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In this Cast | Ask ProductivityCast, 1st Edition
Show Notes | Ask ProductivityCast, 1st Edition
Resources we mention, including links to them, will be provided here. Please listen to the episode for context.
Personal Kanban | ProductivityCast
What Is the Bullet Journal? | ProductivityCast
10 Big Ideas on Productivity from Getting Results the Agile Way
Patrick Rhone’s Dash/Plus System
Episode #44: GTD for Creative People
Musician Evan Taubenfeld and entertainment lawyer Danny Passman join David Allen and Coach Kelly Forrister in an inspiring conversation about GTD for creative people. Lots of wonderful nuggets in this episode about finding the creative spark within the structure of a GTD system.
Getting Things Done (Series) | ProductivityCast (check out Episode 041, Organize)
Raw Text Transcript | Ask ProductivityCast, 1st Edition
Raw, unedited and machine-produced text transcript so there may be substantial errors, but you can search for specific points in the episode to jump to, or to reference back to at a later date and time, by keywords or key phrases. The time coding is mm:ss (e.g., 0:04 starts at 4 seconds into the cast’s audio).Read More
Voiceover Artist 0:00
Are you ready to manage your work and personal world better to live a fulfilling productive life, then you’ve come to the right place productivity cast, the weekly show about all things productivity. Here, your host Ray Sidney-Smith and Augusto Pinaud with Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:17
And Welcome back, everybody to productivity cast, the weekly show about all things personal productivity, I’m Ray Sidney Smith.
Augusto Pinaud 0:24
I am Augusto Pinaud.
Francis Wade 0:26
I’m Francis Wade.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:25
Welcome, gentlemen. And welcome to our listeners to another really exciting episode. I think today we’re actually going to be answering listener questions. And so we have had a few questions that come in. Typically, I actually get emailed based questions from our listeners, and I respond back. And so if you ever do send an email, I’m usually behind the helm answering those questions, and they’re just usually simple ones that I can usually respond to pretty quickly and easily. But once in a while, we get some questions and we thought, well, let’s actually put these together and answer them here on The podcast would help the the entire community listening. So today we’ve chosen three different questions that we’ve received over time. And we’re going to answer those questions for the specific individuals, but also for you as a broader community. So let’s start off with our first listener question. Our first listener question comes from Dave. So let’s get into it. And so our first listener question, as I said, is from Dave, Dave says that he’s a longtime GTD practitioner, he has pulled in elements of personal Kanban JD Myers getting results, the agile way. And recently, he’s been using the bullet journal by Ryder Carol. And so he feels like the layers are weighing him down. And he asked some specific questions about the system. And so he wanted to go into these one by one. And so the first one, he said that he is is using a todoist for his GTD He’s using Evernote for his agile results, getting results, the agile way method. And then he’s using the bullet journal for his notes. So in summarizing what Dave said, he basically said that he’s he’s putting too many things on his Kanban boards. And he’s using it primarily to track learning of songs on the guitar. And so some of the boards are going stale. And he’s also testing the revival of Kanban boards at work. Oh, as he thinks that that will work better in a team collaboration environment. He’s also trying to figure out the link between outcomes to GTD actions. So let’s let’s start off with the personal Kanban board issue. He has too many things on his boards, and he’s trying to figure out what to do about that. And for those of you who are listening, we actually tackled personal Kanban in Episode 61. So if you go to ProductivityCast dotnet, forward slash 061. You can go ahead and listen to that episode on personal Kanban.
