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  • Purpose/Principals

    Hi everyone,

    I'm many years into GTD -- 6 or 7, I'd guess -- and I've decided to re-work my way through pretty much each corner of my system this month as a way to refresh and (obviously) re-examine my direction. The process has been great, and messy, and challenging; what's been interesting is that I find my previous 50,000 foot statement feeling....stale, and sort of untruthful, and as such I'd like to really dig deep at that least examined section of my system. I came back to GTD Connect to attempt to find focused work on the 50,000 foot level -- a webinar, for example -- but I'm not finding as much as I'd like (except for the "higher level webinar" which feels a little more cursory than perhaps I'd like). Anyone have any resources or thoughts re: Purpose and Principals toward which they'd feel comfortable pointing me?

    Thanks in advance everyone,

    Mike

  • #2
    The Think Retreat

    I think the reason there is no course to teach one to reevaluate these principles is because it is deceptively easy: You evaluate these ideas and decide if these are the goals/principles/roles worth developing and pursuing. The lesson I learned is that I need to be in a relaxed state to be able to do this evaluation well and honestly. So several years ago I came up with the biennial Think Weekend Retreat*, where I literally go off to a retreat center** for a weekend to decompress mentally, physically, and spiritually. Sometimes with a friend, sometimes alone. After a day of exercise, relaxation, prayer, and fellowship I find I am then in a frame of mind to do this type of hard and honest evaluation. The evaluation takes less than half a day, but I really need a day and a half to get in that frame of mind. Like the Weekly Review, the think weekend has become an invigorating and an indispensable part of my practice of GTD.

    Good Luck!


    *Not my idea originally. I read this article about Bill Gate's Think Week retreat and it served as the genesis for my Think Weekend.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB1...690477,00.html


    ** I found that there are lots of retreat centers withing an hour or two of me. Many are affiliated with a religious group and most will let you buy into the "Unguided Retreat" option where you have a spartan room, and meals, and use of the grounds - all at a very reasonable price.

    Comment


    • #3
      Mike,

      When comes to planning at the "loftier" levels - of anything (business, for example; vision; mission etc) - I find it useful, if not necessary, to start with a bottom-up approach. I find it very impractical to try to grab something "high-level" out of the blue and then assess it and break it down in a way that becomes meaningful to the present situation.

      It is so much easier as a first step, and also gives you a useful "benchmark vision" to compare with, to instead try to summarize the present situation very honestly ("nakedly" if you will) onto higher and higher levels - in other words describe your present as accurately as you can in terms of AS IF you had had this or that vision (etc) up until now. (If you were an outsider, what would you have believed were your vision?)

      When this has been done as a first step, it becomes relatively easy to see opportunities for possible improvement, and to break it down a bit to see whether it is realistic and still desirable (in terms of what you would need to add or subtract at the concrete level from what you have been doing so far; and what the likely overall outcome would be). It may be necessary to iterate a few times, testing a few alternatively amended visions, to find one that will work well.
      Last edited by Folke; 09-29-2013, 07:51 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks guys -- interesting stuff to play around with. One of the reasons it feels like a necessary maneuver for me is that I just recently had children (twins)(hold your applause) and it struck me as one of the kinds of life-events David Allen talks about in particular in Making It All Work -- it occurred to me that I needed to make sure there was better alignment with the kinds of things I work at, and the kinds of things I want my life to be about. A retreat sounds like a great idea -- I'll see if I can make something like that happen. And I agree entirely with the idea of starting at the bottom and working my way up; but I think too that there's a little bit of synergy there: that the bottom-up approach creates the system (that's how I learned GTD, anyway), but now that the system is in place there's a tension to insofar as the highest level also serves not only as an assessment of the present, but a kind of roadmap for my future. So, a lot of interplay here.

        I much appreciate the current (and perhaps future?) insight and input,

        Mike

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by miketsimpson View Post
          Thanks guys -- interesting stuff to play around with. One of the reasons it feels like a necessary maneuver for me is that I just recently had children (twins)(hold your applause) and it struck me as one of the kinds of life-events David Allen talks about in particular in Making It All Work -- it occurred to me that I needed to make sure there was better alignment with the kinds of things I work at, and the kinds of things I want my life to be about.
          I reckon that having children is probably the biggest life event you can go through (yes, I'm going through it too). There's a temptation to pass on my purpose and values to my children but, on the other hand, I want them to be independent people who can think for themselves. Most importantly, I don't want them to make the same big mistakes that I have made in my life.

          It can have the effect of crystallizing the higher levels... some goals now become impossible and others become definite, and of course new ones appear. The biggest thing is that life becomes less about you, which can be painful to realise.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bcmyers2112
            This is a discussion I've been avoiding with myself and it's been a huge gap in my GTD practice. The only insight I can offer is one a friend gave me when I told him I'm uncertain I even know who I am or should be. He said it doesn't have to be about discovery. It can be about definition. Who do you want to be? From the answer to that question you should probably be able to identify some goals, projects, and next actions.
            But you need to discover who you want to be. I don't see any other way. For me, sitting down and trying to "work out" the higher levels never works. The answers "just come", usually when I am doing something mundane. That is discovery. That's what the inbox is for.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by bcmyers2112
              "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
              Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

              Hamlet, Act I, Scene V
              I do think that I would have benefitted from reading more fiction during my life....

