Getting Things Done – the book – part 15

… starting from the point where the story stopped.

The end state

GTD mastery involves learning and incorporating its various best practices, and then integrating them in a holistic manner, which results in a much more dynamic experience than simply the sum of its parts.David Allen

While mastering GTD involves an initial mastery of its segments, techniques, and tools, engaging with all of it masterfully is a defined practice that can be learned and refined over a lifetime. The author describes three stages:

  • Employing the fundamentals of managing workflow;
  • Implementing a more elevated and integrated total life management system; and
  • Leveraging skills to create clear space and get things done for an ever-expansive expression and manifestation.

GTD IS ACTUALLY a lifelong practice with multiple levels of mastery.

Mastering the Basics

Needless to say, building proficiency with the fundamental components of Getting Things Done—the basics—can take a while. To illustrates his saying, the author refers to the counterintuitive aspect of capturing everything potentially meaningful into trusted external buckets. I don’t believe this is an issue for me; my problem is different. The initial capturing task is so daunting that six months later, I am still capturing

Again, externalizing is great – not to mention that given my level of exhaustion, my brain (and my memory) shows signs of weakness – but as alluded to above, my problem is that I am far from the state where nothing remains rattling around in your head. And, I am not referring to new forming thoughts, but instead to all the projects that keep my (working) memory under overwhelming overload for so many years. In that sense, the GTD method will indeed be a game-changer; if I manage to go through the very first capturing step!

If you are sincere about implementing Getting Things Done, it’s actually not that difficult to get started, as I’ve tried to assure you with the instructions given in the earlier sections of the book.David Allen

Finishing this long complaint; you might remember that in Chapter 4, David Allen said An ideal time frame for most people is two whole days, back to back. I am not most people; still, I want to believe that at some point – within this lifetime – I will move to the second step, namely, clarify.

Integrated Life Management

When you reach a certain level of maturity with the GTD process, you won’t be as focused on the system itself or how you’re working it, but will utilize it in more flexible, customized ways, as your trusted tool to facilitate control and focus over longer and larger spans.David Allen

Here are the hallmarks of this next level of maturity with Getting Things Done:

  • a complete, current, and clear inventory of projects;
  • a working map of one’s roles, accountabilities, and interests—personally and professionally;
  • an integrated total life management system, custom tailored to one’s current needs and direction and utilized to dynamically steer out beyond the day-to-day; and
  • challenges and surprises trigger your utilization of this methodology instead of throwing you out of it.

Specifically, a signpost of GTD mastery at this stage—and, indeed, life mastery!—is when one recognizes anything that has his or her attention (concerns, worries, problems, issues, tensions) and translates them into achievable outcomes (projects), to be executed with concrete next actions. Regrettably, very few people—even among those who have been engaged with Getting Things Done for years— manage this first hallmark, according to David Allen. That being said, …

Operating at this level of GTD mastery is achievable and truly elegant. The experience, for those who do achieve it, is one of establishing the conditions to flourish.David Allen

Focus, Direction, and Creativity

This last level involves two key aspects:

  • Utilizing your freed-up focus for exploring the more elevated aspects of your commitments and values
  • Leveraging your external mind to produce novel value

“Will I ever reach that level?”

This is the stage of maturity along the GTD path of mastery in which the simple idea of checklists takes on sublime significance.David Allen

To be concluded…

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