GMSP: ‘Getting Things Done’ a solution for business, personal life

January 01, 2014
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times 

Those attending the December Good Morning Santa Paula learned that solutions for “Getting Things Done” (GTD) create stress-free productivity for those who feel overwhelmed in their business and/or personal life.

Mike Williams of the David Allen Company was the featured speaker at the monthly Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting. Allen, the owner of the Ojai-based company, created what has been described as a groundbreaking work-life management system that was the basis of a still-best selling book and training.

The basis of GTD according to the website is that it “creates solutions for transforming overwhelm and uncertainty into an integrated system of stress-free productivity. 

In 2003 while working for General Electric Williams said his brother-in-law gave him Allen’s book: “When I read it I thought this guy did it, he wrote the manual of getting things done,” and he started applying Allen’s methods to successfully manage commitments, information, and communication. 

Williams and his family moved from the East Coast to Ventura County in 2011 when he was asked by Allen to run the company.

With ideas, commitments and demands, Williams said the “Idea of GTD is to get your mind to ripple back to calm water,” to deal appropriately with all the challenges of life and business that can be disruptive.

GTD, the result of three decades of consulting services, private coaching, training, and organizational programs, has earned a reputation as the gold standard in personal and organizational productivity.

Williams noted that millions of people internationally follow the program that shows how to capture anything and everything that draws your attention and concern; how to define actionable things into concrete next steps and successful outcomes and to organize information in the most streamlined way, in appropriate categories, based on how and when you need to access it.

In addition the program shows how to keep current and “ahead of the game” with appropriately frequent reviews; keep track of the bigger picture while managing the small details and to make trusted choices about what to do at any given moment.

Williams noted that with today’s high-tech and easily accessible devices, from computers to smart phones, “All that power literally in our pockets,” often provides distractions that can generate “incomplete loops” of communication.

People must ask whether their relationship is to email and social media, “Is causing clarity in your life or angst...and it’s not just digital stuff.”

Williams said it has become a “sticky note” society, not always bad unless people allow stacks of work or personal obligations to spread, “With no defined boundary of where the spread ends,” causing confusion and delay and perhaps a form of shutting down. 

“Ants have no memory but they are highly effective,” whereas, “Our main mantra is your mind is for having ideas and not holding them...if it’s in your mind write it down.”

Williams said although “It all sounds really complicated it’s just very simple behavior.”

Lists including simple calendars are important, as is to capture ideas by writing them down: “Make that a very distinct meaningful moment,” to help to define them.

And take action as, “The more it’s on your mind the less it’s getting done!” 

The simpler the task the more important it is complete it. “If you can get it done in less than two minutes do it, don’t park it in your system, don’t organize it, just do it,” said Williams.

Make sure specific tasks are listed, whether large or small...with the latter “You can move many things forward with few steps and actions,” and take yourself to the next level of tasks.

Williams had other tips for the GMSP audience, several which said they apply GTD.

“Getting things done is like a lifelong practice of martial art,” that Williams said allows those using the method to “surf on top of your work instead of being buried by your work,” especially useful for those naturally attracted to GTD, who “tend to be highly productive.”

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