Francis Wade 2:59
Do you really want to know? Well, that’s bad advice though. The wrong tool. Kanban boards were mainly manufacturing me for my factoring environments where space was limited. And the number of items that you’d put on a board would be small tasks are psychological objects, and you can create an infinite number of them. And the tool doesn’t scale. I think he’s creating more tasks than a Kanban board is designed to handle and some people would say, oh, gosh, just cut back your tasks. But that doesn’t make any sense for most people because your commitments or your commitment to they don’t go away because they don’t fit on a board. So instead, so just give up the idea of trying to visually manage a list of your tasks because you’ve outgrown it and time to move on.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 3:48
And I will give the flips Yeah, I will give the flip side to that, which is that I think, I think, Francis you should spend more time with with Trello because you’re capable of filtering to a subset of the of the things that are that are in your visual field. And you are able to create different boards for different things so that what you are visualizing as work in progress is, is limited. And there, as you said, there’s no real way to say okay, well, I’ll just have less tasks, there’s no way for you to say, well, I’ll just have less tasks. But the beauty of a digital Kanban board is that you’re able to say in Trello, you’re able to filter down to the, the vital few that need to be in visual field at that moment. And so you are actually able to have much more data in a Kanban Board today, because of digital tools, while still holding to the lean manufacturing processes for yesteryear.
Augusto Pinaud 4:55
I agree and then I’m that he’s really good that we mentioned that No, there is no way to reduce the task. But also, one of the things I see often when I work with clients is the fact that we are trying to use the wrong tool or the wrong assumption, in many cases, both to manage this growing number of tasks. And what I mean was that is, you set up the original and, you know, they’ve, as many others set up the original assumptions for their personal Kanban, OmniFocus doesn’t matter what is the tool, and the number of tasks start growing and growing to a point where their original assumptions cannot manage any more the number of tasks. And where I see many people doing is keeping that thing that used to work those assumptions that used to work and hope that somehow that will be able to manage, the new number of tasks. And what I work with many people is getting those assumptions updated because I agree You can’t go and say, Okay, well you know, any task or any task related to this, I’m just going to scratch it, forget about it and don’t do it. That will be ideal, but that doesn’t happen. But what we need to do is figure it out what we need to improve in the system. Okay, and it may be the whole system, maybe a complete overhaul, but what we need to improve in the system, so we can manage the new number of tasks. You know, if you think about a vehicle, a car, if you have a small pickup truck, okay, because you have a small trailer, no problem, but as soon as you fill that trailer and then decide, okay, now I’m going to pull a bigger trailer, who your truck may require an overhaul too, your truck may require now to go to a bigger engine to to be able to hold that amount of cargo. Same thing happened with your task. You know, I see a lot of people you know, with a compact vehicle, trying to pull a trailer And saying, Well, I don’t understand why my system doesn’t work? Well, it’s not your system that doesn’t work is the assumptions where you create this system works for a really particular set of load. When you go now to the amount of task you have, your system doesn’t work anymore because the assumptions are wrong. And that may require for a temporary or do more weekly reviews or simply go and change those assumptions. Understand what are those assumptions? You know, one of the things that I recommend people when they set their system is figured it out the assumptions put them on writing, because we tend to forget what we thought when we create all those contexts. You know, you come and create a context and then you forgot about it to start using them and go numb to them. You need to be able to come back and remember why’d you create them what they mean? So that way, you can see if the assumptions on the system are still valid or not.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 8:02
And so this actually closes out my thoughts on the personal Kanban side, which is to say that projects in personal Kanban systems are for keeping the team updated. In my perspective, if you’re using Kanban, and team collaboration space, as I hear Dave talking about, this is about being able to keep the team updated. So the Kanban board itself that you’re using with your team is really for updates, that is giving a status of things, not tracking individual tasks. Now, that’s not to say that people can’t do that. On the other side, you that is your team members can completely create checklists inside of cards, and keep track of all kinds of things. But from your perspective, since I know you’re using todoist, todoist is where your master list of actions should live and your master list of projects because, right remember for GTD We are trying to have a complete accounting of our projects. And so that list needs to be somewhere. And it