Getting Things Done

I did a half dozen little jobs today to move forward with the business. And I know I have a half dozen more tomorrow. And I know that I’m doing the right things at the right time; more or less.

And I know that I didn’t forget anything. That’s important, because I can really only focus on the weekend; during the week I can get a few things taken care of; but if you recall the method of Wayne Cotton, it’s hard to switch gears and have both a Green Machine and a Red Administrivia day combined.

Last post I promised to connect this to David Allen; if you don’t know much about him or his methods called, loosely, ‘Get Things Done’ or GTD, zip over there and look around. His stuff works.
A long time ago I was working in what I thought was a high stress job, and the manager asked why I was so wound up. After describing feelings of being overwhelmed with a ton of trivial tasks, he suggested I write everything down, even though I cautioned him it might slow me down. He just smiled and pointed to my empty notepad.
That night I got a great sleep, because I wasn’t still trying to mentally juggle a thousand little details in my brain. I could actually let go, relax, and sleep.
For the last 20 years or so I’ve been ‘Writing Things Down’ – which has a slightly different sound to it than ‘Getting Things Done’, doesn’t it? One method just records what to do – the other sounds like it might help you actually do them. Turns out, it does!
I discovered GTD while browsing Google for a better way to track all the collected ‘fluff’ of some of the projects I was managing at the time. Fast forward to today, and all of the details of starting a business – now that’s a LOT of fluff to track.
I did notice something though, GTD was never intended to be a project management method. And it isn’t, but it’s a great compliment. It give the rigor to what one PM I’d worked with called ‘Daily Status’, which was his way of driving a lot of activities quickly without micro-managing. So be warned, GTD won’t run your project, but it will seal up a lot of those cracks that things seem to fall through.
I use the notions of the yearly and 90-day success calendars of Wayne Cotton, and I keep the Red, Green, and Blue days productive and the Mellow Yellow Days relaxed because I know that if I maintain GTD lists, I can let go when I need to and re-engage quite quickly.
And that is todays tip: Maintaining GTD lists with contexts that are ‘color coded’ like Cotton Systems Success Calendars. Simple, huh?
Of course I’m so dang busy all those Yellow days are turning quite Red with all the ‘fluff’ of starting a new business…. so remember to check how you are actually spending your days and how you planned on spending them, too!
The next posts I’ll focus more on the meat of what I’ve been doing with a few more examples of process-and-method – but a LOT more emphasis on the business side of my photography!

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