The Perfect Gentleman Issue 7 - Page 16

The first step is to get your commitments out of your head and onto paper or a screen. I think paper is best for most people as the freeform nature really helps with free flowing ideas. Run through every aspect of your life, from work to running your home to the fun things you’d like to do someday. Don’t worry about order or sorting - just get it all out of your head. Once that is done you can sort these commitments by type or by the part of your life they affect. The precise name or details of these buckets is not important. They just have to make sense to you. I have different buckets for client work, administration, my house and car and for family and friends. Yours probably should be different. The final step is to decide for each item in each bucket if it something to be done now, done later, something you are waiting for or something you need to renegotiate with yourself or someone else. If it is something you’re waiting for someone else to do then record it as such. I keep a Waiting For list where all the things people have promised me are listed. Everything from the DVD a pal offered to lend me to the tasks people took away from a meeting. I may not chase all of them, but it helps me to check this regularly and make sure I’m stalling something I want to do because I’m waiting for someone else. Finally, looking at a task I may decide that it is something I’m just not going to do. It might no longer be useful, or better for someone else to do. If that is the case then there may be action to pass it off or to tell someone that;s what I decided. The value here is making sure I have decided to close something. If I don’t make that decision but just never do anything about it then it nags away at my brain, taking my attention from other things. By renegotiating commitments to myself and others I can stop that from happening. If a task will take around two minutes or less to complete then do it now. The time spent writing it down and categorising it will probably take as long as just getting it done. I try to carry this over to everything in my life. If it will take two minutes to do then I just get it done. I do like to add it to my list later and then cross it off however - I love the satisfaction of ticking something off a list. If a task is to be done later then it is important to consider if it is a single task or a project. For this approach a project is anything that takes more than one step to complete. If it’s something that will take more than one step, then work out what the next action is. If I can’t write the report until Dave has sent me the figures then there’s no point worrying about doing the writing. My next action is to contact Dave and get the figures from him. David Allen & his Book 16 BUSINESS GENTLEMAN