Instead of resolving to make big changes at the beginning of the year, I’ve been taking advantage of the quiet time around the holidays when work slows down and I have a few extra days to decompress. It’s basically a mini staycation without even burning vacation hours at work. That almost makes it even more relaxing since I’m not spending vacation time on it.
This time has been spent working through things I’ve wanted to do for a while, but at a relaxed pace. This includes things like cleaning out my action and project lists1, getting rid of things that seemed like a good idea at the time, but aren’t really as worthwhile now.
This time has been good for gaining a sense of accomplishment and feeling there is less hanging over me because I’ve refocused on the important things. The quiet time of the new year happens to give me space to do this, but to some extent, this is something I try to do at least once a month. I highly recommend it.
If you haven’t noticed from other posts, this is some GTD lingo ↩︎
Thanks to the Download Squad for turning me on to this tip:
Sick and tired of navigating automated response systems (a.k.a. computerized mazes) when calling for help, reservations, information, etc.? Many of these systems have ways to get to a human, but only after navigating menu after menu. Some really obnoxious systems try to make you think there is no option to talk to a human. They either don’t mention it at all or rattle off 6 or 8 menu options and pause for a few seconds – making you think that’s all of the options – and then finally announce the human option. Well, it’s time to put the screws to them. Thanks to gethuman website, you can now find how to get to a human being as quick as you can hit the keys on your phone.
In preparation for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I’ve been rereading the first six books. When I got to Goblet of Fire, I realized that Dumbledore has found his own system for GTD. He clearly knows the critical concept – empty your mind of all the open loops and put them into a trusted system. With your mind clear, you can use your trusted system to evaluate the work you need to do and define the next actions.
Dumbledore’s system? The pensieve. Remember when Harry enters Dumbledore’s office to tell him about Barty Crouch (Sr)? He falls into the pensieve and witnesses Dumbledore’s memories of the Death Eater trials. When Harry emerges from the pensieve, Dumbledore tells him that sometimes he has too many thoughts in his head. It helps to pull them out and put them into the pensieve to observe.
I now must check the David Allen Co. store to see if he is selling pensieves yet. 🙂
I had a bit of a challenge on Friday trying to get things done. I sat down at my computer and stared at my inbox, task list and notes with no clue what to do next. I looked through everything briefly and felt like I had not been doing my GTD homework (esp. the weekly review) for years. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever completely done the weekly review. I seem to always get distracted during the process and start working on the next actions.
I think the key to getting out of this daze was to ask myself what one next action could I do to get back on track? I realized that it was time to start the weekly review and keep at it until it was done completely. As soon as I made this decision, someone came into my office with the first fire drill of the day. At least I managed to get back to the review and kept the promise that I made to myself.
Now it’s Sunday and I’m still working through the review. No wonder I haven’t gotten farther in my GTD adoption yet. I will get this review done! I have a business trip starting tomorrow, so I’ll use the time on the plane to make sure I finish.
Well, I’ve made it through almost another whole day of 2006. This weekend was quite a mixed bag. While a good part of it was spent being lazy and playing on the PC, I did get some stuff done. I spent the past week at work and a few days at home refocusing on Getting Things Done (GTD). This approach to organization and time management has gotten me farther than anything else I’ve tried. I’m still hitting a few bumps getting full integrated, but it is already showing great results. If you wonder how some people seem to get so much done and yet are not stressed out, check it out. I’m starting to have people at work tell me they can’t figure out how I have time to do so much.
Speaking of time, somewhere between GTD and New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve already started some changes. I set up a workout routine and a goal to do either a multi-day bike tour or a marathon. I haven’t quite decided yet. I may try the bike tour first as a warm up for a marathon in 2007.
I’m also going to see if I can make a blog entry every day of the year! With my fascination with gadgets and my dislike for Bush, I should have plenty of material.
I also want to make time to catch up with old friends. The passing of my friend Kevin last October still troubles me from time to time. The best thing I can do in his memory is to keep in touch with all of the people who mean so much to me.