GTD is working for me? Yes!

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Suelin23, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    I wouldn't call it a "philosophy." It's a suggestion based on my direct experience. I've tried calendaring as a way of prioritizing and for the reasons I've explained above it didn't work for me. In fact I found it to be counter-productive.

    I'd be willing to bet that people like @Longstreet who use time-blocking to stay focused had to first make an internal commitment to prioritize certain things in their life. Only with such a commitment in place can an external tool be useful in staying on track.

    Excessive fear -- like the fear of saying "no" -- is the product of distorted thinking. It's the unfounded worry that something catastrophic will happen if you do the thing that you fear, even though there's nothing but evidence to the contrary. Again I'm telling you from direct experience that simply blocking out time on your calendar isn't enough to overcome that fear. First, you have to overcome the fear by countering that distorted thinking with more accurate thinking. Then you make different decisions based on that more reasonable thinking. At that point you can use external tools to help you implement your new decisions. Not the other way around. At least not in my experience.

    And yes, I remember the discussion about the piano player. At that time you were against time-blocking. I suggested that scheduling rehearsal time was a perfectly good use of the calendar because it's time-sensitive. If you don't practice enough for the recital, you won't be ready. But again without the internal commitment to practice the calendar won't help because you'll know you can blow it off if you want to.
     
  2. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    @Suelin23, if your organization is trying to change for the better that's good news. My suggestion to you would be to discuss with your manager and/or your coach some strategies for pushing back when someone asks you for something that takes you too far off track from your job's key priorities. It might be that the tasks that seem urgent can actually wait, or they can be delegated to someone else, or there's a more efficient way of doing them. Or a combination of the three. Once you have some specific feedback you can implement it using your GTD system.

    Taking that leap to do something that you fear is very hard, and nothing you put on a list or in a calendar makes that easier. In my experience you need to learn to challenge your own thinking. Ask yourself why you believe the consequences of saying "no" will be dire. Can you support that thinking with evidence? What is the evidence against that thinking? Ask yourself if the thinking behind your fear would hold up in court. Chances are, it wouldn't.

    It's still hard to do that thing you fear for the first time, but once you do it gets easier. It sounds like what you have is an opportunity for personal and professional growth, and I wish you the best of luck with it.
     
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  3. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    Absolutely -- you nailed it! One must have the internal commitment in place to be able to use time blocking effectively. I do know what my priorities overall are and time block accordingly. Cheers!
     
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  4. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    Do you happen to have a pointer to that thread? I'm not arguing with you; I completely accept that something that I said there must contradict what I said here. But since I don't remember changing my mind, presumably I'm expressing myself in two very different ways, and I'd like to identify my own miscommunication.

    (If you don't, no worries, I'll start searching.)
    (Edited to add: Well, that was fast. I found myself discussing that topic:

    http://forum.gettingthingsdone.com/threads/next-action-with-deadlines.12511/page-6#post-102629

    I seem here to be supporting time blocking, so I'm puzzled as to where I miscommunicated.)

    Re the fear of saying no, though, making a resolution like "8-2 belongs to these projects" or "no ad hoc tasks until after five hours of work on these projects" could BE the method for dealing with that fear.
     
  5. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    I don't have the time or motivation to wade through that gargantuan thread again. I'll take your word for it.
     
  6. Suelin23

    Suelin23 Registered

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    The managers at my company are being put through a time management course and it focuses on time blocking. Anything that requires 30 mins or more to work on has to get blocked into their calendar to work on or they have to reject it. It makes it hard to book a meeting with them as their calendar is constantly full and it repels you from booking time with them. My manager recommended I give it a try but after adding 3 things I found it I didn't like it at all and deleted those things. It's hard enough to come to work but even harder when you can see on your calendar you're committed to being busy all day
     
  7. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    I actually do some time blocking, particularly for next actions that take an hour or more. If I do not protect my calendar, then it is difficult to have the protected time to complete the action. Sometimes I also just add a 1-2 hour project block on my calendar. And finally, sometimes I block 1-2 hours for a particular Area of Focus. As long as you respect what you have blocked and work on them accordingly, this can be very powerful.
     
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  8. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    I am just curious what specific course the managers of your company are taking. Could you share that with us?
     
  9. Gardener

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    Urgh. That's definitely not the kind of time blocking that I have in mind.
     
  10. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    What kind of time blocking were you thinking about?
     
