Over on Zen Habits Leo has proposed some interesting variations on the GTD methodology, calling it Zen To Done (ZTD). I’m not going to reproduce Leo’s material here; but I would like to expand on the areas I’ve found the most use.
One of these is in the area of choosing which tasks I’m going to work on. I’ve felt that one of the shortcomings of most of the productivity stuff I’ve read has been that they’re very hot on getting the stuff into your trusted system; but not so hot on getting it out again.
By that I mean they don’t offer a lot of advice on how to decide what to do next.
Leo’s suggestion is to look every week for the Big Rocks. These are the projects or tasks that I have to get completed over the next week. These are the things that I choose to focus on and these become my weekly goals. So at each weekly review I look for 2 or 3 Big Rocks and then at the tasks that are contributing to these. It’s those tasks I have to get done next week.
Next comes an interesting part. As part of my weekly review I used to block in time for the tasks I wanted to get done so I knew from my calendar each day what I should be doing morning and afternoon. GTD recommends the calendar is only for the “hard landscape” that is things that are immovable like meetings, appointments etc.
As I’ve been adopting GTD over the last 12 months I’ve also followed this suggestion and worked off my Closed List instead of my calendar. ZTD, on the other hand, is suggesting I should go back to blocking in time for my Big Rocks.
I think, for now, I’m going to avoid using my calendar for scheduling Big Rock time and continue to work off my Closed List. I’ll let you know if this changes and why.
Now, where did I leave those rocks?
Hi David … thanks for the mention of Zen Habits, and for the interesting perspective on it. It’s always great to get another person’s take on it … and I’m interested in seeing if this works for you. Please keep us updated!
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