Allocate Your Time | Project Management Made Easy
This is about Concentration and Discretion.
Concentration is your ability to focus and direct your attention toward a specific end and set of corresponding next actions.
Discretion is your conscious decision to say YES to actions and activities which support your specific end and say NO to ones that do not.
In this lesson you’ll learn GTD – The 5 fundamentals for getting things done simply, efficiently and systematically using offline and online project management tools.
Life is a project, to be experienced and enjoyed.
However, it’s impossible to enjoy life, when you’re not prepared handle all the requests and demands that life will throw at you.
Fortunately for you, things are about to change for the better.
It all begins with how you see and handle STUFF.
Since launching the series on Protect Your Time, I have found myself in situations where I needed to say NO, but found it extremely challenging. On occasion, I let a YES slip out before checking my calendar or considering what I really wanted to do with MY time.
This resulted in me being frustrated with myself for not being clear about my time or committed to using it how I chose. There is something empowering about owning your time – especially when you’ve allocated a significant portion of your 24 hours to earning a living.
Yet, unexpected requests, particularly from a friend, colleague or perhaps… your spouse, sneak up on you and before you know it, you’ve agreed to do something you should have declined!
The simple answer is the relationship and how you feel your NO will affect it.
Certain people matter to you and telling them NO usually doesn’t feel good. Still, you must learn how to do it.
If you’ve been following this time management skills series, Skill 2 teaches you how to adopt a decision making process that factors in your vision. By using your vision as a filter for what you say YES to, it becomes easier to say NO to STUFF which draws you away from your vision.
And get this… you don’t have to justify your NO.
There’s an art and science to saying NO, which I’ll share with you in this lesson based on the above diagram. The process is known by many as GTD.
In his book Getting Things Done, David Allen (the world’s leading expert on personal and organizational productivity) reveals how to transform a fast-paced, overwhelming, over-committed life into one that is balanced, integrated, relaxed, and has more successful outcomes.
Here’s what others have experienced as a result of learning and practicing the principles of GTD:
- I am a devout, card-carrying GTD true believer. . . . The entire approach has boosted not only my productivity but also my wider well-being. But what amazes me just as much is how deeply GTD has taken hold around the world. . . . This is a genuine movement.
- Getting Things Done offers help building the new mental skills needed in an age of multitasking and overload.
- Allen drops down from high-level philosophizing to the fine details of time management. Take a minute to check this one out.
- David Allen’s productivity principles are rooted in big ideas . . . but they’re also eminently practical.
- David Allen brings new clarity to the power of purpose, the essential nature of relaxation, and deceptively simple guidelines for getting things done. He employs extensive experience, personal stories, and his own recipe for simplicity, speed, and fun.
- Anyone who reads this book can apply this knowledge and these skills in their lives for immediate results.
- Getting Things Done describes an incredibly practical process that can help busy people regain control of their lives. It can help you be more successful. Even more important, it can help you have a happier life!
- WARNING: Reading Getting Things Done can be hazardous to your old habits of procrastination. David Allen’s approach is refreshingly simple and intuitive. He provides the systems, tools, and tips to achieve profound results.
Each of these testimonials derive their power from the ability to say NO to the STUFF you should not do, so that you have the time, energy and resources to say YES to the STUFF you should do.
We’ll explore (in 4 time and energy protecting strategies) the fundamentals of GTD and the power of your NO:
- STOP doing certain STUFF
- START doing certain STUFF
- Do LESS Of certain STUFF
- Do MORE Of certain STUFF
STOP doing certain STUFF
Decide right now, to stop doing any activity or feeding any relationship that prevents you from carrying out your vision. Your decision is the catalyst for the change.
I’m not suggesting that you can stop doing certain stuff immediately. Your daily experience is driven by a series of habits. What I am suggesting is that you cultivate new habits — which protect your time and allow you to choose what you do with it.
START doing certain STUFF
To change your habits, you need a system. GTD offers you a simple way to get things done with basic rules to handle:
- things you know about and want to do
- things you know about and don’t want to do
- things you don’t know about and should do
- things you don’t know about and should decline (every time)
The ONE Thing that you absolutely must START doing is saying NO until you considered your calendar (existing commitments) and your desired experience.
People are creatures of habit who seek convenience whenever possible. If you always say YES, you essentially become a convenience to other people. They will default to you because it does not require them to think or seek out a different way to solve their problem. And it is their problem, not yours.
To combat this problem, you’ll need a basic understanding of the 5 Stages of the GTD Model.
Do LESS Of certain STUFF
Stop ignoring the middle 3 stages (Clarify, Organize and Reflect). Your power of choice resides here. Give yourself permission to enjoy what you say YES to.
Do MORE Of certain STUFF
Handling a request for your time is not much different than responding to the promotional email that is sitting in your INBOX. The greatest feature of phone apps and their online counterpart is the ability to turn them OFF when you’re doing other things.
Until you’re ready, other STUFF remains in a Captured State.
This gets a little tricky when someone you know and like shows up and asks, can you help me take care of… tonight, after work?
Caught off-guard, you’re likely to say YES!
This is when you have to remember the 5 stages of Getting Things Done:
- Capture – move tasks out of your head and put them on a ”to-do” (online or offline) list that you trust.
- Clarify – Determine what is actionable for you – something that you can do something about and want to.
- Organize – Delegate, Schedule, Incubate, Trash or Do (if it can be completed in less than 2 minutes).
- Reflect – Check everything that you’ve committed to do and resolve conflicts.
- Engage – Do the next action required to move your task or project toward completion.
When you say YES without giving it any thought, you go from the CAPTURE Stage to the ENGAGE Stage, bypassing Clarify, Organize and Reflect.
Every time you follow this habit-pattern, some more important area of your life gets disrupted.
Next Action – Getting Started With Project Management Tools
Get David Allen’s book and learn how to make GTD a key component of your daily agenda.
After you’ve explored Getting Thing Done, check out these online tools for GTD Implementation:
- Asana – an online project management tool that gives you full visibility and control over your tasks
- Wrike – an online project management tool that gives you full visibility and control over your tasks with time tracking.
- Trello – an online project management tool that gives you full visibility and control over your tasks using the kanban scheduling system.
Then use the knowledge you gain to skillfully say NO to activities and requests which take you away from the STUFF and people you enjoy.