Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ready For Anything: Chapter 5 -- Infinite Opportunity is Utilized by Finite Possibility

OK, so four weeks later, how far have I come in my CoPORDing, Ready-for-Anything, Getting-Things-Done, David-Allen-run New-Life paradigm?

I know what I need to achieve and I know what I want to achieve, and my constant reviewing of these goals is keeping me focused on them.

In addition, my openness and forthrightness here only serve to confirm these commitments.

At least, I hope they do.

As my good friend, Neil Young, once said, "I know you know."

The thing I've least mastered is the filing system.

Because the failure of any segment of the pentagonal construction that is Getting Things Done a.k.a. CoPORD, leads the entire mass of one's organizational structure to diffuse, dissipate, and otherwise disengage, in Chapter 5 of Ready for Anything, Allen addresses, in an imagined 53-second radio/TV segment of a promotional book tour, the question:

"What's the one thing we do that gets in the way of being productive?" and answers thusly:

"It's not one thing but five things all wrapped together: People keep stuff in their head. They don't decide what they need to do about stuff they know they need to do something about. They don't organize action reminders and support materials and functional categories. They don't maintain and review a complete and objective inventory of their commitments. Then they waste energy and burnout, allowing their busyness to be driven by what's the latest and loudest, hoping it's the right thing to do but never feeling the relief that it is."

The more I devote myself to studying Allen's methods, the more I realize how effective they are.

Of course, my biggest stumbling block remains the heart of the matter: Organizing.

The best news for me, and maybe for you if you're a regular reader of this column, is Allen's response to what needs to be done, i.e. "What are the five best-practice behaviors to ensure that Getting Things Done gets done?"

Exactly those I listed in my Chapter 2 analysis, and which I lovingly refer to by the acronym, CoPORD.

Here's Allen's repetition of that essential message:

"It's a combined set of the five best-practice behaviors: Get everything out of your head. Make decisions about actions required on stuff when it shows up--not when it blows up. Organize reminders of your projects and the next actions on them in appropriate categories. Keep your system current, complete, and reviewed sufficiently to trust your intuitive choices about what you're doing (and not doing) anytime."

Allen then offers an even simpler distillation: "Focus on positive outcomes and continually take the next action on the most important thing."

Simple, no?

But if it were easy, we'd all be great.

David Allen seeks to make it easy, and all of us great.

Me, too.


  1. I want it to be easy and I want to be great! Is that too much to ask? Amen to just simply taking the next step-wise words!

  2. Thanks, Heather. It's progress. Gotta go back to my notebook to correct some stuff that the voice-activated didn't pick up exactly.