Getting Things Done – the Right Way !


 

Getting Things Done by David Allen is a revolutionary book, it became a cult soon after it was published and acquired a place in pop culture as GTD (short of getting things done), which its popularly known today. The book suggests an outline for getting control of your life through the five stages of mastering workflow/mindflow: collection, processing, organizing, reviewing and doing. It has been a little over a decade since its publication and the GTD method has been quoted, recycled and talked about so many times since its inception that it has now seeped into the public consciousness, somewhat obvious to most of us, and yet most of us forget to use this wonderful method to empty our minds on to a tangible platform to get things done!

Although the book has about 13 chapters altogether, and is fairly long book, but luckily you don’t have to spend too much time revisiting or reading how to apply GTD to get maximize productivity because the author himself has provided a flowchart of actions, so the book also lives up to its teaching of avoiding wastage of mental resources to free up time for more important tasks at hand. Already off to a good start!

 Simply start with taking some time out, gather a notepad or anything else to write upon, just empty your mind of things at the top of your mind as tasks to be done.  After you have written those down, simple recall the flowchart or look at it (attached below). Examine each task by running it through the steps of the flow chart and render it a priority.

One of the big reasons why this method works so seamless is because of a phenomenon called Zeigarnik Effect, which is the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about an objective that was once pursued and left incomplete (Baumeister & Bushman, 2008). Because a task has been given a relatively higher priority in your mind, it keeps popping in your mind, just as when an app is opened on your mac pc and the the app icon bobs up and down till you give it attention by clicking on it. It can bother and distract you from your current task.

One you align your thoughts with actionables, your mind simple frees the space to be more productive.

Start with collection, gather all the tasks that have to be completed. You can any collection tool of your choice, a notepad, an app, email or whatever suits you.  The book mentions three “collection success factors”: 1. Every open loop must be in your collection system and out of your head. 2. You must have as few collection buckets as you can get by with. 3. You must empty them regularly.

Then comes the processing stage, which is mostly running the task through the flowchart to determine its urgency.

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In the Organize stage, the author describes eight categories of reminders and materials: trash, incubation tools, reference storage, list of projects, storage or files for project plans and materials, a calendar, a list of reminders of next actions, and a list of reminders of things you’re waiting for.

The fourth stage is reviewing, which is go back at a scheduled time every week or day, to look at the aligned tasks.

The fifth and the most important step is DOING, here he talks about the 5 phases of project management.

    Defining purpose and principles — In defining purpose, one asks “why?” Answering this question provides the following benefits: it defines success, creates decision-making criteria, aligns resources, motivates, clarifies focus and expands options. Principles create the boundaries of the plan and define the criteria for excellence of behavior.

    Outcome visioning — A vision provides a picture of the final result. Allen discusses the Reticular Activating System within the brain and how it acts like a search engine. In defining the desired outcome, this filter in the brain brings to one’s attention those things that match the vision. In addition, Allen states that you won’t see how to do it until you see yourself doing it, and his advice is to view the project from beyond the completion date, envision “WILD SUCCESS”, and capture features, aspects, qualities you imagine in place.

    Brainstorming — Brainstorming identifies how one gets from here to there through the generation of lots of ideas. Allen recommends writing down these ideas to help generate many new ones that might not have occurred had the brain not been emptied by writing down the original ideas. Writing ideas down also provides an anchor to keep one focused on the topic at hand. This idea of writing to spur thinking has been labeled as “distributed cognition”. Keys to effective brainstorming are: don’t judge, challenge, evaluate, or criticize; go for quantity, not quality; and put analysis and organization in the background.

    Organizing — Allen describes the key steps to include: identify the significant pieces; sort by components, sequences and/or priorities; and detail to the required degree.

    Identifying next actions – Author states that a project is sufficiently planned when every Next Action has been decided on every front that can actually be moved on without some other components having to be completed first.

