Keeping up with everything

It took me a long time to think about how to be more productive at work. I tried all sorts of systems, like Franklin covey, a crazy envelope system, a write every task down each day system , variations on all of the mentioned and finally Getting Things Done (GTD).

With GTD, there are a few key take-a-ways that I learned:

Keep the projects moving

This was the first big win I had. Everything now is “what is the next step I can do to keep it moving.” Most of these actions take less than 2 minutes. Email someone for a follow up on a delegated action. Schedule time to develop a program, or write a blog post. If I can keep cycling through the projects that come across my desk, I am more productive and better able to ask for the extra resources I need to accomplish the tasks I am driving. It is a very simple thing to implement; it just requires a quick change in your thinking.

Don’t use the inbox as the to do list

There is a sense of clarity that comes when you stare at an empty inbox. It is the same feeling as when you finally clean your desk, and have everything organized. I used to have 300-400 emails in my inbox at any given time, all of them read and things I needed to deal with. I was always dreading looking at my email, because I knew there was so much in there I had to deal with. When I am at my desk, I read each email, and immediately perform some action with it. Do something about it, Delegate, or delete it. I do store much of my email for future reference, but never ever in the inbox.

If it will take less than 2 minutes do it now

The two minute rule has saved me so much effort, it is unbelievable. Have you ever had that nagging task looming over you that only takes a second, but you for whatever reason don’t want to deal with it now. Well Do it. If you’re asked to do something and it will take less than 2 minutes, do it. Don’t think about it, don’t waver on it, don’t schedule it for later, just do it. This will save you from those I am almost home on my drive and there was something I needed to do headaches that will drive you crazy. If it takes more than 2 minutes, then write it down (always keep everything in the same spot) give any other info you need about the task and don’t think about it, until you have time.

Finally, remember there is always another fire drill. If you know one will be coming you might as well relax and take it in stride.



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