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Newbie with disabilities--is GTD for professional people only?

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  • Newbie with disabilities--is GTD for professional people only?

    I'm not sure where to post this. I'm sorry if it's not the right place to write this.

    So I've almost completed the Getting Things Done audio book, and listened to a lot of different webinars on GTDConnect now. I'm just not 100% sure if GTD is for someone like me who's not a professional or one on a higher up position at work at all? What about people with disabilities related to memories and energy? I have fibromyalgia and CFS; and am still trying to find ways to live with reduced energy and serious memory problem. I have problem remembering food in the microwave, or if it's turn to use shampoo or conditioner in the shower...

    The one thing GTD attracts me is to get everything out of your head so you can then have space for those really important stuff. I thought it'd be a great exercise as with my limited energy and memory, having less stuff in my head should help with having extra energy to deal with other things in life.

    But from all the webinars and the book, it seems like GTD is created and targeted more to professional or one who has tons to do at work or lots of meeting and other obligations. I'm just trying to determine if GTD is something I should put more of my limited resources in. Is GTD for professionals only or is it a system that can actually be modified in some way for all walks in life?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Hello Gorgeous!

    Firstly, hello there.
    My name is Allie. I also have CFS and Fibro. Gentle internet hugs for you.
    Yes, GTD can be adapted for your use. I highly suggest though, that you check out Flylady.net first and implement those things. She, (Flylady aka Marla Cilley), literally saved my life. I was struggling so much to cope before I learnt some of her techniques. I have now got a lot of them as second nature and it's made a huge difference!

    A LOT of GTD is brilliant for us too. The 'getting it out of your head' part is brilliant, but honestly, ensuring that you've got enjoyable routines and habits set up so that you can cope on 'bad' days is the way to go, I feel. Having a home for things so that you don't need to walk all over the house looking for them and wasting valuable energy. Have a launch pad next to the door and put things that you need to take on errands there. Let go of clutter, it saps a lot of energy.

    I also highly recommend you look into the work of Rue Hass. She speaks about the connection between CFS and Fibro and 'perfectionist' woman who are real 'doers'. I know that I was! I was athletic, worked 40 hours a week after school and weekends and kept up good grades. I then worked 6 days a week and helped grow businesses very successfully. By 27 though I was sooo burnt out that I ended up pretty much bed-ridden for three years. I am only just getting back on my feet 5 years later after a LOT of personal work and changing soooooooooo much!

    If you want to talk more, get in touch and we could Skype maybe? I have gained a lot of skills from this journey and I would love to help you get set up in the best way for you.

    Take care,
    Allie

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by ashley View Post
      Is GTD for professionals only or is it a system that can actually be modified in some way for all walks in life?
      GTD is for humans, all humans in any type of work.

      I'm basically a sheep farmer, I also am a programmer and have a lot of hobbies. GTD is my salvation when it comes to apportioning my time and energy so that I get done what needs to get done and also move forward with the things I want to get done or that I enjoy.

      No idea on the memory issues, but for me the first step is the getting used to writing down in a capture tool (small notebook or scrap paper pad or something) absolutely everything I want to do or remember and then, even more importantly, processing those notes soon, as in daily into my system.

      Comment


      • #4
        Fibromyalgia & CFS

        Ashley,

        I wholeheartedly agree with the replys above. My wife has fibromyalgia and I've been bringing her up to speed on GTD & it's been a big help for her (she's gotten really good at Collecting - now on to Processing & Organizing ). She even came up with the idea of a Tickler file system on her own. It's a great system for everyone.

        Tom

        Comment


        • #5
          I'd say that I use GTD more extensively in my personal life than my professional life. That's partly because I can choose exactly the personal tools that I want to use, but it nevertheless means that it's certainly relevant outside the workplace.

          From the examples in your post, I could see adding the following projects to GTD:

          Project: Develop a reminder system for food in microwave.
          Next Action: Spend twenty minutes researching timers that have "snooze" option.

          Project: Develop a reminder system for shampoo/conditioner.
          Next action: See if the shower frame is magnetic.

          (My idea for the first would be to have a timer right next to the microwave that will go off every five minutes until you take out the food and turn it off. And for the shampoo, to have two magnets that you move from one side of the shower to the other, as you apply the shampoo and then the conditioner. Of course, these ideas might have been preceded with an action of "Spend twenty minutes brainstorming possible solutions.")

          So I think that it's absolutely relevant and there's a decent chance of it being useful. Not knowing more about either the memory issues or the energy issues, I can't say absolutely, "Yes! Do it!" but I think it's worth exploring.