Now you are wondering how all of the above sounds like a lot of work, and wishing there was a ready made solution to this problem as well, that is exactly what the people at laywi.com thought, before they came up with the design for a website that does exactly that.

An application that holistically helps its users plan and achieve their goals and tasks, using a scientific backing?

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LAYWi is the answer to all of your planning and goal management needs.

LAYWi is a new age personal development website that helps you prioritize, organize and get things done. www.laywi.com has an inbuilt project management/development system that lets you define principles/values, define your vision, clarify your strengths and weaknesses using a SWOT analyses of all important areas of one’s life, and most of all it organizes all your main areas into one place, easily reviewed on everyday basis.

 

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Plus it has tools such as To-Do Lists, checklists, diaries, storage for all your important documents and a section to retain all your favorites’ in any given category.

It is a one big digital solution for all your life organization, planning needs.

Its free, accessible, user friendly and has been designed to let you live your life to the fullest capacity possible.

Sky is the limit for those who want to aim!

 
 

The 7 Habits of Highly effective People- 2


This is a follow up blog to our previous blog on ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’(https://laywi4us.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/the-7-habits-of-highly-effective-people/).  This blog is dedicated to the second part of the book which emphasizes on synergy and clean intentions to get ahead in pursuit of an ideal life.

The three habits that are covered in this blog are: Think win-win, seek first to understand, then be understood, Synergize.

The first habit in this section Think win-win, is a lesson in humanity we all must learn. We must know every situation is created twice, once in thought and another time when it is manifested in reality, this is no spiritual gyan, but a fact. To cause harm, you have first perceive harm.  This habit preaches to always take decision that is beneficial as a whole. Thinking win-win will ensure you are leaving behind enough goodwill in case you have to detour or go back. Plus mostly, if you are normal person (read not a narcissist/megalomaniac) positivity in your work and relationships will strengthen your confidence, making you take those many more chances.

The second habit of ‘Seek first to understand, then be understood’ is also in line with the fourth habit of the book, and the one discussed immediately above. A person must step into the shoes of his colleague or friend to understand what makes them tick. This is useful in many ways, such as when an argument is struck, you feel in control since you know what place they are coming from, and it will also help you come with a suitable peace offering thereby salvaging the blow to the relationship and continuing on your path to your goal.

The third habit in the second part ‘Synergy’ preaches us to include people in our journey toward our goals after we have incorporated the above two habits. It preaches us to feel free to include people, as long as they benefit out of them too. Great men always preach to ask for help, it is also a skill, and not everyone can feel entitled to it. But if you have developed the above habits, you will be able to master this skill as well. The key is open discussion of your ideas and thinking of your team as equal partners in the process.

 

 

Developing the above habits will engrain in you the habit for creating, so no matter where you are stuck in life, you will always be able to create opportunity to live as you want it.

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The habit above can easily be defined as values, and a value system shows in the essence of everything one does, guide you and keeps you true to yourself. And one can only excel when they have a handle on what results they truly want.

What’s for you in LAYWi?


One thing unite us as human irrespective of geographical or social or religious differences and that is human intrinsic nature, which is to dream, dream of better tomorrow, better relationships, better jobs or career prospects, better life in general. Few more of those intrinsic characteristics of humans are ‘Be good’, ‘To improve’, ‘Seek security’, ‘Be social’ and so on.

Of course there is flip side to all of them too, like to satiate need of being ‘be good’ people  indulge in self deception and make convincing stories around it or another need ‘to improve’ people  on one hand want to improve but along side don’t want things to change which is related to being ‘in control’ and hence associate improvement to loosing control and in turn security – so reject improvement or change.

So whats the solution to this conundrum ? Well that’s what promote me to research for long time and come up with humble system called LAYWi which can be reached at www.laywi.com. 

Road-map to life, Life as you want it

Solution here is to approach yourself systemically, understanding yourself properly, stressing on yourself honestly – we at LAYWi call it ‘Define Me‘ phase. This is an iterative process and should not be expected to achieved in one evening – for you and your life are more important then that and deserve more time, thought and attention.

