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GTD: Boing Boing Mark gets it

Mad Professor: Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done has occasionally been criticized for lacking a focus on what I call Capital Letter Nouns -- as an action-based, tactical toolset for managing life's verbs, it was never intended as a top-down treatise on generating Big Life Decisions. I happen to think that's a big part of what makes it so appealing to people (esp. the techies who crave "actionable items") -- it takes you as you are and says "Okay, let's get to work."

But, funny thing: the folks who stick with GTD past the experimental try-on phase often discover it gives them sharper insight into their goals and values than some of the theoretically more lofty systems that are out there.

It's always satisfying to see folks make that big breakthrough, and that's what I hear Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder saying over at Mad Professor:

I bought the book and read it last year, and incorporated a lot of what I learned into my daily routine. But I re-read the book recently and came back with a deeper understanding of what the book is really about. The best summary is on page 19: "The real issue is how to make appropriate choices about what to do at any point in time. The real issue is how we manage actions."

That's the GTD process in a nutshell. It's about setting up a system that allows you to quickly review every single thing you want to do -- large (writing a book) and small (changing the wiper blades on your car) -- so you can decide on the best next physical action you can take to elicit the changes in your life that you desire.

Get those verbs under control, folks, and it's a shitload easier to even see the big nouns.

korinthe's picture

When you get to the...

When you get to the point where it's easy to see every single thing, and you have to face the fact that some of the things you have to do aren't aligned with your goals and values, and you can't just drop them, it can be painful.

I shied away from full-monty GTD after a change in projects at work. The stark reality of what I had to do, and the fact that it didn't get me anywhere near The Big Nouns, was causing more anxiety. I think this happens to a lot of people. You just have to face up to it and work through it. Some days are going to be better than others.

In the long run, it's probably better to keep yourself aware of the deviation between your necessary next actions and your goals. When the right thing comes along you will recognize it.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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