How to GTD as a Consultant

Here is a fantastic essay by consultant Steve Friedl.

Since consultants are really cramming two fulltime jobs into one person (one doing the actual consulting work and one running the business) they quickly need to work out a host of tricks to save time and get things done while still, you know, sleeping once in a while.

“Most new consultants attempt to separate receipts as well as they do accounts: separate folders for business receipts and personal receipts, but this quickly falls apart unless you’re unbelievably rigorous in maintaining this separation. When you get your credit card bill every month, which folder does it go in? What if it has some personal and some business expenses? This gets messy in the first month, and it’s not necessary.

Years ago I adopted the practice of using 15″ x 9″ accordion files with a separate tab for every letter of the alphabet. I use a new file every year, and file all receipts — for whatever purpose — alphabetically by vendor. This is optimized for the only kind of search you’ll ever do: fetch a specific receipt from a specific vendor.”

Some of the consultant maxims outlined by Friedl (and go read the whole article, it’s worth it):

  • You must give the customer The Warm Fuzzy Feeling™
  • Trust” is your best job security
  • You are primarily in the customer service business, not the technical business
  • For a good consultant, your voice is comforting: Be very easy to find
  • If the customer doesn’t know you did work off the clock, you don’t get credit for it
  • If you routinely take ownership for your own mistakes, you’re much more likely to be believed when you claim something is NOT your doing
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