Bottom-up, task first approach was stressing me out!

After doing the online training through the processing sections I found myself resisting doing any further processing [found a solution, read on...]. The image that came to mind was throwing my little task-darts at a dart board, and hoping that they'd hit OK and it'd make sense further down the line. Granted, many if not most of the tasks from my inbox annexes will end up as someday/maybe, and the triage and processing steps certainly will help keep my head above water more than recent history. However, one of the reasons I wanted to do this training is that I'm already feeling that I'm drowning in tasks and not in touch enough with the big picture to feel and trust that the tasks are moving me forward in the RIGHT directions.

I did find this thread to be a GIANT help in explaining how TRO/TROG builds in notions of priority. I'd recommend a note in the training that explains how TRO builds in parts of Franklin, Covey and other top-down approaches for those of us who've used those in the past. Otherwise I think others might rebel here too, thinking you're setting a million dates that you'll have to adjust or account for later.

So, where I'm at right now:
-- I'll use the ideas from the thread above to help in setting priorities as I process - remembering that in essence I'm using the soft dates to order them more in relation to each other than the calendar per se.

-- I'm skipping ahead in the training to do the strategic calendar before going further.

--I've blocked out more time to complete the training soon so that I have a better understanding of how the pieces all fit together.

-- I'm considering using some other techniques to help me gain clarity and focus on more of my big picture goals & objectives, and then see how to integrate that into day-to-day TRO.

I'd welcome any feedback and ideas from coaches or fellow participants!


  • Yes, sounds like the TRO processing approach wasn't clear to you when you first went through the training. That's most likely to happen when moving through it quickly (not to say that you did that, however).

    You're right to set up your Strategic Calendar right away. The training encourages that but does not force it. To do it, just follow the hyperlinks in the side boxes that explain Strategic Calendars.

    Things like that are sometimes missed by folks when they self-train. Adding even 1/2 hour of coach time in the middle of the training (1 hour is included with Basic Remote Coaching) is a huge benefit. When something doesn't make sense, we can set you straight instantly. Even if everything seems to make sense, we'll verify your understanding and optimize your approach for best results.

    Key Principles about Soft Dates and Prioritization

    TRO's "soft" dates aren't actual dates, they are a clever prioritization mechanism that maps the Covey dimensions of Urgency and Importance into a single dimension of time with one simple, intuitive question.

    Those dates are used only for sorting porposes. They do not need to be maintained or moved forward when they pass. (In fact, it's important that you not move them forward--that is a massive waste of time--unless you are actually reprocessing a task/project).

    Trog Bar is especially smart about prioritizing things based (partly) on those dates. Dates set a long time ago are less valid than recently-set dates, especially if the task hasn't been modified (reprocessed) in the meantime. Trog Bar takes all that into account.

    Other Techniques

    Other techniques can be helpful, like using a timer to focus on tasks, or an application like RescueTime to monitor where you spend your work energy.

    However, bringing in other principles is best saved for the end, after your 21-days of follow-up and your new habits are solid. It's easier to "break in" one new horse at a time. Riding two at the same time can be entertaining to watch, but it's not usually productive for the rider... :-)
  • Top-Down and Goals

    One more comment. TRO isn't really a bottom-up approach. It's a balanced approach.

    We start training you that way (bottom-up) in the beginning to help you tame your piles and train basic principles. But by the time you bring in the strategic calendar and learn how to handle projects, you'll see that we really are helping you "begin with the end in mind" as (top-down) Stephen R. Covey says.

    Goals are simply projects. Handle the same way.
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