June 23, 2007

Addendum to Getting Things Done

Business 2.0 has an article about David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done. I perused this while I ate lunch today, and there are five overarching things mentioned that are summarized as Collect, Process, Organize, Review, and Do. I might've said "Doh" out loud. I have my own principles to add to this.

Never, ever neglect the little things. In my "Organize" phase of each work day, I put together a bunch of little things that would advance other efforts if they were done. These can be as simple as sending short e-mails to setting up a new user in a system - anything under or at 30 minutes is a small thing. These take higher priority than bigger things (which will come next) because I can do a boatload of them and make sure they don't get swept to the back burner. It's usually the little things that make or break someone's customer service view of you and, by extension, your company.

The ball never drops with you. DO NOT DROP THE BALL. If you're in the middle of a tennis match in your work, as I often am, make sure you do what is necessary to send that ball lobbing over the net. It can be as simple as a response e-mail telling the other party when you'll officially respond. But do not, ever, let something sit for more than a day without some communication unless you are on vacation or cannot reach the other party.

But sometimes you need to, on purpose, leave the ball in the air/on the other side of the court. What, Heather, I thought you just told me not to drop the ball? Well, if you leave it in the air, you didn't. When you had last communication, especially if it's documented like e-mail, you do have the option of re-hitting the same ball or firing a new one. If re-opening communication fits with your overall agenda, goals, and workload, sometimes you re-lob. But often you don't. If you have projects that jerk into hurry up and wait, sometimes it's better to smash the ball over the net and let it sit in your business partner's court. You do run the risk of the unexpected smash back at you months later (oh, those are fun, out of the blue, TENNIS BALL), but if you've got no time for start and stop clients, do your due diligence, and let that ball mold on the other side of the court.

What else - oh - Make sure your definition of quality is higher than the other party's. You really can't go wrong here except in frustration level when a business partner doesn't mind putting marketing material to fore that says "Best Companie's to Work For" or something equally offputting. If you can remind yourself that you're pleasing yourself and that by doing so your client(s) will be pleased, now you're on the money.

I know I meandered off of getting things done, but to me getting things done with all these qualifiers is how business should be done.

And I felt strongly enough to actually write about it.


Posted by hln at June 23, 2007 12:28 PM | Business | TrackBack

Ah ha! This is how you manage to be a new mommy and still so amazingly productive.

Posted by: Venomous Kate at June 25, 2007 12:44 PM

Actually, Kate - I think it has to do with getting up at or before 5 most days.


Posted by: hln at June 25, 2007 01:27 PM

Good list.

I'm taking notes.

Posted by: Harvey at June 27, 2007 01:06 PM