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How to strike a balance between fun, admin, progression and improving your life?

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  • How to strike a balance between fun, admin, progression and improving your life?

    Hi everyone,

    Has anyone found a good way to balance having fun, doing admin, working on progressing (in all areas of life), and nourishing their current situation?

    I'm in the beginning stages of implementing GTD. I have my areas of focus, projects and N/A context lists set up, but I find I spend most of my spare time doing mundane admin tasks/chores such as filling out forms, cleaning, jobhunting, laundry, grocery shopping etc. I'd like to make sure I spend fair amounts of time on the following:
    • Things I enjoy (hobbies etc.)
    • Administration (Paying bills, filling out forms etc.)
    • Progression (for example looking for a new job)
    • Nourishing my current situation (for example putting effort into my current job to make it better)

    Any advice would be greatly received, thanks

  • #2
    I think balance is at best a misleading word. There's no stable equilibrium in life because things are always changing. If you know what you have to do and know what you want to do, then you can set out doing those things. Sometimes one aspect of your life overwhelms others. When we were new parents, my wife read an article that said the priorities for new parents were "first things first, second things when you can, and third probably not." It's good advice. The best you can do is to get a complete inventory (your projects and next actions) of what you really want or need to do, so you can make as wise a choice as you can in the moment. For many things in life, there is a rhythm, and a good choice on a quiet Sunday morning may be a bad choice on a hectic Monday evening. Knowing that you will eventually resolve the things on your lists frees you to be present in each moment and make better choices. If you end up wanting or needing to make significant changes in your life, a good technique is to move up and down between 0 and 50,000 feet, asking "what do I want to be true?" Knowing the time scale over which change can take place will also calm the sense of anxiety that says "Why aren't things better already?" This may not be tactical answer you wanted, but it's what I've found to be true.

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    • #3
      I think you cannot have it all.

      Originally posted by Antoinette GTD'er View Post
      • Things I enjoy (hobbies etc.)
      • Administration (Paying bills, filling out forms etc.)
      • Progression (for example looking for a new job)
      • Nourishing my current situation (for example putting effort into my current job to make it better)
      I think you cannot have it all. You must sacrifice something to get something else.

      What forms do you need to fill?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Antoinette GTD'er View Post
        Has anyone found a good way to balance having fun, doing admin, working on progressing (in all areas of life), and nourishing their current situation?
        I designed my GTD system based on AOFs and included hobbies and other fun things as well as on-going learning etc as AOFs. Then I try to make sure that I have one project in each major AOF so that I have some next actions that are fun stuff.

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        • #5
          Thanks all, I appreciate the responses.

          Thanks for the insight Mcogilvie. Yes I think moving up and down between 0 and 50,000 feet making sure everything is in place will help me. Then to be honest I think it's just a matter of me getting on with it! I think if I ensure I'm working GTD properly then everything should fall into place.

          Like Oogiem, if I have areas of focus such as 'Fun', 'Personal Development' etc., that should take care of it. Making sure there's at least one project for each AOF is a great idea, I'll do that.

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          • #6
            You have to start on the runway first

            If you're just starting out in GTD don't focus on the higher horizons at first. You have to get control of the basic levels of work in your life in ascending order. First get the runway and 10,000 feet (Projects) under control and then you can move into higher levels of strategic thinking. Your "stuff" at runway and 10,000 feet will seriously impair your ability to think at those higher levels. Give yourself 4-6 weeks to get the runway and 10,000 under control first, then start defining your larger horizons.

            Your mind needs time to trust your system. You'd be surprised how much the mind resists the unfamiliar even when it makes sense. I was such an out of control crazymaker basket case when I first started that I needed two months for my mind to trust the system enough to let go.

            You'd also be surprised how much "stuff" is baked and caked in the deep recesses of your mind. Once my mind started to let go all of this "stuff" started to bubble up especially while I was driving. Get a voice recorder that you can operate without taking your eyes off the road -you'll need it. Turn all of that "stuff" into projects and someday/maybes and then you'll have bandwidth to think about your focus areas, goals and your mission in life.

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            • #7
              Balance has been a major focus for me this year, and there are a few things I've done to improve that.
              • Reassess my project list from a higher level viewpoint, moving many projects to Someday Maybe
              • Set aside short blocks of time to make progress on other tasks (i.e. learning, fun, etc.) - start small and attainable
              • Start all project names with AoF to check that no area is under or overloaded

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              • #8
                GTD is pretty much the thing that has allowed me to learn how to manage multiple levels of commitments and responsibility and keep a variety of things moving forward at the same time.