Define me at laywi.com

Refine Me‘ is next phase to ‘Define Me’ where you indulge in some honest self appraisal we call ‘Self Profiling’. You can also seek feedback from other people in your network on site (laywi.com). Under this phase, you would also indulge in some dreaming process to called ‘Visioning’, building your plans for future, where do you see yourself 10 years or 20 years from today. This is would get you and your sub-conscious mind thinking what steps would be required to reach there, what resource you need, whats the gap between you today and you in your visioned state.

Finally in this phase you would also build a ‘Value System’ for yourself. Reason to have a value system in life to have good habits which would help you in your journey like building habit to be persistent and consistent in life, being honest and diligent, developing self leadership and so on. All this good habits as your value system would help you intrinsically when going get tough.

Align and Achieve‘ is Last phase of LAYWi, here we get action oriented. We plan and act upon all goals, vision, habits we have decided to improve as part of ‘Refine Me’ phase. We can group them as projects, define the important factor which would be required by project to achieve its eventual purpose. There are a lot of questions you would answer along with process of Align and Achieve which would clear you mind of doubts and bring forth your implementation approach to you purpose in life.

LAYWi's approach to life at www.laywi.com

Peripheral to Road-map of life: Tools 

Another important finding my research showed was, its important to be organised so mind is free to think properly and come up with new design for happy and successful life.

Solution to better life at www.laywi.comSo we have tools  as second part of site give users lots of options to organise one’s life so mind is free of daily deadlines and botheration but they can still be sure that they would complete them on time like To-Do list, Content Organizer (to secure all your documents safely), Diary (Multiple use, can be a thought organizer or a learning journal for a project), Favourites (to organize a wish-list or any other fancy) Dashboard (A personal newsfeed for updates and schedules, rating from all part of site), Calenders ( for schedules and reminders), Connect – to be able to share and get feedback from friends, family and colleagues on content that you have opened to view by your chosen traffic.

Dashboard at laywi.comCaveat:

LAWYi is not a site which works in three clicks like 1. Click and Upload 2. Click and Share 3. Click and Comment, for life is itself is not that simple and need application of brain and efforts continuously and improving everyday bit by bit, step by step.

Life’s libretto and LAYWi


Blog by Tamanna @  http://madwomanintheatticblog.wordpress.com

Recently I came across an old diary of mine wherein, with the rose tinted vision of a 16 year old, I had listed out all that I would accomplish by the time I was 21… 25…30 and so on. Going by that very orderly plan, apart from the fact that I was supposed to have the world at my feet long ago, I was also not supposed to lose sight of what my priorities in life really were – a classic case of mistaking the forest for the trees. Yes job, career, money and marriage all were and still are important. But so am “I”. Somewhere in the various roles that I play, the masks that I don, the real “me” was lost. Then I realised that what my goals and priorities were and still are- as a mother, a wife, a career woman- and as a human being needs to be redefined, yet again, perhaps on a regular basis.

I’m one of the old school people – pen and paper work best for me. There is a charm in sitting on a wooden desk overlooking the hills, picking up a pen, a fountain pen especially, and scribbling on a piece of paper- very aristocratic, very Elizabethan. The only problem is that these pages or diaries are quite likely to get misplaced at best or completely mauled by your child-dog duo. Besides once again the risk of just focusing on the tangible goals or life visions looms large- “lose 5kgs in next 2months”; “get a promotion in next 6 months”- all tangible and thus easy to define. What happens to the not so tangible things but those that probably matter infinitely more- “don’t fly off the handle at every instance, learn to take time out daily for yourself, read more, and spend more time with your family”. Is there a chance that, without guidance, I’ll jot down these things? I don’t think so.

