Latest and Loudest

Do you ever fell like you are on a treadmill at work where things are coming in faster than they can be processed? It can be a frustrating experience to always feel like you stuck trying to catch up. This usually forces people into a situation where their focus falls to the latest and loudest item. Stuff might get done, but it feels unfulfilling.

In an email to GTD Connect members earlier this year, David Allen focused a whole column on what happens when people fall into this mode.

Driven by latest and loudest is a sub-optimal way to engage. You will likely be over- or under-reacting to the situation, subliminally knowing that there are many other things that should probably need to be considered in allocating your most precious resources (time and attention). You will complain about being the victim of unexpected interruptions created by an environment, situation, or people you can’t control.

When someone is caught in this situation the best way out is to find perspective. Taking time to step back to see the bigger picture is a great way to regain control. In GTD the primary way to do this is through the Weekly Review. Spending a couple of hours at the end of a work week to examine the current situation provides a breath of fresh air.

The basic principles of the review are to get clear, current, and creative. They are mapped out in a David Allen podcast, available for free on the GTD web site. It is a great way to learn how to do this simple yet powerful process. You can also download a free handout from GTD web site listing the steps.

Finally, while the latest and loudest may not always be the best thing to do, there are exceptions. As David wrote on his blog:

That said, whenever you did choose to handle whatever was latest and loudest, it may have been exactly the best thing to be doing, given the whole picture of your world. You may not have seen it that way.

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