can’t be in five different places. So we can’t have a bunch of Kanban boards with projects all over the place, and then not have a master list in Toist running only some of them. So from my perspective, you are creating the list and toist and you are updating people in the Trello board about status on some regular schedule, whether that’s a weekly, that’s when you reach another milestone. When you complete a particular sub project or task within the system. You let people know, it’s like the email that you set off, but instead of sending an email, you are updating it in this visual environment. So people are keeping up to date in the Trello board by you but you are not tracking the actions and any other projects that are created from that project board from that project itself. So if you’re doing that Then there’s a lot less redundancy. And there’s a lot more perspective on the project, because then the project board becomes an issue of being able to quickly at a glance, see where the project is, as opposed to what the project is. Those things should all be manifested in terms of actions in your system, as you need them to Moving along to kind of the second stage of of Dave’s question here. He’s talking about the idea of being able to identify Myers outcomes. And as a little bit of background for listeners, JT Meyer wrote, the book getting results, the agile way. And he, he talks about this idea of having three wins. And these are the outcomes for a particular on a particular frequency. So I’m just going to read this particular section of Meyers own Redux on his method that he has on the blog on his own blog, and I’ll put a link to this in the show notes, but he says three wins. It’s It’s easy to spend a lot of time and yet not have anything to show for it either for yourself or others, you can change that quickly and easily simply by getting intentional about creating wins. One of the big ideas in getting results, the agile way, is the idea of focusing on three wins or outcomes each day, each week, each month, and each year as a way to focus and prioritize your time, energy and effort. Here, what he’s talking about is that, you know, what are your three wins? And how do you identify those three wins, so that you’re able to have these outcomes kind of in in your periphery, throughout the week, days, weeks, months, and year. And so, what what I’m hearing from Dave, is that he’s having trouble really managing both of those. That is he’s having trouble managing the outcomes the the winds alongside his GTD system in to do list. So quoting Dave, he says, I don’t always see a link between My outcomes to GTD actions. Although I know that it is a fundamental of GTD projects and successful outcomes, many times, I’m adding an ad hoc to do list below my outcomes that may or may not reflect my actions. My next actions in to do list and and so he’s experiencing some churn and overlooking collection of new inputs that are happening. I’m presuming in his bullet journal. And then he starts not to trust his GTD system and to do list. So how can we help Dave with relation to connecting these winds to his GTD actions?
Augusto Pinaud 12:37
Sadly, there is no not a simple win in the sense that if he put everything on to do list or big the application, okay then the applications tend to get convoluted and it requires more review. But if you split it into two, three applications, then start requiring a lot more review for you to be able to keep Where are the successes We’re not so that the answer sadly is not a simple have to adjust to this and be okay with that. That said, What require is consistency. What is the routine that you have to input this when? When did you input this when when you review these wins on a specifically, when you work with your mindset said you have the right mindset to review this wins. Because the problem is, are you coming to this list? With the doing mentality? Then you ignore the wins and you don’t take the credit for it? Or are you coming? was a celebration mode? Okay, let’s see what we accomplished today. depending which mindset you come with to this, then your brain will acknowledge that you did that reflection or not. If you have if you’re coming with dead doing mentality, then your brain will not acknowledge all those wins. Right now doing I don’t care about celebrating, let’s go and what is the next thing and you’re trying to do what you accomplished? The brain tend to put that on the backburner and don’t tend to give you that thing. That is part of the reason that the weekly review is so difficult. One of the reasons people struggle with a weekly review is they come with a doing mentality, weekly review, by the definition of the book has nothing to do with doing it’s a reflection time. It’s a time where you’re trying to connect what you have done and what you need to do in the next weeks. And a lot of people have seen they come to this time with a doing mentality so they can keep it up. Why because it’s not about doing so as soon as they start in the process and they need to reflect they can they need to go into the doing and they lose and I started skipping the weekly review. Same thing happen when you try to collect these accomplishments. This accomplishment, it’s not about doing, it’s about reflecting. So what kind of rituals have you to disconnect you from the doing? So you can really get into the reflecting period. Otherwise, what you are doing is trying to reflect on a doing mentality, and that usually tend to fail on everybody.
