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A Little Moral Support

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  • A Little Moral Support

    I’m new here and fairly new to GTD. I have used this sytem in my work life with great success. I can honestly say I have a “mind like water” much of the time in my work, which is great. However, it is in my personal life that I’m struggling. I have found it very helpful to capture, process and organize the things I need and want to do. The downside to getting all of my “to-do’s” out of my head seems to be that I become much more conscious of the many, many things I’m not doing. Especially when I use the trigger lists to help me capture everything, I feel overwhelmed. I come up with so many things, big and small - from wanting to decorate my bedroom to getting those baby gifts in the mail to mending neglected relationships and nurturing healthy ones to planning for how to care for my aging parents to planning my summer vacation to buying that gadget I think of every time I’m in the kitchen, etc. etc. etc. It’s all important to me on some level and I find myself mentally throwing my hands up and saying, “I can’t possibly do all of this well.” I’m just curious if others have struggled to implement GTD in their personal lives and come up against these feelings of overwhelm and inadequacy…..and how you managed it.

  • #2
    I had same problem. Think about it this way: You are not generating new task to do, you are just identifying existing. After you have identified them you can choose what to do. Do you want to handle things when they show up or when they blow up?

    If you haven't identified all things, you probably let external situation do the choosing for you (latest and loudest). I understand it is not easy. But think what's it like if you don't clarify all tasks: then you are like a ostrich, burying your head to sand, thinking "if I don't see it, it cannot harm me".

    After you learn to commit to those things you really find important for yourself, it is much easier to say no to extra stuff.

    By the way: remember to use someday/maybe list. At least for me, many projects end up to it, because I'm really not ready to do those thing now or I don't want to do them yet.

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    • #3
      Hi Jami,

      Welcome to the forums!

      I can really relate to your post - I have a really watertight work system but have really struggled to translate my system to my personal life. In the past few months I have come to the conclusion that I am being too hard on myself in wanting everything to move like it does at work. I work full time so the only times for doing home stuff are evenings and weekends. Evenings I am often tired after work, so that leaves only 2 days out of 7 for me to do home stuff and I get 5 days out of 7 to do work stuff - no wonder my work lists move so quickly in comparison!!

      So, I am now trying to be more leanient and if things stay on my lists (particularly on my Someday/Maybe list) for quite a while at home then that's ok. I find that I can comfortably review my home system once every 2-3 weeks without feeling worried about it. My review at work simply has to be weekly to keep on top of everything.

      Best of luck with getting your home system the way you want it. Try to celebrate the things that you do get done, rather than beating yourself over the head with those still to do!

      Comment


      • #4
        I am also new to GTD (Jan implemented at work, Feb implemented at home) and can really identify with the overwhelm you describe. As usual, the people who know the least about a subject talk the most, so here I go!

        What helps me at home:
        1. My beloved read the book on an 11 hour flight, and now we speak the same language. I had read part of GTD a few years ago, and my big victory then was having a partial filing system in place at home. But until my beloved read GTD we were stuck. So if you have a partner/spouse at home and they are not on board, I don't know how effective it will be, so be patient and not so hard on yourself.

        2. I dont' focus on how much we get done in a weekend (although we are more productive and on top of things than we used to be). What I focus on is how neat and tidy our home office/desk/computer area is now. If the only thing GTD has done for our house is made one area clean, then I have more energy than I ever had before! If all we do is move the project folder to the next weekend in the tickler file but we can see the floor, I am happy. My question to you is, what other benefit can you think of from the GTD system and be grateful about? For me, it is not having to resort to arson as an organizational strategy.

        3. I find more balance and peace of mind if I do 30 mins of gardening BEFORE I go to work, not in trying to fit in an hour after work. If I preload my day with taking care of MYSELF first (vacuum one room before I leave the house) then I am not as overwhelmed when I come home. Until we can live as the bumper sticker says, "Let's fish 5 days and work 2", let's at least take care of one personal task before our jobs get the best, most fresh and energetic us that we have available.

        4. Be careful not to miss the point of weekends, and time off of work. The point of life is to live it, and enjoy it. Big deep breaths probably are not on your next action list, but they are important. You have value for who you ARE, not just what you DO. We are human beings, not human doings.

        Good luck.

