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Ideamatt on GTD with support staff
Merlin Mann | Dec 11 2006
Matt Cornell has posted some useful notes on emerging best practices for doing GTD with an administrative assistant. There's some practical and thoughtful stuff here, and I recommend having a look.
While I have a gut feeling most 43f readers probably don't have/are not a dedicated admin, I know that most of you do work on teams and do have support staff (or are support staff). And one of the constant themes I hear from people is the need for more advice on how to implement GTD practices outside one's own half-acre (here's my interview with David Allen about just that issue). Articles like Matt's can be useful in considering how information might flow with less friction in your workplace. Great way to get the conversation going, for sure.
I think the theme I like best here may have virtually nothing to do with GTD, strictly speaking, but has everything to do with informal standards, team culture, and divisions of labor. As David said numerous times in our recent interviews, you want to get to the point where you don't need to interrupt one another to trust that any new input makes a responsible entry into a team member's world. But that requires certain shared expectations and, in many cases, a physical external system that everyone understands and utilizes.
To this end, I like Matt's notes on collection:
I suspect that bringing back the physical inbox -- and then (importantly!) deriving a shared set of team expectations about how to use it -- might be the most profound and least costly thing that could be done to improve productivity in the physical office workspace.
And some of the tips under "Final points" can be useful as best practices in any team workplace.
How are you implementing GTD on your team? Whether you are or have support staff, talk about how you delegate work and use inboxes -- both physical and digital -- as a trusted system.
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