5
Sep

GTD Unplugged

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What goes around comes around and one of my hobby-horses has come around again. My personal approach to GTD coaching is to emphasis the mental game. It is not about having a particular set of macro's or a specific tool. It is about how you think. For me this is very basic, but I keep having to prise people away from a technology of some kind and demand they do their own thinking.

It is a  great human weakness to wish for a magic wand, the device, glistening and replete with hard-coded wisdom, that will fix your wagon for good. It should dovetail itself to your psyche without actually needing any kind of conversation with your conciousness or change on your part whatsoever.

No dice.

This applies in many fields of effort. I remember consulting with a company which insisted that only the promised following version of a particular bit of call-center software would enable them to do their jobs properly. One of my other clients had the same job to do. For that client is was executed by an experienced and painstaking man with a bunch of file cards and an excel spreadsheet.

This particular train of thought was sparked for me by a course I gave recently, my super-fast half-day GTD intro, in which a lady sat who, without being difficult about it, had already implemented the behaviors I was describing with simple tools. This was for the good and sufficient reason that she had what Dutch people call a Duo-Baan or shared job. She and her job-partner rarely met, but remained in absolute synch with each other by exchanging lists. She had knife-sharp Next Actions, well-defined Waiting Fors and a complete project list all set up in Excel and paper files. Her partner could walk in and pick up everything that was relevant immediately.

The tools are not important. Clarity is important. Completeness is important and above all Thinking It Through until it is blisteringly explicit is very, very important. If you can get those things right you could probably use trained rats and parchment to run your life.

15
Feb

Gentleness is a super-power

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There is something that I want to say, somewhat out of the ordinary for this blog, please be patient while I find a way to say it.

I am a scarily cheerful person almost all of the time, particularly on diamond-bright blue-skied winter days like today. Things are actually pretty grim in the Netherlands, where I live, right now. The economy has taken a hit under the waterline and people are losing jobs, businesses and houses. Such times are of course sent to try us and they have one gift to give: perspective, they force you to focus on what is truly important.

I may lose my job.

But, I have a close and loving relationship with my wife and children. I am healthy (though a little overweight right now) and live in comfort and safety. I consider myself fortunate beyond all reckoning.  If was going to have a problem with something I would definately have chosen the economy and work. I am therefore filthy rich in any coin worth counting.

In these times it is tempting to "turtle", pull the covers over your head and wait for it all to blow over, but that is not what we are for. If you do have perspective and strength this is the time to reach out to others. I spent various moments this week with people who are overstretched by their work, put at financial risk, or worse dunked in confusion and sadness by turmoil and tough decisions in their personal lives. There is little you can do but listen attentively and perhaps offer a little practical help and perspective. You can be gentle. So that is what the title is about. Even now, even when money markets lurch around like drunken giants there is no force, no dictum greater than love and the ability to care for your fellow-person.

Gentleness is your super-power. Use it for good.

Use it.