So the decorations are back in storage, the leftover turkey is a memory, and we’re back at it in the office. Here in the UK, winter seems finally to have arrived after a very warm autumn, but hey, the days are getting longer now and soon spring will be beckoning.
As you get into the swing of the New Year, how about considering some refinements to your GTD systems and practices that could make 2016 more fulfilled, productive, and stress-free than last year? Here are some thoughts.
Make your meetings more productive
As you prepare for any regular meetings that you have, like that weekly 1-on-1 with the boss, make sure you’re equipped with two lists: an Agendas list of the new topics you want to bring up, and a Waiting For list of the things the person you’re meeting with is meant to be doing for you. If you use those lists to help focus the conversation, you’ll ensure that you’ve made the most of the time. When the people you’re meeting with see the power of this, you might even encourage them to start keeping Agendas and Waiting For lists for themselves.
BTW, for that meeting with the boss, if you really want to take things up a gear, take along your Projects list too. Go over the projects you have on, and make sure you and the boss are aligned on priorities.
Team meetings lacking focus? End the meeting by going around the table and get everyone to briefly run through the Projects and Next Actions that have been identified during the meeting. Have someone document those, and review them at the beginning of the next meeting to ensure progress is being made. Hey presto, a focused meeting.
Use your calendar to ensure balance and focus
Inboxes overflowing? If so, you might not be spending enough time clarifying and organizing. Book some blocks of time over the next couple of weeks in your calendar, and use that time to do the clarifying thinking that will get those inboxes (physical and digital) toward empty.
Maybe it’s not your inboxes that are getting big, but your Next Action lists. If so, create some blocks in your calendar over the next couple of weeks, and use the time to work on the action reminders on those lists.
Make that Weekly Review happen
Is your Weekly Review not happening, well, weekly? If so you’re missing one of the most powerful building blocks of stress-free productivity. Your calendar can help here to. Book in an hour a week over the next couple of months, to encourage you to get into the rhythm. If it helps, build yourself a ritual. For example, create a great music playlist to have on while you do your Review.
If you’re a bit of a perfectionist (me too, BTW), pat yourself on the back any time you do even a partial Review. Remember, a consistent 20-minute Weekly Review is better than a black-belt Review done once every six months.
Change a tool
Any sources of friction in the tools you’re using to stay focused and productive? Maybe a change would do you good. For example, which tools are you using for collection? The digital assistants that are emerging on our smart phones, like Siri on the iPhone, Cortana in the Microsoft world, or the Google App, make great collection enhancers. There are also cool little apps like Braintoss that take the faff out of using email as a capture tool.
If you’re up for a big change, throw it all out and start a new system, on a new platform. Windows to Mac, or vice versa. Build a complete cloud-based solution. Or go all retro and build a cool system on paper. It takes time, of course, but starting from scratch encourages you to think about what is fundamentally important to you, and can be hugely liberating.
Be in touch
Our mission here at Next Action Associates is to help bring the benefits of GTD to the world. That’s what gets us out of bed in the morning, and keeps us going. So please let us know if there’s anything we can do to support you on your GTD journey.
From me and the team, all best wishes for a fulfilled and productive 2016.