Are You Drinking From a Fire Hydrant?

If you are familiar with David Allen’s best-selling book, Getting Things Done; The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, you will know one of the key principles is getting things out of your head and into a trusted system.

Fire Hydrant

For me that was easy. I already had a trusted system using Microsoft Outlook, and Windows Phone 8.
Once you have filled your trusted system, you may have hundreds of competing tasks and appointments to choose from. So, how do you choose?

Sometimes, life is like trying to drink water from a fire hose. Too much happens too fast, and you find yourself at the end of your day wondering if you completed anything of importance on your task list? For me this is the opposite of Stress Free Productivity.

So, here is a brain hack I use at the beginning of each day. I ask myself these two questions while reviewing my task list:

What will give me or my customers the biggest pay-off?
Who do I need help from to get this accomplished?

I pick three of these high benefit tasks, and these become my hot list for the day. I use these to focus me and my team at the beginning each day. I have found that, with my hot list, I can get a nice drink of clear, clean water without having my eyeballs blown out by everything that is coming at me throughout the day.

So, at the beginning of each day, ask yourself what will give you and your customers the biggest pay-off? Pick the top three tasks, and get to work!

Let me know how you implement Getting Things Done; The Art of Stress-Free Productivity .


How I Use My Calendar for “Getting Things Done “

For those of you not familiar with GTD. It is an acronym for Getting Things Done.
A book by David Allen titled: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
One of my favorite productivity tools which I have used for the last several years.

Our calendars are great places for many things, and others, well not so much.
It’s primary function is for time related actions. Here are the  three primary ways I use my calendar for Getting Things Done.

1: Time Specific Actions: Meetings, Appointments, Confrence calls, etc.

2: Day Specific Actions: Tasks that must be done on a specific day. This one is a little tricky. The key word here is MUST. Anything else will just move from day to day. Some examples are phone calls, bills to be paid, and expense reports.

3: Day Specific Information: These I usually put as all day items on my calendar. A few examples for this is Birthdays, Vacation, and Anniversary’s.

I would also like to caution you against dumping tasks you would like to do on your calendar.  These should be MUST do’s for that day only. This will only serve to create more stress at the end of the day when you need to move those items to the next day. Remember we are aiming at Stress Free Productivity.

Review is the key element that keeps me and my calendar on track.
Here is how often I am trying to review all of my commitments.
Runway – Daily Review  – Calendar and Next Actions
10,000 Feet – Weekly –  Projects
20,000 Feet – Monthly – Responsibilities
30,000 Feet – Quarterly – Goals
40,000 Feet – Yearly – Vision
50,000 Feet – Yearly – Purpose.

I will admit, I am doing a decent job of keeping up with my Runway and my 10,000 and 20,000 foot levels. 30,000 to 50,000 is a work in progress.

Share your Getting Things Done Calendar practices.
Together we can work toward Stress Free Productivity.