Guest interview with Sam Wigan; trainer, facilitator and coach - Next Action Associates

Sam Wigan is an avid student of personal development and self awareness for 20 years, having completed numerous advanced courses in the field and more recently, a Masters Class in personal transformation with an emphasis on coaching. Sam is also a corporate training facilitator with Thrive Global, and previously served as City Director for Insight Seminars in the UK. He also fulfilled a lifetime vocation as a successful professional sculptor, creating hundreds of bronze works for private clients, businesses and organisations, including top UK art collectors. A loving husband and father of two highly energetic boys, Sam has also been an ordained minister since 2003. His Passions include trail running, exploring the reality of limitless human potential, attending retreats, loving family, pretty much all of the coast of California, and assisting others in life changing expansion and positive transformation.

  1. When did you first come across GTD and what inspired you to start using it?

I first connected with GTD in around 2001. I was doing an Insight Seminar and the facilitator, who is a friend of David’s, recommended it to the group. My ears pricked up and I bought the book. I have a feeling that of the 100 or so people in the room, I was the only one who asked for the details and bought the book. The main reason was that the facilitator was, and still is, a trusted friend and I figured “if they are recommending it, it’s going to be good!”

  1. Can you tell us a bit about the system you use?

Pared down, I have a MacBook Air laptop and an iPhone 6s+. I run Apple Pages documents for my main lists (Horizons, including Projects lists). I run about six main Projects lists, one for each significant area of my work and one for personal/home projects. For all my Next Actions I run Apple Notes, sub-divided into various categories: Errands, With, Admin, Places, Communicate (which covers email, call, text), Waiting For, Research… you get the idea. And then iCal for calendar, with various distinct colour coded calendars within that (house stuff, family, categories of work, kids!.. etc) All of this syncs across MacBook and iPhone via iCloud.

I have four filing cabinets at home: Business, Business Reference, Home, and Accounts. Newly purged after about three years of collecting. Aaaah, so good.

I will typically end the day by clearing all email to near zero, and writing a day plan for the next day. In the morning I usually meditate and then review the day plan before the noise of my family begins. If I can do that before my kids wake I am well prepared to take on family breakfast time!

  1. What has been the most valuable thing you have learned from having GTD in your life?

The value of getting things out of my head, in a good way.

  1. If we were to look at your Projects list, what would you say is your favourite Project?

Hmmm. Well, it’s got to be this one (cut and pasted verbatim):

– August in California

  • Upper Class, Virgin Atlantic
  • San Fran to L.A.
  • Fun . Nature . Activities . Rest . Best Hotels . Together as a Family . 100% Present
  1. What do you do in your spare time (now you have plenty of it, of course!)?

Last weekend I cleared ivy from our trees with the kids and took them to the cinema on Sunday evening. It’s not so much that I had the time to do it, but that for the most part I felt really present with them and enjoyed it, rather than feeling like I had 100 other things I should be doing.

  1. How has GTD changed the way you work with other people?

After 15 years I am yet to convert my wife to GTD. It’s amazing to me that she has been as successful as she has been without an apparent filing or capture system. Every six months I clear her desk – much to her annoyance (and, I think, secret delight).

Beyond home, I see this as the next level: managing meetings well so that we end with clear Next Actions identified and allocated.

  1. Do you use GTD on your team/organisation, and if so, what are the benefits you’ve seen that come when there are multiple people using the approach?

I don’t insist on anyone else using the system – as long as I know that they are capturing our agreements, I am good. If they miss our agreements, I will usually pull them up on it!

  1. Do you have any tips on how to most effectively conduct your Weekly Review?

Be flexible: the ideal might be same time each week, but my life doesn’t seem to work like that so I will Weekly Review regularly, but not religiously. It’s to do with capacity and sense of control, so sometimes it’s more than weekly, and sometimes a few weeks might go by. Equally, sometimes it might be all lists but cursory, and other times it might be just a few project items – but thorough.

  1. What’s the coolest thing on your Someday/Maybe list?

Collect motorbikes.

 

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