Wednesday, April 08, 2009

GTD in practice - an update

This is a continuation from the previous post on my attempt with GTD, Giving GTD a try.

I didn't realize that it has been nearly two months since my first post on GTD. From then to now, I have managed to complete the part one of the book which covers GTD on a more theoretical level and am currently reading the phase of GTD implementation. I also managed to shed some misconceptions that I had about GTD, which I had written in my previous post. One of the main rants that I had was GTD's focus on stuff on the plate and less focus on goal setting.

But reading through the theoretical part, I understood two things:
  1. GTD has goal setting. David Allen calls it views from different altitudes and proposes that we take a look at different areas in our lives from these altitudes.
  2. GTD is not a philosophy on HOW you should set your goals. It is exactly, what it proposes it to be, a WORKFLOW to get things on our plate DONE.
Steven Covey calls this "Clock Vs. Compass". I do not think that we need to think of these as two mutually exclusive practices. I can think of incorporating both these practices, Steven Covey's principles to set direction and GTD to manage the implementation of these principles.

I have been practicing a basic form of GTD. I started with Google tasks after reading a post from somewhere about how to use Google tasks for GTD. Then I came across a more specialized application for GTD, This is a fantastic application for a GTD practitioner to kick start GTD in thier lives. Also, I found it impressive that the site has also incorporated and has road maps on how to use to implement GTD (obviously, ZTD and even 7 Habits).

If you are using a site like this it is pretty easy to incorporate something like 7 Habits' staying on quadrant 2. As even Covey says, the tool should be flexible enough to shift things around and to keep our focus on quadrant 2. I think we can do this with a tool like I am planning on writing a post dedicated to my use of There are a lot of things that I like about that tool and at the same time there are a few areas that I think that can be improved to make the users lives smoother.

So far I have set up the systems in place to capture the tasks and also in my case the processing happens on a daily frequent basis. I am also managing to stay on top of tasks most of the time. But I am currently facing a mini crisis with conflicting demands on my time. And I am hoping that diligent practice of GTD will help me manage that as well.

The other is that I am sincerely hoping GTD would help me tackle my rather bad habit of procrastination. So far, GTD has been helpful in nudging me to get things done rather than putting things off. One thing of setting up next actions, is there is a mental push to get through the next actions. And the daily reminder email from also serves as a daily reminder for me to focus on my daily tasks.

My ultimate aim is to practice a synergetic practice of GTD and 7 habits. I am still not sure whether GTD falls under the third generation time management practices that according to Covey, simply does not work. But for me GTD is more than a time management tool. And if you are using the right tool, it can be used as a fourth generation time/task management tool. And that is what I am hoping would come out of this whole exercise.

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