Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

completely new and overwhelmed

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • completely new and overwhelmed

    I am in middle of reading GTD and the situation is so desperate that I have tried starting to do the collection and analysis and converting my stuff to actionable plans. I am just getting more and more depressed writing down all of these things and it seems that there is just no end. I can't possibly ever do all these things but I need to.

    I have two jobs that kind of overlap. I am in the process of starting up an orginazation at the same time. I must start having a personal budget that works. We had a fire and there is damaged goods that have to be sorted and insurance claims to work with and damage that needs to be fixed. There are many house maintenance I am behind in. I feel behind at work and my wife feels like she needs more of my time. And I have a need to exercise and get back in shape.

    Of course all this stuff is rattling around my brain constantly and in theory it should be a relief to get it all down and out of my head but it just seems more overwhelming doing this.

    I am sorry this sounds more like a rant then an actual question or comment.

    Thank you.

  • #2
    This didn't sound like a rant--it sounds like my life!!!!! I also feel like I'll never in the rest of my life get caught up both personally and professionally. Looking forward to hearing from some of the experts on here about where to start.

    Comment


    • #3
      Jonny and pbs. I'm new to the board but have read GTD a few times through. At first, it's going to look bleak and overwhelming but there were a few lessons that I took from implementing GTD.

      I'm a big supporter of being ambitious but when I had all my projects and next actions in front of me, I realized I was spread way too thin. I had to pick, choose and priortize and give myself some realistic deadlines. I deferred those projects/actions into Someday/Maybe. It was tough to put projects important to me on hold but ultimately rewarding as things started getting done!

      You guys must be the smart ones that David mentions in his book, smart enough to recognize the enormous work that may need to be done to accomplish your taks! Your 50,000+ view has got you feeling extremely overwhelmed. Break your life down in managable parts and take a couple of deep breaths. Don't fret, remember successful outcome thinking!

      Also, another discovery I've made is that the GTD method isn't about "catching up" to the point that there is nothing left to do. I think in this day and age being completely finished with everything is an impossibiliity. It's about obtaining the freedom to make the right decisions on what next action can be done.

      Are you rushing through the collection process? Sounds like your mixing up collection and analysis and muddling them together.

      Comment


      • #4
        That overwhelmed feeling

        Jonny - don't be worried by the apparent impossibility of doing everything on your lists. Keep going and get it all out of your head. The turning point comes when you understand that "overwhelm" is a state of mind, and not a law of physics. It's entirely up to you how you respond to the impossible. There are a couple of ways to control a huge to-do list; one is to do everything on it, which is unlikely, and the other is for things to die naturally because you didn't do them - because you were only focused on the really key stuff. GTD is more about changing mindsets than it is about getting magical results from following a formula.

        Best regards

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: completely new and overwhelmed

          Originally posted by jonnyread
          I have two jobs that kind of overlap. I am in the process of starting up an orginazation at the same time. I must start having a personal budget that works. We had a fire and there is damaged goods that have to be sorted and insurance claims to work with and damage that needs to be fixed. There are many house maintenance I am behind in. I feel behind at work and my wife feels like she needs more of my time. And I have a need to exercise and get back in shape.
          A few thoughts:

          First, chunk at a different level. Start with Work Stuff, Personal Stuff. Great that's two chunks. Now you only have two things on your mind. If you break it down like this, it's a little less likely to be overwhelming. You can break these down further into a few projects. Remember the fewer projects you have the faster you can finish them. (The more focus areas you have the less focus you have). If you need to break your projects down into milestones or objectives.

          Second. Determine what 1. Doesn't need to be done at all. Eliminate ruthlessly. 2. What can be delegated. This can be tough, but what can you let go of. Who can you get to help you with certain tasks. You dont' have to do it all yourself. In fact you can't, so go out and get some help. 3. What can be delayed. How much is really time critical. Can this go into your GTD system so that it can be deferred for a couple of weeks, a couple of months, a couple of years? Decision time. What is truely important now.

          Third. Certain things should be above your GTD system. Block time for them. They are critical and need to be appointments on your calender not tasks in your GTD or Next Actions Lists. Get your workout schedule on your calender. Schedule time with your wife and family. Schedule a regular weekly financial review. Schedule some downtime (resting/meditation/prayer, etc.) Schedule you're daily & weekly reviews. These are the most important meetings you have and they are committments to yourself. Stuff in your Next Action Lists are a menu of things you can do to move your objectives forward. Stuff on your calender are the must do committments you have to move those goals forward. You can even block some time to work on your most important projects.

