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When GTD is a most…

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  • When GTD is a most…

    I just started a new job, and many things have gotten me by surprise. I started GTD around Xmas of 2003, and start reading the forums around March 2004, when finally understood the importance of certain basic concepts. Since then I have been in the GTD Wagon, trying to improve it, trying to make the system works. Ok, at the beginning I just play with tools, after the GTD Fast CDs arrived I understand the systems implication and start working in the Systems. My System has evolved in different occasions, to better and to worse. I am proud to say that I understood and take the Weekly review, and have make sure people in the place that I work understand Why I need a Weekly review; to the point that in crazy weeks when I need to do more than one they understand…

    All this worked great until I got my new job… I work in a place that (as far as I know) people do not apply formally GTD, but Company has a simple policy… you should be able to do your job in 8 hours, or there is 2 options, you are not good enough (and the company will look for a replacement) or you are good but are overwhelmed in witch case you need to ask for resources, and it is your responsibility to ask for them, otherwise you are again not an effective person… This is an interesting position, in my work Experience I have always been in places that the most the better, if you work 20 hours you are better, this is the first time that efficiency is a requirement and 8 hours are your working time, that’s what you have, no more. This has created a new challenge to my GTD. In the past I use to work 10-14 hours a day, but I admit that I did work stuff at home and home stuff at work, with this time limitation, I need to be really careful on how to do it, because the 8 hours in the office are priceless.

    All this make me think, if we are doing GTD wrong. I know people doing GTD, great people, but they work more than they should, because the competency and expertise they show with GTD generates more and more work, instead of 8 hours shift. With this new challenges, time to get to the gym, get home early, the balance act suppose to be easier than before, but for some reason we get used to work 10-14 hours, to push the limits, to do more and more… I remember David Allen mentions that one of the big problems is that people is used to the stress they live in, and it is the reason some of the principles of GTD fail to stick. So my question is: Are we so used to the stress and the 10-14 working hours schedules that we are unable to use GTD to just work less and do more?

    I will love to know, if people has actually reduce the time they spend in the office using GTD, or has just been (as was for me in the past) just a way to accomplish more in 10-14 hours.

  • #2
    This is how a job should be. You get paid for doing a specified number of hours at something you are good at. You don't get promoted to your level of incompetence, and the company doesn't sneakily steal hours of your personal time away.

    This is why I think it's essential to have one GTD system for work and one for non-work. For the job you are talking about it enables you to focus all your attention on the job without being distracted by things you have to do at home. For the 99% of other jobs it enables you to switch off from work when not at work, despite the guilt that most organisations' cultures use to control their employees, making them feel like they need to work more than the hours specified by their contract.

    The more in control you are in your job, the more confidence you have to refuse extra hours arbritrarily demanded by others in the organisation. Also, the more confidence you have to change your job, if there is no other way.