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  • Is GTD good or bad for Workaholics?

    Just read Chained to the Desk. Eye opener.

  • #2
    You can write down any goal and GTD will help you achieve it.

    GTD can help you take your workaholism to the next level or develop more balanced lifestyle. The choice is yours and it's beyond the GTD field. You can write down any goal and GTD will help you achieve it.

    Comment


    • #3
      GTD helps you achieve your goals but doesn't tell you what your goals should be

      Once you decide what your goals are, GTD can help you get there. However, GTD doesn't (nor should it) tell you what those goals are - only you can know that.

      If you're not sure what your goals are, you could create a new Project called "Identify goals", then set up the NAs required to carry out that project (eg. "brainstorm goals for 40 minutes" or "review calendar to find a weekend I can dedicate to identifying my goals").

      On the other hand if you already know what your goals are (it sounds like one of yours might be "don't over-work myself"), you can check your progress each week during your weekly review, and adjust as necessary.

      I have "workaholic" tendencies myself so part of my weekly review involves reflecting on the balance of my life. I ask myself questions such as "Am I over committing?" and "Am I spending enough time with my friends and family?".

      Comment


      • #4
        Gaining balance but need help

        It feels like I've gained balance over recent years.
        -Work: Have decreased work hours from 80-90 down to 50-60 (average for my field).
        -Family: Have 4 kids under 11..Coach 1 of them in sports most of the year
        -Health: Avg 7 hrs sleep per night; exercise regularly; eat very healthy
        -Mental/Spiritual: read and pray regularly; go to church regularly
        -Take 3-4 wks vacation per year

        GTD, at least the way I employ it, bugs my wife...She does not understand why I can't simply remember things like the kids schedule..I keep a separate calendar for the kids..It bugs her that I'm trying to unclutter brainwaves..DW is ok w/ a messy desk, but I've always been a planner...Got to give her a lot of credit..She does most of the kids related day to day stuff eg transportation as she works about 1 day per week

        GTD seems to be counterproductive at times from my perspective when I get caught up in next action list..or at least caught up in the process of fine-tuning my next action list...perhaps too much perfectionism there, and not enough doing...basically, afraid that I've traded work-aholism for GTD-aholism..

        Tools I use are: MS Outlook syncs w/ Blackberry, Evernote, scanner, paper, online timer to track how much time spent on activities

        Anyone gotten heavily into GTD, and then backed off to simplify?
        If so, any suggestions?

        Comment


        • #5
          Anyone gotten heavily into GTD, and then backed off to simplify?
          I think that's common, especially when (as you describe) you get more into managing and maintaining the system than doing work.

          Many people also will scale back their use of contexts. They get excited in the beginning about creating loads of context lists, then realize that it's far more complex than they need.

          As for your wife being bugged that you can't remember things, you can explain that it's really about using your brain in different ways. You're choosing to use your brain primarily to think about things, not of things. You'd like to think about how wonderful Valentines can be with her...not that you need to buy flowers

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by kelstarrising View Post
            I think that's common, especially when (as you describe) you get more into managing and maintaining the system than doing work.

            Many people also will scale back their use of contexts. They get excited in the beginning about creating loads of context lists, then realize that it's far more complex than they need.

            As for your wife being bugged that you can't remember things, you can explain that it's really about using your brain in different ways. You're choosing to use your brain primarily to think about things, not of things. You'd like to think about how wonderful Valentines can be with her...not that you need to buy flowers
            Thanks for all the helpful replies.

            I currently have (as an example):
            -166 next actions
            -78 someday actions
            -59 maybe actions

            many of these are actually projects

            I am using the following characterizations of next actions/someday/maybe
            -priority (1-5)
            -time (estimated to complete)
            -categories (in Outlook)
            -due date
            -reminder time

            I have made different views of NA's
            -detailed: including all characterizations and all NA's whenever due: used for entering/editing na's...used primarily at weekly review (done every week) try to look at once daily also
            -simple: includes only name of NA and reminder time..this is what I'll keep visible during the day...

            One difficulty I have with NA's is deciding between
            1-keeping list available/visible OR
            2-relying on reminders (blackberry)

            I've tried to focus on:
            1-budgeting/documenting amount of time spent on major parts of life (work vs family vs personal).
            2-emphasizing calendar more than NA's
            But....unfortunately that NA list keeps creeping into things scheduled on the calendar

            I even tried to copy NA's into calendar at specific times...but that seemed to be more time intensive than it was worth, at least for many NA's. If it's critical the NA gets done that day I will move it into calendar..

            Have tried to keep NA's to <5 per weekday...that ends up leaving many on the weekend. On weekend then will use detailed view which is prioritized by 1st priority then time required..Just keep working down the list as able...if unable to complete then defer into the next week, or whenever.

            Do wish my wife would put kids items in Outlook so I could benefit from her documentation, but she is paper only. With 4 kids schedules change constantly...tests in school, playdates, sports practices.

            Any suggestions are most welcome!

            Comment


            • #7
              I think it's great that you're even asking these questions! I am totally confident that you'll keep finding out which things work better for you.

              I notice you listed 'priority' for characterizing next actions. With your busy life, your priorities may shift moment to moment. For that reason, you may find it more practical to look first at what you can do, what you have time to do, and what you have the energy to do. For example, if writing a divisional plan for 2011 is your priority, but you don't have a computer, pen, or paper at hand, it may be frustrating to have that next action in your face. On the other hand, if you find yourself waiting for family members, and you're near the hardware store with your hardware store list in hand, you can get some low-priority things done easily.

              On the topic of wives and GTD, I'll just say that learning each other's GTD styles and adapting is an ongoing adventure, and a lot of fun.

