I have been using the GTD methodology for time management and productivity for a little over 2 years and found it very effective. One thing I am only just beginning to understand is how deep the system really is. The basic process is simple, list next physical actions by context for each project you are working, a project is anything with more than 2 physical next actions.
Sounds simple. Not so.
As you get in the back section of the GTD book you start to cover activities that are at different levels in your life for example:-
- 50,000+ ft : Life
- 40,000 ft : 3 to 5 year visions
- 30,000 ft : 1 to 2 year goals
- 20,000 ft : Area of responsibility
- 10,000 ft : Current Projects
- Runway : Current Actions
Most of us spend lots of time on the first few levels and less time on the top 3. Recently I have been paying attention to the top levels as well. The top levels is where things get deep.
I try to make sure I have actions at the lower levels that ensure progress toward to top level goals and visions. I feel focused after my weekly review that include a review of these higher level actions instead of just focusing on what is in front of me.
This brings me to goals. Most things at these higher levels tend to be goals. My typical goal reads like “Get mortgage to $XXX in 5 years” or “Go on 2 week skiing holiday”. Exciting right!!
This week I learnt why I have such a hard time achieving them, they don’t entice, they are not worthy of my effort, they don’t create a chill down my spine, basically they aren’t sexy!
Wayne Turmel has a great interview with Lisa Haneberg on The Cranky Middle Manager #91 talking about making breakthroughs in your achievement of goals. Basically Lisa says your goals need to become a driving force, give you a chill down your spine when you talk or think about them. You need to be able to deeply connect to the goal.
Yesterday Cam Reilly pointed me to a Steve Pavlina post about sex energy and using it to help focus up on your actions and goals:
In my early days of goal setting, I fell into this trap often. I kept setting goals that looked great on paper. I visualized them endlessly, but after a few weeks, I’d get the feeling something was off. The initial spark had faded, and I just didn’t care anymore… maybe intellectually but certainly not emotionally. The goals were stuck in my head but never infected my whole being. Consequently, when I worked on those goals, it took a lot of effort to motivate myself to keep going. I always felt like I was trudging uphill.
On the other hand, sometimes I’d get a wild idea for a goal, and even though it didn’t seem the most intelligent thing to do, I’d become totally obsessed with its accomplishment. I couldn’t dive into the action phase fast enough. I’d work hard on it, but the work was effortless. Calling it work would be like saying sex is work… volunteer work maybe. It may involve some energetic exertion, but it’s more fun than toil. Both the goal and the path to get there are enjoyable. It’s like the goal somehow sinks its hooks into my biology; my appetite takes over and does the work for me.
So now I am going to make my goals sexy to the point when I read them I get a chill down my spine in anticipation of achieving them.