Everyone writes about GTD (the Getting Things Done process by David Allen). I haven’t yet aside from my book review of it here . I like to take GTD apart into easier pieces and learn them one at a time instead of looking at developing a whole system. Knowing and using pieces from GTD has certainly helped me to reinforce and strengthen habits to be more effective and productive. There is ONE key piece that I’ve come to realize is not only one of my common practices, but an important point from the GTD process and I hope I can share the value of that here today.
So, Ian Peaty actually triggered this in a comment on Bunny’s Got Blog site about the here and now of things. I really liked that comment, value that same attitude myself and was also then reading through and thinking about another article on the GTD process so I started linking them together.
GTD’s One Key Secret
So, the bottom line is that if there is anything you can do right now in just a few minutes, do it now so you will NEVER have to come back to it again and waste time thinking or reading about it in the same way again.
This is the premise of the GTD filing system for your inbox and minor tasks. What about applying this same principle in others areas of work and life though? I find putting this into context of helping others is just as valuable and much more useful in the eyes of others.
Do You Have a Minute?
We all get this question and it’s often seen as a distraction. Is 2 minutes ever just 2 minutes? Well it can be, if you think in the principles of GTD for that 2 minute conversation as well. If you are always willing to take a minute and deal with things as they come up, you can quickly become relied on as the “go to guy” and you will always be seen as someone who is willing to help.
However, the goal here is to just take the 2 minutes required to deal with an issue or question right away. Aim to be done with that item in 2 minutes. It might mean scheduling some other time, point someone in a new direction, planning a meeting later to discuss it, or offering a suggestion that might come to mind that that person can still deal with. Don’t be too quick to volunteer yourself if you don’t need to be. Offering a suggestion or other resource is a great way to quickly turn a question or issue back to the person asking and still gives them something new to work on with you having helped quickly.
Making it a Habit
There are two sides of this 2 minute help becoming a habit. On one side, the more people that learn you are able to help them quickly, the more often they will want to come for help. On the other side, the more often you help them, the quicker you enable them to find their own solutions and resources without needing your help. To me, that is the whole value in making it a habit. It is something that gives you a chance to help often and to train others in bits and pieces habits to find resources and solutions themselves. If people learn that you will not take the work on from them, or that you are always expecting them to have their own suggestions and solutions, they will develop their own habits to learn that. You should always try to include questions back at that person to have them thinking about the same kind of solutions or suggestions you might have to offer.
Don’t just give your suggestion, always look to lead others to find their own solutions. This teaches others, helps them to feel they own it and develops habits of their own. It’s these kind of GTD steps when applied in new ways that allows the process to be taken further with habits for achievement.
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