David Allen’s methods used for business

Tags: personal

I'm more or less using David Allen's method of personal organisation. More or less, as I've let it slip awfully the last two, three months. (I should take one day next week to get rid of the backlog of papers to be sorted and todo-items to be re-assessed).

Well, what I wanted to point out was a short piece by David on using his method in business instead of "just" for personal organisation. That set me to do some thinking. On the basic level, David's stuff is about collecting all loose ends and putting it in some trusted system.

  • Documents etc. in an a-z drawer for instance instead in three big amorphous piles on your desk. So that you can trust to find them when needed instead of being ancious about it in your head.
  • Date-specific items in your agenda instead of in your head.
  • Writing down some higher-level goals explicitly instead of floating them around in your head.
  • Maintaining a list of ToDo's and (one level above that) a list of projects (sets-of-ToDO's) instead of trying to juggle all that information in your head.

So: Getting it out of your head and onto paper. Or into your palmpilot (like in my case). Your head will be freed to do the real thinkwork. The worst ink is better than the best memory.

But for business? How does that translate? My guess at it:

  • Making the business's goals explicit. (see footnote).
  • Each sale is propably a multi-step process, so it's a set of ToDos, so a "Project". Write it down explicitly as a project. Likewise things other than sales (which is just the example lifted from David's article).
  • ToDo items, well, have to be done. Working towards real projects, working towards real goals. Not blundering around like an unguided drunk.

Ehrm, doesn't sound like rocket science. Just being a bit more explicit. Thinking about what you're doing as a company (well, that sounds a bit more like rocket science...).

Care should be taken not to let this stagnate into a bureaucratic process of formalised company-wide, centrally implemented ToDo lists, project lists, etc. So: enough work for good, smart managers to make the whole process work like a well-oiled machine.

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footnote: Company goals, please, not in lofty, unreal, fake wordings. The typical external press release is a pile of smoking lies, elegantly worded, and "company vision statements" seem like an internal press release way to often... (Sorry for the rant).

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My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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