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by bcmyers2112
                Sigh...

                I'm just saying there may be things outside of your experience that are as valid as whatever works for you. My friend's suggestion was helpful to me so I offered it in that spirit. That shouldn't be threatening to anyone. It's just another idea for people to consider.

                I quoted Hamlet because I thought Shakespeare phrased the idea more powerfully than I likely could.
                Nothing you have said was threatening, in fact I found where you said "you have to have the conversation with yourself" very interesting. Thanks for the thoughts

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by bcmyers2112
                  A lot of people think DA should have provided more structured guidance about the higher levels in GTD. I disagree. I think he was right to approach it like he did. There are as many paths to self-actualization, fulfillment, enlightenment or whatever you want to call it as there are people..
                  I agree with the sentiment mostly; I don't think I'm looking for the level of guidance that you get on the ground level (like, "Get an inbox" or "labellers are awesome [which they are, of course]). But I also think that there's maybe too much room provided -- if you scan GTD Connect, or GTD Times, or the books, or emails, etc, there's an extraordinary imbalance in even philosophic approaches to the highest level, almost to the extent that the mystery of them is impenetrable. I'm deeply curious about the process of arriving at more meaningful (and useful) higher levels and though I'm not looking for 250 pages on implementation, I do feel that in a system that is so operative and specific there is an amount of additional work that could be done to drill down further.

                  For example, a 60 minute webinar only on 40,000 and 50,000 would be, like, incredibly badass (which is about as nerdy a thing as I can say).

                  Thank you so much everyone,

                  -Mike

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by miketsimpson View Post
                    For example, a 60 minute webinar only on 40,000 and 50,000 would be, like, incredibly badass (which is about as nerdy a thing as I can say).
                    Captured as a GTD Connect webinar idea Mike. Thanks!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by miketsimpson View Post
                      But I also think that there's maybe too much room provided -- if you scan GTD Connect, or GTD Times, or the books, or emails, etc, there's an extraordinary imbalance in even philosophic approaches to the highest level, almost to the extent that the mystery of them is impenetrable.
                      Maybe there is no impenetrable mystery, but just a bunch of people who frame their largest goals and highest principles in very different ways?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by miketsimpson View Post
                        I agree with the sentiment mostly; I don't think I'm looking for the level of guidance that you get on the ground level (like, "Get an inbox" or "labellers are awesome [which they are, of course]). But I also think that there's maybe too much room provided -- if you scan GTD Connect, or GTD Times, or the books, or emails, etc, there's an extraordinary imbalance in even philosophic approaches to the highest level, almost to the extent that the mystery of them is impenetrable. I'm deeply curious about the process of arriving at more meaningful (and useful) higher levels and though I'm not looking for 250 pages on implementation, I do feel that in a system that is so operative and specific there is an amount of additional work that could be done to drill down further.
                        Maybe we already have the ability to determine our own purpose inside us (i.e. our brain) and, rather than a system to work out the higher levels, we need a system to filter out all the modern day stuff which is interfering with our natural way to think. I mean, I doubt many people had a problem with what they're life vision was back when we lived in caves, not that I was around then (although I am starting to get on....) Modern life has made us busy with the minutiae of details that we have to think about when we do just about any activity. If I'm hungry the next action is not "Go kill a bison" it's plan the shopping, check cupboard stocks, use by dates on items, remember wallet, get car seat and support materials if taking baby (which can be a project in itself), check car fuel, remember shopping bags because there's a whole environmental thing going on at the moment here with plastic bags, which credit card to use for cashback, sometimes you get money back for spending over a certain amount but you have to print a coupon off in advance but it takes time but it's a good deal..... you get the idea.

                        Maybe you've got people to do the shopping for you but there's so many other examples. In a way it's a good thing because modern life has given us all these opportunities but at the potential cost of distracting our minds from what is really important to us.

                        Dare I even say that any system that purports to work out your higher levels is itself a distraction from the perfection of the natural planning of the human brain

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Mike,

                          I think you started a really important & useful conversation, thank you. I tried to give a comprehensive reply, however, I decided to post it as a new thread called 'GTD's 50,000 ft. is simply universal?'. I am interested in the subject, like you, so I hope you don't mind that I extended the conversation to a new thread, hoping to see it continue.

                          Bob Steele

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Retreat

                            I second the idea of a retreat. Can't take time to actually go somewhere? Then go stay in your guest room in your own house. Plan a staycation, go to the park with a notebook or pad of paper and an open mind, get someone to take you on a long drive and just be a passenger with pen and paper handy, go check into a hotel for a weekend and brainstorm where you ware and where you want to be in 5-10-25-50 years. Write your obituary, what do you want to be remembered for?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kelstarrising View Post
                              Captured as a GTD Connect webinar idea Mike. Thanks!
                              Thanks! That's really cool of you!

                              Comment

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