Francis Wade 15:22
Yeah, I agree, I agree with you, there will still be the bad news that you presented. In the beginning, I had the same thought that if he, as long as he splits between his tasks between two different kinds of practices, he will be in trouble. And it’ll make it harder for him to do his regular review and probably make him not want to do it. because he’d have to switch between one app and the other or one list kind of list on another kind of list. Just to maintain that link. And ultimately, that’s, that’s going to defeat him. It’s it’s going to give him that feeling of being disjointed and not feeding the lane and the kind of things you described. So I think this is this is Unfortunately, a more of a discipline call because the cost of breaking the discipline is the feeling of disconnection,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 16:07
I would I would give a little bit of a different view on this, which is that toist this gives you the ability to like add labels, which are akin to tags in and other tools. And perhaps what you could do is decide on those outcomes. And I’m gonna, I’m gonna for for sake of our our discussion, limit us to say the weekly outcomes. So say you’re doing the the three wins for this week, you could write those as, as labels, and then tie those labels to the actions in the system. So those actions that you’re taking to get to the when would be labeled, and therefore you’d be able to see the outcomes connection to the actions in your tasks this week, and therefore you’re not losing the winds component, but you are focused on the actions in your GTD system and therefore not losing things. So that means your your label may be long, but who cares? right it’s it’s it’s about having the context resident within the action that’s moving you forward in GTD while retaining this part of your world that you actually like you like the idea of JD Myers three wins. So if it’s motivating for you, then you should continue to use it. You just have to live within the confines of the fact that you can’t have them living in multiple places. So So bring it in. And I fully agree that the weekly review is the right time to do this, which is to which is during reflection, identifying the planning, you know, during the weekly review, is the time to basically label those tasks, label those actions you’re going to work on, and then you have the context right there in line with it and then you don’t have this problem of Oh, am I distracted from looking at one list over another and falling to the ad hoc list creation that causes churn. So Dave, Dave also has this issue with the bullet journal and it costing him too much planning and reflection time in his weekly, weekly routine. And so he talks about it basically him overlooking collection of new inputs that he logs in his notebooks at home and at work and it not it basically causing some lack of trust in His GTD system in todoist. What thoughts do you have Augusto?
Augusto Pinaud 18:38
You know the bullet journal? It is a great introductory introductory to productivity. The problem is, it has its limitations. Okay, there you can only move at a certain speed. Can I remember there is a law old old article of a guy, Patrick Rhone where Patrick Rhone a fanatic of paper on he talks about paper pens, okay. And for years, Patrick had his system on paper. And every once in a while when his life gets particularly complicated, okay, Patrick wrote about going to digital, okay, and he has an omni focus installation in this case, okay, that he only used when his life gets overcomplicate. The problem was a bullet journal is volume, okay? But the relationship between volume and speed, okay, how fast you need to move and how much volume you have when your volume is low. The bullet journal works great. Why? Because you can spend the time to look at that to copy the things for the next day to remake those lists and everything else that the bullet journal requires are those moments the bullet journal works incredibly well. The problem is, there is a moment that the amount of volume and task that you have will break any bullet journal Why? Because now the time to copy things again to recap this bullet journal up to date in order to be an effective tool require a time that you do not have. And as we agreed at the beginning of this episode, you cannot get rid of those tasks. So where that balance gets broken was the bullet journal. I don’t know I don’t know exactly where Dave is but I’m seeing if probably if Where is Dave on that balance? I don’t know what I can say is if you’re starting to feel that problem probably you are close to that and we you know, again Patrick Rhone has come to this one is system is on that level that he can manage and paper. Okay, he managed paper he managed with index cards and that is no different than what the bullet journal will do. But there are moments where he has been talking about this system needs to go digital because at this speed, I need to To move, I cannot spend the time reflecting and writing down everything else. When we look into the bullet journal and I have looked into the bullet journal for a couple of clients, their problem always is the volume, the problem always is the speed that they need to move. And that copying back and forward of everything and try to keep manual a process that technology can do faster. Usually the volume, break it down and make the bullet journal instead of a tool, make it a crutch where you cannot move at the speed that you need to move.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 21:37
And I would say this simply for Dave, which is that the bullet journal is supplanting todoist in in entirety or it’s not. And then if you’re trying to do both of those systems, then you’re going to do neither of them well and absolutely going to impede trust in your core system. So this comes down to What Francis talked about earlier, just having a bit of discipline. And that’s not to say that you can’t have a commonplace notebook where you are keeping your thoughts and you know, being a musician, you want to be able to capture ideas and capture lyrics and and maybe you know, some some melodies as you’re thinking of them. That’s all well and great, but then it needs to be captured into say, Evernote, and then clarified and organized into to do this in some way, shape or form. And so you can still have a notebook as I do, I carry a notebook, I actually use the the rocket book everlast notebook because it allows me to write and then digitize very, very easily so I would look at the I would look at the everlast product line to see if there isn’t a form that they have that isn’t good for you. And that way you can really streamline getting things into Evernote and then being able to clarify and organize from there and not Yeah, but my point would be in your particular circumstance, ditch the bullet journal. For those who do want to learn a little bit more about bullet journal, we did cover this in Episode 35. So if you go to ProductivityCast dotnet, forward slash 035, you’ll be able to find that episode and learn more about what the bullet journal is. And if it’s right for you.
