[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

Focusing & Getting Things Done!

If you havent read this book, Getting Things Done by David Allen, I strongly recommend you read it as soon as you can. But if you are like me, you will read it…and….do nothing about it. Dont, this book is meant to be read and acted upon by following the personal productivity workflow model that David recommends. I was totally impressed with the book when i first read it and was pretty confident that it will work…I just didnt have the will to do it. But that was then.

In the last two weeks, I have gotten into a serious act of following david’s GTD ( famous shorter version for Getting Things Done, search google for GTD you will know).

To start with, I bought David’s second and latest book, Ready for Anything. A small book, easy to read, contains good zen-like thoughts on getting and being ready to do anything, right from daily chores to taking on the challenges of future. It also is dispersed across the book with precious sayings by some great minds. As an add on to that book , I also bought, The Power of Focus. Another insightful, down-to-earth commentary on why our habits are important and why we need a purpose and how habits combined with purpose help us focus on anything we do. Finally, I grabbed from my local library ( Somerset county library, I love it) another tiny book, but of great value to me, Motivation & Goal Setting by Jim Cairo. If you cant anything else, just get this 100 page book that you can read in half day and follow what it says. Come throw stones at me if it doesnt change your perspective on life/work/goals etc.

Another inspiration for this came via CBS 60 minutes. Harini and I had a healthy debate this past sunday on something called AADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder). Watching this show on CBS about AADD and how it has been gaining more attention, I was debating if I have this disorder. Dont be alarmed with the term “Disorder”. The very argument thats happening today is if this should be classified as a Disorder or a “Lifestyle”. AADD simply put is doing zillion things at the same time and not spending enough time with enough attention and focus on one thing at a time. If you are reading this, while chatting with someone on an IM, while also listening to music, while your husband is talking to you from behind, while you also take an occasional look at the window to see who is standing outside, you will most likely be classified as having symptoms of ADD according to the medical definition of AADD[Look at this survey, if you answer “Sometimes” to atleast one, You got it!]. Isnt that funny? Thats what the CBS 60 minutes show alluded to and which is why I argued that we all have this. Now this is all about money for some pharma companies, expanding the simple definition of a disorder to as many poeple as they can and so excited to see their customer base increase 10 fold for tablets (Strattera Pills) that help is Focusing. Later in the program, it made more sense when they talked about how its about lifestyle and not necessarily a disability. I also learnt that great minds like Da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Einstein and few others had ADD. So we all should be proud to be distracted. After all, it juices up our creativitiy.

Here is my take on it: Its not abotu AADD or other crappy medical terms, its all about the distractions and priorities. Today, there is just too many distractions. Cell phones, Pagers, telephones, internet, emails, TV, radio, music, noise, books, cooking, cleaning, health concerns, relationship issues. Its tough to “focus”, if you go by the definition of the word focus. All is required is planning, prioritizing and committing to doing thigns a certain way.

If you have used emails/Instand Messagers at work, like Outlook or Notes or Yahoo IM or MSN, there is cool little feature that pops up and blinks everytime a new email or message comes in. Thats a distraction. Do you pick up your cell phone or land line as soon as it rings, thats distraction. The first thing I did after reading those books and looking at the CBS 60 minutes was, disable that notifier in Lotus Notes and Yahoo IM. I check my email only twice or thrice a day. A new email waits there until I get to it, I dont read them anymore as soon as I get them. Next, I lowerd the ringer on my work phone to bare minumum and dont pick up the phones everytime it rings. Changed the message to say like “I may be working on something important, leave a msg, will call you back”. And last, I committed myself to NOT open more than one browser window at the same time and read more than two things at the same time. Finish one, get to next. No 7 windows at a time and Alt tabbing between them. These three things, have changed my style quite a bit in the last few days. I already feel I am getting some things done better than before. But I am sure this is just the beginning. I am waiting until I completely “set up” my David allens’ GTD workflow at home/work.

To get another bloggers take on GTD, read this very well written overview blog by David Pollard. I agree with Pollard that for folks like who get most of their work done in a computer, a manual file folder based GTD workflow[A quick overview here], may not be appropriate. So i am going to try out the software tools. Check these GTD tools.

gyronix – Turns Ideas into actions.

GTD at OfficeZealot – Lots of articles/tools on Getting Things Done!

Life Balance

EccoRocks another free personal productivity tool.

I find all this helpful and am psyched to try them to to become a better person. By the way, its been widely accepted in the self-development industry, that its the brightest people who need GTD workflow and tools. So you got more reasons to feel good to try it out.

As Dave Pollard says, I also hope the David Allen puts this book for free on the web so millions of others can realize their fullest potential. There is also an audio downloadable version of the book at Audible.com.

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