10 practical tips that will help get more people in office to follow GTD and sky-rocket productivity.

Image courtesy jurvetson on FlickrWouldn’t you like to have a system in your organisation so that:
– if a commitment is given (to submit a report or to complete any task within a given time) it’s achieved within that time?
– if anybody files a note, receipt or printed email it is retrieved within 30 seconds or less from the time you think about it?
– everybody is four times more productive than now but also with significantly less stress than they’re facing currently?
– all get to experience the other tons of benefits, mentioned at the bottom of this post?

Hey, but you are already there. Practicing GTD? Hell, no more practicing ? you’re perfect. Papers filed, Project List is upto date, you?re constantly living in this blissful meditative state & experiencing mind-like-water. You’re the man. The GTD stud. But now you would like to get all those around you to experience the benefits of David Allen’s justifiably popular and successful Getting Things Done model. How would you get more people in your office to embrace this system?

Here are 10 points that will go a long way in implementing GTD at the work place:
(If you’re reached this far and don’t know what GTD is, you can to read my introductory post to GTD by clicking here. Or read this excellecent set of FAQs on GTD for beginners by, clicking here)

1. Set a high GTD standard for yourself.

Be super-passionate and set a high GTD Standard for yourself. Once you have done that and all those reporting to you and maintain that standard. Keep that standard measurable, so that you shall be able to know where you or your office stands as per that standard.

2. Set high commitments to the customers of your department or office :

To help you do that you can have a high level of commitment to outsiders of the organisation. Hence to maintain that commitment, your systems have to be really good to deliver that commitment.

3. Coach every opportunity that you get.
– In meetings, have an oh-oh signal that goes up in your head each time someone doesn’t write something down.
– When you undertake tasks assigned to you, show the person you are with how you are capturing in your collection tool, to be put in your inbox, to be processed later.
– If somebody is passing by your desk, while you are doing a GTD activity, call them in and explain, how and why you are either, defining your work, clearing your inbox, project planning using the natural planning model etc.

4. Follow-up on everything

In GTD terms, to Follow-up means to put it in your Waiting For list. Some GTD-ers have only the important items on their ‘Waiting For’ list. But when you follow-up on everything, sometimes even the mundane tasks that will 99% get completed the same day, the benefit is:
– An additional part of you psyche gets to relax and hence creating a greater ?mind-like-water? feeling.
– When it’s everything that you’re following-up on, you don’t then need to ask yourself the question, “Oh do I need to put that in my Waiting For list or not?” Because it always goes on the list.
– Truly no task gets missed.

It goes a long way in coaching GTD, because when you follow-up on everything that one day you will be bound to be asked, “gosh, how do you keep up with everything.”

5. Formal Coaching Sessions on GTD
Begin a regular formal coaching session on GTD. You don’t need to call the expensive (but so worth it) trainers from David Allen Co. You can take the GTD coaching sessions yourself. Hey, if I can do it, anyone can. It seems time-consuming at first, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Getting those around you to read the book is not sufficient. Once the see the concepts in practice through you for you and then when you explain it in a training session, it’s then a no-brainer and a strong motivator to implement the GTD principles.

6. Use the below Syllabus for your Coaching sessions

So far we have had several sessions and in each session we have covered:
– Initial Concepts: Relaxation = productivity, Knowledge-work, Cranking Widgets
– The workflow chart to get ins to empty
– Effective filing system
– Doing a mindsweep with everybody
– Getting the email inbox to empty – We sat through and got one individuals entire inbox to empty.
– Weekly review – The process, hurdles, the do’s and dont’s, best practices.

7. Set targets such as during the coaching sessions

Each session can end with a target for all to achieve, which could be:
– Everyone is to practice capturing 100% of the items that come into their life for 1 week
– Everyone’s to get their ins to empty over the next week.
– Everyone’s to sit and identify all their projects in their life over the week.
– Everyone has to get the email inbox to empty.

8. Set up a GTD-buddy system
Pair up people in the organisation, so that one is to check-up on the other if he’s practicing what’s been coached the week before.

9. Perform one on one coaching
This is the single most effective and rewarding coaching exercise of GTD or anything else in the world. There’s no learning like On the Job Learning. People get-it immediately when they see GTD happening to their own stuff live. When they see their papers disappearing into folders in seconds and their Next Actions identified while being neatly categorised into lists, they become instant converts.

If you’re a GTD practitioner and have not sat with somebody and gently guiding them to get their ins to empty, or have their filing done, you’re missing on severe instant gratification.

10. Insitutionalise the weekly review.
Take commitments from everybody when they’ll do their weekly review and at regular weekly staff meetings, do a simple show of hands exercise if a weekly review was done or not. Once they start practicing weekly review, the benefits are so enormous it doesn’t take long to get addicted. And the weekly staff meeting checks will ensure that it sticks during those difficult weeks as well.

I’m having the time of my life, implementing GTD in Vakil Housing. We started with no intrays, no filing system, a culture of constant interruption. To all senior deparment heads now have their intrays in place, each their own respective general filing system and as of yesterday all emails ins were empty.

Well all this sounds like a lot of work Arif, man, is it really worth the effort?

Gosh, yeah it’s worth it! Before you know it, you will have a team that will:
– be completely clear, focussed and determined to achieve their life’s objectives and the organisation’s objectives.
– stop looking at work as work but being looking at as a game where it actually becomes fun
– become control of their work, rather the work being in control of them.
– whistle more often while having a constant smile on their face.
– work with the confidence that they’re doing what they’re dong because it’s the exact, most important, just the thing that they need to be doing to achieve their own as well as their organisation’s purpose.

Go ahead try it out and feel free to check with me for any inputs or feedback.


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