how to gain total control over your work

how to gain total control over your work

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one”. 

― Mark Twain

“You don’t actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it ‘done.’”

― David Allen, Getting Things Done

We all go through challenges in our everyday life, and when we come across stressful situations, we often let them get the better of us. We often allow them to overwhelm us and provoke a miscalculated reaction. For example, if you already have a full plate, and your boss calls in to their office adding one more project, you might feel overburdened and respond inappropriately. That’s why it’s crucial to attain a sense of control over all your work and develop a Zen mindset so that you don’t react disproportionately and instead respond in the best way possible every single time. 

This is where the Getting Things Done (GTD) system can be a great help to you. When executed correctly, this process enables you to tackle an overwhelming amount of tasks and activities in a calm and relaxed fashion and provides you absolute control over your work. 

Here are the five key steps in the GTD method:

  1. Capture all your tasks, ideas and reminders in trusted external collection tools. This frees up your mental faculties allowing your brain to focus on thinking and solving problems. 
  2. Empty the collection tools every week by doing two things: (1) clarify what each item is and (2) organize the items into the right places. 
  3. Use a Projects list to monitor the progress of your current projects and always ensure that each project has a clear and concrete next action. In addition, organize your desired results into lists like Calendar and Next Actions, rather than relying on  daily to-do lists. Whenever you’re dependent on other people’s work, keeping a Waiting For list is totally worth it as well. And lastly, everything that has potential future relevance goes on the Someday/Maybe list or a tickler file.
  4. Reflect on what’s important to you and consistently review the items in your system. This is indispensable to the success of the system as a whole and making sure that you work productively. 
  5. Engage with your tasks. You must choose what to do in each given moment based on the following four criteria:
    • What can you do in the current context?
    • What do you have time for?
    • What do you have energy for?
    • Which task is of the highest priority?

As you employ the GTD system, you’ll not only be able to better organize your work, but you’ll also be in more tune with your purpose in life. Equipped with a powerful process and an improved sense of clarity, your productivity will skyrocket and your stress levels will plummet as you feel calmer and more in control of all your work.