Thursday, March 12, 2009

GTD @ Home: From the Boardroom to the Living Room

OK...this is my first attempt at live blogging, so we'll see how it goes. I'll likely expand on my thoughts later. I usually tend to write longer pieces, so doing a stream of conscious blast of info will be interesting.

The first breakout session of the day is "GTD At Home: From the Boardroom to the Living Room". This panel is being moderated by Eric Mack with panelists Med Edwards, Ismael Ghalimi, Kim Hagerty, Brian Lowery, Bruce Somers, John de Souza and Mike Williams. Two other excellent sounding panels are going on at the same time, so making the choice on which to attend is difficult. Of course, I have a keen interest in injecting the GTD process into my family, especially for my kids as they enter into high school. I hope to gain some good insights into this idea during the panel. Here we go...

Talking about moving GTD from a work context to "life context". Is it a thought process that you apply in life?

Distinction between home and work may not be as defined as people think.

Eric has served as David Allen's technologist for 16 years. David Allen Company employees practice what they preach.

1992 - first time Eric met David Allen. Meeting with David and his business partner. David asks to first have 5 minute meeting with his partner because they hadn't seen each other in awhile. David open agenda page to Russel...Russel opens agenda page to David. They blew through their lists...What's the status? What's the next action. Most productive meeting Eric ever say. After 5 minutes, meeting done and Eric had full focus.

Now meeting the panelists.

Ismael sharing how GTD has impacted his daily life. Small software company owner. Raising a new family, learning to fly, lots of activities. Work and life and intersecting. Need to have a system that frees your mind to do things that are most interesting (e.g. "be with my daughter"). Using Salesforce.com to capture all their contexts, doc management system, calendar, etc. Use an account for home and one for business.

Bruce Somers owns advertising agency. Service that is provided for every client is brand new. They "put out fires constantly". GTD is the only way they can keep up with everything. Bruce works from home and is more productive there. Wife is seeing how Bruce is efficient and wants to know how to do that. Came up with color coding systems for the whole family. Uses a calendar for the family and task scheduling is just the same as work.

Brian Lowery - Does a lot of east coast work. Get up at 4. Work for a few hours, then breakfast with kids. Gets some exercise in. Zero separation between work and home. "It's all you".

John de Souza - Getting to GTD was a lot of small realizations. Life is moving a lot faster than you think it is. Major realizations (like spending time with kid) coupled with small realizations drove him toward GTD. You need to have a system. You need to revisit your system as your priorities change and you need to invest in yourself at all levels.

Kim Hagerty - Responsibilities changed significantly as her business grew. Was using a planner...felt like she wasn't getting anything done. "To dos" were too big (get profitable, grow company). Found GTD through her brother. There is no real separation between work and home. Initially just wanted to capture work-related contexts. Huge breakthrough when she realized you have to capture everything, not just work. 100s in company have gone through GTD training...helps foster a language everyone can speak. Does a weekly review that is work related. Kim and husband meet and have planning meeting/weekly review, then they meet with their 13 year old daughter. Experiences more well-balanced life.

Mike Williams - Father of 2 young kids. Works with GE Healthcare. Took it from boardroom to living room himself. Some people in business are primed for productivity. Not necessarily true at home. Working on "experiments" at home. For example, separating items in the mudroom at home. Using this as an analogy to how you have things in your head. At breakfast, talk about what you want to accomplish today. Dinner time - reflect on how you did. Also do word of the day, quote of the day, etc. With his young kids, he is concerned with "planting seeds". @Agenda and hard landscape two of most important parts of GTD. Checks his calendar (hard landscape stuff) when he pulls in the garage so he remembers what things to talk about with kids. Labeler produces giddiness.

Four panelists have taught their kids how to mind map.

Meg Edwards - When she first met David in 1998, she was working in Vermont. Moved to Maine, having a baby in new marriage, starting new business and getting a new house. Goes to seminar (with new baby in tow) and was "saved" by things David Allen was talking about. Seeing workflow diagram was first time her brain quieted down. 6 months later had the opportunity to train as a coach and has been with David Allen Company for last 10 years. Has had opportunity to coach many people through the years. Focus is on teaching kids how to GTD. One of the greatest impetuses for GTD was getting to be present with her daughter, not be distracted. 5 stages of workflow helps make sure that she is focusing on right things and allows her to collect at the appropriate time. Sees so many parents overwhelmed. We need to help get this out to people, because it can be life changing.

Eric - Teach your kids to use an inbox, teach them how to mindmap and the idea of the Someday/Maybe list.

Bruce - Someday/Maybe list is powerful for kids. What do you want to do when you grow up?

John - Now hides his inbox at home. Has a dump box at home. Allows his wife to pile things up and then deal with them instead of putting it directly into his inbox. Families can take parts of idea without forcing it on them. Makes things harmonious.

Talking about best tools: Notetaker wallet (Ismael), Inbox (Bruce), Inbox, put things where they live (Brian), wallet and notepad to capture, remember much better by writing down (John), Inbox at work and home, place for everything, notepads everywhere (Kim), notepads everywhere, calendar (Mike), digital whiteboard in the bathroom (Eric. Wow...that's geeky! :-),capture tools (Meg).

Capture tools seem to be most important to everyone.

For children, very important to capture things they tell you otherwise you'll hear it over and over. - Meg

Q&A time:

Inboxes all over the house. How do you deal with people dumping into boxes and moving this to appropriate place? - Brian mentions inbox in his office (in garage) and his wife's in the house. Moves paper as necessary. No more or less. Bruce - Individual boxes. Amazing how much respect family has for each others inboxes.

For those that can't install digital whiteboard, suggest using shower crayons.

At the higher levels, how do you incorporate goals and areas of focus into family? John - Sit down periodically with family and work on integrating all life events together. Kim - Does a year end review. Sat down with family after first swipe this year and talked about family goals. No criticism. Recorded family goals and has a good platform for discussions going forward. Mike - Went through "Now Discover Your Strengths" with his wife. Mapping out activities are helping define the higher level goals and define the foundation of where they want the family to go. Bruce - Daughter was stressed out about homework (age 10). Asked her what she really wants to do. She wants to bake. Tries to distill GTD concepts down in ways that make sense to her so she can manage her goals and her tasks.

Eric asks audience who has a written family mission statement. What will life look like? What do we want to be true about our life? Work backward to determine how these things will be true. What projects do we need to have in place to make this happen?

Meg - Really responsible for her daughter at early age. Mapping out her goals, projects and actions. A lot of power in deciding what to do and not do so you're not revisiting in the future and second guessing yourself. "You don't have problems, you have projects".

How to deal with GTD with your kids at the rebellious stage? Brian - Act like you are having so much fun. Don't force it on them. Bruce - Let kids get to depths of chaos and then through her a life line.

How to get your spouse on board?
- Brian - Got coached together. Meg - Said "I need it", then let husband decide for himself.

Great panel!

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