        Comment


        • #5
          such a good question

          Originally posted by Jami* View Post
          It’s all important to me on some level and I find myself mentally throwing my hands up and saying, “I can’t possibly do all of this well.” I’m just curious if others have struggled to implement GTD in their personal lives and come up against these feelings of overwhelm and inadequacy…..and how you managed it.
          Hello, Jami! Many, many times I have had the image of Edvard Munch's The Scream in my head as I look at my lists. There are just days like that.

          The BIG distinction to make is between a "have to do" and a "want to do". The "have to do" items are on my projects lists, but my "want to do" items are on a someday/maybe list.

          I have to do laundry. I want to clean the stacks of paper off my diningroom table. Will my world collapse if I don't clear the table? Not a chance. Will I have family members going to work and school in their birthday suits if I don't do laundry? You betcha!

          See if separating those two makes a difference.

          Dena

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by kkuja View Post
            By the way: remember to use someday/maybe list. At least for me, many projects end up to it, because I'm really not ready to do those thing now or I don't want to do them yet.
            I think this is a really important point to pull out. Be very very liberal with the use of your someday/maybe list!! For me, my focus when at home is on the relationships that are there - if you're familiar with the DISC personality concept, I shift from a D/C type to a I/S type in many respects. So that means that all those things that I 'want' to do will cause me to feel guilty about spending time with my wife and kids, because I'm not checking things off the list. So to keep it in perspective, I make sure that the someday/maybe list is almost always the first destination for any significant at-home items, and then I'm selective with what makes it across to be an active project with accompanying next actions.

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            • #7
              Thanks to all for your words of wisdom! I obviously need to take it easier on myself. I have moved a lot of things to Someday/Maybe which is already helping me separate the have-tos and the want-tos. And I am answering the hard questions about why I'm resisting some of the have-tos. I have an infinitely guilty conscience and frequently forget what weekends are for (crossing more things off my lists, right?!?) Anyway, thank you for your encouragement...it is exactly what I needed!

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              • #8
                Same feeling here! I am new and still a bit hesitant with things.

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                • #9
                  "Getting things done" doesn't mean "do all of this well". There are still only 24 hours
                  in a day. It means identifying the more important things and choosing how you
                  spend your time. Edward de Bono says "To select something, you must reject
                  everything else."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I do not understand this quote.

                    Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
                    Edward de Bono says "To select something, you must reject everything else."
                    I do not understand this quote. Why I have to reject listening to podcasts when I am jogging?

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                    • #11
                      it's about chosing a situation, not one single thing

                      Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                      I do not understand this quote. Why I have to reject listening to podcasts when I am jogging?
                      I don't think it is so much about chosing one single thing and rejecting all others, but more about chosing one situation... if you are jogging + listening to podcasts (+ breathing + looking around + thinking for that matter ), then you are not "going to a movie" or "reading a book in a lazy chair" or "cooking dinner" or "working in the garden"...

                      Myriam

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                      • #12
                        When your lists overwhelm you

                        I think this is a common feeling GTDers get, even the black belts, at times. Here's what I do when my lists start to freak me out.

                        First, go through all my lists with one purpose: what are those next actions that have been lingering for a long time. It's amazing to me how I instantly recognize them: they stand out, screaming at me, it seems. I flag all of them (I use Omnifocus, but you should be able to flag them in some way no matter what is your tool). Then I tackle one at a time and make a big decision about each one.

                        1. I don't want to do it any more, and I'm fine dealing with the consequence of not doing it. So I delete it.

                        2. I need to do it, and I need to figure out why I am not doing it. I will create a project for it, if I cannot figure out what I'm stalled on it: "Figure out why I won't do ...." or something like that. The Next Action is, "think about it until I know what to do." That works for me.

                        3. I don't know if I need to do it. I am going to put it on a Someday/Maybe list to get it off of my attention for now.

                        4. Just do it, no matter how ugly and hairy it might be.

                        I have to do this quite often, actually. When my lists start getting long (I mean, any list is more than 20 actions long, if not sooner) I have to do this.

                        Chip

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                        • #13
                          I know the feeling overwhelmed aspect of it. I just shut down at that point and watch TV or play a computer game. I've got the organization part down; it's the motivation part I'm still struggling with.

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                          • #14
                            As a newbie I always get demotivated with things that I have to do but life is all about struggles so just keep pushing.

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