Francis Wade 23:20
Yeah, this business of changing gears is one that I’ve actually just started thinking about. And I’m going to probably introduce something about it in my writing and blogging and whatnot, which is that there are subtle changes in gears that you may need to make even if you have one system in terms of how you use that system with respect to task volume. I found myself making a change going from August to September, just because a bunch of new projects were starting all at the same time. Everybody took off the summer and not everybody’s back. Everything has started. Brand new and it’s no no in full production mode. I can’t use The same macro habits that I used in August that I’m using in September. I think I’ve done this unconsciously in the past, but this time around for the first time, I’m consciously aware that I’m going to need to do things differently between now and maybe December. But the second point I was also thinking is that he, Dave, and many, many, many others relate to systems that they’re they want to implement as if they are machines, but they’re not machines. We’re psychological beings. And we have personal habits. And when we go to pick up a new system, so to speak, so to speak, what’s more important is what’s comfortable for us and what’s habitual. For us. That’s way more way more an indicator of what you’re going to actually do with than the system that is defined by someone else. And I think what he needs to do in particular is the back off of the, he’s mentioned at least three systems or four, three or four systems that he’s trying to implement all at once, and there’s all there’s overlap back up and go back to what his personal habits are, what his preferences are, and then build an approach that based on his needs rather than what he’s trying to implement. I think that’s a that’s a sort of more organic process,
Augusto Pinaud 25:16
you know, from from the productivity perspective and a little bit of the Getting Things Done perspective. There are a couple of things important to mention here today. Number one is every assembly, I understand part of what you’re trying to do, or or at least that’s my impression, is to find a way to do a better collection. Okay. And I have like Ray, like Ray just mentioned, I have a notebook. Okay, everything goes into this notebook for my case is digital and it’s on my iPad with the Apple Pencil but before that was levenger, Circa notebook, so doesn’t matter what notebook Do you do okay to collect And that is basically the inbox what I think in here, what I’m hearing is you’re trying to make that bullet journal, some more than an inbox. And when we try to make things mean more than what they are, sometimes what we create is cows on our own system. So keep that notebook number one. Number two, there is an episode old episode, David Allen company used to have a serious call in conversations for the members of what they call the GTD connect and there is an episode and I the name escapes me right now, but I can try to research it for the notes. So the episode where he interview a musician and this musician set in particular that thinks he is start implementing getting things done. He has been able to finish and a lot more songs that what he was been able on the past and he said the following he said now every time I think on a song, or I start writing a song, a song I want to learn a new thing on a song that turned into a project. And he also mentioned that because of that he has tons of projects. Note that he did not have them before. He’s just now he had identified them. What are all those projects? And again, I have not seen David’s Dave’s system. So I don’t know this. But maybe what it require is go a little bit into the definition of things. Are you defining each one of those songs as projects? Or are you trying to use the bullet journal as an organization place where you can go back to the lyrics and the music’s you start? So it may be. It may be that you’re trying to use this bullet journal, as a more than one thing as an organizing tool, as well as a collecting tool. And as soon as we start mixing them all together, what we tend to do is getting none of that. So we are not getting an efficient collection tool or not an efficient organizing tool.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 28:05
All right, up next, we have Jane who we have changed the name for protection of the innocent. Okay, so what’s Jane’s question?
