How to get other people to do GTD? Over time, I have been asked many variants of this question. Someone, often somewhat new to GTD, wants to share their newfound source of productivity and control with colleagues and friends. Here is how.
How to get other people to do GTD
The key to getting other people to do GTD is really simple:
1. Solve a problem.
2. Be a good role model.
Let’s dive into the details.
Solve a problem with Getting Things Done
Some people are in desperate need of help when it comes to getting organized and productive. Here you have a relatively easy task. If they are really disorganized, tell them about the different kinds of in-boxes, both physical and digital. Tell them how you will sit down every so often to empty the different boxes and process this into your system.
You do not have to make them do the whole GTD routine from the start. Going from total lack of organization to the concept of in-boxes that are being emptied at certain intervals is a good first step.
Working with email
A person having 893 unread emails will get a somewhat less chaotic life by starting to use the CC folder.
Make an Outlook rule that sends all mail where you are in the CC field to a dedicated folder. This way, you can consentrate on your Inbox and leave the nice-to-know information for when you have time.
A person using their inbox as a to-do list will maybe find it useful to get the actionable items out of their inbox and on to a to-do list.
What’s the next action?
If you have a friend or colleague with stuff everywhere like stacks of papers on the desk. Loads of email in the inbox and Post-It- notes everywhere, help him or her process it. The same goes for the totally disorganized person that you helped set up in-boxes for.
Be a good role model
This is maybe the hardest. The good news is that focusing on being a good role model will make you good at GTD. Personally, I find this approach to be the best. Just hustle on, deliver on time, show that you have control – and look confident doing all of this.
Over the years I have been doing GTD, I’ve had a lot of my colleagues asking me how both I and my team manages to consistently generate good results and have such high productivity. It all boils down to three things: Competent people, good systems, and an understanding of WHY we come to work every morning.
Don’t fix something that ain’t broken
Don’t try to get your friends or co-workers to follow the Getting Things Done methodology just because you want them to. I see that it is easy to be enthusiastic and well-meaning in trying to share what has worked so well for you. However, chances are that you will just come across as annoying if you try to get people to do something they do not see the need for.
This is doubly important if you are a manager. Personally, I would love if everyone in my team got on the GTD wagon. But the thing is that productivity is personal, and as long as people are delivering there is no need to enforce a certain way of working.
David Allen, the man behind Getting Things Done, has a good perspective on what to do if you are the only GTD’er in a team.
How to help people get started with Getting Things Done
Here is a useful link that you can share with colleagues.