Organization, overcoming procrastination, motivation, goal-setting and creating better habits for getting things done - that's part of what I help people do as a hypnotherapist and creative/ life coach. While I encourage my creative clients to accept and trust their artistic process, a flow of continuous actions is necessary to bring visions and dreams forward into reality.
I've been using the workflow process Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity intermittently since around 2003, when I was turned onto it by my friend Art Santos. Like everyone, when he told me about the system, I said - 'ok, sounds good, just tell me how to do it'. I wanted the shortcuts - how to get started, what do I need, how do you use it? He was maddeningly cryptic and just kept telling me that I had to read it for myself. I squalled and huffed. but bought the book, and went through the first chapter lackadaisically. I called Art again - 'ok, I'm reading the book, tell me what I need to do.' 'Keep reading,' he said. 'Aggggh!' I said.
[ Impatience has always been with me. Born in the year of the Rabbit, always one of the fastest runners, readers, writers in school, I move quick, I think quicker, I want to get results, I sometimes read the endings of novels and fast forward movies. (That's why I love TIVO) I grok things. Show me once, and I will do just as you did. I integrate and synthesize and comprehend quickly. I make BLINK-style decisions with little to no regret. Waiting is my #1 pet peeve. I have focused my efforts in the past few years on meditation, stillness, kairos and the Power of Now. I have struggled but learned to yield to the marvel of time passing without frenetic pace or movement. I can now watch Microcosmos on an infinite loop, dissolve into a yoga posture, and slip into the Meta-Verse, holding, sustaining, the eternity and infinity like an endless pure tone. ]
So I sat and forced myself to read every page of Getting Things Done, and in the reading only I began to feel my brain rearranging, reallocating, freeing up memory and space! Processing my INBOX for the first time into my Jan - Dec, 1-31, A - Z, Someday/Maybe, Next Actions ( my @s ), and Calendar was an exhilirating experience, and it's 2006, the beginning of a New Year, I've fallen off the GTD wagon a bit, but I'm ready to get back on - and bless you, David Allen, for making it so easy to come back to the fold.
These are my top 5 reasons why GTD is t3h r0xXoR
1. MULTIPLICITY, FOR OPTIMIZED LIFESTYLE!
I was able to manage multiple lives, personal and professional goals and identities, responsibilities and goals, without much effort. Everything I needed to do was integrated into each day. I went to Burning Man and completely turned off the Responsible/Professional part of my brain in the desert, came back to work and didn't miss a beat. Even as my synapses were still sizzling, I was calmly reviewing my @Waiting For list, Calendar and Date-based Tickler file.
2. THE FORGIVENESS OF GTD TO PRODIGAL FOLLOWERS
I hate Franklin-Covey. I hate that their system is so expensive, needs so much stuff, and makes me feel like a failure when I have to carry over unfinished items from the day before. It's demoralizing and demotivating. Maybe it works for some people, but the GTD system allows you to drop off, then pick up again, without having to buy new calendar pages or re-copy next actions. GTD doesn't care if you've been gone for 3 weeks or 3 months. GTD forgives, and receives your INBOX with open, ready buckets waiting to be filled with your Next Actions. And cajoles you with a playful Tickler to tease out a Next Action, prodding you gently to movement.
3. The @s: PRODUCTIVITY IN EVERY MOVEMENT AND MINDSET
I go through my @Calls list when I feel chatty and talkative and have time to focus solely on the other
person on the line. While I'm driving around and get somewhere early, I check if there's anything I can do on my @Errands list. When I'm at home and want to be more productive than just sleeping, cooking and cleaning, I check my @Home list. When I feel like daydreaming or zoning out, I visualize goals or things I might like to do and scrawl then on little notes, which then go into an @Review or Someday/Maybe file. The @s trigger action - for whenever I feel like doing something.
4. ANALOG OR DIGITAL? DOESN'T MATTER TO GTD!
I used to run my GTD system off of Outlook, syncing up to my Sharp Zaurus PDA. There are ample GTD / Productivity - based blogs, like 43 Folders, Slackermanager, and even David Allen himself. Many tout various platforms of implementation, ranging from various softwares or even the analog, paper-based models like the Hipster PDA. I've also run GTD in a notebook with tabs and printouts of Monthly-style calendars from Outlook. Currently, I prefer buying a nice blank book, adding tabs and then using a diary-style calendar to keep my appointments.
5. GTD IS OPEN FOR TWEAKING
GTD is all about adaptation. You can customize your @s, you can tweak the process itself to incorporate the kind of work you do and the way you think. It still works. That's some great code.
When I get through my INBOX pile and my calendar, ticklers, @s are all set up, I know I will feel a great sense of accomplishment, freeing up psychic RAM and energy to concentrate on the moments of Now which will never come again. When mind clutter is dispersed and every thought has a home, a cheer of voices will arise, from the thoughts which struggled to be remembered, and the dreams and tasks which clamored and competed for my attention.
Time for me to go close some open loops.