A five-step technique from the world of business could be key to unlocking potential, says
BEING a teenager was never easy, but today’s teens face unprecedented levels of pressure, facing both new stresses like social media and age-old problems like exam stress and puberty.
However, a new book aims to help teenagers by showing them how to use a simple yet successful business strategy to navigate the tsunami of distractions life throws at them, helping them feel in control by being organised.
Getting Things Done for Teens outlines a common-sense way of identifying goals and projects and coping with the complexities of day-to-day life through a simple five-step system of written lists and mapping, plus instructions on how to clearly focus on achieving both small and large goals in an orderly fashion.
One of the book’s authors, David Allen, says Getting Things Done, or GTD, is a way of learning to become focused and engaged with the present, being aware of what’s next, and finding stability when things feel out of control.
“What can you do to take control of your life in a distracting world?” he asks. “These timeless productivity tips can be used to reduce stress, increase selfconfidence, and get things done in school and life.”
THE FIVE STEPS
DAVID, who wrote this book with Mike Williams and Mark Wallace, after first writing the Getting Things Done work-life management system book, says the initial five steps of GTD can be done alone by a teenager, or together with a parent. All you need is paper, a pen and 15 minutes.
STEP 1: CAPTURE
AT least once a day, write down on a piece of paper the stuff on your mind that has your attention. The authors call this a mindsweep. Set a timer for five minutes and see how much stuff you can capture.
STEP 2: CLARIFY
THE clarify process takes one item on the paper at a time. Teenagers need to decide whether it’s actionable, and if so, write down the very next action on an actions list. Complete this for every item captured on the mindsweep list.
“We also like to call this the transformer tool, as it transforms stuff into actionable or nonactionable items,” says David, who points out it may take about 10 minutes to clarify all your ‘stuff’. STEP 3: ORGANISE FIND a trusted place to store the action list you’ve just created. It can be a paper list or a digital list on your phone or computer so that you can refer to it when needed.
STEP 4: REFLECT
LOOK back at all the actions on your action list. Reflect for a few moments and then select an action that needs your attention first. Circle it.
STEP 5: ENGAGE
COMPLETE the action you have identified. Repeat the process for the rest of your life.
“The Five Steps is a starting point for the GTD journey,” says David.
LEVELS OF FOCUS
AFTER gaining control through the five steps, the authors say teenagers need to look at their six levels of focus, which are:
Purpose: Teenagers need to write down why they’re here, and this
Talk to your child about long-term aspirations