Discover the Little Known Productivity tactic that will instantly Beat Procrastination & Motivate you towards your Goal.Get Unstuck & Blaze Forward
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I’m going to share with you one of the most powerful concepts from the Getting Things Done® (GTD®) methodology. If you apply this concept, it will instantly boost your productivity multiple-fold. Seriously!
I’m going to show you exactly how it works with examples, and what are the steps you need to take to implement this in your life.
So that from now on, you no longer will procrastinate on any of your commitments. Infact you will be motivated to take action.
Before I get into the juicy details, here’s a quick story on how my journey began with GTD.
How GTD (Getting Things Done) changed my life
Back on 2007, while working at my family business, Vakil Housing, I was feeling totally out of control.
Too many things happening, lots of things going wrong. I was constantly fire-fighting. I wasn’t getting anything meaninful done. We were in the middle of this massive real estate boom and I couldn’t most of it.
One day my brother Arif entered my cabin and saw me ‘overwhelmed’. (Side note: By then Arif was already a GTD practitioner.) He saw me all stressed-up and he said, “Ali, I tell you what, let’s do a mindsweep.” A “Mind Sweep” is one of the 1st steps in GTD.
I was skeptical. But decided to do it anyways.
Just a few mins into this exercise and I started feeling better already.
Just a few mins! And I’m more in control. Nothing outside my world changed, yet I’m less overwhelmed.
I realised there’s something more to GTD than meets the eye. I took GTD more seriously.
Ever since my life has changed.
Firstly things got much better at work. Here are some photographs of our completed projects:
Secondly, I began finding more time for myself.
I decided to take up something more close to my heart (Art + Spirituality). I began to draw comics in 2009 called Sufi Comics. In 2011 me & Arif published our first book “40 Sufi Comics”.
So far we’ve published 3 books (all got nominated for awards). Our 2nd book for a short time was on the best seller list of Graphic Novels on Amazon:
It didn’t stop there.
In 2013 we started a school ILM Montessori with a few friends, and in 2015 a new company Calm Achiever that holds the master franchise for GTD in India.
I don’t say this to brag.
But that applying the principles GTD gave me:
| More time to spend on the things that I love to do,
| Mental space for creative thoughts & ideas.
And I know by applying this system, you can get the same (or even better) results.
What can GTD do for me? Hear David Allen talk.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, and things are out of control. GTD can help! With GTD you will be able to:
| Create more space during your day to explore your hobbies
| Be able to get more done in less time so that you can spend more time with family
| Be creative & fulfill your commitments on time to develop your career
| Grow your business by focusing on the work that moves you forward
I know this sounds like a big promise. But both me and Arif have experienced this in our lives. And if you want to see how GTD can help, I invite you to hear from David Allen himself, the creator of this methodology, in this fascinating TED Talk:
I hope you took out time to watch that video.
There’s so much value packed into this video that I guarantee if you watch it the 2nd time around, you’ll probably new learn things that missed the first time.
The one tactic from GTD that will instantly Beat Procrastination & Motivate you towards your Goal.
3 Reasons Why Most To-Do lists suck.
Most people who want to be productive, maintain some kind of to-do list, to help them track what they need to do. Cause your mind is not a place for holding ideas, it’s for having ideas.
Here’s what a typical to-do list may look like:
| Mom’s birthday
| Marketing Campaign
| Ramesh Kumar
| Service Car
Here’s why a to-do list like this is a problem.
Imagine you’re commuting and you have some spare time. You open up your to-do list to knock of some tasks. You see “Marketing Campaign” on your list.
Now how do you take “Marketing Campaign” forward? You think for a second are realize that you have to send an email to Rahul. But you’re not in front of your laptop, your smart phone doesn’t have a 3G connection, so you can’t send that email.
Hence no progress is made.
During the course of a busy day you’ve arrived at a meeting, but everyone is not yet arrived and you’ve got some spare time. You look at “Marketing Campaign”, you realize you have to send an email to Rahul, to move the project forward.
But once again you can’t do anything about it now ‘cause your laptop is not with you and you really can’t type that long email from your phone.
What just happened. You again just wasted time rethinking what the next action is. A list like this is not helpful because:
| You waste time re-thinking the next action
In this case unnecessary drag was created because you had to “re-think” – send email to Rahul every time you looked at “Marketing Campaign.” Why rethink something you’ve already thought through once?
| It does not remind you to do the right thing at the right time
You remembered “Send Rahul an email” when it was not possible. Would it be great if your to-do list reminded you to this task when you were in front of a laptop.
| Your to-do list does not motivate you to take action
“Marketing Campaign” doesn’t say anything about why you should take action. It does not remind you of the
You actually do want to take action and move “Marketing Campaign” forward, but the way your to-do list is setup, it creates mental drag, and you end up delaying progress on your commitments.
