Preface: Hō‘imi means “look for better and best” and is defined here:
The 3 Secrets of Being Positive
Dip into the Talking Story archives, and you’re likely to find several posts on productivity studies which I had done within a learner’s obsession I’d had with GTD: David Allen’s Getting Things Done approach to stress-free performance.
Initially, GTD appealed to me as a great companion to my earlier learning of Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; it fortified and revitalised those lessons-learned for me with how habits can put us on auto-pilot in a good way.
I still refer to GTD often and with confidence, for there is a wealth of productivity “stuff” to be learned from David Allen, who amuses me in the way he will repeatedly say,
“I’m lazy and I don’t want to think about anything more than it deserves.”
How’s that for a statement perfectly in tune with weekend living? He recently repeated it as the opening line of his last newsletter. Allen goes on to explain,
“So my quest became to find the best and most efficient ways to think about things as little as possible. What I found was that by asking a few clarifying questions, and putting the answers in a trusted system, I was able to use my mind more creatively and more strategically for the kind of stuff that really did deserve my mental horsepower.”
Reflecting back on it, if I had to reduce everything I have learned from GTD into a single useful take-away statement, it would be that of which he speaks: GTD has taught me to capture my stress-free performance answers in a trusted system. My answers. My trusted system.
Strengthen your trusted system
What does this have to do with our current-to-February theme? (February’s Strengthening. We know it as Love.)
When you have a trusted system for your own personal productivity, a system which perpetuates what works best for you, and which discards everything else, you are strengthening your system of self care.
You can work on the goals which set your heart on fire (and express your spirit of Aloha), because you’ve already done your very best work on the most important project of all: You, and how you operate —your strengths, your values, and your trusted systems of well-being.
Consider what falls within ‘discarding everything else’
I devoted part of yesterday to working within my own trusted system, capturing my answers, and discarding everything else: It was a day I had calendared in my Strong Week Plan for reviewing my Project List for 2010.
I tumbled the brain-writing captured in the table below at one point of my review, as a reflection on my Mahalo, the Hawaiian value of thankfulness. (To any of you GTDers reading, think of brain-writing as a contextual mind-sweep.) I was appreciating what I have managed to do right thus far in 2010, instead of beating myself up over what I still needed to improve upon. In other words, I captured some of my answers:
|A TRUSTED SYSTEM||EVERYTHING ELSE|
|Chic, custom-fit design||One-size fits all (which usually doesn’t, and is never very flattering)|
|Useful bits||Irrelevant bits|
|Essentials only||Extras and clutter|
|Captures your needed attention||Sources of procrastination|
|Batches work||Scatters work, or needlessly duplicates it|
|Creates “flow”||Conducive to interruption|
|When auto-pilot = learned||When auto-pilot = consumed|
|Designed to work efficiently||Designed to work “pretty” or riddled with “should-ing”|
|A blend of low-tech and digital||Stubborn about “system purity”|
|Conducive to thinking||Conducive to distraction|
|Energy-efficient or even energy-exponential||Drains your energy or wastes it|
|Cheap (i.e. inexpensive)||Costly (in numerous ways)|
|Your “burning YES”||What you haven’t said “NO” to yet|
and I MUST point this out as a connection to The 3 Secrets of Being Positive:
I am evangelizing batching work more and more every day. Batching is the only work-around I know of, where we can successfully apply our “multi-thinking” to our “multi-tasking.” A good way to tackle more batching is to separate the tasks within your work into low-tech, mid-tech, and high-tech (own it as your tech: Comfy with My-Tech GTD).
Messes can be pretty
‘Ike loa: Look over that list again from the viewpoint of how much you learn when your trusted system becomes one of your Wow Projects!
“We all need systems installed into our days to ensure consistency of results, order and superb outcomes.
Success doesn’t just occur: It’s a project that is worked on each day.”
—Robin Sharma, author of the book I reached for most over the last year (besides Managing with Aloha :) The Greatness Guide
One of the things I learned in my trusted system, was to embrace my messiness when looks messy actually means I can see everything better. For instance, I no longer use liquid paper in my check register or personal journal, because I want to see what I crossed out, and/or quickly recall why I changed my mind. Strikeouts have become my friend; so much so that I even use them digitally now! Used to be, I wanted everything to be pristine clean and match; now I realize how useful it is to see my dog-eared, annotated pages, doodling and all, and the ink color-coding which looks like pre-school play to the untrained eye.
I’ll bet you already have the makings of a trusted system within your personal productivity habits, and that you do know of your “good bones” in your success structures. Have you ever stopped to articulate them, and value them, so you capture your answers with the work you’ve done on a system which you continue to place your trust in?
That’s the weekend project I suggest you tackle if you haven’t other plans. You will find it a fabulous way to set a better course the rest of the year to come, and it might just become your passionate flare-up for February!
How is it connected to your feelings of well-being, and your ‘Imi ola, your best possible life?
How has your trusted system helped you give movement to your big ideas?
Footnote: If this doesn’t appeal to you, last weekend’s suggestion might!
Weekend Reading: Let’s go Blog Rolling