I'm about 6 weeks into using the GTD system (well, about half of the complete system) and I thought I'd share what's working for me, what isn't and what I still want to achieve. I'd be interested to hear if any others have had a similar experience of using the system and if you have any hints/tips to accelerate my adoption of the system:
- Flushing out everything to be done has worked really well, altho' I still have some corners of my work life to explore and all of my personal life. However, I buy into the concept that getting it all out of my mind and into a system makes the total workload easier to handle
- My email handling has improved considerably - primarily due to the '2 minute rule', i.e. if it takes less than 2 minutes, just do it.
- Related to the above, the discipline of inbox triage, i.e. start at the top, never put something back, works really well with email, even though it's very tempting to break. It's a great habit to form.
- When specifying actions & next steps, making them tangible and specific is a real help and has caused me to focus. Previously, I suffered from the vague AI definition e.g. 'do project X'.
- Keeping a master action list is working well, although I needed to add a priority scheme (A-D) and I have also added a 'Must do today' daily subset since my total list is approaching 200 items.
What's not working (yet)
- My master AI list is ever-increasing, mainly due to the volume of >2 minute emails I receive. This is a worry.
- I haven't mastered the project list yet. I have one, but my use of it is flakey. I tend to concentrate on the next action list and the expense of the proejct list.
- Setting time asise to maintain these lists - I haven't got into a routine yet
- Meetings draining time. Using GTD has highlighted to me that it's probably impossible to deal with my current workload. My typical day is meetings driven (about 6 hours a day on average, with peaks of 9 or 10) with an addition 100-150 emails. Using the system has clarified that the system alone won't help me deal with my workload and that I need to do something more fundemantal to stay on top, e.g. delegate more or be more ruthless about attending meetings.
- Overall, I _feel_ like I'm getting more done, just by the # of AIs I achieve but I'm not sure if I'm actually being more effective and adding more value. I'm certainly more responsive that I was but I worry that there's no easy way to measure the increase in overall effectiveness.