Here’s the thing. If you’re not organized, you can’t be the effective leader you want and need to become.
I f you aren’t organized … and know it … you will be among the loudest critics.
If you like to think you’re organized but know you’re really not, you will quickly delete this email because you don’t want to face up to that challenge.
Sorry about all this. Go ahead and disagree if you wish.
I get it.
Getting organized is a lot harder than you think. It’s a lot harder than it ought to be, but as soon as we get some time, gosh darn it, we’re going to get organized.
But, what does that mean? It’s a valuable shorthand that some people will debate as sadly misplaced, but I think we all know what it means.
For me, it means making sure that I don’t lose track of any thing that has my attention and holds my interest. There’s no better bible for Getting Things Done than David Allen’s book by that name.
I Should Have Written the Book
For the record, I’m a little jealous I didn’t write it.
It was published in 2001, but in the early 1980s, I created some of these identical practices as I became a bit obsessed with getting more done and getting and staying organized to do that.
Back then, I started to categorize my tasks by what needed to get done. I built my own To Do system in Filemaker (then an elementary Claris software product that only worked on the Apple platform. Claris was later purchased by Apple and FileMaker Pro 12 is still available in a much more advanced form).
- I created a database that I could use to summon a list of all the phone calls I needed to make,
- the documents I needed to write, edit or compete,
- the errands I needed to complete …
all of the categories that lie at the core of the GTD system today. I could change the due dates and have those tasks disappear until they became due … again if I pushed them down the road.
No One Dies with an Empty Inbox
I was determined to identify every single task I had to complete, knowing even then that no one dies with an empty inbox.
I wouldn’t get all of them done, but I also knew I wouldn’t lose track of them, and could make a decision to do any of them at any time.
Until you take the time – note I didn’t say “find the time” – to develop a systematic approach to capturing all of things that interest you – all of things you care enough about to do something about them at the appropriate time – you’ll be playing catch up every day … FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
Isn’t Your Approach Getting Old By Now?
You’re probably saying …
- “Yeah, it’s getting old but I’m busy and can’t take time right now” …
or this version …
“I fully get it and as soon as I get some time …”, or maybe this one,
“You and all this organization. I’m getting along fine without it.”
If you are getting along fine without it, there’s only a couple of things that could be happening:
You’re a rare breed who remembers everything, are on time for everything and never forgets anything. (I’m jealous.)
You’re content to miss deadlines, forget your promises and limp along because everyone else is in the same boat. (Not jealous.)
[pullquote]Never neglect details. When everyone’s mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant. ~ Colin Powell[/pullquote]
What’s the Solution?
It takes some time.
There’s no silver bullet – no magic formula to get on top of everything you care about.
But, there is an approach that works.
Here’s my promise to you.
If you start by understanding the GTD methodology, you’ll have the best chance of success.
Here is a Short List of Advantages
If you make the time to apply it rigorously right from the get-go, you’ll uncover these advantages:
- You’ll shed the stress you’re carrying just be recognizing you’re not in control, not out of control.
- You’ll meet your deadlines or will stay ahead of them by revising them before they arrive.
- You’ll think more clearly, confident that you’re on top of what you need to manage and can visit your system anytime to get back on track.
Here’s How You Can Get Started
I’ve written extensively on Productivity and the advantages of GTD over many years. Here is a list of some of the articles that will help you get started on this absolutely essential journey:
- Multitasking: The Nightmare of a Cluttered Mind
- Get a Life
- Do You Follow a Routine – Or Just Full Speed Ahead and Hope It All Gets Done?
- The Power of Personal Accountability
- Aren’t You Getting Tired of Always Feeling Buried?
- How to Dropkick Uncertainty | 5 Techniques to Master Your Domain
- The 4 Do-or-Die Principles of a Leakproof Productivity System
- Why You Should Implement the 2 Minute Rule … and When You Shouldn’t
- Productivity Tip | 4 Ground Rules to Make Sure You Reach the Summit
- Being More Productive, a Harvard Business Review cover article.
If you devote quality time to this effort, it will pay great dividends. Feel free to call me if you need any help.
If you don’t, say hello to an old friend: Overwhelmed – Overworked – Underperforming.
Question: What – specifically – is keeping you from Getting Things Done? You can easily add your comment below, or by visiting our Facebook Page or @Exkalibur on Twitter. I visit them every day and look forward to discussing these ideas and concepts with you.