Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with David Allen @gtdguy who is widely recognized as the world’s leading expert on personal and organizational productivity. David is the international bestselling author of Getting Things Done: the Art of Stress-Free Productivity, and Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Work and Life. He is also the engineer of GTD, the ground-breaking Getting Things Done methodology that has shown millions how to transform a fast-paced, overwhelming business environments to facilitate the implementation of the best practices of productive work.
Find out more about David Allen and GTD at www.DavidCo.com.
Smallbizlady: If you are a habitually unorganized person, How do you get started organizing yourself?
David Allen: Get an IN-basket (or box), and put everything that’s not “in” its permanent place, in it. Then make simple but important distinctions: To do something about, To give away, To store, etc. And get a tool for managing lists that you need to track.
Smallbizlady: How can you master your work flow?
David Allen: You must capture what has your attention, decide the actions and projects that they represent for you, organize the results of that thinking in appropriate places you will review regularly.
Smallbizlady: How do you create a vision for an organized small business?
David Allen: Simply ask and answer: if we were being wildly successful in fulfilling our purpose, what would it look, sound, and feel like?
Smallbizlady: What are natural planning techniques?
David Allen: To plan the way we naturally think. First, have an intention, envision success, brainstorm what has your attention about achieving it, organize the results of the brainstorming, and come up with next actions on the moving parts.
Smallbizlady: What things should a small business owner do to make being organized stress-free?
David Allen: Identify what’s distracting, or what has your attention; make the appropriate decisions about outcomes and actions required; park the results in appropriate categories, and build in trusted habits of keeping the inventory of commitments current and reviewed.
Smallbizlady: Many small businesses start out working from home, how do you set up an effect home work space or professional office space?
David Allen: The same as you would anywhere. Have all the tools you need, easily at hand, lots of filing space, an in-basket, and good work space.
Smallbizlady: How should a small business owner (who’s doing 10-13 jobs on average) deal with managing commitments?
David Allen: Keep track of all commitments and keep them reviewable in a format that allows you to overview the whole and their relationships.
Smallbizlady: How do you define stuff and how should we all deal with it?
David Allen: Stuff is whatever shows up that has potential meaning for you, but for which you haven’t decided what, exactly, it means and what you’re going to do about it.
Smallbizlady: How can you make appropriate choices about how to spend your time?
David Allen: Keep a current inventory of all the options about actions you could or should be taking; review all your longer-horizon commitments and values regularly; and trust your intuitive judgments about what to do, moment to moment.
Smallbizlady: Can you talk about your threefold model for evaluating daily work?
David Allen: You either do something you’ve already determined needs doing, or something the moment it shows up, or you are taking the necessary time and energy to determine what your work is (i.e. processing your new incoming stuff).
Smallbizlady: What are the top 3 best practices every small business own can use to get more of their work day?
David Allen: Keep your head as clear as possible by capturing, processing, and organizing all meaningful inputs. At least once a week step back and do a review of all your projects, commitments, and actions. Avoid being driven by the latest and loudest things.
If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9pm ET follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.
Melinda F. Emerson, also known as Twitter’s SmallBizLady is a seasoned entrepreneur, professional speaker, and small business coach whose areas of expertise include small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. She hosts #SmallBizChat weekly on Twitter for emerging entrepreneurs. Her book Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works was released in March 2010 by Adams Media.