Getting It All Done And Personal Development
When starting a home business you quickly discover that you are responsible for everything and learning how to get it all done is a necessary part of your personal development plan.
I recently completed my second reading of David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity. Why a second reading? It’s a wise approach for any instructional or “how-to” book. It’s important to get the overall picture before diving into implementation. This is especially true of this book because it is so comprehensive. I recommend it as required reading for your personal development.
But why this subject on a blog directed toward Internet and network marketing for home business entrepreneurs. Starting a home business like any other requires all the energy you can muster. You need to be at the top of your game most of the time and that is not possible when your mind is cluttered and your body is fatigued due to stress.
That’s why so many at the beginning struggle with getting the right things done. They are dragging all this baggage of unfinished tasks. As the old cliche goes, “When you’re up to your a** in alligators, it’s hard to remember that the objective of the day was to drain the swamp.”
A Cluttered Mind Hinders Personal Development
Our Minds are Not Our Own
A basic premise of the book is that our minds continually try to work on everything in our life that is not as it should be. Think about that for a moment.
How many things in your life, personal and business, need attention to move them from where they are to where you would like them to be? It’s overwhelming to think about. The mind can only handle so much and we have little control over our mind to keep it from trying to work on all these things. The result is stress.
Of course, we have our own remedies for stress and for the most part these can be summed up in one word, escape! Escape usually translates into some mind-numbing activity like watching TV, computer games, and, in extreme cases, alcohol or drugs.
A Way Out
But David Allen suggests a better solution… getting things off our mind and into a system that the mind can trust to handle all of the stuff in our life.
In his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, he describes a five-stage method for managing workflow.
Collection involves gathering all the “stuff” or “incompletes” (things in your life that are not what they should be yet) into your “in-basket.” The main thing is to get everything out of your head and from all the other collection points that you have allowed to accumulate and into a single place he calls the “in-basket.”
Process is what you do to get the “in-basket” empty. It means that every item must be evaluated as to what it is and whether it requires action. If no action is required you can either toss it, hold it for review at a later date, or file it for reference.
If it is actionable, the key question is, “What is the next action?” If it is something that takes less than two minutes, do it now. If it takes more than two minutes you can either delegate it or defer it and if multiple actions are necessary it should be treated as a “project.” Obviously this is an oversimplification and in his book, Mr. Allen provides great practical detail on how to do this.
Organize is what you do with the results of the process stage. You might look at it as repositories for all the things that still need to be done or kept. Granted, all these things existed before in your mind, on your desk, in your in-baskets (physical and email), in your planner, on your calendar, on notepads, on slips of paper, etc., but they had not had the benefit of thoughtful evaluation to determine desired outcomes. This alone is a tremendous stress reliever according to Mr. Allen.
Review is the stage that sets the mind at ease knowing that nothing it has released to the system will fall through the cracks. Failure to regularly and systematically review all the outstanding items you have organized in your personal and professional life will undermine the entire system and render it useless. Confidence will flee and stress will return.
Do is the stage where productive work happens and is the real objective of this whole workflow management system. The emphasis here is not on just doing but, to quote Mr. Allen, in “facilitating good choices about what you’re doing at any point in time.” He offers three models that you can employ in choosing what to work on.
Fair warning… be prepared to stop everything and dedicate several days if you decide to implement the methods prescribed by this book.
Making This Part Of Your Personal Development Is Up To You
In my personal development I’ve read several books and attended seminars and training courses on time management, but have never seen the subject so thoroughly treated as David Allen has done with his book.
Get the book, read it, read it again. Then decide if it’s something you are willing to do to take charge of your life. Make it part of your personal development.
My affiliate link for the book at Amazon is Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity