2 questions that seem to set me free

I’ve finished reading “Getting Things Done” by David Allen and I have to say it was great. I wanted to share the concept that really hit home the most..

 

As a perfection-lover, control-freak and high-achiever (in my mind, at least) I really like to get things RIGHT. So much, that these “things” spin around in my head a lot. Sometimes they even keep me up at night. But not any more, it seems…

Is this because I’ve got no problems anymore? Or am I now perfect?

No – I just followed David Allen’s advice: 2 simple questions…

 

But first, why do things spin around in my head?

According to Allen, the human brain has a kind of RAM (short-term memory ability) like a computer. The RAM holds whatever is needed in real-time in order to quickly access it for usage. It doesn’t have a concept of “un-real time” and only knows the here-and-now. And it is limited. So it gets full if you don’t treat it right. The aim, according to Allen, is to empty the RAM and this is only done by “closing open loop”.

 

How do you close open loops?

Its easy: Tell the RAM that its done. To achieve this, you need to get it satisfactorily out of your head and somewhere else.

My chosen somewhere else is my calendar/task-bar…

…but the key is that word “satisfactorily”. To achieve THAT, you have to be CONCRETE and GOAL-ORIENTED.

 

What do you mean  concrete and goal-oriented?

For anything that comes your way, you won’t stop thinking about it until you are satisfied with the action-based-answer you have found. It doesn’t matter what the answer is, but it need to be clear, action-oriented and the first step to getting things done the way you want them done.

Everything else can wait, but not the first step…

 

Ask 2 questions to empty your RAM

I have been asking these 2 questions for about 2 weeks now and I can say that I really feel different. Check it out…

For anything that comes into your inbox (RAM…mind) ask:

  • What would be a satisfactory outcome for me? (Not perfect, just “OK for me”)
  • What is the next concrete action I need to take? (Not everything, just “next”)

 

That’s it! Whatever the answer is, write it down or put it in your calendar or on a list to do or give it someone else …. and then forget about it.

(Read the book for more details on strategies for the last part)

Like!

Thanks Mr Allen 🙂

 

Thanks for reading!

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About Dan Steer

Wandering corporate trainer, learning and development consultant, conference speaker and professional El-Magico. I help people get better at stuff by creating and facilitating Infinite Learning © opportunities. The world would be a better place if everyone was doing what he loved and doing it well. I am working to bring out the "El Magico" in everybody. Training in presentation and communication skills, leadership, social media for learning and marketing, learning and development management + personal effectiveness.

Posted on March 1, 2012, in Self-Effectiveness and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Catherine Schoesetters

    Visualisation of very next concrete step works for me. And Salvador Dali’s quote: “Do not be afraid of perfectionism, you will never reach it anyway”. Love Allen, I just do not work with as many lists as he does.

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