          Fourth. There is more work to do than can ever be done. You must choose what to do. It is not possible to do it all. Ever. No system can solve that. When I forget this I remember the scene in Bruce Almighty where Jim Carey is trying to answer prayers. Regardless of his system he can't answer all of them... I love the scene of the whole room covered in yellow post-its!... So choose what is most important and focus on making that work.

          These are just some things that have worked for me.

          Comment


          • #6
            When I first wrote down everything that was on my mind, I was overwhelmed, too! And just the fact that those things were out of my head led to a ton of new ideas, so my lists were longer and longer.

            Yes, it was a relief to get out of my head, but literally seeing it all down on paper (or electronically) makes us realize just how much we have to do. So of course it's overwhelming! Most of us are trying to do too much anyway.

            As I've used my system, though, the number of items on the lists have stopped overwhelming me. I'll always have lots of next actions - that's okay, as long as they're not the same ones week after week after week. And I'm much better at prioritizing and judging carefully what I can and can't do.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: completely new and overwhelmed

              Originally posted by jpm

              Third. Certain things should be above your GTD system. Block time for them. They are critical and need to be appointments on your calender not tasks in your GTD or Next Actions Lists. Get your workout schedule on your calender. Schedule time with your wife and family. Schedule a regular weekly financial review. Schedule some downtime (resting/meditation/prayer, etc.) Schedule you're daily & weekly reviews. These are the most important meetings you have and they are committments to yourself. Stuff in your Next Action Lists are a menu of things you can do to move your objectives forward. Stuff on your calender are the must do committments you have to move those goals forward. You can even block some time to work on your most important projects.
              Jonnyread,

              The principles of GTD can seem overwhelming at first. Keep in mind that, except for new commitments that you have taken on, whatever you are writing down as a project or next action is not adding to what you have to do but is already something that existed. I think it has some comparison to developing a budget. Many people hate to sit down and write a budget or make a list of assets and liabilities because it's difficult to see in black and white what they already know, that their financial situation is out of control. But if you develop a budget, you can develop a plan to achieve your financial goals. The same is true with your projects. If you have all of your projects in front of you, in an airtight system where you know they will not be overlooked, instead of living in a state of denial you can develop a plan to address them. If you are overcommitted, you can relegate some projects to the Someday/Maybe list, decide not to do them at all, seek assistance or identify someone to delegate to, re-negotiate your commitments, work harder for a period of time or try to figure out another creative solution.

              The GTD philosophy will help you manage your workflow. As you implement more and more of the system, you will not feel so overwhelmed. You will develop more confidence that things won't get lost in the shuffle of day to day life.

              Jpm's suggestions are excellent. I quoted his third point because I think it is particularly useful and something that people may not pick up right away about the hard landscape of the calendar. The commitments you have made to yourself are at least as important as the commitments you have made to others. You need to schedule things like the weekly review, exercise time, down time and family time. Once you develop routines that consistently address these commitments, you may not need to put them on the calendar. In the meantime, feel free to schedule them like any other commitment.

              Note, as Jpm suggested, that you can also block out time on your calendar to work on some of your important projects. When you plan a project or next action, you may want to estimate how much time you think it will take. For example, during my weekly review, I work with a large sheet of paper that I divide up by days of the week. Then I handwrite in my commitments for the week, my routines, plus some next actions to get an idea of how they will fit into my week. This exercise keeps me realistic about the things I can get done in a given week. I may move some items onto my calendar that I decide I am definitely committed to do. For other items, I simply leave them on my next action lists and scan my lists during time that I have allocated to work off my lists. The key is to schedule only what you have truly committed to do and then leave ample time in your schedule for working off your next action lists and addressing daily routines like processing your inbox, reading e-mail, etc.

              You may find that the weekly review is one of the harder aspects of the system to get up and running, but it is one of the critical elements to developing confidence in the system. In the beginning, don't feel like you have to do an exhaustive review. Instead of skipping the review entirely, which is tempting to do, keep your review short and focused on a few of the more important steps. As you progress, you can add more steps and do a more comprehensive review.

              If you continue to have difficulty implementing the system, try posting again. There are many people who read this board who have great solutions. The exchange of ideas on this board (and on the yahoo groups listservs devoted to GTD) has helped me tremendously. Good luck.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: completely new and overwhelmed


                You may find that the weekly review is one of the harder aspects of the system to get up and running, but it is one of the critical elements to developing confidence in the system. In the beginning, don't feel like you have to do an exhaustive review. Instead of skipping the review entirely, which is tempting to do, keep your review short and focused on a few of the more important steps. As you progress, you can add more steps and do a more comprehensive review.
                Hear, Hear!

