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Getting Things Done in the PhD Leadership Program July 17, 2007

Posted by David Jeffrey in Leadership & the Self.

What do you want to get out of this session?

  • stop sabotaging my life
  • maintain balance
  • set realistic goals
  • “have cake and eat it too”
  • not self-destruct
  • be steadily productive
  • have a life and finish the PhD
  • want to have a lifestyle of “being in control” (marathon, not a sprint)
  • how to help family get through this also
  • want to know common mistakes so as not to repeat them

Getting Things Done

David’s website

The seminar is based on the book. It’s available at the Campus Bookstore.
This book is like having David as your own private consultant.
The goal of the session:

  • to maximize efficiency and learn how to relax in the PhD Leadership program.
  • to learn to capture all the things that need to get done into a logical and trusted system outside of your head and off your mind
  • discipline yourself to make front-end decisions about all your inputs classified into “next actions”

Five Stages of Mastering Work Flow (p.24)

  1. Collect (not just a PhD thing, but everything – until your mind’s empty)
  2. Process (typically pieces of paper, email)
  3. Organize
  4. Review
  5. Do

Stage One: Collection Tools

  • physical in-basket
  • paper based note-taking device
  • electronic note-taking device
  • voice-recording device
  • email

Stage Two: Processing

  • stuff > in-basket > what is it?
  • actionable? yes or no
  • no > trash, someday, or reference
  • yes > next actions
  • project plans > next actions (never do projects; only work on actions, or else you’re wasting time)
  • next actions > less than 2 minutes
    • do it
  • more than 2 minutes
    • delegate or defer
  • delegate
    • waiting for file (indicate that you’re waiting for it to be finished)
  • defer
    • calendarize or
    • next action (asap)

Stage Three: Organize

  • list of projects
  • storage of file for project plans
  • calendar (only have one calendar – electronically integrated)
  • list of reminders of next actions (if you think about your work, doing it is effortless)
  • list of reminders of things you are waiting for

Stage Four: Review

  • weekly review from the 50,000 foot level (looking at projects to see if things are getting done – takes about an hour)
    • this is the critical success factor
  • what to review weekly
    • projects list
    • calendar (check for conflicts, consider having a day for just making phone calls)
    • next actions list
    • waiting for list
  • what to do in your weekly review
    • gather and process all your stuff
    • review your system
    • update your lists
    • get clean, clear, current, and complete (do it on Friday to have a better Monday)

Six-Level Model of Review

  • 50,000 ft – Life
    • purpose or meaning of your life (leader development profile)
  • 40,000 ft – 3 to 5 year vision
    • strategies, trends, transitions, career
  • 30,000 ft – 1 to 2 year goals (goals with family, children, etc.)
    • all aspects of your life
  • 20,000 ft – areas of responsibility (if you have no mission, then your health isn’t important)
    • work, health, home, finances, family, spirituality, recreation
  • 10,000 ft – current projects
    • 30 to 100 projects on your plate
  • Runway – current actions
    • calls, emails, errands, agendas

Tools for GTD (getting things done)

  • space: office and home
  • tools you need
    • three paper-holding trays
    • letter-sized pad
    • pen or pencil
    • post-its
    • paper clips, binder clips
    • stapler and staples
    • file folder and lables
    • calendar
    • waste-basket

    Getting things done Companion for Outlook

purchase it for about $70 at http://www.davidco.com, download
software helps with GTD Categories (where things can be done e.g. anywhere, computer. home/ can also organize by project)

email management helps

contact Albert at areyes@buckner.org or http://www.buckner.org


Schedule sacred time. Albert takes 2 hours nap on Sunday, schedules time for children and family

Assistant needs to read the book and understand how the system works

Assistant takes tasks from his to-do list, answers mail, asks what she could do, handles travel.
All of this is also developing the assistant.

Note: Don’t do anything in your IDP or Porfolio that you’re not already being paid to do at work.

The software enhanced Outlook.

He interviewed about 200 executives and these ideas were the ones that it distilled down to.

“Sufficient to the day the trouble thereof….”


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