Robert De Niro asks a very important GTD® question with his famous quote in the movie ‘Taxi Driver’. “Are you talking to me?”

You wouldn’t believe how many projects are found on lists that don’t ‘talk’ to their owners.

First of all, some project names don’t talk to their owners aesthetically – or in other words they are so very un-sexy that nobody would want to do them in the first place. ‘Finalise taxes’ is not attractive. Try its sexy little brother ‘Tax refund received’ and you are more likely to get moving on that desired outcome.

Some project names also don’t talk to their owners, because they are formulated for someone else!

I am actually amazed to see how some of my seminar participants live with projects that are not their own, and still get stuff done. I find things like ‘Bathroom refurbishment’ on their ‘to-do-list’ – only to discover after some questioning that the actual project for my participant is ‘Capable plumber contracted’!  She didn’t need to do the plumbing, the tiling or indeed buy any of the equipment. Her project in the whole bathroom ordeal is only to find and contract a plumber. Everything else was being carried out by her husband. ‘Bathroom refurbished’ didn’t talk to her at all.

If you worked for Airbus, your project is very likely NOT to get the A380 in the air. Your project might be finished when the coffee machine is installed on board. I can go on and on with examples of where my participants overwhelm themselves with stuff they are not remotely in charge of.

So my question is: are the projects on your lists talking to you? Or to someone else?

We always go back to the same very basic questions: What does finished look like FOR YOU – or for your corporation, your husband, your mother-in-law? When are YOU done with YOUR part? Only once you have you answered these questions, you will able to formulate a project name that is actually talking to you.

And once you know what this project looks like when it is finished, you can define your very first next action to move it forward.

At your next Weekly Review®, put your proverbial chauffer’s cap on and ask yourself when going through your project list:  are you actually talking to me?


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