Why use GTD for CIOs?

I’ve been noticing that the stress factor at senior levels of many IT organizations is increasing. A contributing factor to this stress is an increasing number of agreements that are real, but are largely not consciously acknowledged or kept. Collectively, we are giving ourselves so much to do and we’re taking on so much of what we expect others are expecting of us, that it would be virtually impossible to do even a portion of what’s on our plates. This is unsustainable.

Most of you reading this don’t even have time to finish your current set of projects or priorities, even if you stopped the world from giving you anything new, and you had several months or even years within which to do them. You must embrace reality and acknowledge this is unsustainable. The path to making this sustainable is GTD.

We need to define the work we are doing and more importatnly what we are not doing. Unfortunately, the resulting ambiguity of just halfway assuming responsibilities and commitments with ourselves and others, or just halfway clarifying and understanding what they mean and what needs to be done about them, won’t cut the pressure in half – it actually it doubles it!

So much of what people are feeling these days is the pressure to get things done, but there is universal resistance to defining precisely what that commitment is and what the work is to be “done.” We have to clarify and define the outcomes and actions that are needed on each and every thing that we might need or want to do and what “done” is.

You can only do one thing at a time, so at any point in time there is going to be a huge backlog of “stuff” that needs to be done. Much of what we must do to gain comfort and control in our lives these days is clarifying what all that stuff is, objectively, in a format that provides an actionable format. Once we define these actionable formats in their appropriate contexts, we must continually renegotiate those commitments with ourselves and with others. That is impossible to do unless they’re captured, clarified, and organized in some systematic way outside our psyche. GTD is the only way I know khow to do that.

What are your thoughts?

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About Michael Keithley
Digital Transformation CIO and Public Speaker. Previously, CIO at Creative Artists Agency

One Response to Why use GTD for CIOs?

  1. Pin point on Michael! And, I don’t think it helps that getting into GTD is like a speedboat pushing to climb over its wake, and then plane out. The force that kept me going was seeing how much more I got done with less stress. But there was the opposing force of DREAD OF REALLY KNOWING everything that has to be done. THE DREAD tell’s you “There is no way that you can do all of this!” over and over. There is no guarantee in GTD that you actually have enough time to accomplish all the work.

    But there is also hope. Once you get close to the top of the wake, you can see that you are about to plane out into a running GTD system. Until you have worked through all your backlog, you are in GTD startup mode. Here is what one of my friends says:

    “Do you spend more time in your email inbox and running through your to-do lists than you would like? Do you ever feel like email has become a primary task of your job? Do you yearn for a day where people would just stop emailing you? Stop being the victim of this onslaught of emails, and instead start Getting Things Done. The concepts in this book have changed how I work, how I utilize email only as a communication tool and not as a to-do list, and how I have suddenly found myself without a sense of panic at work. I know what needs to get done, and when, and I work on the projects that are truly important. I’m free again to really do my job well and to think proactively about the future. It’s wonderful.” Joe Foster

    Tough it out, then plane out.

    bill meade

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