My GTD tweak and confessions of a happy Office Dude.
I've been doing GTD for the past year, first few months were really good but also constantly tweaking my system (I use Outlook and OneNote together). It went on like that for a while and it improved my productivity 10 fold, but there seemed to be still something missing. Finally I began to realize that it's my problem with procrastination. I still had my big projects broken down into bite size, doable tasks, but I would still find myself avoiding those tasks when I knew that they belonged to a bigger project. Finally, about 2 months ago, it hit me. I'd been reading other similar productivity things like "Zen to Done", which overall I think is kind of a watered down, to simplistic version of GTD, but it had one thing that fit into my GTD system like that last perfect missing puzzle piece. It was the "Big Rocks" concept. The idea that you identify a few (3-5) tasks that you commit to getting done above all else for that day. In my outlook system I simply created a new category called @TODAY, my version of "Big Rocks". When I sensed that I was still procrastinating on a big project, I simply did the following:
Before I'd go home at the end of the day while I'm spending the last 15 minutes or 1/2 our doing a daily review, I'd identify the "Big Rocks" that I want to accomplish the next day. I'd categorize those as @TODAY. I also created a new list in outlook called (you guessed it!) "Big Rocks". I filtered this list to only show items with that category. So the next day, when I would go into work and get settled, even before beginning to process all my other stuff, I'd open up my "Big Rocks" list and do at least one of those tasks. That would get me pumped up and energized, I'd usually finish off those @TODAY tasks within the first hour and then start processing my stuff for the day. Then, no matter how else my day went, it would always be productive and succesful. In reality, my days have always been so much more productive by doing this. It's become like a little game to me and I literally can't wait to go to work in the morning, and when I'm driving home in the afternoon, I feel so profoundly happy and carefree (someone not steeped in GTD would probably think I'm crazy). I've finally got to that point where, when I leave for the day, I don't have a thing on my mind except going home to my beautiful family and enjoying the rest of my day. It's a great feeling. And of course I didn't even mention how much my "work" itself has improved and the compliments I get from my supervisors and peers. I don't think I'm ever going to "work" again, I think I'll just go to the office and Get Things Done!