Weekly Review #6

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Photo © Ayo Ayco. Working in a hotel somewhere - a typical scene pre-covid where I could work remotely anywhere for real

Last week I learned a lot of practical improvements in the way I work and deal with people.

Aside from reading a classic book by Dale Carnegie, “How to Win Friends & Influence People”, I have also reviewed the overview for David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”.

Let’s talk about some of the things I got from these books.

How to Win Friends & Influence People

Carnegie’s book is almost a slap to the face, but in a good way. It made me realize practical principles I could use for parenting and working professionally with teams.

I have not finished the whole book yet but some important principles I learned:

  1. Don’t criticize - no one likes outright criticisms and often when we take the time to really empathize with people we realize that there is a better way of communicating with them
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation - we all like a compliment, said Lincoln. This is true and is the best way to let people know you appreciate them, resulting to a more positive motivation
  3. Arouse in people an eager want - learning about people is a great way to know what naturally motivates them. Knowing and using this principle gives more power to any communication intended to persuade

This is just the first part of Carnegie’s book and I already learned so much. :)

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

David Allen’s GTD is what I’ve been using and refining as my personal productivity system. I now realize I have been implementing this for ten years, since I first learned of it in 2011.

If can summarize what I learned by my experience with GTD, it is that this methodology is ever-evolving, growing as I grow in maturity and understanding.

Because real understanding of GTD is focused on the principles, the tools and methodology will have to change and evolve.

Last week when I reviewed David Allen’s book, I was able to identify practical changes on how I implement GTD:

  1. Actionable items should be grouped whether they are One-off tasks or multi-step projects - this greatly clarified my lists and helped me define real “Next Actions” for my projects
  2. Github issues and JIRA tickets are often multi-step projects in and of themselves - instead of viewing JIRA tickets and Github issues as a single task it is helpful to have the perspective that they actually require more than one action item. This helps me break down the tickets better and handle the needed steps more efficiently
  3. Tracking of agendas (concerns for imporant people and teams) and waiting-for items (delegated tasks) - some items on my plate are actually not actionable, rather information that I need to communicate or some tasks that are best done by someone else. Having a system able to track these, will help me focus on the real actionable items that I should get done.
  4. Due dates should be used sparingly - before last week’s review, I would fill up my calendar with tasks I want to get done. But I got reminded that due dates should only be assigned to tasks with real deadlines so that I can have the stress-free flexibility to choose tasks depending on my current Context and Focus at the moment.

Having this much learning from last week, I am excited to see the effects of applying them in this week and the next ones! :)


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