Monday, September 16, 2013

GTD – Self Organization

Yesterday I participated as a judge in a speech contest, previously sending an email to my club members to convince them to attend the contest; an event hosted by 2 area governors that had a small handful of participants where none attended form my club despite my reminder. But it was an interesting session with speeches on cats, dogs, brassieres and a hilarious one on how Toastmaster will help save the planet and extend lives; the last speech delivered by a brilliant standup comic who lost (as he did not come in a formal coat and tie like the others). Earlier in the week we had our club meeting where my members where asking about the area contest as some of us received an email asking for help. This made me realize, in the days leading up to the contest, that I had a responsibility to organize a contest for my area, wondering how this major event slipped my mind, realizing that the pressure and stress at the office wiped out the task from my mind.  The truth is that I was running away from any kind of work, neglecting to read emails especially one from a governor to start organizing our area contest, focusing instead, but rightfully so, at my office work, thereby, allowing my responsibility as governor to slip away. Now I have 2 weeks left to organize a contest. 

I could not sleep the night before the Saturday contest, thinking that I will be derided by the other officers, but I resolved to accept the shame and come clean and ask for help. But nothing of the sort of humiliation occurred despite the fevered thoughts in my brain, instead the kindness and concern of the people came through, giving me confidence that I can make it. I started to plan my next steps, thinking about my other work in the office where I had slipped and did not communicate very well, not organizing meeting or not updating my customers, instead letting the deadlines slip. In fact I had not prepared well for a department meeting last Tuesday, though submitting the presentation in time but attending remotely, not making the case to explain my position clearly to the audience in the meeting. All these seeming failures crept in my mind that together with the area contest that I let slip resulted in sleepless nights that further caused me to self-indulge and procrastinate.  Saturday afternoon was spent going to a concert in the woods at Paris Mountain Park where I tried to gain strength listening to music, surrounded by nature and trying to silence my mind.

Last week I watched several videos by David Allen and download GTD materials to help me become more efficient and productive. I also continued to read the book ‘Is Work Killing You?’  By David Posen, MD which gave a lot of good insight on the nature and cause of stress (i.e. Volume, Velocity and Abuse of work).  These materials plus the music concert in the woods calmed me a bit  and several plans came into shape. I have determined to do the following:

-    In my Lotus Notes, create the following folders for emails that I will defer work (i.e. cannot be done in 2 minutes): Answer, Read and Pending. I will check these folders during the day and, hopefully, prevent me from missing important emails.

-    For project work, the following tools will be used: office work = Atlassian  tool to update and manage maintenance tickets (using SCRUM or KANBAN Method) and MS Notes to organize reference materials. For other projects = Trello for SCRUM or KANBAN tools and Ever Note and Pinterest for reference notes on my personal projects.

-    Organize my file folders especially Dropbox so I can work anywhere with my mobile devices.

Reading these books have helped me organize my thoughts, keeping me calm instead of rushing into panic, raising my thinking at a higher level so I can plan better. Let’s see what will happen in a few days.

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