S2Episode16 Getting Things Done

February 5, 2024

Good morning from Milano. What’s on my mind this morning is what happens when we get those big intuitive, creative hits that excite us. We feel them in our body. What oftentimes happens, at least for me, is when I look at it again the next day, it feels like some big lofty idea. I get overwhelmed. It’s very easy to put it on the back burner or to just write it off as some crazy idea. In truth what happens oftentimes is we can see the enormity of the idea or the task or whatever it is, and it shuts us down.

I’m thinking about this this morning because I’m facing that myself right now with Dear Constance. I know I need to be moving towards video. I went down the video rabbit hole yesterday and I walked away last night thinking oh yeah, that’s not for me. After a good night’s sleep, I’m sitting here with my coffee thinking about this guy named David Allen. He wrote a very famous book called ‘Getting Things Done’. We call it GTD .

The reason I’m thinking about it is because the subtitle of the book is the art of stress-free productivity. It’s a method that I followed the basics of in my business over many, many years. In a minute, I’ll tell you a little bit about how it works, but what I want to say right now are two things. One, don’t judge a book by its cover. ‘Getting Things Done. The Art of Stress-free Productivity’ would seem on the surface to be all about time management and work, work, work to get things done, right? But that is deceiving because it’s not what this is all about. In fact, I listened to quite a long form interview between the author David Allen with Tim Ferriss  and I was very surprised to hear what he had to say about creativity and Why he created this method.

I want to share it with you because that’s what I’m thinking about this morning. So here’s the abbreviated explanation of how it works. First and foremost, you think of all the things you have to do in terms of projects. In other words, anything that has four or five or six steps becomes a project. It could even be a birthday party, right? Let me explain. When you have to organize a birthday party, there are many aspects to it. For example invitations, location, the menu, etc., and putting down on your to do list ‘birthday party’ can shut you down. You look at the word ‘birthday party’ and you’re overwhelmed by all the things you have to do.When you make birthday party a project, the first step is to dump out of your head all of the things you have to do.

Anyway, I don’t want to get into all the details of this but let me tell you one more thing. When you write a list, the first word should be a verb. Let’s just say you have to put the winter tires on your car. Instead of writing ‘tires’ on your list, you write ‘Call Jacks  to make an appointment for tire change’. I don’t want to get into it, but I do want to say that I know that there’s a lot of science behind using verbs when you’re writing a list. I want to get back to this idea of what happens when we have a creative hit and we get shut down, but before I move on from getting things done, I want to tell you that on the Dear Constance website – at the bottom of the homepage and also the about page – there’s a section called ‘On My Radar’. This is where I share things that inspire me or spark my interest, and I will put there the link to a great interview between the author of ‘Getting Things Done’, David Allen, and Tim Ferriss.

It’s a little bit long, but I think it’s worth listening to because he really speaks to the importance and the value of getting things out of our head – dumping it and getting it on paper – because when we carry around those lists in our head, we’re using up the RAM in our operating system, and we want to have that spaciousness and that openness. When we get things out of our head and onto the paper, we create space for more creative ideas.

What I love about getting things done is when I get all the stuff that I’m carrying around in my head down on the page and I think about it in terms of projects, it’s not only a big relief but it allows me to see the big picture and to be strategic about how I want to approach something. So for example in the case of the video, I started listening to all these videos and seeing all these ideas and this morning I did what David Allen calls a mind dump. When I wrote down all the things that came into my mind around learning video, it was very easy for me to see where I need to start.

It’s funny as I’m talking about this, one of the things that’s popping into my mind is when I was leading my company, Scout Talent, it was kind of astonishing to me how very accomplished senior people would become so overwhelmed by the job search process. But it was exactly this.  It’s so easy to like overwhelm yourself thinking about the whole process when in fact what you need to focus on is the very first thing. In this case, it could be finding and updating your resume.

Anyway, I feel as I’m talking, maybe I’m getting a little bit lost and I want to end with this. First and foremost, I think it’s really important that we heed – that we pay attention to – those. big energizing creative hits that come our way because there’s always something there. And the other thing I want to say is that I know it can be completely overwhelming when we have what feels like a big lofty ambition or goal or idea in front of us. I think it’s really important to get it all down on paper so you can clearly see the next best step. Also, I think it’s great to ask yourself this wonderful question that a coach asked me many, many years ago, and it was this. What would pacing look like? What would it look like if you paced yourself?

So yeah, honestly speaking, these are my notes to self today. I want to override this tendency, at least that I have to throw my hands up the air, to give up or to write it off as some great idea I had when I was in a good mood yesterday, right? And no I don’t want to do that, so I’m simply going to put one foot in front of the other and take the next first step, ask for support, and remind myself  of the importance of being a willing, vulnerable beginner And of course, I need to pace myself.

So there you have it. I don’t know who may need to hear that today but if you, like me, got a big juicy creative intuitive hit, this one’s for you.

That’s all for now. Until next time, from my heart to yours.

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dear Listeners,

Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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