Living The Dream - Next Action Associates

As the bank holidays disappear in the rear-view mirror here in the UK, a public holiday that we don’t get will be celebrated in the United States in a few days – Martin Luther King day.

As my calendar reminded me about this recently I realised that there’s a line from the ‘I have a dream’ speech that I think about fairly regularly these days, but for reasons that are totally different from its original meaning. This is the line:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.

The difference in my ‘dream’ is that I like to imagine a world of work in which people are judged solely by the content of their GTD Weekly Review®. The reason for this is that, just as a person’s physical appearance shouldn’t matter, neither should the appearance of the way they work.

Where they do their work, when they do their work and how they do their work should matter a lot less than what they get done, and the GTD Weekly Review is where this is revealed.

The GTD Weekly Review is where you see what tasks you’ve completed this week, what activities time was spent on, where there are ‘waiting for’ issues to unblock, and, most importantly, how much each project has been moved forward. This should be the way that work is judged, and nothing here relates to how the work got done.

For many, work doesn’t look like it used to a couple of years ago because it’s harder to see it taking place now that we’re no longer corralled en masse into office spaces. Some managers and, by extension, their organisations find this reduced visibility uncomfortable; but it doesn’t need to be if people are equipped with the tools to help them consistently stay focussed on the right things and to consistently report back on the progress with those things. If this is taking place, then it helps fill the gap in trust that is often driving the organisational discomfort and the visibility of activity will start to matter less.

It will matter less that people are managing their work around their personal lives and personal preferences if they are able to move things forward irrespective. Working parents and night owls don’t need to be disadvantaged by old norms.

It will matter less whether people are in the office, at home or in Costa at any given time if they’re conscious of their commitments and actively managing the activities needed to fulfil them, including the best place to perform them.

It will matter less how people choose to manage their mental, physical, and creative energy if they’re delivering the things they’re being paid to deliver. If the creative spark for that killer presentation happened on a mid-afternoon dog walk that was taken with just that goal in mind, then so what?

Due to the pandemic, we’ve been forced to come a long way in the last couple of years in terms of testing the boundaries of where, when, and how we get things done and, despite the pressure in some quarters to revert to old working patterns, few people want to go all the way back to what we had before.

We’ve seen that more flexible ways of living and working are no longer just a dream. In Martin Luther King’s words, we’ve been to the mountain top and we’ve seen the Promised Land. Want to get all the way there? GTD® will help.

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