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New job and GTD

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  • New job and GTD

    I will be starting a new job soon. I will remain in the accountancy profession at a senior managerial level. I will try to arrange things so that I have an interval of a week between jobs. I intend to re-read GTD in full over this week in order to ensure that I implement it properly in my new post.

    The first time I read GTD, I was caught in a snowdrift of stacks and piles and toppling in-trays. I will never forget the liberating experience of applying the process in order to identify all of the open loops, and nail down the project descriptions and next actions by category.

    But in the new job I will begin with zero open loops. Obviously I will use GTD principles to keep track of work as it starts to build up. But my question is: have any of you experienced GTD users out there ever found yourselves in a start off situation like his, and more particularly, were there any peculiarities associated with using GTD in such a situation?



  • #2
    "Starting off..."

    Great question!

    In fact, it's one that we get from people who are searching for their first jobs, people working in the same job for years, and even a retiree! "How do I start/continue using these methods?"

    We promote Action Management as a way to effectively negotiate personal and professional commitments. These commitments, long and short term, personal and professional, big and little, are the things that come up on us when we least expect it. Be careful! It's during the lull in the storm that the most creative, outrageous, opportunity-rich ideas come upon us!

    How many of you have ever been two days into a vacation (or a weekend!?) and found that your mind was going with things you could do "when you get back to the house/office/lake..."?

    So, just keep on keeping on. Capture your thoughts when they come up, process those notes and phone calls, and pieces of paper and manage those to-do's. Remember to check the inventory once a week!


    • #3
      Thanks Jason: that gap between jobs could come to resemble one long weekly review. It’s true, when the daily work pressure recedes into the background, a whole heap of buried ambitions, plans, and kernels of ideas can float majestically to the surface and catch our attention.

      I have been trying to project ahead to the first days in my new position. I think it may be an ideal opportunity to assess my initiative, (my gung-ho quotient?). I will have to resist the temptation to “park” activities by classifying them as “projects” and jotting down the next actions for execution some time in the future, when in fact I will probably, in the first few weeks, have plenty of time on hand. The less I give in to this temptation, and the more I push projects through to completion, the higher my gung-ho levels. (In other words, having got it out of my head and into my GTD system, how willing will I be to let it back into my head to actually DO it?).

      This, of course, is not a dismissal of GTD. In fact, I have been told that the department in which I will be working has approximately 100 long term cases in progress at any one time, and that due to the nature of the work, they can take over a year to complete the final reports. GTD will be an ideal system for tracking those cases. (I could have the longest “waiting for” list on the posting-board!). I would NOT like to have to carry around anything like that many open loops in my head!!

      It also occurs to me that my system will take on a form that will largely be determined by the work patterns: along with a huge “waiting for” list, I may have virtually no project support folders, as the firm’s filing system will probably fill that role. My project support files will most likely only deal with my own developmental initiatives for my role.

      Any other real-life stories?




      • #4
        I am in the middle of my second week at a new job, and the experience has given me an new appreciation for GTD.

        First off, it's much easier to start fresh in a new situation than to roll back a monstrous inbox. (Still rolling back that personal email inbox... rueful grin.)

        Secondly, this is the only way to go with dealing with the "start-up phase" of a new job where the projects, discoveries, and ideas are flying faster than snowflakes in a blizzard. I had either my Palm, my keyboard (inputting directly into Life Balance), or a pad of paper & pen clutched firmly that entire first week. I think my frequency of leaping for the keyboard to capture another new clutch of ideas is down from every five minutes to once an hour or so. What a joy to know that all that thinking is safely captured & doesn't have to be redone!

        My weekly review is now bifurcated. Most of it (including the complete review of projects & waiting fors) happens at work on Friday. The stuff that has to happen at home (process home inboxes) happens on Saturday. Getting (as) clear and complete (as possible) on Friday really energizes me to deal with Saturday (did I mention that catch up job?)

        This may sound backwards, but being able to practice GTD at the new place, in a less cluttered environment, helps me sharpen my tools for dealing with the demands of home, where I am my own client and so more inclined to let things slide.


        • #5
          I started a new job about 6 months ago as a practicing GTD guy. The only thing I would add to what others have written is that it's a brand new experience to be perceived by colleagues at your new job as "the most organized, relaxed, yet focused person" they've ever seen. They think this is the way I've always been. They think it's in my genes. They think it's how I was brought up. I like that they think this! But whenever someone asks, I point up to the bookshelf to my hardcover GTD book. "If you really want to know, buy this book and read it," I say. A few people have, but most still think I was born with this incredible talent to stay focused, relaxed, and productive regardless of the pressure around me.


          • #6
            Thanks Ambar and "Here we go". I have read several articles on the importance of the first thirty days in a new job: from what you are saying, it looks like GTD will really help to maximise my impact during this early phase.



            • #7
              I'm in it!!! New Job.

              I started my new job on 6/30.

              You may not deal with this since I would think the finance field would be more cut and dry. But, one of the first difficulties I found was (I'm a Business Analyst I/S and support a few IS systems) the difficulty in defining the project I was on and what were the next actions I was supposed to take and "New Employee Syndrome" (Knowing what you want to do but not knowing how to accomplish it where you are)

              After being here 2 months, it's improved greatly. But those first few weeks I remember a lot of "read this over, tell me what you think".. And I wasn't quite sure what I was reading... (I had a delay in getting access to some of my systems by as much as 2 weeks) Now there are a few things I am "rethinking" my opinion I gave since I know more.

              Then there may be some "supply" issues. I went out and bought my 3 tab folders (they only use flat tab), brought my label maker, dealth with no in bins for a few weeks (simple thing but it really bugged me).

              The only time things seem to get stressful is when I start trying to work from Memory vs. my system (palm and Outlook) It also took me about a month to set up the Company PC to synch to my palm. Bought a palm keyboard in the intermim.

              Deffinately worth the effort. It also helps that during the interview my Boss was VERY interested in learning GTD. He is plowing through the book now and recommending it to the rest of his staff.

              Congratulations on your new position


              • #8
                Fresh Start

                This may sound backwards, but being able to practice GTD at the new place, in a less cluttered environment, helps me sharpen my tools for dealing with the demands of home, where I am my own client and so more inclined to let things slide.
                You have expertly summed up the disconnect between implementing GTD @Work vs. @Home. I'm sure the Fresh Place - beginning w/empty made a huge difference for you.

                Congrats on the jobs to each of you.