September 11, 2008

GTD and Discipline

Filed under: blackberry, gtd — Tags: , — dev @ 2:19 pm

Getting Things Done is a wonderful organizational system. There are many tools, constructs and best practices out there that help us leverage it to its full potential. But when we dig through and absorb all the technical details of implementing GTD in our lives one very important ingredient is often overlooked: discipline.

It takes discipline to internalize and use the GTD principles day in and day out, it takes discipline to make a point of always using your GTD system, and most of all it takes discipline to bring your in basket to empty on a regular basis.

It is lack of discipline that can stand in the way of getting things done. A great article on 3by9
by Tyme White talks about how discipline can be particularly important for tackling a certain kind of tricky to-do items: those that need to get done but towards which we feel some internal resistance. And GTDWannabe writes about periodically encountering friction with and even abandoning your own GTD system and some thoughts on how to handle that.

In a way, discipline is the glue that keeps it all together. Personally, I am relying heavily on my BlackBerry for help in this department. I naturally carry my BlackBerry with me wherever I go and with Viira on it all the time, sometimes just looking at the device serves as a conscious (or subconscious) reminder that I have set to do a certain number of things that day. In a way, it is a subtle visual cue for me to stay as close as possible on that course (or quickly adjust it, should the need arise).

It may not sound like a great deal but having that visual reminder right in front or next to me has really helped me stay much more productive on my daily, project- and context-specific to-do’s and also has made my organizational system a regular and effortless part of my daily life. Now, if only getting the entire in-basket to empty was this easy…

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