Listened to a tape of David Allens GTD Fast seminar yesterday and at one place he says that when you are about to do an activity you should ask yourself what is your purpose for this activity. And also what is the purpose of this activity with respect to your boss and his boss and the company and the shareholders. You must be able to answer if your action is consistent with all those purposes. Any thoughts about this advice?
I think it is a good suggestion, but curious how that relates to “fast”. In the middle of a crisis there must be a level of trust that preempts this type of thinking. In a position that is ancillary to a corps primary focus it may take some time to reconcile the requested action to the corporate hierarchy [i]stated[/b] needs/purpose.
Yes, this line of reason is critical for understanding ones value, but it may be impractical in practice when “fast” is desired.
[size=75]BTW we should regularly extend this line of thought in to all the various roles we fill. From parent/father, husband, manager, head chauffeur and cook, to member of the +3, this simple exercise can provide a significant mental refreshment when like is dragging one down. Realizing that our activities play an important role in the success of others helps overcome the very stress those activities cause.[/size]
I recall reading about one experiment, where they divided the medical doctors in two groups. The first was to continue doing business as usual, while the other group was to write down the purpose of why they gave their patient prescription for a drug. The result was dramatic. The second group prescribed 70% less drugs then the first group. What does this tell us?
I think that’s a very important question to ask. In the artists way, Julia Cameron talks about creative living being as much about cutting out things that drain us as it is picking things up that enrich us.
If everytime, before we engaged in an activity we asked ourselves where it sits in that context we are much more likely to decide whether we want to do it or not.
Jaysen, I think you’ve misunderstood; “GTD Fast” is the name of the course, and means simply that it’s a primer, a quicker way to learn the principles of GTD than reading the book. It doesn’t relate to the decisions being talked about
That writing down the purpose took that much more time and prevented them from prescribing the right(?) amount of drugs?
We should not forget to ask what the endresults were. 70% less drugs? Not interesting. How many more healthy patients? Now that’s more interesting!
Does this come as a surprise to anyone?
Back to my corner I go.
Quite right. Instead of being a time saving, the act of defining the purpose could be a time waste. What does this say about for every action we are planning to do we should define it into terms of ourselves, our bosses their bosses, the company and the shareholders. If we really did this we wouldn’t move at all.
Yes, and no.
If we stop at every action I think you are dead on. But if we only stop at major decision points then we are taking an additional step of “verifying real value” which is critical to the corporate environment. Let me illustrate with a current example.
Every year we develop a Personal Excellence Plan (called the PEP). The plan is trickled down from the CEO to management to line. At each layer the plan is modified to show how a particular group will support a directive of the corp. For “reduce costs” me groups PEP objective was to “find opportunities for server consolidations” and one employee actually refined his PEP to read “consolidate program XXXXX from 8 standalone servers to 1 real servers using VMWare ESX cluster”.
Now when the program XXXXX team decided to rewrite significant portions of they asked us for a several new servers. My person stopped and said “how about several VM in the ESX cluster?” The team didn’t want that so we sat down with them and showed them the PEP objectives from corporate and once they realized how this would help THEM meet these goals they agreed.
We were able to deliver ahead of schedule and under budget because someone stopped to make sure that the we were serving the purpose of the corp.
Any process can be crippling. Look at the OCD germ-phobic for a practical real world demonstration. This does not mean that we all stop washing to avoid their fate, but that we need to be aware of the possible pitfalls and guard against them.
Just read the following little gem: “Ferris, The 4-Hour work Week”. According to him time management doesn’t work. After banging my head against the wall for the last 30 years with different time management techniques without getting anywhere I have to agree. The alternative is spelled out in his book, and what a great alternative !
Looking back at my life, 80% of what I have done has been a waste of time. What could I accomplish if in the future only 10% would be a waste of time? But what are the magic words that would make that happen?
A - B - R - A - C - A - D - A - B - R - A
Become a Hippy