Getting to action: how to decide what to do next...

Two basic rules are important when you try the method of Getting Things Done. You are responsible for gathering all loose ends. You need to decide what the next action is for each project. Below I will give you some more advice on both basic rules. Gathering your projects Make a list of all your projects (remember: a project is anything that requires more than 1 step to be completed). This list can be in random order. All information and new projects that you gather should be organized into a system that is logical to you. New loose ends – incomplete projects – should be on your project list, which you can keep in an online of offline format. Information should be archived, and easily reached. Each project has its own next action(s) Projects are not the things that ‘get done’, only the actions required to realize the project (see your project as a goal to be reached) can be done. Therefore it is important to: Decide what you want to realize (in as much detail as necessary). Decide what is the next action towards this goal. All actions fall into one of four categories. Each category leads to a different approach. Doable in 2 minutes: do it now Needs to be done by someone else: delegate and place a reminder for yourself Needs to be done at a certain moment or with certain people: plan in your agenda Needs to be done when you have more time: put on your to-do list You can keep all ongoing projects on one list if that feels comfortable for you. Otherwise, you can separate the list into logical sub-lists. Think about categories like: wait list, sometimes/maybe, phone calls, questions, children, hobby,...

Getting Things Done – how to stress less...

The book and method ‘Getting Things Done’ by David Allen is about efficiency without stress. It is immensely popular at the moment. I would like to pay some attention to it, for this approach is different from most others. The methodology suits well with my position that habits, triggers and chaining are the key to (long lasting) change. David Allen has two main goals. All things that need to be done need to fit into a logical and reliable system. Preferably an external system (no mental note) to leave stress outside of your head. All new input needs to fit easily into this system. Also the system should be able to tell us what (if any) follow-up action is needed. The idea behind these two main goals is that you should (re)act more efficient to those things that happen to you. You should react just enough (not too much or too little). Stress arises when you cannot keep a promise. With the Getting Things Done system you learn to avoid this. (Look here for research into making the best out of stress.) Managing your intentions The main message of the book is: Do not use your brain to remember all things you intend to do. Remembering everything (or trying to) will cloud your thought. Use an external system to keep track of what needs to be done. To act efficiently, it is often better to think (long and hard!) before you act. Knowledge work is most of the time not about clearly defined goals; it is often about vague expectations. This can, and often will, lead to stress. To reduce stress, translate those vague expectations into clear goals. This will give productivity a boost and reduce stress. Once you...