Augusto Pinaud 28:16
So Jane Jane can be benefit from what we have to discuss it but the question specifically was what tools would you recommend for project management to track progress to set deliverables deadlines for personal and business projects? I have a lot of goals. I have a lot of goals that I’m not tracking. And that’s a major area that I want to improve on. And it goes back to two things. Number one, what do you want to do you? Did you have little projects that you like paper and can your number of projects handle paper, okay. I don’t recommend paper to almost anybody these days mostly because of the volume of people had. paper will broke before you Can’t even start I will recommend going digital and the number of tools really can vary from the free to the paid on anything I particularly keep all the personal project management on OmniFocus but I have helped clients to implement on almost anything to say I know particular Ray, most of the things on remember the milk it doesn’t matter we’ll get to it matter that everything is collected in the same way in the same tool. So that way you can track how you are making progress that’s one and the second thing is making sure that those goals are divided into small pieces that you can track you cannot do finish song you know quoting day but you can do work on the lyrics for song acts as index action if you try to Keep finish on your brain can’t compute when he’s brain dead, therefore, most likely you will not move forward on those kind of things.
Francis Wade 30:08
I think it’s a maybe a different angle on it perhaps. I think that the there are certain linear projects that allow themselves to be organized using linear tools, you know, very logical tools like Gantt charting, and that kind of thing. But the kind of projects I do are no longer that kind. That’s what that’s what I was taught to you. So I was taught to use those, those industrial engineering tools, but the Can they do nowadays tend to be more creative, and they tend to be one offs where I really don’t know what the steps are when I commit to the project. So I can’t do a lot of project management in the sense that you build a building and you know exactly what’s happening in each step. It’s more way more creative and organic and perhaps more creative. So I don’t go much further than using mind mapping And Evernote mind mapping because of the non linearity in terms of figuring out the steps and for tracking the the actual actions themselves. Evernote just because it’s so it’s so flexible, and it allows you to drag in other kinds of information like mind maps, I think around the activities I do I need a Gestalt of information that informs my actions, I think when the just doesn’t settle, well, then when I’m executing the actions, I’m not concerned that I’m missing something because this sort of blob of project stuff all sits in one place. So it’s a psychological space. So I’m confident that the psychological space of the project has been handled. So I can then take actions but I don’t need a whole lot of structure in order for neuro to move forward on the actions and I also need a lot of give and take between taking certain actions doing certain experiments. Then coming back to redefine even the definition of the project. So I need to have that loop closed at all times. So I Evernote what is what I use. And it’s just because it’s, it’s so flexible and allows for some nonlinear thinking and tracking.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 32:17
So when it comes to project management on a personal level, I tend to think about that very differently than those on the business level, especially if you’re dealing with multiple individuals. So you can pretty much run a project as as you would in your personal world, if the project is just you. And the project, if it’s you plus others and a project, then it becomes, I think, a more complex beast, and it needs to be dealt with in a more formal manner. So and I mean in a personal setting, if you’re just working on individual project for personal or work and it is of a very high complexity or very high risks. Reward scenario, then, then it’s going to be more formal. And it’s going to be more fleshed out. The way in which I think that David Allen in the GTD system looks at it is that projects require you in your personal system to be flexible and adaptive. So as the dynamics of the project changes you, from week to week are, are adjusting to those changes, which gives you quite a lot of latitude. At the same time, it doesn’t necessarily give you a full view of what’s going to happen with the project. So there’s a lot more unknowns. If you don’t, and haven’t done that project before. I do like the idea of planning out a complete project, even if it’s going to change because that just makes me feel better. Like I like to enumerate all the tasks that are going on tasks and subsequent smaller projects that are going to be internal to that main project. I just like the idea of being able to see it all and then if something adjusts, that’s fine, but at least I have a view of what Potential obstacles are going to be and challenges to the project outcome. And so then I like doing the natural planning model session, getting things fleshed out. I think that in a work scenario, it’s good to ppp goals off into the into the time horizon a little bit further out, so that you can give proper focus to the goals in the present. Good. Well, good luck to you, Jane. And then next one is, is our final question.
