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Process items in a separated steps vs process them when you decide to deal with it?

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  • Process items in a separated steps vs process them when you decide to deal with it?

    One thing that makes GTD different from the rest worlds is that you process items before you deal with them.That sometimes put me in frustration. First off, I don't really have the mood to think it through before I really get to it. Second, it gives me a clear goal, context, and fresh memory when I figure out what it is right before I do it. and then I just do it in a continuous way, which keep me good in terms of why I am doing it.



    any ideas?

  • #2
    Capture that mood in your NA

    Originally posted by AlexanderChow View Post
    One thing that makes GTD different from the rest worlds is that you process items before you deal with them.That sometimes put me in frustration. First off, I don't really have the mood to think it through before I really get to it. Second, it gives me a clear goal, context, and fresh memory when I figure out what it is right before I do it. and then I just do it in a continuous way, which keep me good in terms of why I am doing it.

    any ideas?
    Figuring out and then being able to start right away with working on something is an approach that works great... if your work does come to you in a serial type of way and you don't get anything new unless the old has been finished. Unfortunately that is rarely (I should probably say "never") the case. If you have, let's say, 10 new e-mails and you start working on the project the first one is related to (after figuring out goals, outcome, ...) then "who knows what's in the other nine"? Maybe there's something in there that's much more urgent.

    Suggestion: try to capture that positive flow of being "in" a project, having clear goals and fresh memory by defining good worded NA's on your lists that get you back in the same mood and spirit once you actually will be working on them.

    greetings,
    Myriam

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    • #3
      Originally posted by AlexanderChow View Post
      One thing that makes GTD different from the rest worlds is that you process items before you deal with them.That sometimes put me in frustration. First off, I don't really have the mood to think it through before I really get to it. Second, it gives me a clear goal, context, and fresh memory when I figure out what it is right before I do it. and then I just do it in a continuous way, which keep me good in terms of why I am doing it.

      any ideas?
      David Allen says to identify the next single physical action, but that isn't really what he means!! For example, "phone Susan about X": he counts making a phone call as a single action, when really it involves walking over to the phone, picking up the receiver, dialling the first number, then dialling the next number, etc. I think the reason he counts it as a single physical action is that it's doable: if we have on our list "phone Susan", we feel that we know how to do it and we'll do it.

      Maybe for you, larger chunks are doable actions. That's fine -- as long as the actions you write on your list are doable for you, and you actually do them. If you find yourself avoiding certain actions, then maybe you need to do some preliminary thinking as recommended in GTD.

      When exactly do you experience the frustration?

      Are you able to identify ahead of time what context you'll need to be in when you start?

      About not being in the mood to think it through ahead of time: for me, this was a matter of willpower, and now it's pretty much a habit, so it takes less effort. For me, having a list of small doable actions is delightful and helps me get things done, so that helps me summon the energy to transform my stuff into doable actions for the next time. It may take about 1 to 10 seconds of serious thinking, the kind of thinking I would do if I were about to do the thing.

      You can figure out what type of thing you'll want to see on your list in order to start working on something: a chunk of work that's not too big and not too small for you,
      pre-defined just the right amount for you.

      I also sometimes get frustrated if I've identified the next step, and then later when I go to do it, I've changed my mind and want to do a different next step. One way to help with this is to say e.g. "sort books in order to move them upstairs" -- that is, list both an action and a larger goal; that makes it easier to discard the action but still work on the same goal.
      Last edited by cwoodgold; 12-21-2012, 08:12 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by AlexanderChow View Post
        One thing that makes GTD different from the rest worlds is that you process items before you deal with them.That sometimes put me in frustration. First off, I don't really have the mood to think it through before I really get to it. Second, it gives me a clear goal, context, and fresh memory when I figure out what it is right before I do it. and then I just do it in a continuous way, which keep me good in terms of why I am doing it.
        You look at something and think "I don't want to think this through now but once I do I bet I can do it in three hours." So your next action is "Find three hours in my schedule to think through and deal with xxx." That's all you have to do.

        I prepare all my course lectures the night before if I can. Why? Because I know it will take me about that much time, and the material will be fresh in my mind the next day. On the other hand, I will have small next actions like "Jot down ideas for midterm" on a list because at some point I will look at that item, have an idea and jot it down. Effective doing is often the path of least resistance.

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