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Not important? Probably not!

gtd-bookHow about that for a double negative … meaning that “Not Not Important” is actually “pretty damn important”. Some of you took English, right?

What do I mean? Many of the followers of Sword Tips know that I’m a big fan of GTD, the “Getting Things Done” framework promoted by David Allen. He wrote recently in Wired magazine about one phenomenon that comes up all the time in my work with CEOs. If like most of us you’re always struggling with priorities, you need to read this. If you’ve got some ideas that have worked for you, share them.

By any other name, it’s the “it’s just not a priority” syndrome! God knows we’ve all got too much to do, and most of us have probably tried the 1-2-3 system of prioritization at one time … soon realizing that everything was becoming a “1” because it wouldn’t get attention any other way … and then we realized we made everything a “1” … and then we realized we ended up right back where we started.

There is no avoiding the pain that arrives like a SCUD when something that needs to get done doesn’t get any attention … or the priority it will eventually need … and then lands on our desk screaming at the top of its lungs! Allen argues that most of the fires we’re putting out result from the embers of unmet priorities. For the most part, he’s right about the “emergency scanning” mode that most professionals follow, dealing with only the loudest noise, pushing everything else aside until it, too, rises to the level of an emergency.

David says it best when he says “sometimes your highest priority may be to just get some unimportant things done.” In my experience, there’s no substitute for having a full “collection” of everything that has your attention, whether it’s business, personal or otherwise. The GTD methodology is designed to make sure you have a foolproof process to address the smallest detail before it scampers to the top of the pile to become king of the mountain.

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