Getting Things Done Challenge

Over the years, I tested many systems, giving me a lot of experiential knowledge – author David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) Work-Life Management system is the only system that has ever stuck.

David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology is not just a system but rather a systematic approach to life, GTD taps into core values which are essentially the universal truths of life management. David Allen is one of the first thinkers to actually approach time management as a scientific methodology based on universal truths.

Through the process, I have owned over 60 smart phones in 6-years and tried almost every tool and system on the market. Pulling from diverse sources, I have tried to synthesize my own system to no avail.

Along the way, I discovered that methodologies break down when they are applied to the wrong tool, and that you cannot bend a broken tool to a broken system nor can you define your own philosophy based on an established paradigm and not expect it not to water down your results.

Because the methods and the tools I used have always been dysfunctional, I have never had the opportunity to appropriately engage with Getting Things Done.

If you are really diligent, David Allen says it takes two years to get Getting Things Done and to achieve what David Allen calls GTD Black Belt.

What is GTD Black Belt? – It’s always good to define the target before embarking on the adventure, pardon the hyperbole here, but ready-fire-aim never made a good marksmen.

When asked about the experience of being GTD Black Belt, David Allen defined the experience GTD Black Belt in a company podcast, “You would probably see them with a sparkle in their eye about whatever they were doing, meaning they are enjoying it or appropriately engaged in it…or involved in it or not distracted.  You probably would not be talking to them and have their mind go somewhere else.”

In the same podcast, Allen further describes a GTD Black Belt work environment, “A GTD environment tends to be quicker and quieter. Not quicker meaning nervously quick. Things happen very effectively and efficiently and there is not a lot of noise because you do not need a lot of noise to make an impact.”

I am challenging myself to learn from him by doing what David would do in every situation—to completely get Getting Things Done by modeling his best practices.

If I want to model David’s best practices, I figured that I should try and use a tool he recommends. Over the past few years, I kept hearing about David Allen’s passion for Lotus Notes—now called IBM Notes. I first read about it in his book Getting Things Done.  Well, I kept hearing about IBM Notes and, frankly, Outlook Web Access 2013 (OWA) was the breaking point!

I decided that if I was going to really blog about GTD and David Allen that I really needed to follow his lead so I went out in search of IBM Notes hosting. After a month of making a ton of inquiries from here, I found a provider. Of all places, I decided to partner with an IBM Premiere Business Partner in Australia!  Steve Hooper of Dr. Notes  is sponsoring my Domino account. I wanted a partner that not only provided excellent customer support but also knew IBM Notes in depth Steve Hooper and his wife Karen Hooper, are not only noted experts in the field but Karen Hooper literally wrote the book on it.  I will be using an iPhone 5, iPad 4 and a Lenovo W530 laptop as my tools for implementing Getting Things Done with IBM Notes over the next two years.

However, that’s only half the story.  David Allen doesn’t just use plain IBM Notes.  David Allen’s tool of choice is eProductivity with IBM Notes.  If you are wondering, how I made the connection between IBM Notes and eProductivity, — well I have known about it for quite some time – and you only have to start — here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here to get the idea of how I discovered it.

Over the years, I have reached out to Eric Mack’s company to make general inquiries about eProductivity before on several occasions. However, I never directly approached Eric Mack about using eProductivity with IBM Notes for this challenge until now.  I wanted to use eProductivity with IBM Notes because (1) its David Allen’s personal productivity tool, (2) David designed it with Eric Mack, and (3) it’s one of only two products on the market today to receive the GTD Enabled Emblem. GTD Enabled means that it closely adheres to the fundamental principles of the GTD Methodology.

Similarly, IBM Notes is one of the few professional cross platform PIMs which means that I can use it on a Mac, a PC, on Linux, in a web browser, on an iPhone and on an iPad or other mobile device and still get a consistent experience.

To be completely above board, it is crucial for me to outline, the terms of this 2-year Challenge. I am doing this challenge completely on my own recognizance, voluntarily without any financial compensation from anyone. Eric Mack has agreed to provide me with a free license to use eProductivity Ultimate Edition for the challenge and to provide me with the necessary coaching to ground me in the key principles and practices of GTD implementation with eProductivity. In exchange, I have agreed to guest blog about my experience and write about it here. Likewise, Steve Hooper of Dr. Notes  is sponsoring my Domino account for free. I am paying out of pocket for all my web hosting costs, equipment, tools and fees.

Beyond what I stated above, I have no direct affiliation with IBM, ICA, eProductivity, DrNotes, or the David Allen Company—and, consequently, they have no affiliation with me.  By doing this, I am able to remain completely objective about my experience, since I have nothing to gain from it what so ever nor do I have any interest in taking any credit for anyone else’s ideas or intellectual property. If anything I will strive to be completely honest and forthright going forward. In some cases, my brashness has already offended a number of people at the above companies.

Despite what you are thinking, I am not blogging for glory or fame, although that always sounds good. Actually, I am blogging as a final act of desperation—call it a final maddening cry for help. I never like to settle for mediocrity, especially not in my life.  Essentially, I want to kill stagnancy and inertia and to begin to improve my life in way that will allow me to continue to grow as an individual and make a significant contribution to my family, my community and the greater world at large and to eventually help mentor others in the future.  This is not idealism but just plain cold facts. I have a lot of clear goals I hope to achieve and I believe Getting Things Done can help me do it.  I am an Adjunct Professor at the Art Institute of Houston and anything that can help me improve my workflow is critically important.

As of October 2, 2013, Stephen Lynch, representing Mindjet, reached out to me and got me a complimentary  copy of MindManager14 to use on my current GTD blogging challenge–as many of you know David Allen and Eric Mack both use Mindmanager for brainstorming and visual thinking. I wanted to thank the team at Mindjet for believing in my project. Likewise, on October 3, 2013 Rushang Shah of Companionlink software has supplied me with a license for Companionlink professional which resolves  some serious iOS bugs with Lotus Notes. I will be blogging much more about both application in the coming weeks.

I hope that as I begin this odyssey of growth, self-discovery and goal achievement that my new discoveries will help others. I intend to share with the world my own perception of my current situation as I grow and any insights that I gleam from the process and from people who are more knowledgeable about personal leadership, self-management and self-discipline, because I believe that many people wrestle with the same situations as me at different levels in their own life.  So please join me here for a great journey!