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GTD and routines

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  • GTD and routines

    Hello good people,

    How do you go about larger scale projects of the sort "Learn to play the piano".

    I have come as far as choosing a specific learning program which enabled me to formulate my goal as "Learn to play the Bach Chorales directly from the sheet music, without looking on the piano".

    Still, this is a major project. And luckily the program that I'm following devices a series of steps to achieve, so that's good.

    So really it comes down to just practising regularly. I have a few of these long term learning goals and I have had some success bundling the daily practise for each of these goals into a routine that includes piano practice, singing practice, a writing exercise, jogging and doing a bit of yoga.

    But I have been asking myself how these sort of things fit into GTD. How does one define a next action for my Bach Chorales goal as described above? Next step: practice. Then the next step: practice some more. And so forth...

    Is the key just to put practise time into your calendar's "hard landscape"?

    What are your thoughts?

  • #2
    I think GTD is a bit wishy-washy about this. Putting it in your "hard landscape" seems to me to go against the principles of GTD, but I think David Allen recognizes that in his books as a good technique. Leaving it to compete with other actions on a context list may allow it to be over-ridden by a series of short-term urgent things.

    Here's what I do for physical exercise. I decide on a certain amount per week that I plan to do, and I allow myself to do it whenever I can find the time. When I finish all the exercises for the week I give myself a reward. I also have one "overlap" day when I can either finish the exercises as the last day of the week, or get ahead on the exercises for the coming week. Somehow the existence of that "overlap" day, with its possibility of getting ahead, helps a lot to motivate me all week. This system has worked for me in the past and is working now, but doesn't seem to recover well from falling off the wagon. In theory I set myself reduced amounts of exercise when sick; in practice I guess I've been forgetting all about exercise and then having to remember to climb back onto the wagon somehow.

    For music: I think there are studies showing that people tend to do well if they practice regularly in the morning. I used to wake up to the sound of my late sister practicing on her violin. I'm not sure if practicing in the morning is necessarily better or if it's just that the type of person who would want to do that is also likely to do well in music, but it's probably more useful to assume that it does help.

    One technique I like to use is to learn the last bit of a piece of music first, and gradually learn longer and longer parts always ending at the end. This has advantages -- you always feel as if you're getting to more familiar territory, rather than as if you're always struggling uphill, as you would feel if you had learned the first part of the piece first.

    Comment


    • #3
      Great question!

      I think lots of people struggle with these type of "projects" because they are longer term, kind of like goals, but different from the other goals we deal with in our lives. The way I would handle "Learn to play the Piano" would be to make that a goal or even an area of focus. I might make a project out of certain parts, as you have done, just to make sure I'm making progress toward my goal. Luckily, your piano mastery goal has elements that lend itself to project-tizing (new word.)

      For myself, I think I'd put practice time in my calendar just as I would any other appointment with myself. I might make it an event I could do anytime that day or actually pick a time. The important thing, though, is not to get in the habit of breaking appointments like this or you won't trust your calendar as much.

      Best of luck with your very worthy goal!

      Comment


      • #4
        Appointment with myself!

        Originally posted by Barb View Post
        For myself, I think I'd put practice time in my calendar just as I would any other appointment with myself. I might make it an event I could do anytime that day or actually pick a time.
        I agree - I would do the same. And I would schedule recurring appointments with myself (just as you would do it if you are attending lessons with a teacher or a yoga class). It establishes a healthy and thought-through week structure.

        "Appointment with myself" is a very powerful tool in reaching your goals.

        Comment


        • #5
          Most people have rhythms to the way they live, and an awareness of those can help to build good habits. I usually practice guitar in the early morning and late evening, for various reasons. If I am working at home, I may take a short break and play briefly. This is usually around 10:30. Oops, spousal unit is awake, time to go play guitar.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
            One technique I like to use is to learn the last bit of a piece of music first, and gradually learn longer and longer parts always ending at the end. This has advantages -- you always feel as if you're getting to more familiar territory, rather than as if you're always struggling uphill, as you would feel if you had learned the first part of the piece first.
            I REALLY like that idea... I don't know how many pieces I've started and gotten really good at the first page, and then I just lose momentum. This is brilliant! I might have to put a new (or old!) piece of music on my project list this weekend!

            Comment


            • #7
              This is my "Learn French"

              I put this on my 30k list. And for anything 30k and up, I break it down into 20k, 10k or what I call 0k items. 0k items are habits ... routines. Habits and routines go into checklists for me. I try to make them daily habits, if it makes sense to do so, and especially when starting. I start really small - 5 mins and build up momentum that way.

              So this would end up being perhaps a 10k to get a tutor, or keyboard, etc., and then 0k to practice weekly or daily or 2-3 times a week. I use a lot of the content from Leo Baubuta and The Power of Habits to engineer the habit before I get started.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by CJSullivan View Post
                I REALLY like that idea... I don't know how many pieces I've started and gotten really good at the first page, and then I just lose momentum. This is brilliant! I might have to put a new (or old!) piece of music on my project list this weekend!
                I'm glad you like it. I'm sorry that I can't remember who passed the idea on to me. Here's one web page that describes this technique, of working backwards from the end: http://caseymccann.com/blog/2011/10/...t-the-end.html

                For a longer piece of music, it might work well to start at the end and work backwards for a while, then suddenly jump to working on a difficult part near the middle for a while or something. Or to learn each page or section (starting with the last?) starting at the end of each page.

                I used to sometimes play a piece reasonably well but hesitate before the last chord because it would have more notes in it. That can be frustrating for the musician and for anyone who happens to be listening. Working backwards tends to solve that problem: you get to hear the resolving chord and feel satisfaction, even if you've only played part of the piece.

                Another advantage of working backwards: because you haven't had a habit of stopping at certain spots while you were first learning it, later on, allegedly, your mind is less likely to go blank when you get to those spots.
                Last edited by cwoodgold; 11-17-2012, 08:02 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
                  One technique I like to use is to learn the last bit of a piece of music first, and gradually learn longer and longer parts always ending at the end. This has advantages -- you always feel as if you're getting to more familiar territory, rather than as if you're always struggling uphill, as you would feel if you had learned the first part of the piece first.
                  Interesting. I play all sorts of fingerstyle guitar styles, but most often the first part of the music lays down a theme, and what follows explores that theme in various ways. It's usually easiest to start at the beginning and go from there, but you do get the immediate gratification in the same way.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Learning the GTD Workflow backwards.

                    Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
                    Another advantage of working backwards: because you haven't had a habit of stopping at certain spots while you were first learning it, later on, allegedly, your mind is less likely to go blank when you get to those spots.
                    So, shouldn't we learn the GTD Workflow backwards?

                    Begin with Doing what we should do.

                    Then Review what we haven't done yet.

                    Then Organize it.

                    Then Process.

                    And finally Collect new stuff into the already empty inbox...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                      So, shouldn't we learn the GTD Workflow backwards?
                      It might make sense to start by doing stuff regularly from a system; then start trusting that things in that system will get done; then start putting lots of stuff into it. Otherwise starting GTD takes a leap of faith.

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