                It is so inspiring to see people are still pushing on this piece of the puzzle. Getting the weekly review in "weekly" presents a major and positive opportunity to anyone wanting to get more enhanced control, inspiration and creativity in their workflow systems.

                I don't know if you've seen it, here is a great article from Meg on this topic...

                http://www.davidco.com/coaches_corne...article30.html

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks everybody--you've given some great suggestions and inspiration. Now I just have to get it done.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks

                    I am grateful for all your replies.

                    I see that the process of writing everything down, while appearing to make things more overwhelming, is not the real culprit. Writing it down doesn't add more things. It takes a thicker skin to look at it all and still feel that sense of calm and mind like water that GTD speaks about. I guess I was disillusioned because I thought that GTD is supposed to make me feel calmer or more in control and it didn't seem to be doing that. Well I see that it will take time and as I organize and process and set up weekly reviews, over time I willk begin to feel more in control.

                    I guess that it is a good sign that this is not a quick fix. Maybe that means that it actually works.

                    Thanks again,

                    Jonnyread

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Two tips that I found helpful. First, make sure you are brutal in separating Collection and Processing. Just collect. Doing both together is an incredible multiplication of your stress level. Second, if you don't know what is really on your plate, you are much more likely to take on too much, just to be nice, because you don't have a good enough reason to say No. You might have been doing this for a while, and it will also take "awhile" to get out of commitments you cannot fulfill. Third, (oops) the Someday list is a critical TOOL, use it for things that will not be done in the near future. You can trust this if you make sure you do your WEEKLY, Weekly Review.

                      Follow the five stages, very discretely (separate them). You WILL come out of this alive and clear-headed!

                      Best Wishes,
                      Gordon

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: completely new and overwhelmed

                        Originally posted by jmarkey


                        Jpm's suggestions are excellent. I quoted his third point because I think it is particularly useful and something that people may not pick up right away about the hard landscape of the calendar. The commitments you have made to yourself are at least as important as the commitments you have made to others. You need to schedule things like the weekly review, exercise time, down time and family time. Once you develop routines that consistently address these commitments, you may not need to put them on the calendar. In the meantime, feel free to schedule them like any other commitment.
                        Even though my routines are memorized, I still keep them on the calendar. It may look cluttered at times, but I know I need those reminders. I own my own business and my schedule can be sprinkled with early meetings, late night online meetings and being in the shop when it is convenient for my contractors. I also have 2 young children who thrive on the routine day-to-day schedule. I keep as close to the routine schedule as possible, and having the whole routine in front of me on my palm helps me to make proactive choices when something does come up.

                        For example, we needed to have a quick meeting at my house one night which interferred with the normal routine of getting my kids baths, lunches packed, teeth brushed and bedtime. I know it takes about a half hour to do this routine (labeled Evening Routine on my calendar and slotted for 8:00 every school night), so I quickly moved it to 6:00pm - before the meeting at 7:00 - so all I had to do was tell them to brush their teeth and tuck them in at 8:30. When the meeting ended at 10:30 I went right to bed because everything else was done. Had I not 'seen' it coming on my calendar, I would have rushed through the routine with the kids at 8:00 with a meeting still in progress in my family room and most likely missed something and had to get up early in the morning to help with baths and pack lunches. I am not a morning person so this kind of rushing around makes for a very stressful sunrise. NOT how I want to start my day!

                        Here is another example...I have a routine task after immediately school from 3:00 to 3:30 called "homework." This is a daily M-F appointment for my kids to do their homework if they have any. (If they don't then we consider it a gift of time and find something fun to do). Some days I may have to run an emergency errand for the business and we won't make it home at 3:00 to do homework. No problem. The reminder is still visible so I can reschedule it for later that evening and my daughter doesn't have a panic the next morning and realize she forgot to do the homework. The key to this is to avoid filling up the entire day with appointments. The routine stuff I add to my calendar only takes up a few hours each day. I have lots of 'holes' (empty slots) in my day to reschedule/renegotiate the routine if I need to and for getting to next actions and emergencies.

                        It seems like a minor detail, but it saves so much stress to have the 'little things' out of the way or at least rescheduled instead of rushing around at the last minute trying to do 10 things at once. When my kids are older and can do most of this themselves, I will take it off my calendar. Until then...it is hard landscape because something will eventually "die" if we neglect it...like the peacefulness in our house right now

                        Comment

                        Working...
                        X