My GTD Story @ GTD Online!

Idcrane-gtdt is an honor and a privilege to announce that I am currently featured on Getting Things Done!

About a month ago, the GTD team reached out to me to ask if I would share my story about how I discovered the system and use it.  Without any hesitation I jumped at the chance.  Here is an except from the story:

How long have you been practicing GTD?
I started in 2011. I am one of those excited people who dove in head first and did a total implementation of the GTD process within the first month. One of the best support tools for the early years of practice was the 10 CD set of David Allen’s complete GTD two-day seminar. I pretty much listened to it on repeat in my car. Each time I listened, it took me deeper into the GTD process. I still dive into seminar from time to time for a refresher.”

Read the rest of the story at the Getting Things Done web site.

Celebrate Small Wins

Next time you watch a basketball game, pay attention to what happens after a team scores.  The players on that team high five the teammate who shot the basket.  It doesn’t matter if it is early in the first quarter or late in the fourth quarter, teams are constantly celebrating success.

man dunking the ball

With that in mind, do you ever have days at work where it feels like nothing was accomplished?  You worked hard but it seems your major goals stay out of reach.  It can make our jobs very frustrating, but it doesn’t need to be that way.  Perhaps all you need to do is focus on the value of small wins.

The game of knowledge work requires us to set the success conditions.  Too often we define our projects in large terms, such as updating the strategic plan, launching the new service, or completing the budget process.  In truth, those larger projects contain numerous small projects, each one of which is a crucial step forward.  In turn, the smaller projects also contain sub-projects of their own.

In basketball, each team may hit 40 or more baskets.  While a basket itself is worth very little, teams celebrate as they know that point helps achieve a larger victory.  In knowledge work our scores are calculated different, but they are still as meaningful.  So why not celebrate each one of your small wins along the way? That’s why I enjoy clearing my inbox, delegating a task, completing a next action, or finishing a two-minute item.  Small wins every hour of every day add up to the big win later on.

Therefore, celebrate your small wins trusting in the fact that each step is moving you towards your big goals.

Twittering Away

twitterbirdJust a quick post to share that I have finally joined the 336 million other people using Twitter.  I’m not sure yet how often I will tweet, but hopefully my 280 character correspondences will be entertaining and educational in some small capacity.  I’ll continue to focus my tweets on efficiency, productivity, and library themes.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter at:

efficientlibrarian @efficientlibra1


The Productivityist Podcast

I recently came across an engaging podcast from a company called the Productivityist.  According to their web site, they are:

“A company built with the quest to help people stop “doing” productive and start “being” productive through developing practical and tactical approaches to their work and lives.”

productivityistThe host is Mike Vardy, the President of the company.  So, what exactly is a productivityist?  Mike offers us this description:

“A productivityist is a productivity enthusiast. They are someone who studies productivity, be it the tools or habits. They dive deeper into the realm than most people. Just like a comedian looks at the world differently, so does the productivityist. Productivityists, like other enthusiasts, like to go further in their craft and push boundaries. They like to explore new processes, new ideas, new ways to get things done.”

The podcast is worth a listen and it can be found on the Productivityist web site or through the Apple Podcast app.  In future blog posts, I’ll explore the thoughts and ideas of some of the podcast’s unique guests.


The Weekly Review – A Time for Perspective

person holding turned on laptop

Weekly Review

For most people the world of work is fast paced.  Between meetings, deadlines, email, interruptions and more meetings, it seems like everything and everyone is vying for our attention.  It is like a roller coaster that never stops – leaving its riders dizzy and sick to their stomachs.  Thankfully, there is an antidote to this fast pace; one that is within anybody’s grasp.  It is called the Weekly Review.

In GTD, the Weekly Review a fundamental practice.  It is dedicated time to gain perspective.  In order for a knowledge worker to take advantage of the review, they must shut out the world for a few hours.  For many of us, this may seem like a tall order.  However, there are natural ebbs and flows to the week.  Typically, Friday afternoon is when most workplaces slow down and presents an opportunity to claim quiet time.

If you don’t think the Weekly Review is important, here is what David Allen himself says about the practice:  “Honestly, this is what I do to keep myself sane and in control. … It is the one factor upon which your success with Mind Like Water technology hinges.”

For the complete steps to the Weekly Review simply download this handy guide.


Why does Inbox Zero Matter?

inbox-zero“Why should I go to all the trouble to empty my email inbox?”

This is a question that I am sometimes asked during the Efficient Librarian seminars.  On the surface, all this fussing about with the “action” and “waiting for” folders seem like extra work, especially when the inbox is overflowing.  Participants want assurances that working towards Inbox Zero is not a futile endeavor.

I believe that the labor needed to reach Inbox Zero, as popularized by Merlin Mann, is exceeded by the rewards.  Off the top of my head, here are three reasons to live at Inbox Zero:

  1. An empty inbox clears the mind from reprocessing older messages to determine their value every time the inbox is viewed. The functional folders like “action” provide clarity and ease to workflow.
  2. Achieving Inbox Zero means that you are caught up on new input. This signals to the mind that it can move from processing to acting without worry that something important was missed.
  3. Emptying the inbox is a well-earned and clearly defined win. In the game of knowledge work we need to craft all the wins we can find.  Inbox Zero is a win that renews constantly!

If you have never seen your email inbox at zero, I challenge you to dig down and empty it out.  I expect it will be a victory you will savoir.  If you don’t believe me, listen to librarian Patrick Hoecherl of the Salt Lake City Library.  Upon reaching Inbox Zero last week he wrote to report that, “It feels even better than I thought it would!”  So go ahead, take the Inbox Zero challenge!

The Resistance to To-Do Lists

The to-do list has been a knowledge worker staple for ages.  Almost everyone has a version of one in their smart phone or paper planner.  Despite their usefulness, many people have a strong aversion to using their to-do list to its fullest capacity.  These people often seem to live in a limbo state between maintaining some items on the list while also trying to remember other items only in their head.

David Allen understands the challenges of doing the to-do list right.  He had a lot to say on this topic in a recent blog post.

DA-Small“I understand the resistance to to-do lists, and the complaints about keeping them. I’ve noticed a couple of reasons for this. The main one is that most to-do lists are incomplete lists of still un-clarified “stuff.” Looking at them creates as much stress as they might have relieved in the first place. Typically, what people have on their lists (if they have them at all) are things like “Mom,” and “bank,” and “marketing VP.” It’s great that they have captured something that has their attention, but there are still critical decisions to make with some critical thinking about that content.”

Read the rest of the blog post at the Getting Things Done web site.