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Iíd like to help a friend of mine with some tips on how to implement GTD incrementally. He is an entrepreneur and father of a young child with some health problems. Heís a classic case of someone who needs GTD so badly that he may never get started.

Fortunately, he is a Mac user and itís a no-brainer than heíll buy and use OF if I tell him to. He has already listened to David Allenís abridged audiobook. So the basic inspiration is in place. But he does not have ó repeat, does not have ó the opportunity to invest a bunch of time in getting set up. Itís going to happen in pieces, or not at all.

So ... which pieces? How can you maximize your chances of appreciating GTD when you have no choice but to roll it out slowly?

Of course, David Allen actually specifically argues that GTD doesn't really work if you don't get all of its components working in concert. For instance, there's no point in defining projects if you don't review them. And there's not much point in putting things in an inbox if you don't empty it regularly. To some degree, you have to be firing on all cylinders, or itís just not going to work.

In the real world, though, there has to be some room for implementing GTD in chunks.

Here are two ideas I had for how GTD might be implemented not-all-at-once. Can OF users suggest anything else?

DO GTD ONLY IN ONE PART OF YOUR LIFE AT FIRST. Start with only a single, fairly narrowly defined domain or context of your life to "manage" with GTD. For instance, apply GTD to a only a single category of work (i.e. your work for BCLC). As long as the organizational chain is complete within that domain, it should work well within that domain. Sure, you may still have a lot of unorganized commitments in other domains! But if you can see GTD working well in one area of your life, then you'll be inspired to roll it out into other areas. I had this experience myself. Without planning it, I simply failed to implement GTD with anything personal for a long time: I did GTD with work only, and got it working well at work, and I can hardly imagine how overwhelmed I would have felt if Iíd tried to include the personal stuff at the same time. But I felt like it was pretty easy and satisfying to expand GTD management to the personal domain six months later.

START WITH REVIEWING. Although every part of the GTD process is important and has to be in place, and there's great potential for a partial implementation to backfire, I still think that the "review" component is the "most important" step. I think it make sense to build your GTD experience on a backbone of reviewing ... even when the only thing you have to review is still a disorganized mess. Review the mess! The heart and soul of GTD is the ability to get things off your mind and into an effective system. The review step is particularly crucial because it's how you build TRUST that the system will bring things to your attention when they need to. In the beginning, before you have well-organized projects to review, do a daily review anyway -- a survey of everything on your plate, organized or not. No, you won't be able to see everything yet. Yes, there will be loose ends that won't get reviewed. But the act of reviewing will help you and inspire you as you go!

In other words, Iím basically suggesting that, of all the GTD steps, reviewing has the greatest potential to actually facilitate the other steps.

So, OF community: comments, other suggestions?
 
 


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