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Unable to pick/stick with a system

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  • Unable to pick/stick with a system

    I was inspired to post this question after reading David Allen's latest newsletter, which ends with the quote "99% is a bitch, 100% is a breeze." I'm embarrassed to admit this, considering how long I've been reading this forum and dancing around 'kinda' doing GTD, but never completely. However, when it comes to putting EVERYTHING in a trusted system, I've never been able to do it. I use THINGS for mac for my actionable emails, paper sometimes, Trello sometimes, and Toodledo, but never just one, and never completely. I've tried just paper but I get too impatient having to write everything down and end up giving up. I notice a strong sense of resistance when I try to just pick one - kind of like my brain freezes, and then I'll get distracted and forget about it for a while. I pretty much work out of my email inbox, which isn't efficient at all. Anyone else have the same problem and any suggested solutions?

  • #2
    Only one solution

    Originally posted by jennytg3 View Post
    I was inspired to post this question after reading David Allen's latest newsletter, which ends with the quote "99% is a bitch, 100% is a breeze." I'm embarrassed to admit this, considering how long I've been reading this forum and dancing around 'kinda' doing GTD, but never completely. However, when it comes to putting EVERYTHING in a trusted system, I've never been able to do it. I use THINGS for mac for my actionable emails, paper sometimes, Trello sometimes, and Toodledo, but never just one, and never completely. I've tried just paper but I get too impatient having to write everything down and end up giving up. I notice a strong sense of resistance when I try to just pick one - kind of like my brain freezes, and then I'll get distracted and forget about it for a while. I pretty much work out of my email inbox, which isn't efficient at all. Anyone else have the same problem and any suggested solutions?
    You're so brave and honest! I suspect lots of people have the same exact issue. I know you're hoping for great, profound words of wisdom--and you may get it (along with urgings to try a dozen or so other systems)--but there really is only one solution: just pick something. Pick something and get good at GTD. Stay with it awhile. Once you really feel like your system is on cruise control, if you still feel like searching for the "perfect" system (holy grail), then make a change.

    Love your bravery...really.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by jennytg3 View Post
      Anyone else have the same problem and any suggested solutions?
      No, I don't think I have that problem, but I might possibly have a solution: put each thing into a trusted system, but not necessarily everything into the same system! I have a number of systems that I'm using, and overall they work reasonably well. Many are on paper. Some are on the computer. I have a watch that beeps and displays a word or two before appointments. A few of my systems are physical locations, such as a habit of putting something into my backpack so that I'll automatically bring it with me next time I go to work. If I can find a good way to use a physical location like that, I prefer to do that rather than writing down a reminder. For most things, I write them down on a context page on a little notebook that I always carry around in my pocket. For most things at work, I write them down each on a separate sheet of paper and put them in my tickle file or inbox or powers-of-2 system or other appropriate system. I answer emails as they arrive or I put them into an "unanswered" or "action" email folder -- actually, I have a set of action email folders that I use a powers-of-2 system on -- and sometimes also put a note to myself on a separate sheet of paper referring to the email to remind myself to reply.

      These systems complement each other. (Like me and Dena but with an "e" instead of an "i".) When something comes up I can usually rapidly select the system I want to put it into, based on where I am when I'm capturing, how much time and energy I have for capturing right then, where I'll be when I'll take action, how soon I'll need to take action, etc. Each of the systems works (er, more-or-less) and is trusted. I don't think they would work better if I put everything into just one of the systems.

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