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Share YOUR recent positive experience with GTD

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  • Share YOUR recent positive experience with GTD

    I just thought we could start a new thread on what you have lately achieved due to your implementation of some form of the GTD system. I understand that the system does have some strict rules but it also gives a lot of freedom to do things in your own way. Be brave and tell us about one of those recent "oh, cool, I am glad I am able to do this thanks to the GTD principles I put in place" days.

    I kind of want this to be an encouraging thread; let's keep frustrating thoughts out.

  • #2
    Since I started this thread I feel compelled to post my own recent positive experience right away.

    Tonight, I am in a much better mental state of mind; not because I have done a lot of items on my lists but because I know that I have chosen to change my strategy from thinking constantly about 10-15 projects at the same time to thinking about only 1-2 at the same time. I am by nature a person unsatisfied with being occupied with just one thing at a time (no living on a farm for me! (pardon me if you happen to live on a farm, but I am a cosmopolitan type - I love being with people; I love being in the midst of people, even if I have to be left alone, but that's a different story). I love the noise of a big city - it actually calms my nerves looking down on a busy street out of a high-rise window or just watching people from a sidewalk cafe).

    I feel that I am, perhaps, learning something that many never fully grasp until they have to slam on the brakes - I am learning how to harness the power of one's own psyche and channel it into the needed direction in order to accomplish goals that ultimately make you happy and/or make others around you happy. This can be illustrated in a number of ways but a good one is spending quality time with one's family.

    Now, Thanksgiving time is a lead-up to the rush of Christmas shopping, and many of us forget in the whirlwind of daily December existence that Christmas is not about shopping but more important things. I love Thanksgiving-Christmas because this is when we tend to focus more on the loved ones and people whom we care about.

    I spent some quality time with my family this holiday week and some of the experiences will be remembered for as long as we live. I looked at my schedule and decided that those things can wait, that ultimately spending these few days with those who rely on us and who we rely on is something that we don't have much time to do in other seasons because of many circumstances beyond our reach, perhaps. So, I didn't hesitate to push my stuff back and just relax and enjoy the company of my folks. I know that they will remember these few days just as I will remember them.


    • #3
      Thanks for the opportunity...

      Well, leave it to DavidCo staff to add to this posting!

      Monday, Nov. 10, I left home at 4am for a 8am flight out of LAX. I was about 25 minutes from my house (70 minutes from the airport) when my car engine started making loud, scary noises. Not even one mile later, I lost power, and had to pull off the highway.

      My car has never broken down before. This was a new experience, at 4:30am, and I had a lot of traveling yet to do. Well, here's what happened next:

      I took out a piece of paper, and I actually wrote about 5 sentences with a very specific successful outcome. After I did that, I took a few moments to relax, and then I went into motion. I called my wife to pick me up and bring me to the airport. I called the airline to work out my options for the next flights. I called the rental company to ensure I'd have a car when I arrived. I called the hotel to ask for a late check-in. I called AAA roadside assistance to find out what we could do later that day. I called my auto mechanic to leave a message to let him know my car was coming in later that day.

      It wasn't even 3 days later when I got a call on my cell phone (while in West Virginia) that my car was completely fixed. I re-read that paragraph I wrote on Monday morning, and smiled. It was what I had written down, almost word-for-word!

      There's my story...


      • #4
        Jason's post has been very inspiring.

        I want to tell you how what I learned from GTD has helped me remember things and not miss valuable stuff in my life.

        I go over to Monica Crowley's board quite often. She is a radio show host out of WABC in NYC. Well, today I saw that Monica will be appearing on Fox and Friends tomorrow morning. I love when Monica guests on Fox shows! So, instead of doing "Oh, cool, I need to remember that and turn the TV on when I am making my coffee in the morning tomorrow" I pulled out my Palm which I ALWAYS have with me, opened up a template in Datebk5 for TV reminders and jotted down "M on FF" (Monica on Fox and Friends}. Then it took me a second to indicate the time (6:05 am), the alarm is automatically set to go off for that type of template. Bam! Now there's no way I am going to miss Monica's appearance and won't regret I missed her . The thing is totally off my mind now! I can rest assured that I will not miss that reminder, and I can proceed with other things. This brings me closer to the zen of GTD, I guess - "mind like water"

        Very small experience but I thought I might share.

        One thing I learned from GTD is to get over what people think of me ("oh, come on, you mean to tell me you write all this kinda silly stuff down?!") because I know that at the end of the day those people forget to mail that rebate card, miss their favorite show they have been waiting to see, forget to call their cousin and wish a Happy B-day, and forget to buy donuts for an early morning conference at work next Monday.

        It might seem silly to write everything down but at the end of the day the results speak for themselves.