Francis Wade 35:56
Francis. This one is from Nancy, who is a On the made up name, right? Protect protecting the innocent. What is the best tool in method for planning one’s mission or vision? Ah, this is a good one. It’s good because it incorporates some of the things we’ve talked about in the prior to discussions. I think early on in my career, I was very big on what’s my vision? What’s my purpose? What’s my vision, and I took a bunch of courses and, you know, filled out a bunch of notebooks in terms of where my life was going, and what I’m gonna do and a lot of writing a lot of following structure in order to come up with the, the, I guess, the right kinds of statements. And as I’ve put on a few gray hairs, I find I don’t need to do as much of it anymore. And I did the other day, I happen to go back to a workbook from one of the training sessions I did when I was maybe about 24 / 25. So half a lifetime ago in my case, and I was shocked because I hadn’t changed all that much in the ensuing time and Many of the goals I had created, which were very vague at the time, I’ve actually accomplished and they’ve, they’re, they’ve dropped off in a sense that I’m no longer thinking about them. They’re not part of my life. Like, for example, I created a goal back then, of doing regular public speaking. So I didn’t have opportunities to speak publicly was a skill I wanted to develop. I like doing it. And I didn’t know how to you know, how do I get people together so that they listened to me it was a real challenge at the time. And so as I look back, however, over the last 25 years, I saw that I joined Toastmasters. I took a training course at intense training course in how to lead introductions to a program, lead introductions, eventually led seminars. Now I lead training sessions. Every maybe every other week or so for corporate clients. I have no problem getting up and just opening my mouth and having words come out. So I’ve essentially kind of accomplished over the 25 years exactly what I had said. So it’s not a part of my vision or mission that I would write out anymore. But it’s an example of what has happened over time. I think early on in my career, it was really important to have them written down. I don’t believe that I’ve looked at the tools that say they help you to do this. I frankly think that its interaction with other people that helps to clarify a mission or a vision more than it is a tool it I think it’s more a matter of conversation with coaches, than it is a matter of the right tool or the right method. And then, as we said before, blink, being flexible to allow the existence of mission and vision, your mission and vision to change over time. So it doesn’t have to be the way it was back when you were 25 years old.
Augusto Pinaud 38:49
You know I have right and I’m writing about it. When I talk about connecting invisible dots, you know, on my vision in which has also evolved mine is on our word document But it has evolved to a one thing to a multiple parts of that thing. You know, and I think when we go into this, we have basically seen two schools majorly was the Stephen Covey school where you, you know, figured out that that vision and then from that vision you come down to what you needed to do. And then you have the David Allen school where it goes exactly the opposite way where you start on buy milk and somehow after you organize yourself, you come to to that mission. You know, I, I believe differently. I believe the mission, there is a couple of things. One is you need to figure it out what are the things that are important for you and I try to advise people to keep it to tree, personal and tree professional, okay, and those are the things that are really, really important to know your faith, your family, your job, your what you want to do in your career, and then from there, then you need to go into define goals in three way 13 weeks increments goals 12 months increments goals and three years goals Why? Because what happened is we tend to under commit for 13 weeks for the next 13 weeks we tend to overcommit for the next 12 months. And again we under commit for the next three years. So you I’ve seen, I have a tool that we can put on the on the notes called Impact Journal. And the impact journals help you exactly with that I know when I see people is when you tell them what you’re going to do in the next 13 weeks, they come with two or three things. What you’re going to do in the next 12 months, they come with 25 what you’re going to do in the next few years to come again was five. So there is really not a correlation of what we can do and when we are really, really bad at estimating what we can do and what this tool allows you to do is review consistently I advise people that until they get to a certain level, they do it daily. Every day, come in the morning, check what you’re trying to accomplish, especially when you feel you are not accomplish what you want, especially when you feel you have lost track of that life mission. Go and review it daily. There is a moment when you can graduate to maybe a pro level as Francis is describing and go and review them in a less intense increment. But I advise for people to go at least for a while into this daily review of what is that mission what you’re trying to accomplish. It doesn’t take that long. But he’s really really important. I need really make a difference. You know, it is really interesting for me to hear coaching clients that goes into this exercise, even when they don’t do it as