle" music and robotic breaks between chapters. Aside from that, the book is based on some very practical thinking on things like dealing with email, your inbox, etc. One of my favorite (albeit basic) thoughts so far is the practice of the the "next action". The basic idea is simply that there is a list of stuff that you have to do and chances are that you are procrastinating on more than one thing. The next step would just be whatever 10 to 15 seconds of thought dedicated to each task to come up with whatever the next action would be. For "get a car tuneup", the next action could be "check if the shop can take the car". The idea is that it takes the list of "stuff" and makes it into a more meaningful thing. If the tasks turn into actions, it makes them easier to deal with and get through.

A lot of this is about basic patterns and behaviors, just the doing of the basics over and over. Makes sense, even if someone is a master of something, the basics are still the foundation of whatever it is.

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