Video: Changing Up Your GTD System

Here’s an interesting podcast about when it’s time to reboot your system. Sometimes I wished I had a system that can maintain itself. I can stay hands-off and my GTD system will take care of itself. It’ll know when I need new smart lists or smart searches. It will know when I need a new context or a new project. I don’t have to think.

I’ve seen users switch to a new task manager thinking that it will solve of their problems. The greatest benefit in switching apps is that you do an intensive review of all your projects, checklists, and tasks. We update all the projects and checklists that we’ve neglected since the last review.

The weekly review has been an essential tool in my life to keep everything together. I actually look forward to doing my daily review, weekly review, and monthly review. I’m always monitoring my task manager.

I recently saw a video about American Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. In order to maintain his level of excellence, he monitors everything. His sleep schedule, caloric intake, training regimen, psychology, and physiology. Nothing is taken for granted. I thought that was interesting. If I want to excel at work and life, I also need to keep close watch over my projects and goals. People who don’t excel usually have habits where they don’t monitor and track everything. We get lazy. We start taking things for granted. The next thing I know, I’ve lost my edge and possibly my job.

I used to dread the weekly review. It was three hours of intense scrutiny and self-analysis. I’ve broken up the review process into a series of daily reviews (inboxes, current next action lists, calendar schedule), weekly reviews (the next 7 days, overall progress on a project), and monthly reviews (goal targeting and system tweaks). I spent about 30 minutes every day instead of the dreaded three hour end of the week review.

I actually start looking forward to my reviews.

Every once in a while, it makes sense to nuke everything and start again. But it shouldn’t be done every time a brand new task manager update is released. I do get weary when I watch YouTube videos of users hopping from app to app hoping for the magical tool that will automate everything.

Restructuring your projects, routines, and checklists helps a lot. Take out a lot of the gunk that has built up over the last few weeks. Streamline any routines. Eliminate anything that doesn’t move you towards your goals or maintain your life.

I’ve dropped many projects and checklists. I’ve also delegated as much as I can to others who are capable of doing a job I was doing. Or at least streamline a routine with the help of new apps/tools that can make life easier.

Are you a serial task hopper? Is there anything in life that irritates the crap out of you? What would you be willing to do to take care of the friction points in your life?