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Converting Coworkers to GTD

So you’ve read through GTD for the ump-teenth time and it looks like you used it to beat back a pack of wild boar. You’ve got your all of your inputs handled and your edges are so clean you could eat off of them. I hate to pee in anybody’s punch, but that was the easy part.

Your officemate and frequent collaborator, Bob, has an in-basket that looks like an open-faced filing cabinet. He might as well change the name of his Outlook inbox to “freaking everything”. In short, his personal productivity system makes your skin crawl. What recourse do you have? How can you show Bob the One True Way?

Well, the short answer is – you can’t. Think of it as a marriage. For years and years, you’ve been arranging your toiletries a certain way, then along comes your brand new spouse. You’re equally excited about joining your separate existences into a unified organism of love or something. But the jerk can’t seem to understand why the toothpaste cap needs to be replaced once the paste has been dispensed. And it makes you want to go over the table on him (and not in the newlywed sort of way).

You can browbeat your coworkers until you’re blue in the face about how if only they would read this delightful book, then all of their problems will be solved – but it really won’t solve anything. The key to winning the hearts and notebooks of your unenlightened coworkers is to lead by example. You have to be a freaking ninja at this stuff before you can go around proselytising. Because, if your credibility in such matters is even a little shaky, you’ll be dismissed quicker than the class clown in third period french.

If you consistenly out-perform those around you (and still leave the office on time), your superiors will start to notice. And once they do, they’ll start poking around, watching you work. Before you know it, they’ll be asking you to lead seminars and lunchtime meetings for your coworkers and colleagues because the brass want the rest of the rank and file to crank on their work the same way that you do.

So, unless Bob asks, save your GTD speech for the ears of those who really want to hear it. It’ll go eons farther, I promise you.

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