I've always attempted to make my approaches practical to what we deal with every day—not some unrealistic consulting models that only apply when we are in a retreat setting, or when things are going along as they should, or when the heat is "off." This month's essay is about applying two key questions to situations lying right in front of us in our workaday world, which, when answered, make a big and positive difference for us.
My colleague Russell Bishop has also tackled day-to-day challenges in his new book, Workarounds That Work. He looks at the neglected arena in the professional development environment: the people and behaviors that must work well together in the vast gap between the lofty world of "leadership" and real world requirements for day-to-day execution. He integrates some core GTD principles into the most common and frustrating workplace situations and will help boost your productivity. It's worth a read.
All the best,
DAVID'S FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The everyday outcome focus challenge
The two questions that bring clarity to most anything on this level are: What's the successful outcome? And, what's the next action to make it happen? These provide fundamental clarity for Getting Things Done, and they lie at the core of most everything I teach. What are we really trying to accomplish with this? What reallocation of resources is required to have that happen instead of something else? Defining outcomes and actions is how the in-tray is processed, how you run a meeting, and how you build a company. And the "successful outcome" part is a particular challenge for all of us.
As common-sense as holding a positive outcome focus might seem, I am continually reminded of how much I could maintain it more consistently than I do. It's not that I have lots of negative pictures disturbing my focus. It's just how many missed opportunities have there been to frame a positive vision about a situation and what I want to have true, and plant that critical picture as a seed in my unconscious hopper?
Granted that few people with any self-development awareness these days would argue for "stinking thinking" as a useful modality of consciousness. I assume if you're reading this you're not part of the ain't-it-awful club. But how many more things could you be holding more positive images about and affirming, just in the next twenty four hours?
How about... How you'd like to feel when you wake up. How you'd like the meeting to turn out. What kind of energy you'd like to have all during the day. How you'd like the people close to you to feel. What you'd like to have accomplished. How relaxed you could be. How much fun you could have. What good you could do. What joy you could spread. How you'd like your desk to look. What peace you could bring. What loving you could share. What sense of connection you'd like with yourself and your world, and with others. How you'd like to feel, reading your email.
It is wonderful to understand that what we hold in our mind as a focus aligns powerful and automatic forces to open our perceptions and harness energy. The bad news is that we no longer have any excuses for not utilizing that awareness.
So what do you imagine you'd like to have true, before the day is done?
"Life is denied by lack of attention, whether it be to cleaning windows or trying to write a masterpiece."
Q&A WITH DAVID
Q: You recommend A to Z filing. It that necessarily better than chronological piles on a desk if you know your system and how your mind works?
A: GTD is not really about any "right" way to do something. It's only about what takes the least amount of effort to produce the result. For instance, the object of a filing system is to be able to access reference information when you need it. If it's easier to find it by when something happened vs. what it's about, so be it. If you're a pack-rat like me, though, it's a lot easier to find my stuff about Milan under "Milan" than by the 3 dates I've been there (and then I don't have all my Milan stuff in one spot).
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