I have been a member of GTD Connect for almost a month now, but have been reading David Allen's material on Getting Things Done for almost 4 years. While I acknowledge the fact that no two people are identical, I would like to share an experience and a blinding realization that occurred to me a few nights ago that I'm sure we all have taken part in at least once in our lives.
I had quite the project in front of me after the holidays -- all of the dishes had to be washed (and I am one of those few without the luxury of a dishwasher). Little did I know that this one project would make me implement a number of key concepts in GTD.
Ok, so the dishes have to be washed - where to start? Do I have all the dishes that need to be washed? Instantly I began to think of where other dishes (material to support this project) might be. I went from room to room. Normally these glasses, dishes, silverware, etc would be passed over many times a day until you need to do something with them. Immediately they jumped out at me. Very soon I was 100% confident that I had all the materials needed to complete this project.
Do I have enough detergent and a sponge to complete this task (context)? I did - so I pressed on.
How much time was this going to take (Time Available)? I had a few calls to make but determined that they could be re-negotiated or made after I was done with this project (Prioritizing). I knew that this absolutely had to be done because it was weighing on my mind -- so naturally I knew that this was the "Thing" I should be engaging myself with at the moment. Still I was not motivated...
Then I asked myself "What would success look like for this particular project?" This was very easy -- all dishes put away and within easy reach should I need a glass, plate, etc I would know where to find it (Outcome Focusing). This gave me the motivation I needed to move forward.
Having corralled all my "stuff" into one central place, I took one item at a time and processed (cleaned) it -- and I was able to give it the attention it deserved. Each item took less than two minutes to wash, but I was able to concentrate on each individual item with absolutely no concern to the following ("Do I have everything?" "Am I giving this item more / less attention than it deserves?" "Is this really the thing that I should be doing?" etc..) because I had answered all of those questions beforehand with very little effort.
As my momentum built, I noticed that within 45 minutes of setting out what I had intended to do - I was staring in the face of success. I boldly checked this item off my list.
In no way am I stating that what we face from one day to the next is as simplistic as washing the dishes. But believe it or not - some projects are (given the proper thought and focusing).
I wish everyone a very happy New Year.
All the best -