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  • Empty Head

    Hi there,

    after reading this forum for quiete a long time I'm posting for the first time today. I read the book and implemented a lot.

    I want to ask you if you know the feeling that (even after you emptied your head into NAs and projects) your mind is not "clear like water". I sometimes stare on my list and don't know what to do. The NAs I have just don't feel "concrete" enough to actually do something. I procastinate and surf or just sit in front of my laptop...not very productive.

    I want to reach a state, where doing stuff (NAs) feels better then surfing...
    Any ideas?

    Zelda

  • #2
    Who will pay your bills?

    Originally posted by Zelda
    I want to reach a state, where doing stuff (NAs) feels better then surfing...
    Any ideas?
    Do your homework on the higher levels (10K...50K) to find out what is the successful outcome for each next action. Maybe you do not need to do them? Maybe you want to spend the rest of your life surfing the web? If so - who will pay your bills?

    Be sincere with yourself. Visualize your successful outcomes.

    Comment


    • #3
      Empty Head

      Hi TesTeq,

      not unless surfing brings money in

      I tried to work on the higher levels. But I figured that its hard for me to find goals above the project level. There is no real goals. I'm more the "lets see what the day brings" type.

      Zelda

      Comment


      • #4
        GTD is for taking the responsibility for your life.

        Hi Zelda,

        So you do not need to have any Next Action or Project lists. Just wait and react to the external stimuli.

        But I think it is not the GTD way of living. In my opinion GTD is a methodology to take responsibility for your life. To visualize successful outcomes on different levels (10k...50k). To be prepared for unexpected and to react appropriately according to your goals (mind like water - water does not under- or over-react).

        Comment


        • #5
          Empty Head

          It feels to mee, that using NA and projects lists (like I do) is part of the GTD "Way of living". It's good to know what all has to be done to get a clear head for more planning (above project level).

          Zelda

          Comment


          • #6
            If your NAs don't feel concrete enough to actually do something, are they true NAs? The next time you are procrastinating, or at the next weekly review, look at them and ask "is this the very next physical action to move this project forward?" If not, what is the next action?

            According to DA, vague NAs are a big reason why people procrastinate. Another big one is lack of clear outcomes. So, for each NA and each project, ask "Why am I doing this?" Keep thinking until you find a reason that is important *to you.* The project may be on your list because your boss assigned it, but why do you care what your boss thinks? Yes, you want to keep your job, but why *this* job? And if you don't care whether you keep this job, what are you going to do about it?

            Good luck!

            Katherine

            Comment


            • #7
              Have you read Ready for Anything? I just read a chapter in that book this morning about how sometimes the most important things you accomplish aren't on your lists. Simply put, you are able to do things in the moment because you have corralled everything you need to do and you know you actually have time for something else. Or something like that. If you decide to drink a beer instead of doing one of your NA's, you can really enjoy the beer because you have chosen to drink it instead of NA's rather than drinking the beer and wondering if there is something else you should be doing instead.

              Perhaps you need to think of more meaningful things to do because now you have your NA's pegged and they don't have to be done right now. Sometimes we don't do things because we fear completion - what will we do when we're done with those items? But the truth is, even better things to do will arise so go ahead and get them done.

              Ready for Anything addresses all sorts of issues like this. It is well worth reading more than once.

              Comment


              • #8
                Ready for anything

                Hi Pageta,

                since you've read "ready for anything" I had it in my hand while my last visit in Arizona and had the feeling there's not much new to it. Is it still worth buying, if you've read "GTD" beforehand?

                Thanks for an answer
                Zelda

                Comment


                • #9
                  I procastinate and surf or just sit in front of my laptop
                  Been there - do that! However, having concrete, thought out next actions, some of which need to be done at my computer at least allow me the option of doing them and they do seem to be "slipping in" (oh why don't I just do the darn thing) more often.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Zelda
                    ... "ready for anything" ... had the feeling there's not much new to it. Is it still worth buying, if you've read "GTD" beforehand?
                    It will give you way to improve your approach, tweak your system, make improvements, and provide new ways to look at things. The content is really new per se but rather more in depth and thought provoking.

                    It is broken down into 52 chapters, and DA suggests reading one a week and trying to apply that lesson that week.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well-formulated next actions

                      Originally posted by kewms
                      If your NAs don't feel concrete enough to actually do something, are they true NAs? The next time you are procrastinating, or at the next weekly review, look at them and ask "is this the very next physical action to move this project forward?" If not, what is the next action?

