It may not be apparent to you from the writing on this blog, but I am a huge proponent of the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology of work management as originally developed by David Allen. That includes reading his books, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity and Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Work and Life, downloading his products from the web site (including many free PDF files on productivity), going to his GTD | Roadmap seminars, and subscribe to the GTD | Connect service on David’s web site. Yeah, I’m a fan — because the stuff works.
This passion extends to subscribing to some twenty blogs devoted to Getting Things Done and productivity. At one point, I seriously pondered doing a blog simply on Getting Things Done, but it soon became apparent that the GTD space was well developed by others.
But, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a serious discipline around how you go about doing and prioritizing your work.
What I’ve been seeing lately in all of these GTD blogs that I subscribe to is one review after another on yet another new web 2.0 application that kinda sorta does GTD methodology. And if you tweak the tool this way or that, it comes pretty close to a good way to implement the methodology.
So there are screen shots, and links, and tweaks, and suggestions for improvements and all that sort of stuff.
But, none of it addresses the underlying issue for the Cubical Warrior: WIIFM? The shortened version of “What’s In It For ME?” Great or not so great are the tools…but what problem are they trying to solve?
In my view, if you want to be a Cubical Warrior, there are two critical functions that you must master in the workplace:
Manage your work flow for tasks, deliverables, and commitments to others
GTD methodology addresses the first one: providing a disciplined way of defining, processing, and organizing your work so that you have a clear understanding of what needs to be done and when.
THAT, my friends, is what all these new-fangled tools should be attempting to solve. THAT is what all of the reviews should use as a reference point so the reviewer can contrast the tool to the need of a Cubicle Warrior. But, the vast majority of the time, they don’t.
Before we go running off to review a tool, we should define what problem we’re attempting to resolve.
Defining the problem we’re attempting to resolve isn’t bad advice for half the work we do right now, isn’t it?