Archives for posts with tag: GTD

Space is almost infinite. As a matter of fact, we think it is infinite. – Dan Quayle

I recently had a discussion with a colleague about getting things done between meetings.  The challenge we discovered was two-fold:

  1. We have all the work that is part of our day-to-day responsibilities – for purposes of this post I’ll call this day-work.
  2. We have all the work that is produced as outputs from the meetings we attend and/or facilitate – I’ll call this meeting-work.

We both were faced with the fact that we participated in a lot of meetings. [Note: for purposes of this post let’s assume that these meetings are meaningful and need to take place.]

While in our meetings our day-work was not getting done. At the same time many of the meetings were creating new work: next actions, new problems, etc. So we now had meeting-work  to accomplish.  When we arrived back at our desks we were faced with the dilemma of getting our day-work and meeting-work completed in the space left between meetings. Sound familiar?

We thought of some tips that might be helpful:

  • Get next actions right: Be sure any next actions that are identified in the meeting are specific, actionable, have an owner, a due date, and who gets the report out of the results.   Honestly, I do not always get this one right and our teams end up with ambiguous actions that when reviewed later are met with confused stares. This way the meeting work can at least be clear and unambiguous and won’t require too much investigation time.
  • Build meeting processes that complete the work for you: When facilitating, I try as much as possible to build meeting processes that result in final product for the group. This means that at the end of the meeting the desired meeting deliverables should be as close to their final form as possible. When done well, this will minimize your post-meeting work.
  • Schedule your meeting work time: As hard as you try to minimize post-meeting work as mentioned above, we often have work to complete as outcomes of our meetings. Use your calendars to hard-schedule that time in to complete the work. This could include 30 minutes prior to the meeting to ensure that you are well prepared for the meeting and 30 minutes post meeting to process the output, get a start on next actions, or schedule future time to handle the work.

What ideas do you have for creating space for meeting work?


In follow up to this past Monday Morning Choice Post – The Adversity Choice, I came upon a related post by Mr. GTD himself, David Allen. David wrote the Dealing with Bad Surprises post for the The Atlantic online blog. Here’s a excerpt:

Not to belittle the recent tragic events in Japan with an obvious metaphor, but you can bet something is coming toward you, still unseen, that will shake whatever structures you have established in your psyche and your world — your priorities, projects, and plans. It will be input that must be incorporated into the totality of your life and work. It will cause you to have to reshuffle many of the meaningful components of your day-to-day experience, as well as triggering realizations of meaningfulness about which you were previously unaware.

[Note: This is the 5th in  a 12-week series of posts that will discuss “choices” from the book Monday Morning Choices by David Cottrell.]

You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do – Henry Ford

How much time and energy do you spend “going to?” As in, “I’m going to speak up at the next team meeting” or “I’m going to step up when they ask who wants to manage that new project” or “I’m going to start keeping a journal like I always wanted to.”

We all have these desires and wants. This weeks choice is about taking action, or as Cottrell puts it, not vacationing on “Someday Isle.”

It’s not always easy to take action. Many times we get in our own way. Sometimes our fears stop us.  So it does take courage to step off Someday Isle and start swimming. If you are having trouble, chunk your action down. This blog (and the Internet) is full of how to get things done!

One area that is emphasized in the book is to read every day and continually improve. In a recent HBR blog post Nine Things Successful People Do Differently, Heidi Grant Halvorson writes that the #5 action is “Focus on getting better, rather than being good”

Fortunately, decades of research suggest that the belief in fixed ability is completely wrong — abilities of all kinds are profoundly malleable. Embracing the fact that you can change will allow you to make better choices, and reach your fullest potential. People whose goals are about getting better, rather than being good, take difficulty in stride, and appreciate the journey as much as the destination.

I’ve been a habitual reader for many years. About 5 years ago I took on the Personal MBA (PMBA) Reading List compiled by Josh Kaufman. Josh’s site has become much fancier than when I started, but if you want a focused list of reading material applied to becoming better at business than nothing beats Josh’s list and the support of the PMBA community.

What have you been “going to” for a while and are now ready to make the choice of action to make it happen?