Posted by: Simon | July 27, 2008

An Open Thank You to Robin Sharma

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Dear Robin

I had the very great pleasure of attending your all day workshop in Sydney last week on ‘Leading without Title’ and wanted to write a quick thank you. I was surprised when you said you only conduct about 10 of these workshops each year. However, by the end I understood why. As you had promised up front, you gave all your energy and focus to the day resulting in an awesome experience for every one of the 100 or so people in the room. I had a diverse range of talented, interesting people at my table – a partner in a law firm, a very successful advertising exec, an IT project manager, a marketing and promotions expert and a management consultant. What a great journey you took us all on where, quite frankly, those backgrounds were irrelevant. What united us was your concept of leading without title, of being the best that we can be, regardless of our station in life.

I took so many notes on the rich information you shared – so many that I need to now sit down and work through them to reflect and determine what they mean to me, what I want to do about them. I am excited and inspired to do this. Some random jottings I see include:

“The job of leadership begins with looking in the mirror”

“Beneath every excuse lives a fear”

“Leadership is about personal responsibility”

“No-one will ever forget how you make them feel

“Create space to ideate”

“NSI – Never Stop Improving!”

“How hard do you play when no-one’s watching?”

“Reward intelligent failures”

“Run toward your fears”

“Your father’s words to you: always be dreaming, always love learning and find a cause larger than yourself and give yourself to that cause”

There’s so much more and it’s all powerful, thought-provoking stuff. Genuine wisdom.

I got up at 4:15 am to travel to Sydney for this day and didn’t get home again until 9:15 at night. I had flight delays at both ends and as you know it rained solidly all day in Sydney. Yet I wouldn’t change anything. It comes as no surprise to me that as my taxi back to Sydney airport crawled along a crowded expressway, and I stared out the window at the gloomy wet sky, the sun broke through briefly behind me and the most complete, bright rainbow appeared. I haven’t seen a sight like that in a long time. It was the perfect end to a fantastic day.

Best wishes.


Posted by: Simon | July 17, 2008

GTD Hybrid System – 30 Day Trial – Complete

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For those of you who haven’t been following my trial of a GTD Hybrid System – that is, one using paper combined with electronic tools – you may want to check out my original post on the subject first. To read some of my observations as the trial unfolded please check out my first update, my second update and my third update.

Let me say upfront that this has been an interesting exercise for a person like me who loves electronic gadgets and is around technology all day. However, I have had just as much fun writing in my Moleskine Cahier and I’m very pleased with this choice. I looked at bulkier notebooks initially and they didn’t feel right. This was slim, light and yet not so tiny that I felt like I was writing on a postage stamp. Using a good pen made a difference too.

The page divisions by context worked quite well – at this early stage I haven’t used too many pages for each one and so haven’t come close to running out. The small Post-It tabs have not bent or frayed. My most recent weekly review flowed really nicely using my Moleskine, my BlackBerry to access my calendar and a coffee in a noisy cafe. The last point is not trivial. My hybrid system is very portable and allows me to leave my workspace more quickly, easily than my all electronic one did. And by changing locations, even to a noisy cafe, I was able to really focus, uninterrupted. It was a great feeling when I walked back into work an hour later.

I had thought I would miss the ability in Outlook to drag an email and automatically create a task out of it (which is a great feature). Instead I have found that I’m really focusing on what the next action is from the email and what I write down to accurately, succinctly define it. I didn’t pay that much attention previously. I am definitely reviewing my next action lists more frequently than I was and as a consequence getting more done. Next actions that have been hanging around a while stand out and I have been having lots of conversations with myself to work out if I’m still committed to them or if they should be moved to Someday/Maybe….or even deleted!

So, overall this trial has been a great success for me. I was feeling no attraction to my electronic lists and therefore not feeling good about what wasn’t getting done. Now I feel reinvigorated. I feel like and I am getting more done. I think it has been important to allow enough time to really evaluate a different way of working properly. It does feel like a habit now to use my Moleskine for next actions and I am going to continue my GTD system this way for the foreseeable future. At some point I am sure my circumstances will change and I’ll need to re-evaluate my setup again.

Now if I could just work out a reason why I need an iPhone……

Got any thoughts or ideas of your own on the shift to paper?

Please use the comments area to discuss.

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