Attended Roadmap in San Francisco last week and I thought I would share with the forum my top take-aways from the event. Of course everyone who went probably got something different, but this is the seminar that I went to.
I've been doing GTD for about a year now and there are some key things that Roadmap has helped to cement in place as well as my next actions for each one.
1. It's okay to let your inner geek out on a rainy sunday afternoon to tweak your system if you want. However, don't waste otherwise productive time slip away doing inner geek stuff instead of being productive. There's a lot of discussion about linking next actions back to projects on the Gadgets board for example. If you are worrying about this, stop worrying about it and do your weekly review.
Someday/Maybe: Way cool VB web form linking next actions to projects.
2. You must train your brain to trust your system. I realized that one of my roadblocks has been that I don't religiously use the system for critical must do today tasks. Occassionally a critical next action gets written in large letters on the white board in my office. Usually stuff that must be done today before I leave the office. The correct place is on my calendar. I put it on the white board because I don't entirely trust my system yet for mission critical things. I think to really get the value out of the system, I need to change this and get those mission critical must-do-today next actions on my calendar for today. Once I've done it and have consciously seen myself completing these types of tasks, I'll begin to automatically trust the system.
Calender anytime Monday: Next Action for must-do-today project
3. Next Action List items can be done without thinking about them. This is the clarity vs. unclear & ambiguous "stuff" thing. While most of my next actions are fairly clear, occasionally I get stuck on some that aren't getting done... Guess what, these are really projects in disguise...
@Comptuer: R&D Lingering Next Actions for hidden projects
4. Two Minute Rule-In high e-mail environments, most next actions are 2-minute actions. That means Inbasketry (inbox processing) is actually getting things done. Often a lot of things done. I've always looked at it as just processing and therefore unproductive work. (I get lots of e-mail ~100 a day sometimes as much as 300...)
@Computer: R&D What got done after next Inbasketry.
5. Your direct reports are the victims of your inability to immediately determine the next action. Can't wait to tell my direct reports...
@Agendas: Team 03/26/06 Direct Reports victims of my inability to determine next action.
6. Your keyboard is the most important communication tool in your life. If you are not typing 60+ words a minute and using speed keys it's like talking on the phone with marbles in your mouth... I'm 80+ words per minute, but not using speed keys as much as I should.
@Computer: R&D Speed keys
7. High performance executives do this stuff naturally, including ruthlessly processing action items immediately following interruptions, conversations, etc. Nothing sticks to them (e.g. inbasket = empty). They come in early and clear the decks. They don't see interruptions as interruptions, but as opportunities to leverage getting the results they want. Lately I've been getting in to empty fairly regularly... though still not once a day. I've got a small backlog of meeting notes, and other stuff to process, and I have been coming in early to clear the decks. Still not sure about leveraging interruptions.
@Computer: Process meeting notes [AF - N]
@Anywhere: Brainstorm leveraging interruptions
8. Project List is the single most important list that you have. Most people have 50-70 projects at a time. I have closer to 150 to 200 projects. This means to me that I need to clear out some old projects that aren't moving forward and either renegotiate the agreement with myself or simply eliminate the project.
@Anywhere: Review Project List for projects to delete or defer.
9. Taking on work. If you don't know whats on your plate you can't say no. If you do know, out of integrity, you won't be able to say yes. Combine this with the already large project list... I clearly need a way to comunicate to my boss that we have more work than we can handle.
@Agendas: Boss 03/26/06 Review project list and prioritize.
10. Control (Runway/Horizontal) vs. Perspective (Altitude/Vertical). I've got pretty good control of things on the runway and I can tighten up my project list a bit. However, I probably need to review my higher altitude perspective lists. David showed us his mind maps at each altitude (20,000 feet +). I need to map these out in Mind Manager... Plus he showed us his way cool vision map from way back for 50,000 plus feet.
@Computer: Mindmap 20,000 feet [Project=Complete Perspectives]
Well those are the top-ten things I took from Roadmap. Great seminar and I'd recommend it to anyone who would like to get more out of their GTD system. While the Roadmap would be great for anyone wanting to learn more about GTD, it probably hits the sweet spot for those who've been working GTD for anywhere from three months to a year or more.
I'd love to hear what anyone else took away from the San Francisco Roadmap.