From Clutter to Clear: A Guide to Getting Things Done (Part I)


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An internal presentation for The Motley Fool on how they can use the GTD system more effectively to Get Things Done.

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  • Your mind keeps reminding you of things when you can’t do anything about them. As soon as you tell yourself to do something, your mind think you should be doing that something all the time .
  • (5 minutes)
  • From Clutter to Clear: A Guide to Getting Things Done (Part I)

    1. 1. mm/dd/yyyy Part One: February 22, 2010 From Clutter to Clear: A Guide for Getting Things Done
    2. 2. Why We Need a Process <ul><li>To get from here… </li></ul>02/22/10 … to here
    3. 3. Why We Need a Process <ul><li>Your mind is kinda stupid </li></ul><ul><li>Everything you’ve told yourself you ought to do, it thinks you should be doing right now . </li></ul>02/22/10 It’s hard to fight an enemy that keeps outposts in your head – Sally Kempton
    4. 4. The Basic Concept <ul><li>Unclutter your mind by recording everything in a trusted system </li></ul><ul><li>You can now concentrate on performing tasks, completing projects and getting things done. </li></ul>02/22/10
    5. 5. What’s Missing <ul><li>Automation </li></ul><ul><li>Idiot-proofing </li></ul><ul><li>A silver bullet </li></ul><ul><li>A cure for procrastination </li></ul><ul><li>A causal commitment </li></ul>02/22/10 Not idiot proof
    6. 6. What’s on your mind? <ul><li>Exercise A (2 minutes) </li></ul><ul><li>Write down the name of the project or situation that is on your mind at this moment </li></ul><ul><li>Write down, in a single sentence, your intended successful outcome for this project or situation. </li></ul><ul><li>Write down the very next physical action required to move the situation forward. </li></ul>02/22/10
    7. 7. Why is it on your mind? <ul><li>You haven’t clarified the intended outcome </li></ul><ul><li>You haven’t decided what the next step is </li></ul><ul><li>You haven’t put reminders of the outcome and next step into a system you trust. </li></ul>02/22/10 The ancestor of every action is thought. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
    8. 8. The Objective: Mind like Water <ul><li>A condition of working, doing and being in which the mind is clear and constructive things are happening. </li></ul>02/22/10 When your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. – Shunryu Suzuki
    9. 9. How to Get to Mind Like Water <ul><li>Externally collect anything and everything that has your attention </li></ul><ul><li>Process actionable things discretely into outcomes and next steps </li></ul><ul><li>Organize reminders in a streamlined way with appropriate categories based on how and when you need them </li></ul><ul><li>Keep current with frequent reviews </li></ul><ul><li>Do </li></ul>02/22/10
    10. 10. Collect <ul><li>In your mind, in your inbox, on your voicemail, on your desktop and on your desk are a lot of reminders to take care of tasks. Let’s pull them together into one central repository. </li></ul>02/22/10 Collect
    11. 11. What to Collect <ul><li>Anything and everything that is an open loop about which there is an action required to move it to closure. </li></ul>02/22/10 Collect What Not to Collect <ul><li>Reference Material </li></ul><ul><li>Equipment </li></ul><ul><li>Decoration </li></ul><ul><li>Supplies </li></ul>You can only feel good about what you’re not doing when you know what you are not doing. – David Allen
    12. 12. Collection Tools <ul><li>Physical in-basket </li></ul><ul><li>Sticky notes </li></ul><ul><li>Files/folders </li></ul><ul><li>Journals/notebooks </li></ul><ul><li>To-Do Lists </li></ul><ul><li>Email Inbox </li></ul><ul><li>Voicemail </li></ul>02/22/10 Collect Use your mind to think about things, not to keep thinking of them. – David Allen
