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Thriving in the Las Vegas Real Estate Market - Seminar Notes

Getting Things Done - A Review


I recently re-read and listened to the audio book by David Allen Getting Things Done - The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.  The difference this time - I was ready to put the techniques to use and have discovered a system that works for me.   The major aha for me was realizing my "to do" list is not enough.  The key step I was missing was taking the time to think about and record the "next action" to take in order to move a project forward to my desired outcome.

The basic premise of the book is to get everything out of your head, off your mind and into a trusted system you know you will use.  Older time/resource management systems are inefficient in today's fast-paced, multi-tasking world.  Our minds are powerful instruments - constantly reminding us of things to do, unfinished projects, seemingly endless "open loops" of information.   Our stress levels are increased when we don't have a method of emptying these thoughts and collecting them in a system that we individually trust and know we will use.  The book goes into detail on how to do exactly that. 

A review of key principles that I've integrated into my Action Management System:

Two key questions to ask for all projects and to do.

  1. What is the successful outcome?  What has to happen so this can be checked off as completed? If it takes more than one step it's a project.
  2. What is the next action?  If this was the only thing you had to get done, what is the very next physical thing you would have to do?

5 Phases of the Workflow Process

  1. Collect - capture everything you need to remember, track or act on in a container or bucket - a physical inbox, to do list, a mobile app, voice recorder, email inbox. You must empty the buckets regularly. Keep the collection buckets to a minimum.
  2. Process - Deal with one item at a time. Never put anything back into "in". 
    • If the item requires action:
      • Do it (if it takes less than two minutes) OR
      • Delegate it, OR
      • Defer it
    • If the item does not require action:
      • File it for reference, OR
      • Throw it Away, OR
      • Incubate it for possible action later
  3. Organize and keep track of items awaiting action
    • Next actions - every project always has a next action to move it forward
    • Projects - every "open loop" that has more than one action needed to accomplish it
    • Waiting for - Items you have delegated to someone else
    • Someday/maybe - Things you want to do at some point in the future
  4. Review - as often as needed to keep your head empty
    • Loose papers
    • Process your notes
    • Calendar items
    • Projects, Next Action lists, Waiting for lists, Someday/maybe lists
    • Empty your head
  5. Do - in the moment, guided by intuition, supported by the four previous phases, influenced by the reality of current situation
    • context
    • time available
    • energy available
    • priority

There are abundant resources, blogs and fans of GTD on the Internet.  Here are a few I recommend: