If you're like most people who've begun the implementation of the GTD® methods, you've had some starts and stops in your journey. While my approach is really nothing more than advanced common sense, doing these practices consistently requires some re-grooving of your behavioral patterns. And some of those, though not optimally productive, are likely deeply rooted. How does "doing GTD" become second nature—something you live by but rarely even think about?
All the best,
DAVID'S FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Getting GTD onto cruise control
Invariably when I connect back in with someone after they've been educated about GTD, they have a serious mea culpa—"you know, I really haven't implemented as much of this as I should..." It's double deadly because what we have taught them is so simple, basic, and common-sense grounded that it seems pretty silly that they haven't fully done it yet.
Here are the stages of acquiring new skills, and how they relate to learning Getting Things Done®:
1. Unconscious incompetence. I don't know what I don't know about what I don't know that I could know. Or, I know something is wrong, but I'm not sure what it is, and what I'm doing or not doing that's causing it. 98% of the people I relate with feel somewhat embarrassed about their "productivity" skills and systems, but they don't know what exactly to change or how to change it.
2. Conscious incompetence. I know exactly what I should be doing, but I'm not doing it. I know that I need to externalize and capture and clarify and review my commitments, but I haven't changed my habits yet of keeping them in psychic RAM and continually avoiding next action decisions.
3. Conscious competence. I know what to do and I'm doing it, but I'm really needing to stay focused and "get" myself to do it regularly. I am still thinking about the process so that I do the process.
4. Unconscious competence. I'm free to be on to bigger things. I'm just using the process to focus, but no longer having to think about the process itself.
For many, it's a monumental change in itself just to have the game finally defined, along with awareness of the track to get there. Knowing that there is a way and an approach that will get you in control and focused will, to some extent, create relaxation for your mind, even if you haven't fully put that plan into practice.
But feeling better with some understanding of GTD doesn't make it automatic, nor will it replace the true "mind like water" experience that results from its steady and consistent application. It's practice, practice, practice. The new patterns, mentally and physically, need to be ingrained at a deeper level to really be on cruise control. People often remark to me that "GTD does take a lot of discipline!" Actually, it doesn't, any more than taking showers and brushing your teeth require discipline, once the initial unfamiliarity has been overcome. How long does it take to get there? As long as it takes. You'll be another day older tomorrow, no matter what. So just keep returning, when you stray. Write things down. Decide outcomes and actions. Organize and review them. And you'll feel more and more uncomfortable when you don't.
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
PUBLIC GTD SEMINARS
Join us at an upcoming GTD Mastering Workflow public seminar. Register with code APR2011 to receive 10% off any upcoming public seminar*.
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SOME NEW THINGS IN OUR ONLINE LEARNING CENTER
Webinar: Inside a GTD Coach's System—April 19 @ 11am PDT
Article: Best & worst practices of mastering workflow
Forums: Take the Weekly Review Challenge
ARTICLES ON OUR BLOG
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One of our coaches talks about keys for effective delegation.
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WHAT IS GTD®?
GTD® is the popular shorthand for "Getting Things Done®", the groundbreaking work-life management system and book by David Allen that transforms personal overwhelm and overload into an integrated system of stress-free productivity. Read more...
GTD®, Getting Things Done®, and GTD Connect® are registered trademarks of David Allen Company.
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