Dashboard 1

Then I came across LAYWI (Life as you want it). Truth be told, my initial reaction was nothing very positive. I mean I’ve never been too fond of the management/corporate and self help lingo. Stating everything in black and white seemed a bit too childish. How was I supposed to “define myself”, “refine” and “align”? As I kept browsing through the pages, there seemed a method to the madness most of all in the “well being section” that talks of “physical”, “mental”, and “spiritual” well being. Yeah I’ve heard of all that plenty. But when it came to articulating what I aspired to in that sphere, specially the mental and spiritual, I was at a loss. And therein, I realised, lay my problem. When you cannot articulate something, how can you pursue it, let alone realise it? Yes we all want peace, calm, no stress but what do we do towards realising it? Pretty much nothing. Chasing impossible deadlines at work day after day, spending lesser time with yourself and your dear ones and we wonder why we have no peace or calm!

As I switch on my laptop every morning, I simultaneously log into LAYWI. I’m far from even filling in all my life’s goals or the like but am beginning to get a clearer picture of what is it that I truly want and value in life. A “well being” goal of spending more time with my son has made me realise the need for such time to be other than that devoted to school work and the urgency of not shouting him down at every pretext. At the end of each day, we just lie down and discuss his life’s big plans. Am I sleeping better after that? Way better than I did after finishing off some office assignment in the middle of the night. And with LAYWI it’s just the beginning of a life much better managed and thus much better lived. It’s finally the beginning of life as “I” want it !!

I’ve never been a great one at penning down.

Mission for life!


So we talked about “Vision for life” in our last blog but what next?
As per definition, vision is long term and overarching purpose in life which one is really passionate about. So next we need to take the vision and break it down to something mid-term and further arrange in sequence or in parallel depending what makes sense and lets call them missions.

Now take these mid-term missions and further break them into immediately action-able goals.

Lets take a very simple and general example:Where are you heading

Step 1:

Vision: Retire at age of 60 with financial security, good wealth, with happy and integrated bunch of people called family and friends.

Now this vision is very general and may seems little uninspiring to start with, but it just the beginning and just a statement. We need to work on it to make it more of really vision in life rather then just a statement.

Step 2:
We need to study the gap in realising our vision eventually, using self analysis as well as analysis of circumstance currently we are in. Remember, vision needs to be believed in absolutely and these analysis would help you start believing in your vision since you are acting on your vision firstly, secondly it would show steps to reach your vision at high level and finally makes  your subconscious mind aware of something which is important to you and then brain starts its own process of relating things important to vision.

So lets assume I am 32 at the moment, about to get married and literally have no saving but a study job.StepsToday

First workout your well-being: Being a 32 year old, most probably one is healthy and free from diseases but whats more important is to work towards a healthier life. Well-being considered here is not just physical but also mental and spiritual.

Second workout Professional Life: Workout the growth in current job, your current skill sets, your organisation’s growth rate, industry you work in currently – all this should give one fair idea for next 5 to 10 years of professional life.

Thirdly workout Relationships: How positive, exciting and joyful your relationships are, consider your relations with your partner, friends and community as all of these would affect you.

Finally workout Financials: Where would your current financial earnings take you, considering standard saving rate, inflation, growth in job and other expenses along the way, just rough estimate (but make these estimate and keep them to compare over period as to compare how accurate you are and adjust future estimates accordingly).

Step 3: next steps
From step 2, something would start getting visible to you like areas  you want or need to improve in life like you need to take some courses for professional life or plan to take up studies again part time etc. This would in turn need healthier you so you can work harder which would require you to have a well-being plan. This would also invoke understanding from you relationships, that you would spending time away from them but for better future and its a short term compromise for better long term. So its all related.

Anyways point here to continuously analysis yourself and circumstance and bridge the gap with reasonable action (avoiding analysis paralysis) however small. It might be as small as start reading a book for well-being or related to your professional life or relationships or start saving £10 per week.

Step 4.
Once you have reasonable understanding of yourself and circumstance around you, you start making small project ranging from 6 months to 1 year with multiple task underneath them which are related to each other. May be as simple as have one project for each four vital areas of your life 1. Well-being 2. Relationships 3. Professional life and 4. Financials.

