Productivity and GTD
Put Things in Front of the Door
“Rule your mind or it will rule you.” ~ Horace
At this point you already know that, in order to achieve those things you want, you need to focus on them. Many times, the only reason why you don’t achieve something is simply because you are focusing more on other things. Despite your willingness to improve and obtain good results, it’s very easy to get distracted with striking but less useful things. Therefore, when talking about focusing where its needed, any help is welcome.
Your habits are strongly related to your environment. This means that you have the possibility of changing and controlling your environment to facilitate the habits that make you more effective. You cannot change your environment dramatically but you can make small modifications that make a difference. The trick is to create triggers which are effective enough to motivate the action.
An example. To change the focus towards the proper target and keep it there, David Allen recommends using the idea of “putting things in front of the door” in his book Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done. We have all done this before. If tomorrow you have to take something important to your work—so important that forgetting it would be a threat for your job—, what do you do? You probably put it in front of your house door, so that it would be impossible to forget it.
Arguing further with this concept, if you can put in front of your mind all those things that you know should be the center of your attention, the possibilities of thinking about them creatively will increase. Knowing how to consciously feed your thoughts is something very powerful because it allows you to redirect the focus towards what you want and produce the necessary energy to make your thoughts flow.
This is the origin of the GTD’s Weekly Review. It’s not enough to capture your thoughts, organize your projects and clearly define your goals. You need to put them in front of your door with sufficient regularity.