I thought I would stick with the theme of personal productivity and share some thinking from David Allen, creator of GTD (Getting Things Done). This article is from a recent newsletter of his, and I recommend that you subscribe.
David tells us that “getting organised” is not. in itself, going to make us successful but it will “clear the decks” so that we are actually able to apply knowledge in a meaningful way.
He makes sense, as usual … I often attribute good time management practices as being a big part of any success I have had, but it alone doesn’t get you there!
Of course if you don’t manage your time you make your life that much more difficult.
DAVID’S FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Success doesn’t come from getting organized
Let’s get something really clear: success doesn’t come from getting organized—it comes from following your heart. Or your intuition. Or the seat of your pants. Or your gut. (Pick the words you like or that you’re not allergic to.)
Getting organized (a la GTD) won’t in itself solve the bigger issues and creative challenges that we all face from time to time. What it will do is help clear the decks internally, and create a more open space within which to do the real knowledge work—making the decisions about allocation of resources to make things happen that won’t happen by themselves. (It also gives the skills and tools to ensure that things actually happen once we’ve decided to do them.)
I was reminded of all this as I just finished working with a client. He is a CEO with lots of responsibility to a family company board, a deep company and family tradition and desire to maintain it, high standards, and quite a moving target for a market and product line definition.
His pain was his perception of “stuck-ness” in some of the bigger projects that he thought he should be clarifying and moving on. He was laboring under the self-judgement that he should be doing more than he was doing. In truth, he was doing exactly what he should be doing—rehearsing various scenarios and exploring all the ins and outs of each one, generating internal information and perspectives until critical mass is reached and the hunch factor will take over.
Many projects are waiting on more data to make the next level of decision, or waiting on others to deliver their delegated pieces. As long as the action steps about getting that data and the “waiting for’s” are clarified, recorded, and tracked, the executive work is (and rightly so) the inner conversation you will have with yourself about the best choice about what to do.
Clearing up the static is an important and often necessary factor. But tuning your station and listening are the critical elements to success.
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”