Allocate time to them and divide task as small as weekly tasks and make sure you mark them as complete as you go along every week and make small improvement every time you take incremental action (with each task completed you would build momentum and will to carry on and carry on stronger). It may be as simple as:

First week: 10 mins walk for well-being
Second week: 15 mins walk
Third week: 20 mins walk
Fourth week: 30 mins walk
fifth week: 15 mins jog and 15 mins walk
sixth week: 20 mins jog and 10 mins walk …..

Step 5:Aim for purpose of life @ laywi.com
Be continuous and relentless in your initiatives, follow ups and improving results.

Have tasks which relate to fun and entertainment always as part of over all schema of things so planning is all inclusive like as part of relationship plan holidays together to best places you want to visit and plan them like any other project for example planning for promotion in job or drop 4 kgs of weight. Another example, Make a project like “rejuvenate” under relationships and plan regularly one away weekend each month for 6 next months.

Always check the vision and see if you current action are aligned and leading towards that direction only. Also adjust you actions if the gap seems to be widening or worst case your vision has changed over period but remember vision is purpose of life would not change easily (and you don’t arrive on your vision in one days).

Summary:

1. Define yourself and your vision

2. Refine yourself towards you vision

3. Align and achieve continuously towards your vision.

A Special Thought:

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

Other blogs from LAYWi related to this:

Tennis, Baseball and Life!

The Power of Habit

Me, Attitude, Habits, Environment, Happiness and Life

What’s within is what’s without


What happens is not as important as how you react to what happens. – Thaddeus Golas

laywi.comSome people make do with nothing and are the happiest people on the planet. Some people have travelled the world and have drunk the most expensive of champagnes and yet live engulfed in complete fear of not having accomplished everything. How is that, what is heaven for someone is a form of hell for another? What causes people to perceive situations as good or bad? Who decides what is good or bad? It is no one but you!

Most people grow up being influenced by the community we stay in, they decide for us what kind of a person you will be and as we grow, we start to question our beliefs to ascertain them or challenge them to form new beliefs. And these beliefs decide what kind of life we will lead as we go through life. And it is an ongoing process; we are forever evolving into something new as required by the phase we are in life. But dealing with changes can bring about lots of confusion and guilt, as most of us preconditioned to maintain status quo which translates in our minds as a trusting situation or more popularly known as comfort zone. So it is very important to learn to deal with changes and how to normalize life along with changes that happen.

Mental well being can be defined as ability to cope with changing needs and recognizing them without feeling too threatened by them. Everyone sometime or the other faces a challenge when charting unknown territories but some of us have built the immunity to not let it affect us on a mental level or shake our very core. To have the ability to keep your core intact and not letting life challenges bother you is what a mentally well being is truly.

Mental well being is a habit or skill that can be developed over time, all of us have that survival gene in us, and it’s just the matter of activating it!

First recognize the signs of a developed mental well-being:-

  • Feel relatively confident in yourself – you value and accept yourself and judge yourself on realistic and reasonable standards
  • Feel and express a range of emotions
  • Feel engaged with the world around you – you can build and maintain positive relationships with other people and feel you can contribute to the community you live in
  • Live and work productively
  • Cope with the stresses of daily life and manage times of change and uncertainty.

These superfluous signs are of a state of mind which is not threatened by being thrown a curve ball; A person such as feel confident and hence is happy with their efforts.

laywi.comOn the flip side we all have times when we have low mental wellbeing – when we feel sad or stressed, or find it difficult to cope. For example, when we suffer some sort of loss; experience loneliness or relationships problems; or are worried about work or money. Sometimes, there is no clear reason why we experience a period of poor mental health. And sometimes serious issues such as childhood trauma or abuse; PTSD; unemployment etc make you vulnerable to long term state of disturbed mental wellbeing. Most of the temporary states can be overcome with a bit of effort on our part.

