Back in the GTD Saddle

The last several months have been a whirlwind, culminating (at least to this point) with the Feb. 10 launch of our member community site for the Social Media Health Network, which is associated with our new Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media.

We’ve also now completed our staffing for the Center, and of course that was a major undertaking, as was selecting the new members for our External Advisory Board.

The hectic pace and the need to try to get back on top of it all led me to refocus on more rigorously applying David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology, which was among the main topics of this blog in the pre-chancellor years. Here’s a post from 2006 that’s a good jumping-off point for GTD exploration.

So on Saturday, January 15 I decided to head over to the office after our radio show production, and spent about three hours getting to this point:

Of course I didn’t capture the “before” state, but let me assure you it wasn’t pretty.

And as I referenced in the video, neither was my email inbox. I did make a strong effort over the ensuing few weeks, but even as of Feb. 13 I had nearly 2,300 emails that were in various stages of processing:

So last week I made a major push, and by Friday at 3:38 p.m. CST I reached my goal:

As GTDers know, that doesn’t mean that I had nothing left to do with my emails, but it did mean I had processed all of them and had decided whether they were

  • Actionable items to Delegate, Do, or Defer
  • Reference materials that could be valuable at some point, or
  • Items to Delete

As of this evening I have kept my office in the clean and clear mode for 27 work days. I’ve had five straight days of getting to the empty email inbox.

With the explosion of communication, your life is not likely to get less busy any time soon, as the number of potential inputs you get will continue to increase. That’s why it’s important to have a means of handling all that “stuff.”

If you haven’t explored GTD, I highly recommend it.

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Author: Lee Aase

Married father of six and grandfather of nine, and the Chancellor of SMUG - Social Media University, Global. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

2 thoughts on “Back in the GTD Saddle”

  1. Well done–the desk looks good! I re-read GTD earlier this year and tried implementing it once again. Some of the habits have stuck, but I find myself falling off the wagon and trying other systems again for my ongoing productivity. But it’s a great system to get in control and get the deck cleared when things have gotten busy or weird on you.

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