Sunday, September 21, 2008

A backlash against GTD? Apparently so, based on this and this.

In a way, I know what they are talking about. As a former 7 Habits Guy, I sort of feel like you can end up in, as Covey says, the "thick of thin things."

The complaint is that GTD places a priority on project management, not on high quality thinking or innovation.

Taken one way, that's true. But, not if you ask yourself, WHY does GTD focus on project management. The whole idea is to manage your projects in such a way that they are not floating around your brain, polluting the atmosphere. This should in theory, free you up for two things that are tangentially related:

  • True leisure time (where Covey would say that you would sharpen your saw and truly re-create)
  • An ability to focus on innovation and creativity on the projects where it is required.

This is partly Allen's fault, because of his rhetorical focus on moving widgets. You have to be able to grasp the idea that doing some creative is moving a widget, and that it is moved until it's created effectively. What that will require you to be is less literal, and able to tolerate some ambiguity, which many people simply cannot do.

Second, Allen always made it clear that you could adapt his system to your needs. You don't have to do EVERY part of the system to be effective. I'm going to write about how I manage GTD and 7 Habits soon....suffice it so say that you can adapt it and make it work.

7 Habits never did it for me because it didn't help me manage the virtual blizzard of stuff in my windshield every day. But, I do believe the two philosophies can be accomodated. I use 7 Habits roles and visioning to create my overall direction, help me decide on projects, and help me ensure my projects do not simply reflect today's urgency. That's all part of my weekly review.

And then, I use GTD to manage those issues on an hourly basis.

To me, this all makes perfect sense. Different things for different people. But, you know what. You can't discard systems because they eventually butt up against the time-space continuum. You have to adapt them, using your own knowledge of your life. You cherry pick the things that represent timeless principles, and then move forward with velocity when needed, and float on the river when needed.

1 comment:

dannielo said...

If you would like to implement some of Stephen Covey's best ideas, you can use this aplication:

You can use it to manage and prioritize your Goals (in each of your life's categories), projects and tasks, in an intuitive interface. It has a Checklists section, for the repetitive activities you have to do, important but not urgent (Quadrant II, for example your routines/habits). Also, it features a Schedules section and a Calendar, for scheduling you time, activities and for the weekly review.

Some features from GTD are also present, like Contexts and Next Actions.

And it's available on the mobile phone too, so you can access it wherever you are.