The Project Notebook

GTD for PMs – Part IV

You’re pretty good at keeping up with both your project work (more planned, organized and scheduled) as well as other tasks, but every now and then … INCOMING! Unplanned and unscheduled tasks come pouring in. I found a pass, run, or kick strategy works best here.

Delegate or recruit help for as much as you effectively can and where you trust you will be supported. Especially where you trust that the task will be done and will be returned to you in good order when you need it. That helps eliminate items on the list you will need to address for a while.

This may also include saying “no” to some things, but its best to use that 2-letter word sparingly. Better: Say “Yes, but here’s what I will need to do to get this done as you have asked …”. Then ask the requestor to provide the support or resources you need. Negotiate the deadline too.

In any respectable large workload, there are probably more than a few things which require considerable effort to finish. Before your deadlines hit, run as many of these down the field as you can. Do the hard part, but stop short and don’t complete the last 15-30 minutes of work. This is where you may need to put in some extra effort as well. Work at nights or over weekends to continue to run as many tasks down the field as you can.

As the deadlines near, you will start collecting back the delegated work and have all your tasks down the field. With all your balls lined up just short of the goal line, start to kick tasks over that goal post. Complete those last 15-30 minutes of work just in time to meet all the needs.

Now of course, my scenario is idealistic. You may not be able to get everything over the goal line in time. Following this strategy will get you as close as possible. Then, if anyone expresses disappointment that your didn’t finish it all, you have an ideal opportunity to discuss how a project management approach would have assisted you in meeting the unrealistic goals and expectations.

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Category: Notebook Page


One Response

  1. dannielo says:

    Great tips.

    For implementing GTD you can use this web-based application:

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use

    checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    A mobile version is available too.

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