@tdeekens avatar
tdeekens / posts / the-fear-and-addiction-within-gtd-getting-things-done

The fear and addiction within GTD (Getting Things Done)

Getting things done for the sake of getting them done has a high risk of getting the wrong overall thing done.

We are well trained to think in terms of efficiency. We admire seeing progress, things moving on a board. We almost morbidly write and move stickies. We takes and make bullet points and todo lists. We await the moment when something is done when we can finally tick it off - stop thinking about it. We can then again shift focus to something new, to something more important. Things just have to move forward. Eventually we will end up somewhere. We fear the standstill, everything coming to a halt. We would feel useless. We would feel lost - as in we lost.

In order to see progress we slice things up. We make chunks digestible allowing us visualise a progress. As a result allowing us to nurse our thirst. In turn we often forget to look at the sum of all parts. Tt is eventually even painful. So we avoid it after all. All progress within a process ultimately becomes an end in itself. It often fails to uncover the diamond of each business: the value proposition. Often times our processes and working methodologies focus on maximising throughput. Assuming: the more the merrier and the bigger the better. We should keep in mind that whenever the input is shoddy its output will be shabby. We might want to stop whenever we fail to justify the work in our process pipe. To question how it interacts with other business objectives. We after all might uncover a decay of business value within our work package. We should then be allowed to come to a halt and pivot rather than having to drive it through driven by the fear of sunk costs. Let us accept delivery failure as success and delivery success as a potential failure. In all that, our processes should guide doing the right thing at the right time rather than feeding an addiction in ourselves.

We get attracted to the mindset of busy and get insecure when everyone around us works a productivity system and we do not. All are crushing those todos as if there was no tomorrow. We should however take pride in questioning the illusion of productivity. We should not feel pressured to move forward and to show progress by all means - improving to more progress only. Doing as little as necessary with as little concurrency as needed, as simple as possible, should feel right. Should feel pretty awesome. Should make us feel successful. A process will eventually fall out of it, uncovering business value and visualise it properly. It should force us to the few little things impactful and put us on a cold turkey from our addiction of getting things done.

Doing things erroneous at false times might be more harmful than doing nothing at all.

Now get back to your productivity system.