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GTD does not focus enough on doing

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  • GTD does not focus enough on doing

    A couple of days ago, David Allen tweeted: Interesting survey/poll on B. Meade's blog - "how did you fall off GTD?"

    Most of the responses focused on our limitations and challenges in implementing a GTD system, but only one addressed the system itself:
    "GTD does not focus enough on doing"

    15 of the 239 respondents chose this one... not a big percentage, to be sure, but interesting nonetheless.

    Do you agree with that supposition? If so, how could the system focus more on the Doing phase?

    I have my opinion, but I'd love to hear what you think about it.

  • #2
    My thoughts - if you can get things done without gtd and without stress then you don't need gtd. Very valid reason to fall off. Some people don't really need it.
    Last edited by supergtdman; 01-26-2012, 07:30 AM.

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    • #3
      Wanted to add that I'm off gtd 90% of the time during the day. Whenever I'm not looking at the lists I'm not doing gtd, I'm just doing stuff.

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      • #4
        Interesting poll

        I took a look at that poll as well. I think it would have been even more interesting to see how long respondents had been practicing GTD along with their responses.

        Typically, those who believe "GTD doesn't focus enough on doing" probably haven't advanced their practice enough to fully embrace how critical it is to have a clear understanding of the 3-fold nature of work (work as it appears, defining work and doing pre-defined work). They likely have back-to-back meetings on their calendar, ringing phones, interruptions, etc. and the precious little time they may have to "do GTD" is spent on "getting in to empty". But little or no time is spent really defining their work, which is much more than just creating a task and sticking on a long list of undone items.

        That being said, if one finds they are not focusing enough on "doing"--and that probably relates to ticking off items on a list or getting to important project work--why wouldn't they block off time on their calendar to focus on that work? That would be the GTD Black Belt move in that situation, not to blame the system itself.

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        • #5
          I wondered that, too

          I wondered, too, how long most of the respondents had been practicing GTD. It struck me that perhaps they were looking for a system that somehow did the work for them, and, of course, GTD fell short. Every system would.

          GTD makes the doing easier, for sure, but your work is still your work and you still have to do it, delegate it or defer it at some point.

          Thanks for your responses!

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          • #6
            I don't know if I am missing something but I was under the impression that GTD wasn't about the doing, it was constructing systems to feed the doing. Did I miss something?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by rossma View Post
              I don't know if I am missing something but I was under the impression that GTD wasn't about the doing, it was constructing systems to feed the doing. Did I miss something?
              It's all about doing, and having habits and systems that don't get in the way of doing. It's interesting to note that the two big reasons people fall off the gtd wagon are volume of stuff to do (23.85%) and inability to change habits (18.41%). A distant third was pushed off by a crisis (12.13%), and fourth (11.3%) was an inability to "find the perfect tool." Numbers one, two and four are obvious issues: you have the stuff to do that you have, with or without gtd; if you can't change your habits, you can't improve; there is never going to be a "perfect tool." I'm sympathetic to number three, but my experience is that a crisis is when you need gtd (and everything else you can bring to bear) the most.

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              • #8
                you've got it

                I believe that yes, rossma, the system supports the doing. and yes, mcogilvie, it is all about the doing. But some fall off the GTD wagon thinking it does the doing for you. I wish!

                What interested me in the poll was how the system itself held up. If I trust that the system is solid, and I do, it's up to me to make sure I'm getting the most out of it. If the system had loopholes (and please tell me if there are...) I wouldn't trust that it would benefit me over the long run.

                Thanks for your responses!

                Dena

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                • #9
                  GTD is as lazy as you are!

                  Originally posted by artsinaction View Post
                  I believe that yes, rossma, the system supports the doing. and yes, mcogilvie, it is all about the doing. But some fall off the GTD wagon thinking it does the doing for you. I wish!
                  Yes, yes, yes! That's the basic misunderstanding about GTD!

                  GTD is as lazy as you are!

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                  • #10
                    Up with GTD. Completely falling behind on getting enough done. But who cares?

                    I'm up with GTD. I have many, many lists. Everyday I know what I need to do, and I do those things generally within the time-frame given. I am very well organized. I can tell you in minutiae about all the things I need to do from replacing the cracked windows in the wood shed to setting up the groundwork on my new career.

