David Allen on Opportunities and Gracefulness

Great suggestions by "Getting Things Done" guru David Allen in his "Productive Living" newsletter of March 2013 [1] — in summary:

And as Mr Allen puts it at greater length:

1. Keep the inventory of everything you have to do current, complete, effectively organized, regularly reviewed, and instantly retrievable at a moment's notice, while maintaining regular thinking about the projects and bigger things that you really want to accomplish. Then you can much more confidently and maturely differentiate between inappropriate disturbances and unexpected opportunities or useful interactions as they show up.

The biggest problem enveloping this whole issue of interruptions is that at any point in time most people don't really know all the things they have to do—they just know they have tons. So then when something unforeseen pops into their face, it just exacerbates an already sensitive ambiguity. ANY surprise feels like salt in the wounds. It's almost as if people are saying, "I really don't know what I ought to be doing right now, and this new thing is most likely NOT what I should be doing right now (though I'm not entirely sure about that either!). But please stop reminding me that I don't know what's going on!!"

2. Get your act together about how easily and quickly you can take in any input, store it safely, and effortlessly glide back to whatever you were or now need to be doing, without having to process or complete it in that moment, knowing it will get handled at a better time.

Most people don't trust their own systems and behaviors enough to easily and rapidly capture and keep track of things that come into their world, without having to complete them in that moment. So they wind up feeling compelled to deal with the input and complete something about it, instead of simply collecting a placeholder that they trust can be processed much better at some other time. If you get really good at dealing with your own in-basket, trusting you'll process it to zero soon enough, you can scratch a note about anything in half a second, throw it into IN, and turn quickly back to whatever you were doing, hardly skipping a beat. If you don't have that level of rigor with your collection tools and processing behaviors, you are likely to feel you're the victim of things demanding your attention—you know they do have to be dealt with, and you don't trust your system to remember and remind.

(cf Getting Things Done - Summarized (2012-05-14), Mindless Mind (2012-12-06), David Allen Summarized (2014-04-29), Mantra - Mind Like Water (2015-05-04), Perfectness versus Goodness (2016-02-01), Feel Good about What You Are Doing (2016-05-25), ...) - ^z - 2018-07-02