        • #5
          Jason's story hidden assumption

          There is one important condition that must be true for Getting Things Done. You must have the personal network of reliable "service" providers.
          I mean that you have:
          - reliable wive (which was able to bring you to the airport);
          - full travel and emergency information with you (for example contacts to airport, rental service, hotel etc.);
          - reliable auto mechanic who will take care of your car.
          So the point is:
          It is not sufficient for GTD to make a list of Next Actions - you must have resources (knowledge, experience, contacts etc.) to implement these actions efficiently.


          • #6
            It is not sufficient for GTD to make a list of Next Actions - you must have resources (knowledge, experience, contacts etc.) to implement these actions efficiently.
            Yeah, but except for his wife how do you think he got these reliable resources? And even with his wife, he may have influenced her with good behavior (GTD). Your quote would be totally true if he had just started GTD. But I assume that with time and preparation you will find reliable resources to match your own organization skills and speed.




            • #7
              Positive experience GTD

              Jason didn't have to influence his wife. She works at David Allen. She was at one of the seminars I went to and she has terrific GTD skills.


              • #8
                I thought I had seen her name before; but I was just trying to make a point. I didn't mean any disrespect.

                I was just alluding to what David mentions in the book, your expectation of others changes. With some people or businesses you are not neccessarily going to change them (or wait for them to change), you'll take your business elsewhere. But with those people you care about, you'll take your time, and hopefully they might follow your example. And I would imagine that somebody's spouse might be influenced by the other half, even if they don't take up GTD.



                • #9
                  Implementing the GTD methodology helped me get through the pregnancy and arrival of our new 10-week old twin girls. About midway through the pregnancy my wife was put on bedrest and our family cat (of about 10 years) developed cancer and required intensive treatment and visits to the veterinary hospital. I'm an attorney and had a few major cases come up for trial during the summer as well.
                  Getting everything out of our heads, onto paper and translated into successful outcomes and next actions definitely facilitated the completion of the nursery and preparation of the house, the purchase of all necessary equipment (i.e. car seats, double-stroller, etc.) the attendance at the appropriate childbirth classes. Oh, and a $3.9 million verdict too!
                  We subsequently applied the methodology to planning for the Baptism this coming weekend.

                  On a slightly smaller scale: I park in a multi-level self-park garage in the city where I work. I usually end up parked on a different level every day, and I used to try to remember (in my head) which level I parked on. Inevitably, at least 3 days a week I'd forget (or I'd be thinking of the level I parked on the previous day) and end up lugging my briefcase up and down the stairs looking for my car on various levels. Now, before I get in the elevator at the garage, I pull out my Clie and enter a untimed event in the calendar for that day: Level 5. I haven't seen the stairwell since.


                  • #10
                    Another minor but earthshaking? revelation

                    Well, I think this fits a slightly different type of positive experience, but here goes...

                    I've been struggling with adopting GTD completely - In the six months that I've understood and tried to adapt, I've tried to fit all the bottom-up advice into what I thought I needed for a top-level framework to make sure I'd have the 'most relevant' things popping up at the tops of my lists.

                    Today I realized that all that 'structure' is already in my head and heart - and no set system will ever keep up with my Zen-flexible home life... so I make the leap:

                    My Palm-based lists are now one flat, all-inclusive "Outcome" list, and flat context lists to match. No hierarchy other than NAs under projects.

                    I feel so much more confident that there are no fuzzy 'blind spots' in all my categorizing and shuffling. I can feel the temptation of " 'reorganize for a better goal fit' == procrastinate on everything" sliding away now, replaced by the "I can do these things on the list, because I know I wanted to do these *particular* things, just by having entered them in the system...

                    So this is what it feels like to be enlightened, in whatever small way

                    Thanks to everyone that's posted here in the last year or so, and at long last, A particular thanks to Mr. Allen for getting these concepts into a digestible form



                    • #11
                      Positive Impact of GtD

                      My manager at work thinks I walk on water! If he asks me to do something, it goes into my NA list (and project list if needed) and it gets done. If he agrees to do something (usually get some information) I create an @WF task and follow up. Several times he has forgotten about the original item and my follow up reminds him. I will then ask "when should I follow up again?" and either he will give me a date (follow up becomes a dated action) or he performs the action right away. I'm just waiting for him to ask me how I do it so that I can introduce him to the best book I ever bought.

                      At home, my husband was equally impressed with how I was making progress and/or completing some long-outstanding projects. (He was less enamoured with my persistent follow-ups on the tasks that he was responsible for completing.) As a result, he has now listened to the CDs, read the book and is implementing GtD for himself. Dinner conversations are now sprinkled with "next actions", "context", "project", etc.



                      • #12

                        Your post made me laugh - in a good way

                        Wow, I see that the system works for many!

                        Thanks for sharing!