Help--Interrupted Training

(Details have been modified for privacy.)

My work is somewhat customer and management driven with both day and overnight travel. Up to now, I have been using a loosely GTD-oriented philosophy that doesn't work. The fact that I have adult ADD makes external organization critical.

I purchased the self-training with 21 Day coaching and downloaded Quick Start. I knew from the start that even the 3 Day Training schedule was ambitious. However, with a break in my schedule (I thought), I scheduled slots for my 3-day training, and I let my boss know I about the course.

It is now a week after I should have been completed. But I have only finished up to Chapter 8. There are still some shelves, drawers and file cabinets that I believe have 98% reference material that should be cleaned or "collected" but the basic collection work outlined in Ch 6, 7 is done.

My main issue is having an interrupt oriented job. When a customer calls, it is my job to provide support, either over the phone or in-person. (When I am engaged, I do let the call go to voicemail, but I am required to respond within a day.) As part of my  duties I have to schedule client visits and they sometimes take longer than planned. That is what happened to prevent me from finishing the training. And now I have new travel scheduled, so it looks like the next "free" day I will have to work on the Training is weeks away. 

What can you suggest to boost both my morale and my productivity? And thanks.

(A TRO coach replied directly, asking 5 questions about this person's specific work situation: how many hours she works a week, how supportive the boss is, what commitments this person has in the evenings and weekends, what happens to the work if she gets sick. This let the coach assess the dynamics of the work environment and make an informed suggestion. Coach also suggested she read Chapter 19 on Manging Interruptions in the meantime.)


  • John,

    I see four options here:

    1) Do you do all your processing out of your local office? Is your PC portable (a laptop that docks)? If so, you may want to establish a portable office and do your work (or some of it) out of that location. This lets you do the processing on the road where you won't be interrupted. See Chapter 18 for details on setting up your portable office. The project folders replace your desk trays, or are temporary extensions of them while on the road.


    2) You said that self-help is a hobby of yours. You could just bite the bullet and do this during nights as part of your "self-help" fun time. Can you be at work during those times? Since you're off the clock, you should be able to insist on no interruptions. :-)


    3) Get everything poised and ready to go (file systems, office supplies), and when the first lull comes dive in to the training (or continue it) during work hours, not being afraid to get interrupted in the training. Still, try to manage those interruptions as bets you can.

    Since you already follow at least basic GTD, the TRO training is more subdividable for you. Retire all those unapproved collecting points, making sure to divide the collected items into "may need attention within 2 weeks" and "later" piles. The 2 week pile goes right into your inbox for processing as you currently process.

    When you start your practice sessions (processing using the TRO adjustments to the GTD processing flow), you can be interrupted too, but you'll want to try to keep that first 2-hour session together if possible. Let it slip into the evening hours if necessary.


    4) Schedule vacation time and do it then, in a day (or half day plus evening). Get me on board to step you through the training as fast as possible. I will adjust my schedule to train you in the afternoon/evening if necessary. When I train I go right to the heart of what you, personally, need to learn based on where you're at and what you don't already know, so the training goes much faster. That's why we do it in 7 hours or less for executives--they can't afford days of down time. I can do it via our Remote training option:

    Let me know what you decide. I want to see you succeed!
  • Note: As of Day 6 in coach follow-up with his Total, Relaxed Organization training, John is now feeling 90%+ control of his time and tasks.
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