    13. 13. Mind Sweeping <ul><li>Exercise B (3 minutes) </li></ul>02/22/10 Collect Write down at minimum 20 tasks, projects or ideas that you have that require some action (use the Trigger List for inspiration). You need to think about your stuff more than you think, but not as much as you’re afraid you might. — David Allen
    14. 14. Process <ul><li>Going through the collected items to determine if it is actionable, what is the next action and what you consider the acceptable outcome. </li></ul>02/22/10 Process
    15. 15. How to Process <ul><li>Start at the top </li></ul><ul><li>Deal with one item at a time </li></ul><ul><li>Never put anything back into “in” </li></ul><ul><li>Determine if an item is actionable or not </li></ul>02/22/10 Process There is no reason to ever have the same thought twice, unless you like having that thought. – David Allen
    16. 16. Actionable <ul><li>If an item requires action: </li></ul><ul><li>Do it (if it takes less than two minutes) </li></ul><ul><li>or </li></ul><ul><li>Delegate it (feeds “Waiting For” list) </li></ul><ul><li>or </li></ul><ul><li>Defer it (feeds Calendar or “Next Actions” list) </li></ul>02/22/10 Process
    17. 17. Is it actually actionable? <ul><li>Reorganize the office </li></ul><ul><li>Implement new fiscal year </li></ul><ul><li>Research relationship with J. Smith Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>Get new car </li></ul><ul><li>Hire Marketing Director </li></ul>02/22/10 Process Success Outcomes (What’s the larger result desired? How will you know when it is done?) Next Actions (What do you need to do that? Do you have everything you need?) Call Susan re: source for filing cabinets E-mail Bill for copy of last year’s budget Draft proposal ideas for alliance Research Web sources for cars Talk to Sean re: job description
    18. 18. Outcome vs. Next Action Verbs 02/22/10 Process Action Verbs Success Verbs
    19. 19. What’s the Next Action? <ul><li>Exercise C (5 minutes) </li></ul><ul><li>Place the tasks you just wrote and all the papers you brought into one single “Inbox” stack. </li></ul><ul><li>Process each item to determine if it is the next action. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If so, decide whether you should Do, Delegate or Defer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If no, determine if it’s a larger multi-step outcome (a Project) and if there is a next step that is actionable. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If still no, separate it out as a non-actionable item. </li></ul></ul>02/22/10 Process
    20. 20. Organize <ul><li>For reference material it’s about how to organize in a way that is retrievable. For actionable items, it’s grouping into the right bucket so we can at a glance determine what actions are available </li></ul>02/22/10 Organize
    21. 21. Non-Actionable <ul><li>If an item does not requires action: </li></ul><ul><li>File it for reference </li></ul><ul><li>or </li></ul><ul><li>Incubate it for a possible action later </li></ul><ul><li>or </li></ul><ul><li>Throw it away </li></ul>02/22/10 Process
    22. 22. Reference <ul><li>Separate from action area. </li></ul><ul><li>One flat alpha (A-Z) organized system </li></ul><ul><li>Whatever name you would use (and remember) </li></ul><ul><li>Typeset labels </li></ul><ul><li>Drawers ¾ fullPurge yearly </li></ul>02/22/10 Organize
    23. 23. Incubate: Someday / Maybe list <ul><li>Add extra porch lights </li></ul><ul><li>See the Grand Canyon </li></ul><ul><li>Learn Spanish </li></ul><ul><li>Get new camping gear </li></ul><ul><li>Get a scanner for home </li></ul>02/22/10 Organize <ul><li>List of projects that you might want to do, but not yet </li></ul><ul><li>Review periodically to assess whether it ought to be done </li></ul><ul><li>Reassess during Weekly Review </li></ul><ul><li>Can have many sub-lists within this category, </li></ul>Someday/Maybe (Examples)
    24. 24. Trash <ul><li>CTRL-D </li></ul><ul><li>Press 9 to delete </li></ul><ul><li>Drag and drop to recycling bin </li></ul><ul><li>Throw it away </li></ul>02/22/10 Organize