                      According to DA, vague NAs are a big reason why people procrastinate. Another big one is lack of clear outcomes. So, for each NA and each project, ask "Why am I doing this?" Keep thinking until you find a reason that is important *to you.*
                      I have the same sort of problem -- I work in front of my computer all day, so it's very easy to fire up a web browser and check out for hours at a time.

                      Katherine offers excellent advice here. If you're writing down things that are almost but not quite proper next actions, you still have the problem of needing to think them out before doing them. This leaves the door open to all kinds of procrastination as a way to avoid doing the last bit of thinking.

                      I'm a web developer, and I've had a habit of writing "build" next actions for small logical pieces of larger projects. "Build" isn't a next action, though. I usually have to go through some sort of data-finding exercise before I can write code, so "build" never happens because it's still "stuff." When I do the additional thinking to discover that the real next action is "look for X data in database," that action happens much more quickly and soon leads to code being written and things being built.

                      How much extra thinking is involved? Oh, thirty seconds or so. Really.

                      Next actions should be atomic -- they shouldn't break down any smaller. To ensure that you have well-formulated next actions on your list, you may just need to hammer at them some more and break them into smaller pieces.

                      Eventually you get to a point where the actions are just items to punch off a list and you want to get punching. Your next actions should require no thought to do -- the thinking should be done beforehand, and the results go on your action list.

                      And yes, outcomes are important -- I've recently (re)discovered that too. Having the right outcome in mind can change your motivation considerably. What benefits come out of your project? "Getting the project done and checked off" is not the right outcome to focus on.

                      Keep working at it, and let us know how it goes.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Empty Head

                        Hi flexiblefine,

                        I think one of the challanges is, that it seem too much work to write the small atomic actions down. Thats why I devide into bigger pieces..and get stuck.

                        I use my pocketpc and pocketinformant for gtd and it works pretty well. Sometimes I think just writing something down on a piece of paper would be much quicker...but in the end the pocket pc gives more oppertunities to "manage" stuff - thats why I stick to it.

                        Thanks to everyone for the great answers!
                        Zelda

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Zelda
                          I think one of the challanges is, that it seem too much work to write the small atomic actions down. Thats why I devide into bigger pieces..and get stuck.

                          I use my pocketpc and pocketinformant for gtd and it works pretty well. Sometimes I think just writing something down on a piece of paper would be much quicker...but in the end the pocket pc gives more oppertunities to "manage" stuff - thats why I stick to it.
                          Ummm.... if your system is so difficult to use that writing atomic NAs down is "too much work," but at the same time you are getting "stuck" because your NAs are too big, then your system is *not* working "pretty well." In fact, it sounds to me like your system is not working at all.

                          Katherine

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            On the FAST CD David discusses "selling beads on the beach". This refers to the fact that the highest ambition of some people is to go sit on the beach and sell beads rather than deal with the day-to-day responsibilies that most of us have. It's a low-stress way to live and allows one to pretty much just deal with things as they show up. In order to do this, all one has to do is either:
                            1) Be independently wealthy or
                            2) Significantly lower one's lifestyle expectations.

                            However, most of us have grown accustomed to providing a certain level of material posessions for ourselves and those close to us, and thus we have to crank out one sort of widget or another in order to meet those expectations. Once that issue is settled, then it's smart to figure out the most efficient way to crank those widgets with the least amount of mental anguish.
                            That's where GTD comes in.
                            Last edited by spectecGTD; 11-03-2005, 06:49 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Zelda
                              Hi Pageta,

                              since you've read "ready for anything" I had it in my hand while my last visit in Arizona and had the feeling there's not much new to it. Is it still worth buying, if you've read "GTD" beforehand?

                              Thanks for an answer
                              Zelda
                              Zelda,

                              I am reading it for the third time and bought both books only four months ago (I've read the first one only once). It goes way beyond the first book and discusses many of the nuances that you don't pick up on until you've started actually doing GTD, but it discusses all of the things that you start to see in a fresh way once you've been doing GTD.

                              You need to have the first book in order to understand the system, but it's the second book that I find much more useful. I don't think it stands alone very well, though, so I always recommend that people buy both and read Ready for Anything after implementing GTD with the first book.

                              That's my take.

                              Tana

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