              Best to you,
              John

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by John Forrister View Post
                I think it's great that you're even asking these questions! I am totally confident that you'll keep finding out which things work better for you.

                I notice you listed 'priority' for characterizing next actions. With your busy life, your priorities may shift moment to moment. For that reason, you may find it more practical to look first at what you can do, what you have time to do, and what you have the energy to do. For example, if writing a divisional plan for 2011 is your priority, but you don't have a computer, pen, or paper at hand, it may be frustrating to have that next action in your face. On the other hand, if you find yourself waiting for family members, and you're near the hardware store with your hardware store list in hand, you can get some low-priority things done easily.

                On the topic of wives and GTD, I'll just say that learning each other's GTD styles and adapting is an ongoing adventure, and a lot of fun.

                Best to you,
                John
                Wow, lots of great ideas here, thanks!

                -true..priorities may change, but not frequently or dramatically (for me at least)...sorting by priority seems to help align NA's with 30k-50k ft. Time sensitivities may change..simply changing due date/reminder is simple. That part works well when at a pc (or print out NA's)
                -I tried using contexts more..created them but it then have not used them (enough)..The one time they do seem helpful is on the BB, using its "filter" view..Actually, priorities column I've created in OL does not show on BB, and that has been a problem...
                -Love tagging in general..have been using it in OL and Evernote for a while now instead of separate folders...much easier to find stuff..
                -Am not that mobile..most of time either @work or @home where a computer is available...if out and about BB is ok.
                -I do have categories (tags) and contexts lumped together as had read in GTD white paper for OL 2003 a few yrs ago. Wonder if separating out contexts (@home) from categories (family) would help? Not sure how would do that in OL. Perhaps create a new column..

                -My wife's biggest complaint is how much time I spend on the computer when at home...
                -Since much of my GTD is Outlook/Evernote oriented, NA's are most easily done while on the pc.
                -I have tried using a tablet/laptop while physically in room with family, but can get more done on 2 screens and a full keyboard in the home office.
                -Would rather get done faster, and be off the pc completely when out of the home office so can focus on family, activities, whatever. Prefer to single-task.

                Thanks for your patience and insight so far...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tjhoo View Post
                  -My wife's biggest complaint is how much time I spend on the computer when at home...
                  -Since much of my GTD is Outlook/Evernote oriented, NA's are most easily done while on the pc.
                  -I have tried using a tablet/laptop while physically in room with family, but can get more done on 2 screens and a full keyboard in the home office.
                  -Would rather get done faster, and be off the pc completely when out of the home office so can focus on family, activities, whatever. Prefer to single-task.
                  I think there is frequently some confusion as to where GTD (or any self management technique) is employed. To really be effective it has to be applied @work and @home (and @anywhere...). Your ideas / commitments don't stop once you start your drive home, they just change contexts and goals.

                  GTD allows me to track my projects and know what to do (because I have already decided what to do) when I walk into work and also when I walk into my home. Big presentation coming up and need to email folks for input? Next action for that. Holiday trip coming up and need to pack? Got it covered in the @home and calendar. Its seamless and I have only met with disaster when I try to separate my two lives. Its either GTD or to-dos on the back of envelopes mixed with panic.

                  It works for me but it still bugs my wife when I say "Hay, that's a good idea, send me an email so I can process it later."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    GTD is a tool and can be used for any goal

                    I am or have been a workaholic, too. When I found GTD I first did it for about 6 months and got much more organized. However, I somehow felt that I was doing it for wrong reasons, trying to please everyone, it was no helping me to say no to things not meaningful to me. I could see that I did GTD in order to do MORE when an inner voice was telling me that doing less would be the only answer.

                    So I set GTD aside, decided to come back to it, but only when I would take this tool and use it FOR me, not AGAINST myself. How would I know... canīt say, intuition I guess. I started again another 6 months later and set up a new system ONLY for personal matters. I have worked so much and so long that I was much more systematic and organized at work anyway, now I would not let myself use this tool there, but force myself to turn my focus to myself, family and friends by including ONLY personal matters. (That was in the summer, now that the home system if flowing nicely Iīm starting to include work stuff in a separate system in the office.)

                    Soon after that I started doing weekly reviews WEEKLY. Just for one hour, not doing everything but whatever I could in one hour. I can never thank Kelly enough for the October WR challenge (Connect forum), it changed my life! The WR became the moment to REALISTICALLY pick the actions I really, really wanted to and had to get done in my personal life that week, all else went to someday/maybe and it was OK because I knew that if I ever "ran out of" next actions during the week (never did...), I could always go there for more and in any case someday/maybe would be reviewed next week.

                    After the Year End Review webinar (Connect) I realized that my 2011 focus is very much on shifting from work to personal and with my brand new Sleep Project I have now realized that you ALWAYS, ALWAYS do what you consider important, whether you are conscious about it or not. When sleep became a REAL priority I AM able to get to sleep earlier. "Go to bed" is just as important NA on my lists as any other and this is a high priority project now.

                    If getting MORE things done really is your goal, GTD will help you. But there is a limit to doing, we are human and if we try to do EVERYTHING there's a point when it doesnīt make us happier and sometimes the only solution is to learn to say no to more things. GTD will help you in that, too, but only if you really WANT to say no to more doing.

                    Recovering from workaholism, just like from alcoholism, has a first step you canīt bypass: admitting that you have a problem. When you do, GTD will help you transform that problem into a project and solve it. If you donīt admit your problem, GTD will be like a very sharp knife in your hands, but instead of opening a way for you through the jungle of your problems, it will cut YOU, if used for the wrong reasons.

                    Only YOU can know what are the right reasons for doing GTD.

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