          One last thought: If the memory issues are an issue within a work session (so that you might forget what you were doing on one page when you go to another one, for example) and if you have friends who might be willing to help, you could ask one of them to explore GTD with you. They could perhaps help you with your weekly review, so that you only have to handle the day-to-day part of the system alone.

          Comment


          • #6
            Our microwave, when it's finished, keeps beeping once every couple of minutes until you open the door again (to take the food out). It might or might not be worthwhile for you to get a microwave like that. (Sometimes people give away microwaves for free or very cheap when they're getting a bigger one.) If not, you could put a separate timer next to the microwave and need to remember to set the timer when you put the food in.

            Comment


            • #7
              GTD for humans

              Welcome Ashley! Totally agree with all the other posts and GTD is for humans. I don't know what CFS is and I don't have fybro but I think you've come to the right place. I'm also a fan of 'Flylady' that Allie mentioned.

              Good luck with your journey and I look forward to hearing about your progress through these forums.
              cheers, Cass

              Comment


              • #8
                It's a set of principles, so they can be adapted to any situation. It works very very well.

                One thing that might help - pick your own contexts early on. The traditional ones like @office, @phone, @errands, etc. won't necessarily work for you, but you can adapt them to suit your life. For example, if walking up and down stairs wears you out, have different contexts for @upstairs and @downstairs. You might also want contexts based on energy levels - quiet tasks to keep you occupied when you're having a bad day, a different list for days you're feeling a bit better.

                And make good use of the someday maybe list, so you don't feel pressured to complete tasks in the short term.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ashley View Post
                  But from all the webinars and the book, it seems like GTD is created and targeted more to professional or one who has tons to do at work or lots of meeting and other obligations. I'm just trying to determine if GTD is something I should put more of my limited resources in. Is GTD for professionals only or is it a system that can actually be modified in some way for all walks in life?
                  I've found it useful in a job as an engineer, in self-employment, looking after a baby and just getting the myriad of things that need done in order to live (paying bills, housework done, shopping, organising food). I like to think we are all professionals at whatever we are doing everyday. Let's face it, just existing these days is complicated!

                  If I remember correctly, David Allen says at the start of the book that you can use any of the principals on their own so if you're worried about going "all in" you could just try for example the two-minute rule (if it's probably going to take less than two minutes then just do it now) for a week and see how that goes. No resources really needed for that one.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    TesTeq's General Productivity Pipe Theory.

                    Originally posted by treelike View Post
                    If I remember correctly, David Allen says at the start of the book that you can use any of the principals on their own so if you're worried about going "all in" you could just try for example the two-minute rule (if it's probably going to take less than two minutes then just do it now) for a week and see how that goes. No resources really needed for that one.
                    For 2-minute rule it is true and I think it's the best start to gain trust in David Allen's teachings (some kind of a low hanging but tasty fruit).

                    But you cannot implement only one part of the GTD workflow. It is like a pipe in plumbing.

                    TesTeq's General Productivity Pipe Theory:
                    • If you don't capture information - you have nothing to process, organize and do as a predefined work (weekly reviews are not in the main path of the plumbing). The productivity pipe is dry.
                    • If you don't process - your inbox overflows and you still have nothing to organize and do as a predefined work. The productivity pipe is clogged.
                    • If you don't organize - you have a pile of predefined work but you cannot easily find (in this pile) what to do. The productivity pipe has a hole and everything is leaking onto the floor.
                    • If you don't do predefined work - the productivity pipe explodes because of the internal pressure.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Wow, thank you so much for all the replies.

                      I don't usually have the energy to type or read much after getting off work. Didn't get a chance to come up here till now

                      I've been getting my email inbox to zero even before reading about GTD. So guess I'm off to a little head start there.

                      My first problem seems to be the collect phase. I tend to have lots of things in my head but don't have the energy to write them down right away. Recording doesn't work as if I don't have the energy to write, I don't want to talk neither...so that's a little problem there. The things I usually have in my head though is about how I feel at that moment--my thoughts, emotions, etc--that I used to write about in my private diary online before I get sick. But with my energy level these days, I haven't been able to write much for years now and that's totally bugging me. Maybe I'll just need to try to at least jot down key words instead of writing out full sentences or an entire blog post. Hmm...