  11. Gardener

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    I was definitely not thinking of something like:

    10:15-10:45 Widget Report
    10:45-11:30 Write notes for grant application
    12:30-1:30 Learn to use the bug tracker
    etc., etc.

    I was thinking instead of:
    8:00-2:00 Monday-Friday: Focused project work. Not open to interruptions.
    2:00-5:00 Monday-Friday: Infrastructure and support and ad hoc tasks. Meetings. Open to interruptions.

    Now, if, say, your manager demands a 10am-10:30am meeting every Tuesday, then Tuesday's project work may need to shift around that. The same if a major disaster occurs. Time blocking isn't perfect. But I'm talking about having large defined periods of time where you try your hardest to defend focused big-project work, and other periods into which you herd the things that bounced off that defense.

    This is in contrast to trying to get the little stuff out of the way so that you can focus on the big stuff. That never seems to work; there's always enough little stuff to fill infinite time.
     
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  12. treelike

    treelike Registered

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    When they find out that it doesn't work and it gets abandoned maybe you could plant the GTD seed in the company culture.....
     
  13. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    I don't think some aspects of time blocking are incompatible with GTD. As I said, if I have a next action that takes an hour or greater to do, I will block this action on my calendar. This advice was also given in a webinar by Meg and Kelly.
     
  14. Suelin23

    Suelin23 Registered

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    I don't know, my manager didn't say
     
  15. Suelin23

    Suelin23 Registered

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    This is exactly what they were talking about!
    Interesting I've just checked my manager's calendar and already this habit is starting to drop off a bit - must be too hard to maintain!
    I don't mind blocking out time if something HAS to be done on that day. But if I have a month to do a project, then blocking out time to work on it just doesn't work for me, because if I did that across all projects my calendar would look crazy.
     
  16. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    I agree that time-blocking isn't antithetical to GTD but I don't think it is right for all people in all circumstances. My guess is it works best if you have a job that demands a lot of solitary work. A lot of jobs require more interaction, and more availability to field "interruptions," which I put in quotes because for a lot of us interruptions are opportunities.

    @Suelin23, it sounds like your organization is going through some growing pains as it tries to adjust its organizational culture. That can be uncomfortable but it could also be an opportunity. Or at the very least this time management training may be an annoyance that passes.
     
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  17. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    Agreed! I work in both worlds.
     
  18. Gardener

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    I feel like I'm not being clear. Not that you have to agree with my suggestion, I just like to be reasonably sure that I'm making my suggestion clear.

    I'm not talking about you specifically blocking off everything you do. But my impression--and I may be mistaken--is that you have two kinds of work:

    1) Large projects that will progress over a long period of time, that are on your performance plan.
    2) Smaller tasks, some of them ad hoc tasks, that take a shorter period of time, that are not on your performance plan.

    and that there's an issue of you realizing at the end of the week that you spent most or all of your time on work of type (2) and didn't get much done on work of type (1).

    I'm suggesting that you block off a large portion of every day for work of type (1). I'm not suggesting that you plan this in detail--for example, I'm not suggesting that 8:15-8:45 this coming Monday will be a specific task on a specific type 1 project. I'm suggesting that, for example, 8am-2pm this coming Monday will be type (1) work. You'd freely choose which type (1) tasks to work on at any given moment, but you would resolve that they will be type (1) tasks, and that when a coworker comes along and tries to get you to help with a type (2) task, you'll tell them to come back after 2pm.

    So your calendar wouldn't look crazy--it would just have one six-hour "meeting" called "type 1 work".

    Does that make sense? Again, whether you do it or not, do you see what I'm suggesting?
     
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  19. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    What about a car? Doesn't it distract you?

    Are you distracted when you take a seat behind a wheel? There are so many options, so many roads to take at each intersection. Isn't it overwhelming?

    GTD is like a car. You can use it to go where you want to go or you can take random turns and complain that "the car doesn't work".
     
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  20. treelike

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    GTD is compatible with everything. I has to be because it has to deal with all the crap life sends us.

    I wasn't referring to time blocking, it's just when I hear the phrase "the managers have been sent on a time management course" I automatically think :rolleyes:. Sadly, I don't think sending managers on a GTD course would help that much either. You have to be receptive to the material that is being taught, no matter how good it is. We humans seem to be exceptionally resistant to people telling us how we can run our lives better. Which is probably a good thing, in general.
     
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