People have asked me how GTD can be used to achieve their long terms goals.
Now I’m assuming by goals that they mean longer term aspects that they want to achieve rather than objectives or areas of responsibility that they are looking to achieve or progress during the year.
My first piece of advice if people are struggling to achieve certain goals is to sit down and consider how committed they are to them in reality and are these goals actually relevant to them and their job/life and are they realistically achievable. Maybe they are just aspirational pipedreams that should be in Someday/Maybe ?
Thinking – Once you are sure of your goals then it’s back to the thinking at horizons of focus and the levels at 30,000 to 50,000 feet. Each should cascade certain items to the lower level and the lower levels should therefore in someway support the next level up. That is where to record them and to make sure that you are referring to them and reminding yourself of them (and questioning if they are still relevant) at your monthly review.
Also get some elements of them into checklists that you refer to each week in your weekly review, just to prick your imagination each week. I have a checklist for for instance for team development that I look over each week. I might not do anything with it every single week but some weeks I will see something relevant or topical that might then become a next action and it keeps it to the front of my mind, should something happen during the week that is relevant and I can tie the two together.
It’s hard to force yourself to have a period where you just sit and think about your goals for an hour or even less, unless you have a very disciplined mind. A discussion with a peer or your boss or even subordinate can help, even if they are just listening. Having a personal coach also helps I have found but you need a coach and not a mentor. There is a big difference.
Some of the flashes of inspiration and moments of clarity about your goals, what they should be and how to progress them, will come when you are in the shower or driving your car or taking a walk. Make sure you have some way of capturing the idea, where you will find it when you are doing your weekly review and processing everything you have captured that week.
I haven’t said anything that is not in the GTD book really. Once you start to apply it, the more powerful you find it becomes.