The art of stress-free productivity
Your mind is for having ideas - not for holding them!
In his book, "Getting Things Done", David Allen starts off from a simple premise - we could say that productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax.
When we feel overwhelmed by how much we have to do it's difficult to focus on ensuring that life and work are moving in the direction you want to go. That's why it's important to plan our daily tasks before working on your big-picture life planning.
I have thus discovered GTD - David Allen, a "bottom-up" approach to productivity. The goal is to establish a sense of comfort and control over the work that we have to do, to help us organize our daily tasks as much as possible, in order to have space to concentrate on our big goals.
Most of the tasks that people keep in the "to do" lists are "amorphous bottlenecks of impotence" - commitments without a clear vision of what being done looks like. There comes a challenge - our brain is naturally designed to help us figure out how to do things, but only if we know what the end point looks like.
So, everything we do should have a clear stop - a point where we know we're done - 'the task is done'. If we don't know what this point looks like, it will be very difficult for us to make progress on this. When we face difficulties in making progress with our tasks, the first action is to clarify how it looks like - 'what does the task mean?' - 'what does it look like?'_.
The GTD proposes 5 simple and clear workflows that helped me take things off my shoulders. "Don't let life get in your way."
Collect every idea, item, task to be solved, or what we think is worth remembering safe storage of information in a list: sheet, calendar, phone, laptop
This first stage, though important, is the most difficult. Why? Most of the tasks remain in our minds. The number of possibilities, needs, tasks, decisions, encounters generated in our minds outweigh what is already recorded anywhere else in our minds.
In order for our minds to give up on the inferior task - trying to cling to everything, we have to make sure that we have collected everything that could represent something we have to do or anything that could be a decision that needs to be made - at some point in the near future we will process and review it.
We take everything we have collected and start organizing them according to the following criterion: is it actionable - can we do something about it now or in the near future ? If the answer is no, we take the information throw it out incubate it (no action is needed now, but it may be later) we use it as a reference (useful useful information that might be of use in another context). If the answer is yes decide the next necessary action.
Put it where it belongs. It's important to write tasks as an action (eg. "to send Ana an email tomorrow at 10 am" and not "mail to Ana") we create lists for the corresponding categories calls / errands to do / emails to send.
We take the results of the previous processing and place them in a system with which we feel comfortable. Activities go to the list of work, projects - list of projects, future plans - tracking system, reference information - file / database easily accessible.
An important factor in the process weekly review. Reviewing lists (as needed) helps determine the next steps. We're doing a weekly review to clean up, update our lists, and clear our minds.
• We gather and process all our tasks / ideas • Examine the chosen system • Update lists • The 4 C - Clean, Clear, Current and Complete
• Every last Sunday of the month we plan the following month • Every week we plan the next week • Every morning or evening plan the next day
Action takes place, tasks are in progress. The system is ready for everything to happen. Tasks are organized by priority and placed in categories. We know what to do and when.
The four criteria model for choosing actions in the moment.
• Context - done anywhere, or depending on location or tool (laptop, internet) • Time available • Available energy • Priority
In order to be productive over time, implementing a system that reminds us how to organize things is essential. Our mind is not designed to do this individually. Starting the day in a systematized way leads to increased productivity. It is precisely in this respect that the GTD helped me transform things into actions, thus getting a perspective on the organization of tasks.