The Project Notebook

GTD for PMs – Part II

In Part I, I looked at a few specific techniques which can be used to accomplish more. In Part II, I’d like to look at a few of the motivators — the things we need to understand to be motivated and motivate ourselves to accomplish more and be successful.

Opportunity Cost
You’ve probably heard it before — you can’t use the same minute twice. When chosing what we are going to work on, opportunity costs need to be considered. Opportunity cost is a Keynesian term for those things which are foregone due to our choice. The opportunity cost of our tasks often aren’t financial. By working on our least important project, we are foregoing the opportunity for more important work. Attending the party instead of working may lead to a late project.

Immediate Progress
Once we choose our task, its often helpful to position the work so we can immediately complete something useful. When I first decided to create this blog, I immediately researched blogging tools and after making a selection, chose my template and performed some initial set up work. Once I did that, I felt an immediate sense of accomplishment. I also had a much better idea on how I could achieve my goal and was able to sketch out my next steps. Over time, the banner and content evolved and I committed weekly time to myself for the necessary activities.

Control Negative Emotions
When provided with a difficult choice or task, our first reactions are often negative — its too hard, I don’t have the skill, I’m stuck with this because Joe and Sue didn’t do their jobs, I know I’m going to mess this up. Learn to recognize these thoughts. One at a time, identify them, remove them as barriers, and begin to make positive progress. Dr. Gary Null suggests the following example:

If you are often impatient, you might say to yourself, I’m not going to get upset about the length of this supermarket checkout line. I’m going to choose a magazine off the rack and calmly read until its my turn.

Seek Out Like-Minded Company
Share your perspective and successes with others. You will find the reward of helping others, as well as support and new ideas. Positive feedback will generate momentum. Associating with those not committed to doing their best and making positive progress can be de-motivating or allow you to slip into your old habits. Even if you are not a very social person and can’t find people with similar goals, there is now a website to help. Visit for more information.

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© 2010-2012 Ray W. Frohnhoefer, MBA, PMP, CCP