I advice and they admitted to start getting them accomplished. stuff but more importantly seeing the effects of looking at these goals and looking at this life mission and looking at this important things, when they things come to their life, they have now a way to evaluate what is the impact that produce one way or the other into all these things. The tool doesn’t matter. You can use paper the impact journal is designed to be a paper product. I mean, there is a digital PDF, there is a paper you can use OmniFocus you can use todoist you can use Trello doesn’t matter really what the tool is. When I coach people, and we’re building this, we use Trello. But it matters that you have a place where you can come back onto those calls are so ingrained that you don’t need to and I know few people who should not check them at least, you know, once a week
Raymond Sidney-Smith 42:54
so I have a very simple thought on this which is that my method for the past month Years is to, in essence, identify life categories that whatever you consider the slices of pie, how you define divide your life up. And so for me, I have about 11 to 13 categories that has 11 main categories and a couple of subcategories. And those are those are the ways in which my life is divided. It’s not they’re not equal slices of pie at any given time, right, they fluctuate, but those are the ways in which I like to see through the lens of those areas at my at my life. So, you know, there might be a section for my professional life, there might be a section for a health, there might be a section for my finances and so on and so forth family and so on and so forth is as if it was kind of talking about earlier. Well, what I do is I write one sentence, which is what is the what is what is the goal based on the values of that particular life category and the sum of those sentences becomes my mission. Or that is it becomes my vision. And so those those values statements represent my vision, and then I’m able to then write my mission based on that for the coming year or what have you. So then I’m able to say, Okay, what are the things that I want to accomplish based on those pieces, and it’s a fairly simple exercise, it sometimes takes a little bit more thought for others than than not. But for me, it really allows me to quickly flesh out what it is that I want to happen. And I’ve run the same exercise year over a year for probably the past 20 something odd years, and it is morphed based on some other material and I spend more time doing it now than I did in the past. I spent an entire month for example, you know, in essence reflecting and then planning out the mission part of things, but the vision has stayed almost intact. Recently I went through the exercise of doing Simon Sinek process of what’s it called not start with why finding your why so So recently I went through the process of finding your why the Simon Sinek exercise for being able to understand your big why. And it was really interesting because by the time I got done with the exercise with with my find your Why partner, I realized that in essence what I had written stood the test of time that it was still exactly what I wanted to be there for me how I wanted it to be kind of my own life compass. And so it was really a wonderful affirming exercise. So if you if you do need to flesh something out there is the Find your why exercise the book, and you can you can go through it, find a partner and and walk through the exercise and see if it doesn’t help to illuminate what your mission and your vision and then subsequently Your mission is so good luck, Nancy.
That brings us to the close. of this episode of our first ask productivity cast. And so thank you to our listeners for submitting questions. And if you have a question or a comment about this cast or something we discussed based on the the various questions we had, feel free to head over to productivity cast net and on the episode page is a common field. Feel free to leave a comment or question and we’re happy to clarify, as well. If you have a question that you’d like us to answer, just like we did here on this episode, feel free to head over to productivity cast dotnet forward slash contact, and you can leave a written message or you can record an audio message for us there on the page directly from your web browser. So you can go ahead and leave us a message and we’ll collect them together and when we have enough we’ll do an episode again like this. Also, if you can feel free to leave a rating and review in Apple podcasts or Apple iTunes or Stitcher wherever you listen to podcasts if it allows you To be able to leave a rating or review, we thank you for listening. We thank you for contributing your questions and your reviews. And we’re really just glad to have all of you listening to us and engaging with us as you are. So thank you. Thank you. Finally, thanks to Cousteau and Francis for joining me here on this cast. And this brings us to the close of productivity cast, the weekly show about all things personal productivity, here’s your productive life.
And that’s it for this ProductivityCast, the weekly show about all things productivity, with your hosts, Ray Sidney-Smith and Augusto Pinaud with Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks.
Download a PDF of raw, text transcript of the interview here.
Could you please share the Impact Journal tool mentioned in the episode?
Here is the link to the Impact Journal.
If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me.