    25. 25. Key Action Categories <ul><li>Projects </li></ul><ul><li>“ Waiting For” (built from Delegated stack and external factors) </li></ul><ul><li>Calendars (built from time/date sensitive items in Deferred stack) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Next Actions” (built from Deferred stack) </li></ul>02/22/10 Organize
    26. 26. Projects <ul><li>Every open loop in one’s life or work which requires more than one physical action to achieve becomes a Project </li></ul>02/22/10 Organize
    27. 27. “ Waiting For” 02/22/10 Organize When an action has been delegated to someone else or when you are waiting for an external event before a project can be moved forward
    28. 28. Calendar <ul><li>Items that are to be completed on a specific day and time. </li></ul>02/22/10 Organize
    29. 29. “ Next Actions” <ul><li>Though there may be many steps to complete an item, there will always be something that needs to be done first . </li></ul>02/22/10 Organize
    30. 30. “ Next Action” Categories 02/22/10 Organize Common Contextual Categories
    31. 31. What’s the Next Action? <ul><li>Exercise D (3 minutes) </li></ul><ul><li>Place the “next actions” you chose to defer into contextual categories </li></ul>02/22/10 Process
    32. 32. Review <ul><li>The easiest way to drop this process is to lose trust in your list, and that comes from it not being maintained. Reviewing that everything is collected, processed and organized will keep things clean, clear current and complete. </li></ul>02/22/10
    33. 33. Weekly Review (in detail) 02/22/10
    34. 34. Weekly Review (summary) <ul><li>Gather and process all your “stuff” </li></ul><ul><li>Review your system </li></ul><ul><li>Update your lists </li></ul><ul><li>Get clean, clear, current, and complete </li></ul>02/22/10 You need to spend quality time, detached from the daily grind, thinking about, getting control of, and managing the daily grind. – David Allen
    35. 35. Do <ul><li>Choosing what to do next based off of context, time available, energy available and priority. </li></ul>02/22/10
    36. 36. Criteria for Choosing Actions <ul><li>Context (What can I do where I am?) </li></ul><ul><li>Time available (How much time do I have?) </li></ul><ul><li>Resources (How much energy do I have?) </li></ul><ul><li>Priority (What’s the value to me if I do this vs. something else?) </li></ul>02/22/10
    37. 37. Horizons of Focus <ul><li>50,000 ft — Career / Purpose / Lifestyle </li></ul><ul><li>40,000 ft — 3- to 5-year Vision / Strategy </li></ul><ul><li>30,000 ft — 1- to 2-year Goals and Direction </li></ul><ul><li>20,000 ft — Areas of Responsibility and Focus </li></ul><ul><li>10,000 ft — Current Projects </li></ul><ul><li>Runway — Current Actions </li></ul>02/22/10
    38. 38. Setting Priorities <ul><li>Exercise E (5 minutes) </li></ul><ul><li>Fill out your 20,000+ level responsibilities. </li></ul><ul><li>Fill in your 30,000+ – 50,000+ level goals/vision/purpose. </li></ul>02/22/10 Process
    39. 39. What Tools Do You Need? 02/22/10 <ul><li>A Sync’able Mobile Phone (iPhone) </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-platform accessible To-Do List (Toodledo) </li></ul><ul><li>Bookmarking Tool (Delicious) </li></ul><ul><li>Dictation Tool (ReQall) </li></ul><ul><li>Sync’able Calendar (Google Calendar) </li></ul><ul><li>Filing Cabinet </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic Labeler </li></ul><ul><li>Notebook </li></ul><ul><li>Pen </li></ul><ul><li>Inbox </li></ul><ul><li>Filing Drawer </li></ul><ul><li>Folders </li></ul><ul><li>Labels </li></ul>My Modifications (Recommenation) Minimalist
    40. 40. Where will this take you? 02/22/10 Your ability to generate power Is directly proportional to your ability to relax – David Allen
    41. 41. What comes next? <ul><li>Part II Getting Things Done Together </li></ul>02/22/10 with Nate McMahon Tools to help you get the most out of working together right now.
    42. 42. Homework for next class 02/22/10 Come prepared to talk about a collaborative initiative that you are currently (or soon to be) working on with other Fools.