How to set-up your to-do list to eliminate drag from taking action
Ok! This is the moment we’ve been waiting for. Let’s get right into it.
For every item on your to-do list, ask yourself two simple questions:
Question1: What’s the Next Action?
Ask yourself, what’s the next physical, visible thing I need to do in order to move forward.
We recently coached a senior executive with stalled projects. We picked a particularly daunting one and asked him what the next action step would be. He promptly replied with a sigh ‘Creating the Project Plan’.
But is he right?
We drilled down further and asked ‘What is the next action step to get the project plan rolling?’ The reply was ‘Well, I need to gather all my team members for a meeting’
Already we were down from project plan to a very much doable meeting. With further probing, we got to the actual visible, physical next step and it turned out to be ‘Call the secretary and ask her to set up a team meeting’.
Just a simple phone call!
Action items are often smaller and easier than you think. It just takes 10 seconds to come up with them.
Question 2: What’s the successful outcome (or Project)?
Quite often something that has your attention is part of a larger outcome that requires more than one step to complete.
Usually, people procrastinate because they don’t have a compelling vision of what their end goal is. The more compelling the vision, the more motivated you will be to move forward on the project.
You’re actually splitting the list of things you need to do into 2 lists. Once is a “Next Actions” list, and the other is a “Project List”.
So if you were to apply these questions to the to-do list example above this is how it would look like:
|Old To-Do list||Next Action List||Projects (Successful Outcome)|
|Mom’s Birthday||Brainstorm with Arif on Mom’s Birthday Gift.||Organize Mom’s birthday party that will bring tears of joy|
|Marketing Campaign||Email Rahul to get an update on the revised Facebook Ads||Launch a Campaign that will sell out all the remaining units|
|Ramesh Kumar||Call Ramesh to setup dentist appointment||Ensure my teeth are free of cavities.|
|Service Car||Call Suresh to fix car service appointment for my car||Get my car in shape for a smooth drive|
Yaaay! Your old boring to-list can now be trashed!
All you will need is the Next Action list that will help you take the next action to move forward, and the Projects list to help you keep track & motivated of your commitments.
But isn’t defining the Next Action & Successful Outcome a lot of work?
Now if you’re new to the idea of creating these two lists, it may seem like more work.
But here’s the thing. You’re doing this work anyway!
You can never move forward on any project, unless you’ve defined what the next action is.
With GTD, you have to do it only once, and park it in a trusted system to remind you to do it at the right time.
Without GTD, you have to do it remind yourself the next action several times, till you take action on it.
So if you’re defining your next actions & successful outcomes in advance, you’re like the woodcutter who spends time sharpening his saw before cutting down the tree.
People around you will be surprised how much faster you’ve become at executing actions & keeping track of your commitments.
Other benefits from the GTD methodology:
What I’ve shared with you here is just one of the steps of the GTD Fundamentals to help you get in control. There are 5 steps in total:
Capture things that have your attention into a trusted system, so that your mind can be free to focus on the present.
Clarify what each of these things mean to you by asking What’s the Next Action? & What’s the Successful Outcome?. This will help you overcome procrastination & never miss out on any commitment.
Park your Next Actions & Projects in it’s appropriate categories, so that it will remind you to do the right things at the right time.
Review your lists on a regular basis to keep them current, so that you know when you refer to them, you can take the right decisions on what to do, and what not to do.
Once you’re doing the first 4 steps. You will naturally engage with your world with focus & clarity. More importantly, you’ll be able to deal with surprises effectively.
Where you can come to learn more about Getting Things Done?
Congratulations on completing this guide!
If you just follow the steps in this guide, you’ll be ahead than most people on the planet.
Email us your feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org (We read every email)
GTD is a lifelong path of mastery. We have been practicing it for almost 10 years, and we’re still improving our game.
If you like to learn more about GTD, here’s what you can do:
| Get the book: Getting Things Done by David Allen. http://www.calmachiever.com/gtd-starter-bundle/
Or sign up for a 1.5 day fun & action packed GTD fundamentals workshop during which we’ll go more in depth into the material. Visit: http://www.calmachiever.com/workshops/ By the time you complete the workshop, you’ll leave with a complete GTD working system with you.
Arif & Ali Vakil
Master Trainers in Getting Things Done