I’ve been a big fan of David Allen’s Getting Things Done system for many years. I believe that without this system I would likely be lost. You see, I’m a really big fan of bright shiny objects. For me, a bright shiny object is anything that gets my attention and manages to move me away from what’s important in my life.
I find that when I use a personal management system I get three or four times more accomplished than if I just wing it. What about you, do you have a personal management system? Does it help it make you more effective or is it just too much of a hassle to use?
Here are 7 things that I’ve found make a difference in my life by using a personal management system:
I don’t have to think about what I’m supposed to do, it’s written down. For me this is a big one. If I don’t write it down, I spend lots of time and energy trying to remember what I’m supposed to do and whether I’ve let things fall through the cracks.
Having a management system allows me a method to review what I’m supposed to do. Every Sunday I spend 45 minutes looking over my life, making decisions about what the next steps need to be to accomplish outcomes I’m interested in.
A personal management system allows me to evaluate whether something is important or not. Too often I spend time chasing my tail. Unfortunately when I do this, it’s often chasing my tail around things that are urgent or appear to be urgent but aren’t very important. I bet you’ve spent time doing this also.
A personal management system allows me to focus on important, but not urgent projects. Value for me and I bet for you is created when we work on things that are important, but don’t have to be done today. When I spend my time focusing on these types of projects I’m happier and feel like I’m doing useful things.
I’m able to keep track of my commitments to others. Before I started using a personal management system I would often drop the ball on commitments I made to others. Now this rarely, if ever, happens. When I make a commitment to someone I enter it in my personal management system and it becomes part of my weekly review process.
It allows me to communicate when I’m behind. I don’t know about you but occasionally I’ll find I’m running behind. A personal management system puts this fact right in front of my nose every week. It also reminds me that if this project involves someone else I need to contact them and give them an update on what’s going on. This is not only important when working with clients but everyone else in my life as well.
I get to decide consciously what I’m going to drop. Sometimes I find that I just have too many things on my plate. Some of them either have to go in the someday file or sometimes I just decide the project is not adding value to my life. With a weekly review it becomes pretty obvious when a project falls in this category. If I look at the project for several months and take no action, I know I need to move it out of my active list and either trash it or put it on ice.
What about you, do you use a personal management system.? If so, what type and what benefits do you get?
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