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When your lists undergo radical surgery (or should!)


Have you experienced a point where your time management lists (e.g., GTD's Projects, Actions, and Waiting For) have undergone deep-seated change? I've had just such a change in my Waiting For list (for non-GTDers, it's simply a delegation list - who, what, and when delegated): It has tripled in size.

In my case the cause is a number of new projects, plus largish activation of my marketing plan for Where the !@#% did my day go? (Side note: A huge thanks to Dave Seah for his Review: Matt Cornell's "Where Did My Day Go" E-book. Definitely review his blog - great stuff.)

This got me thinking about under which circumstances major list changes might happen, and I played with a 2x2 matrix: fewer or more tasks vs the same or different types (i.e., new-to-you kinds of work) of task. Tell me what you think:

  1. Far fewer tasks, but still of the same type: You've undergone a convergence of focus (see Sometimes Laser, Sometimes Blind: How Natural Converge/diverge Cycles Explain Progress). Or: You've counteracted task overload by focusing on the 20% that make up the 70% of what matters (say).

  2. Fewer tasks, but of significantly different type: You've been promoted or laid off.

  3. More tasks of the same type: You've been asked to handle the work of a peer, say someone who's sick, and for whom there's no replacement.

  4. More tasks, but different types: You've taken on a new (additional!) job.. In my case, being made an executor for my mom's estate.

I'm curious: Have your lists changed radically recently? Why? Or do you need to make such a change? Any books you like to help navigate change? (On my desk at the moment: Change or Die: The Three Keys to Change at Work and in Life.)

Reader Comments (2)

As a (relatively) newbie to GTD, my lists are still changing a lot, but not because of my workload, which is quite stable, but due to my experiments in search of the best device (paper, self-email, post-its,etc) , and different verbal formats to define actions (David Allen's "Item-Action", which is great for alphabetical search in computers, Merlin Mann's "verb-the-noun-with-the-adjective"...)

February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNacho Jordi

Thanks for sharing, Nacho. The dimension you talk about is at a level I hadn't thought of, more of a tactical one, maybe? I love that you're experimenting, too! Good to have you here.

P.S. I found some comments and a blog, which I wonder if they're yours. Either way, they're good. :-) I'll repeat them:

[ 11 Quick and Simple Ways to Spread Positivity Around You Today | http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2010/01/19/11-quick-and-simple-ways-to-spread-positivity-around-you-today/ ]:

“Just listen” has a deep resonance for me, too. Very often, we are so compelled to say something that we do not listen the whole sentence. There was a quote in the “Touch” film about that: “How do you manage to get on well with EVERYBOODY?/I simple listen to them, instead of thinking what I am going to say next” (I quote by heart, obviously).

[ How to Live Two Lives in One | http://www.illuminatedmind.net/2010/02/04/how-to-be-polygamous/ ]

one always excels in the second discipline he’s most fond of

February 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermatthewcornell

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