Introducing the GTD Cafe!

Each Wednesday I'll be hosting the GTD Cafe, an opportunity to network and reflect on some of the finer points within the GTD system. 

Today I'd like to focus on split second decisions within the GTD system.  Imagine that you're in your workspace and you have your list of things to do for the day.  A phone call interrupts your thought process, 10 emails hit you at once and then Bob from marketing pops in for no apparent reason: what to do?

One of the great things about GTD is the emphasis on knowing what to do at the right time.  I teach ethics and philosophy on the high school level and we use case studies to dig deeper within a moral dilemma.  GTD offers the knowledge worker much of the same: a set of habits that enable you to make the best decision at the right time.  In a sense, each of us is a case the practice of GTD. 

I've found two things to be absolutely essential when it comes to split-second decision making within GTD:

1. Time of day: if it's early, I can tackle the unpleasant stuff.  Just like am journaling or working out, if I don't do it early, it probably won't get done.  As Brian Tracy says, "eat that frog" becomes a mantra for dealing with those tasks that you know you'll avoid as the day goes on.  Suggestion: know what's on your list of things to get done and deal with it early in the day.

2. Physical energy: when I'm tired, I'm not a good decision maker so I know that I have to pace myself.  Just after lunch, for example, is a lousy time to deal with complex reports or budget spreadsheets.  Suggestion: go for a walk after lunch (even 5 minutes outside goes a long way) to get the digestion going and get you back on track.

Question: what works for you when it comes to split-second decision making?  How does GTD help you to keep on track as the day rolls along?

Resources for the Road

Fortune: Making Your Work Work for You

How I Work: A Dozen Super-Achievers Share Their Secrets

Overcoming Serious Indecisiveness

GTDMike StPierre