                I used to be the kind of person that would focus on 1-2 areas of my life and other areas would suffer.

                What really, really helped me was the Areas of Focus and Responsibility.

                Once I created that list, because it was so important to me, I added it to my weekly review for a couple of weeks until i felt that I had a handle on each area, not perfect, but just knew I was moving ahead and nothing was falling through the cracks.

                Then once I got to that level, I took it out of the weekly review and put it down as a monthly review.

                Right now, I only review when I need to, which is not very often, and at a minimum every 2 months.

                Another thing that I done

                I use the Things Iphone app as my list manager and what I found was adding a tag that let me know which goal/area of focus that item was associated with helped.

                So I would have a tag like "GTD goal" or "Get in shape goal" or "Financial goal" and these weren't goals parsay, but areas that were important to me to maintain.

                So in addition to seeing a context tag letting me know something was @HOME, I would also see the tag "get in shape goal", and I would know that particular action was associated with my Get in shape goal.

                And again one more thing that helped, lol

                There was a period of about 2 months where I had no job, but in that time I was still using GTD techniques to keep my other goals moving forward.

                So what I done was break my day into chunks.

                So from 9am - 12pm I would focus on any tasks that would help me get a job. These could have been interviews, calls to businesses, talking to referrals, etc

                Then from 1-4pm I would focus on any tasks that had to do with my Iphone repair business. this way I had money coming in while I was out of work.

                Then after 4pm was free time. Time for any other of my goals whether it was getting in shape, socializing, any errands etc.

                So any way hope this give you some ideas.

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                • #9
                  TESTEQ: The forms I have to fill in are for finances, healthcare etc. I do think I might have made too many commitments to myself though so I'm going to go through my lists and see what I can sacrifice, thanks for the tip!

                  ELLOBOGRANDE: I will take your advice and try getting the runway under control first. I can see the benefit now. If I have the runway under control, by definition I will be getting more tasks done, then when I come to focus on the higher areas, I will be used to actually getting tasks done instead of procratinating (one of my major blocks). Not sure if I've explained that well but it makes sense to me!

                  VBAMPTON: I love your suggestions, especially starting project names off with an AoF; thanks!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by shane_k View Post
                    Once I created that list, because it was so important to me, I added it to my weekly review for a couple of weeks
                    Great idea, going to try this.

                    Originally posted by shane_k View Post
                    I use the Things Iphone app as my list manager and what I found was adding a tag that let me know which goal/area of focus that item was associated with helped.
                    I like this idea too (Vbampton mentioned doing this for project names). Not sure how I will do it with my current tools as I use lists on Word and paper lists, but I will be upgrading my tools soon anyway, maybe getting one of those fancy phones in the new year, or some sort of hand held electronic device.

                    Originally posted by shane_k View Post
                    So from 9am - 12pm I would focus on any tasks that would help me get a job. These could have been interviews, calls to businesses, talking to referrals, etc
                    That's definately what I need to do! I'm only working 12 hours per week right now, don't have kids, and don't have much of a routine. Splitting my day up into chunks like that might help loads.

                    Originally posted by shane_k View Post
                    So any way hope this give you some ideas.
                    Yes it certainly does, I'm really grateful for your help

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by shane_k View Post
                      So from 9am - 12pm I would focus on any tasks that would help me get a job. These could have been interviews, calls to businesses, talking to referrals, etc

                      Then from 1-4pm I would focus on any tasks that had to do with my Iphone repair business. this way I had money coming in while I was out of work.
                      Hope you found time for lunch!

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                      • #12
                        That's why I was asking.

                        Originally posted by Antoinette GTD'er View Post
                        I do think I might have made too many commitments to myself though so I'm going to go through my lists and see what I can sacrifice, thanks for the tip!
                        That's why I was asking.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Antoinette GTD'er View Post
                          Hope you found time for lunch!
                          Actually since I didn't see lunch in the workflow diagram I skipped it.

                          I keep telling David he has to add lunch to it but he hasn't yet. haha

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                          • #14
                            You most likely need to realise the power of less, begin to edit your life and minimalise all but the essential things (it takes weeks if not months to create a minimalist lifestyle but its worth it, a good book to read is "the power of less"). GTD doesn't really place much emphasis on minimlising rather the emphasis is on managing it all.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by shane_k View Post
                              Actually since I didn't see lunch in the workflow diagram I skipped it.
                              Ha excellent!

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