How do over come and make mental well being a habit?

One way to mental well being is to lead a healthy life. Eat a balanced diet; go for a walk or workout; go for regular medical checkups; don’t ignore a stressed body’s plea for rest etc. Because by simply ascertain a function body will keep you fatigue at bay and let you concentrate fully on the challenges.

Second pointer for a mental well being is to live a more organized life. Plan your day, meetings; make lists; set reminders for things to do etc. It takes the stress off if you have premeditated your plans. Hence freeing up mental breathing space.

Keep reminding you to not take life too seriously, everything in life is fleeting; life is an experience not a task.

The most important step to a lasting mental well being is to attain the habit of setting goals. Once you know what is important to you and what is that you want, you intrinsic motivation to live life more enthusiastically will go up. The reason for that is we only see what is predominately on our minds, if you have goals, you will see in your surrounding with manifold opportunities to achieve the life you want!

Register on www.laywi.com to use their new age personal development tools, which range from doing a SWOT analysis of your values to the project management tools for any kind of project that you can use to reminders; to-do lists or checklists tools. Everything under one tab to organize and live it the way you want.

Always remember you were born to live your destiny without fear so, always keep a positive attitude and be kind. You are what you are within, and what is without is a manifestation of it!

As you Thinketh so shall it be!


The ancestor of every action is a thought ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a plethora of books that subscribe to the notion of thinking positive as a first step towards success. Whether they be, by new age life coaches or ancient philosophers of the likes of Plato. And in recent years researchers have been working on finding out how brain perceives information and processes it.

Our brain is like the driver, and the body is the vehicle and destination is life. Our brain is constantly bombarded with information from all the five senses. This information is then processed by the brain, and our experiences are defined as good, bad or neutral. If an experience makes us happy, we tend to repeat it or otherwise avoid it. Hence it is somewhat possible to fool the brain.

laywi.com

If we constantly feedback clues that the task before us is doable and we have the skills to complete it, the brain will buy into the idea and provide its faculties toward its completion. All this may sound a little too farfetched.  But researchers have been studying a technique called mental imagery. Mental imagery suggests that you imagine something being done and your brain will buy into it and shape you experience in such a way. It’s all about feedback. More on Mental imagery..

Although the details are still somewhat elusive, the key to the success of mental imagery as a rehearsal technique is that most of the same neurological regions are invoked by mental practice as by real practice. Research led by Alvaro Pascual-Leone of Harvard Medical School has found that this is true even in individuals who do not have prior musical training. Pascual-Leone and his associates taught two groups of non-musicians a basic finger exercise on the piano keyboard; they then had one group practice in the ordinary way and the other practice in their minds, for two hours per day, five days in a row. At the end of the study, the mapping of the rehearsal pattern in the brains of participants from both groups had changed in the same ways. Essentially, the brain can only barely tell the difference; a strong mental simulation of motion is, neurologically speaking, an excellent substitute for the counterpart real motion. Data from a 2004 fMRI study conducted by a team of researchers in Germany corroborates this conclusion; while activation is indisputably stronger and a little more widespread during actual music performance, mental rehearsal covers most of the same basic ground. This finding adheres to a general pattern that imagining a given action or sensation is likely to be neurologically analogous to physically carrying out that action or experiencing that particular stimulus.

So, just by imagining, you can be on your way to whoever you want to be. A great way to practice this in real life is to write things down. Write down your goals, break them into smaller doable bits, imagine how would you do it; Make a detailed plan of how will you accomplish you task.

Any kind of life you want, you can start by imagining it and if you do that by writing everything down, you will be giving it a structure thereby solidifying your intentions. This improves your chances of achieving your goals, because half the work or sometimes more than half the work needed is already done!

Come to www.laywi.com, it’s a web tool actually designed to help structure your life, so you can get the most out of it and live the life as you want it.

It has tools like project management; To-Do lists; self profiling and lot more of useful applications for everyday life.