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  • Life's so much easier when you know your core values

    For the past year, I've been going through the material on GTD and trying to implement a system into my life. I went through the horizon section a few times, but it never sunk in for me. I've been so busy on the runway level that I've had no time to focus on anything higher. This long weekend, I took a short trip by myself to a completely different city. It's been nothing but reflection for the past two days and I've managed to set up a list of core values for myself. The experience and the outcome has been amazing. Based on my list of core values, I can identify why at different times in my life I have felt stressed or unhappy and why at other times I have felt great. It's honestly like having a cheat-sheet for your life. Suddenly you know what you want and it's just a matter of finding out how to get it.

    More importantly, it's a great way to determine what's really important and what's not important in your life. The vast majority of things we do are not important, but often, without a clear set of values, we think everything is important and stress about every minute detail. Once you know what's not key to your values, the non-important stuff still gets handled, but the stress it causes is gone.

    Has anyone else experienced this? I'm curious to hear back on whether anyone else has experienced something similar.

  • #2
    Indeed it is...

    I implemented GTD in 2000 while working as the CFO of a proprietary stock brokerage firm. One day, after having incorporated GTD thoroughly into my home and work life over the course of about 18 months, I looked at my work NA lists and thought "I am perfectly capable of doing all the things on this list. But I don't actually enjoy doing most of the things on this list."

    So, when the company downsized a short time later, instead of looking for another finance job, I went back to school in my mid-forties and got my master's degree in public health.

    These days, I spend my weekdays doing health research and loving it. When I look at my NA lists, I think "Hmmm - which of these 20 interesting and challenging statistical analyses should I work on next?"

    It rocks.

    Having my runway clear allowed me to see the bigger picture and make a change in my life that was overdue.

    That's my life-changing GTD experience.

    Margaret

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    • #3
      I have a different kind of experience. At 2003 I did a review about my core values and was happy for results. It felt correct. Unfortunately as a student and entrepreneur I had too much stuff and too little next actions in my life and I had a burnout. Core values didn't help me to get me in control of my life although they made it a bit healthier. I could not use core values as a proper tool because my life was constantly a reaction to missed stuff.

      With GTD I'm now getting control of my life and I think core values (after next clarification) will be a good tool to give a direction to my life in higher scale. Now (or actually hopefully soon) that I'm not up to my ears in mud I can start to find my way towards my lifes goals.

      As I have always been huge believer in vision and values, Davids explanation why he thinks bottom up approach usually works better than top down was very enlighting to me.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by kkuja View Post
        As I have always been huge believer in vision and values, Davids explanation why he thinks bottom up approach usually works better than top down was very enlighting to me.
        I'm not sure I agree with this. From top to bottom is my preferred way of working. At the top you have your big goals and visions. At the bottom is your runway where you work towards the top. This is how look at it.

        Whenever I have a bunch of next actions, before I start picking which ones I should work on, I always ask myself: "Which ones of these will bring me closer to my big goals?" Once you know your big goals, then picking the right next action is fairly easy.

        However, if you don't know your dreams, big goals or visions, it's easy get stuck on runway level. You will just look at your list of next actions and not really know which one you should work on. I used to work like this for months. Sure you will get work done but it's like you're always just "busy" and not really moving forward to what you really should be working on.

        I have a mindmap of my goals for the year. Every MWF before I work, I look at this mindmap and think it over. It keeps me in check what is really important to me. Then when I start working, when I look at my task manager I know aligns with my goals and what doesn't. So I will (naturally) work on the tasks that will make come closer to reaching those goals. Anything else I'd rather have someone else do or I'll do it "later".

        Once you know your destination, it doesn't really matter how you get there. As long as you get there, instead going around in circles.

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        • #5
          Thanks to all for sharing. Your stories are so inspiring!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by AE Thanh View Post
            I'm not sure I agree with this. From top to bottom is my preferred way of working. At the top you have your big goals and visions. At the bottom is your runway where you work towards the top. This is how look at it.
            You don't have to agree with me (or DA). It's great you have found a way that works for you.

            Currently I'm slowly climbing towards situation where most of my next actions are not emergencies. So starting from a bottom has worked for me.

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            • #7
              Just had to come back to this thread. Two quotes I did find enlighting:

              Cpu_Modern wrote on "Start the day with the most important action/project?" thread:

              From GTD p.66:
              Of equal value as prime criteria for driving and directing a project are
              the standards and values you hold. Although people seldom think
              about these consciously, they are always there. And if they are vio-
              lated, the result will inevitably be unproductive distraction and stress.
              And that is so true I think.

              Other kind of insight from David Allen. He said on the David Allen companys podcast (most recent episode (36?)) something like: "If your ship is sinking it doesn't matter which direction the bow of the ship is heading." when speaking about top down approach. Sorry if I miss quote.

              I think, and I think David also implied, that core values are the best way to evade rocks and sinking ship.

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