                      I like the the suggestion from someone about the microwave timer. I probably need a timer every where in the house. And as to the shampoo/conditioner problems, I'm thinking of getting those writing pad for using in the shower. I've seen those somewhere online--gotta write it down to research this later.

                      okay....that's all I can managed to type right now. thank you all for your encouragement.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ashley View Post
                        My first problem seems to be the collect phase. I tend to have lots of things in my head but don't have the energy to write them down right away. Recording doesn't work as if I don't have the energy to write, I don't want to talk neither...so that's a little problem there. The things I usually have in my head though is about how I feel at that moment--my thoughts, emotions, etc--that I used to write about in my private diary online before I get sick. But with my energy level these days, I haven't been able to write much for years now and that's totally bugging me. Maybe I'll just need to try to at least jot down key words instead of writing out full sentences or an entire blog post. Hmm...
                        That's a good idea. I often get ideas and scribble them on scrap pieces of paper and put them in my inbox and, even though it can barely be read and it doesn't make any sense on its own I will (usually) remember what it's all about when processing my inbox. It's like the idea is still in my head somewhere but I forgot I had it- until I look at that piece of paper with the scribble on it.

                        I'm making assumptions here but I would guess that your best ideas/thoughts/stuff will probably come when your energy levels are higher and your brain isn't fogged up by the illness. Therefore you probably capture the best stuff when you are able to write and you can not feel so bad about missing the stuff that happened when you weren't able to write.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You can put writing materials in many places around your home -- pads of paper with pencils; whiteboards, etc. -- and/or always carry around a notebook and pencil that's extremely easy to get out and use.

                          Maybe it's easier for you to type than to write or talk. Maybe you can increase your opportunities to type more often.

                          Maybe I'll just need to try to at least jot down key words instead of writing out full sentences or an entire blog post. Hmm...
                          Good idea. A few key words.

                          I like the the suggestion from someone about the microwave timer.
                          Good! Here's another one. When I cook food and intend to put it in the fridge in half an hour or so, I put a special, very big bracelet around my wrist (or just drape a dish towel around my arm, or wear a hat) to remind me. Sometimes I put a large object on my bed to remind me to do something before going to sleep.

                          Ideas about memory that might or might not be helpful for you:

                          Sometimes when I don't have the energy to write something down, or don't have a pencil handy, I memorize it. I use memory techniques such as described in books like "A Sheep Falls Out of the Tree". Basically, you convert a thought into a ridiculous visual image, then try to remember the image. The effort of converting it helps you remember it -- because your brain has done work, it tends to remember -- and also for most people a visual image is easier to remember than other kinds of information. The more ridiculous, the easier to remember.

                          For example, if I'm on the way to the grocery store and I think "I want one more thing that's not on my list -- a loaf of bread" and it's not possible or convenient to write that down, I might imagine a huge loaf of bread balanced on top of the grocery store. Adding detail to the image helps remember it -- for example imagining the peak of the roof of the grocery store pushing up into the huge loaf and making crumbs fall down. Or I might imagine myself standing at the checkout counter and a trap door opens beside me and a giant loaf of bread comes up through it and slices of bread spread around onto the counter. I have to put in the bit about the slices of bread or else I'd get there and think "I imagined something coming out of a trap door -- what was it?" Adding detail to the image makes it easier to remember.

                          Sometimes when I want to remember something for a short time I translate it into just two letters, and pretend to write those letters with my fingers. That helps me.

                          Taking phosphatidylserine as a nutritional supplement is supposed to help with memory. I think it helps me.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi, Ashley.

                            In Getting Things Done, DA makes the very valid point that gardening and other personal pursuits are just as much work as anything you can do professionally. That's why he defines work as anything you want or need to be different than it is now (or something pretty close to that), and why GTD was designed as a total life management system rather than one just for professionals. You'll have to decide for yourself whether that's the case but FWIW I've found it to be true.

                            I have ADHD and while I don't know if the short-term memory issues I struggle with are as significant as the ones you're dealing with I may at least have an inkling. Capturing things when I think of them has turned out to be a vital coping skill to deal with forgetfulness.

                            I'm still in the process of rehabilitating a system I let get out of control and I'm probably only 50 - 75 % there, yet I'm still experiencing a significant benefit. Doing "some" GTD is better than none at all. If your illness limits you, do what you can do. Adapt GTD to your needs. It's intended to be an enabler, not a straitjacket. Set yourself up for success.

                            Good luck and best wishes for your success.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I am thinking that the more limited the resources you have (time and energy to work on objectives) the more important it is to spend the time and energy you do have to work on the ones most important to you. GTD will help you get comfortable with that as you capture your list of objectives (projects) and also a list of things you'd like to do but don't have the bandwidth or energy to do now (Someday/Maybe list.) Getting clear on which is which is one of the main benefits of GTD.

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