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Trusting your self and doing what you want...a researcher's take

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  • Trusting your self and doing what you want...a researcher's take

    On DA's blog post today he talked about this...http://www.gtdtimes.com/2013/03/20/t...28GTD+Times%29

    Well, "talked about" meaning a quote was posted...great quote, though!

    "Trust yourself to do what you really feel like doing, and what you feel like doing will change. Donít, and it will plague you"

    The things I love about GTD are the mind-like-water concept, emphasis on being free from mental burden, and trusting your system. I think that's why it's been working for me for almost 2 years now.

    On the other hand, I'm dealing with some internal conflict on the point of this quote. What I've found in my own productivity (or lack of) patterns is that if I follow my whim, a lot of project get started but nothing gets finished (particularly if there is no deadline). I'm a researcher, have earned my doctorate, present regularly at conferences, so I'm doing okay professionally, but I'm still stymied by finishing up the things with no deadlines (e.g., the peer reviewed publications). They're essential for advancement, I like doing them (I like writing and data analysis), but some really promising projects sill lie half or even 90% finished as new ones develop.

    Looking for any insight from those with similar experiences. How do you "force yourself" (or entice yourself) to finish up things. I've put a stop on new projects (for the most part but not 100% b/c I started a new job and that brought new projects), and banned my self from conferences for a year.

    I should note that the more GTD settles into my daily routine, the easier I'm finding it easier to make time to finish up projects, but nothing is done yet. I've "violated" GTD principles a little bit b/c I make weekly goals of finishing 2-4 specific hand-offs, and use Pomodoro on a daily basis (which requires a sort of "to do" list).

    Would love if DA himself replied on this, but all replies welcome! Thanks in advance

  • #2
    For me one way I get things finished is because I see it time and time again during my Weekly Review. Eventually I feel the need to just do it. Enough is enough!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by mattjans View Post

      "Trust yourself to do what you really feel like doing, and what you feel like doing will change. Donít, and it will plague you"
      David has a knack for saying a lot, with few words. This is a good one. Though in this case, I wish he'd expand on this idea. Love to hear other people chime in on this one.

      Originally posted by mattjans View Post
      ...but some really promising projects sill lie half or even 90% finished... I've "violated" GTD principles a little...
      Since joining Connect, I've taken advantage of my membership and downloaded a plethora of audio, and have come to understand the following about Mr Allen:

      1. He's humble enough to admit that he also struggles with finishing, staying on the GTD wagon, on and on

      2. He doesn't get too worked up about people doing what they need to do to get stuff done. So if you find daily lists and time boxing techniques helpful, go nuts!

      Personally, I use Mark Forster's DWM system. There's a lot of psychological goodies packed into those rules, so I'll leave it up to you to see if they'd work for you. I find DWM keeps me honest, and forces me to be realistic about what I can/can't do in a given week.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mattjans View Post
        I'm a researcher, have earned my doctorate, present regularly at conferences, so I'm doing okay professionally, but I'm still stymied by finishing up the things with no deadlines (e.g., the peer reviewed publications). They're essential for advancement, I like doing them (I like writing and data analysis), but some really promising projects sill lie half or even 90% finished as new ones develop.

        Looking for any insight from those with similar experiences. How do you "force yourself" (or entice yourself) to finish up things. I've put a stop on new projects (for the most part but not 100% b/c I started a new job and that brought new projects), and banned my self from conferences for a year.

        I should note that the more GTD settles into my daily routine, the easier I'm finding it easier to make time to finish up projects, but nothing is done yet. I've "violated" GTD principles a little bit b/c I make weekly goals of finishing 2-4 specific hand-offs, and use Pomodoro on a daily basis (which requires a sort of "to do" list).

        Would love if DA himself replied on this, but all replies welcome! Thanks in advance
        I have also found GTD very helpful for my research. I think "banning yourself" from conferences for a year is a very bad idea. Where do you think your motivation comes from? A significant part comes from contact with colleagues, exchanging ideas, realizing that you have opportunities, you have competitors, and so on. At any given time, I have a pipeline of research going on. Roughly speaking, there is stuff in someday/maybe, R&D, writing, and publishing. Right now I have two manuscripts in preparation, a project with a former student about to move into writing, and two projects with 2nd-year grad students that are in the R&D phase. I have a number of ideas that are in an early R&D phase, and a good-sized someday/maybe list. Obviously, R&D and writing take the most effort. I have two modes of writing: Sometimes I am trying to write alone at home in the early morning for at least an hour. At other times, I am writing at work with a collaborator. In either case, I find that the maximum time I can write on a single project is about an hour and a half, unless of course I am pushing towards a final manuscript on deadline. I've tried pomodoro, and I find it doesn't work very well for me. I do find that thinking of research projects as being in a pipeline is very useful. I think often people don't finish projects because they are afraid of what comes next: "I'll never have another good idea" or "I'll have to learn something new" or "The project after this will be boring" or other negative self-talk. Keeping the pipeline full means there is always new stuff to do, and you have a certain amount of freedom on a day-to-day basis if you keep things moving on average.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
          At any given time, I have a pipeline of research going on. Roughly speaking, there is stuff in someday/maybe, R&D, writing, and publishing.
          I'm interested in how this is entered in your system. I currently have a bunch of folders, one for each project, grouped within Research within Projects. Do you have separate folders for R&D, writing and publishing, and move projects between folders as they progress? Do you find that helps you keep on track with getting a certain amount of writing done - that is, you know you have to do 1.5 hours of writing each day to keep your goals, so you open up that folder and look at what project needs writing?

          To the original poster, I second the notion that it is a bad idea to avoid conferences for a year. You will have a big gap on your CV that you have to explain, and conferences are usually where I get some good ideas or find out about papers I should read. You might consider making more use of your someday/maybe list for new projects.

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