You'll be Getting Things Done when you tie your TO DOs to your commitments.
Lost in the How
Another reason our actions don't match our commitments is that we get lost in the HOW. While some people consider it very enlightened to get lost in the NOW, getting lost in the HOW isn't as much fun. What happens is that we have a long-term commitment like, "Have a satisfying and meaningful family life." We decide we'll get there by working really hard so we can retire early and spend all our time with our family. The "HOW" is working hard. Then we get so caught up working hard that by the time we remember we have a family, the kids already have their tenth piercings, our spouse has run off to live in a commune in a New Mexico ghost town, and the family dog has died of old age. Not a pretty picture.
When you review today's to-do items, ask yourself which big commitments each item belongs to. When you can find a link, keep the item. When you can't find a link, toss the item. Here are two real items from my list today: "make backup snapshot of hard drive" and "write Get-it-Done Guy episode."
No matter how hard I try, I can't connect "make backup snapshot of hard drive" with any larger commitment. I can't even say it's protecting against a computer crash, since my hard drive already gets backed up to the Internet each night. It's just an obsessive-compulsive holdover from my days as a computer-obsessed teenager, when my hard drive was the only one who would talk to me. I'm over it; that item gets tossed from the list. Besides, my router talks to me now, too.
"Write Get-it-Done Guy episode" relates directly to my bigger commitments. I want to help lots of people be happier, and I want to do it through a media platform. Think Tyra Banks but male. And not a fashion model. And ... never mind. The Get-it-Done Guy podcast is my first platform. That stays on the list.
Align To-Dos With Commitments
It's that simple to align to-dos with commitments. The neat thing is that the alignment also taps into motivation. It reminds my why I'm doing what I'm doing, and if my highest commitments relate to my passion, voila, I've connected my passion to my to-dos. If a truck hits me tomorrow, I'll go to my resting place knowing my life was on the right path. That knowledge will be so satisfying, I almost won't mind having tire tracks across my forehead for the rest of eternity.
You can find a full interview with David Allen, creator of Getting Things Done, right here.
For a Quick Tip on multitasking, click here.
This is Stever Robbins. If you have a question about how to Work Less and Do More, e-mail email@example.com or leave voicemail at 866-WRK-LESS.
Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!
- Episode about refocusing on your goals
- Episode about connecting with your passion
- Interview with David Allen