                    The problem is that big projects are not attacked early enough. Of course, I tend to do my best work under pressure and under these circumstances, I largely forget about GTD. Surprizingly, I am successful on all the big projects. However, I am still very stressed out and probably drink too much as a result. I also wonder when I will attack all the minutiae in my life. The fact is, I'm getting really tired. Sometimes, my attitude is who cares? And this is okay for awhile, until the gravity of my projects push me into something like a panic mode.

                    Does anybody feel this way?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                      It's all about doing, and having habits and systems that don't get in the way of doing. It's interesting to note that the two big reasons people fall off the gtd wagon are volume of stuff to do (23.85%) and inability to change habits (18.41%). A distant third was pushed off by a crisis (12.13%), and fourth (11.3%) was an inability to "find the perfect tool." Numbers one, two and four are obvious issues: you have the stuff to do that you have, with or without gtd; if you can't change your habits, you can't improve; there is never going to be a "perfect tool." I'm sympathetic to number three, but my experience is that a crisis is when you need gtd (and everything else you can bring to bear) the most.
                      I agree you need GTD most when in a crisis or seriously overloaded which of course when a lot of us are most likely fall off. I'd say after 6 years "doing" GTD its only quite recently I have managed to keep the GTD going when I am seriously overloaded and things are getting really hectic. It's not that I haven't got time to do GTD when that happens it's just that it feels like it. If you have a good system, and one that is simple and efficient enough not to become burdonsome in itself, then you can keep it going. The more you beleive it the more it can happen but it is also about habits.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jben View Post
                        The problem is that big projects are not attacked early enough. Of course, I tend to do my best work under pressure and under these circumstances, I largely forget about GTD. Surprizingly, I am successful on all the big projects. However, I am still very stressed out and probably drink too much as a result. I also wonder when I will attack all the minutiae in my life. The fact is, I'm getting really tired. Sometimes, my attitude is who cares? And this is okay for awhile, until the gravity of my projects push me into something like a panic mode.
                        Well, that's familiar! When I first got married and all of my responsibilities changed and my mom got ill and no routine was familiar, I completely floundered in my GTD habits, and got stuck in the "who cares?" for a long time. Like a couple of years. What pulled me out was joining Connect. I listened to every podcast and webinar, many more than once. I reread all of David Allen's books... I have them as paperbacks and audiobooks. And I read the forums. But I wan't ready to participate. I didn't think I had much to contribute. But that constant reminder of the system and its routines and its subtlety made all the difference.

                        So, what I hear is that what you're doing, regardless of how organized you are, is not working... really, on any level. GTD exists to support your getting things done. And it will give back to you exactly what you put into it... but that decision is yours. So, how much longer do you want to be this out of control? I just couldn't keep not doing for any longer. At some point I'd had enough.

                        So, please keep checking in, asking questions... there are amazing people out there to support you in your GTD process!

                        Dena

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by artsinaction View Post
                          I believe that yes, rossma, the system supports the doing. and yes, mcogilvie, it is all about the doing. But some fall off the GTD wagon thinking it does the doing for you. I wish!
                          Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                          Yes, yes, yes! That's the basic misunderstanding about GTD!
                          Seems like a fairly funny misunderstanding though. I mean, GTD doesn't even have corporeal form, it's just a set of principles. It's clear it can't do anything.

                          But I guess I'd be on board if the claim really is that some people expect GTD to make doing effortless most of the time. Not just easier than before (which it should be), but more like pushing "enter" on a keyboard and then watch yourself follow the instructions automatically and effortlessly, like a computer.

                          Instead it's still a drag with exhaustion, indecision, fear and temptations to quit and so on. GTD won't make those things go away.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by North View Post
                            Instead it's still a drag with exhaustion, indecision, fear and temptations to quit and so on. GTD won't make those things go away.
                            I totally agree about the exhaustion and indecision and temptations to quit... but tell me a little more about fear and how that plays into it.

                            Thanks, North!

                            Dena

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                            • #15
                              Hey,

                              Originally posted by artsinaction View Post
                              I totally agree about the exhaustion and indecision and temptations to quit... but tell me a little more about fear and how that plays into it.
                              Didn't mean anything particularly deep, just that fear (broadly defined) might contribute to procrastination on certain issues. Most actions are not frightening perhaps, but some are (to some people), like having to learn public speaking or writing a book, or even the everyday stuff like making demands or saying no, or having new responsibilities.

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