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  • "I want you to test this stuff out, even challenge it".

    Originally posted by DavidAllen
    ProjectThis - I'm fine that you want to communicate whatever, in some appropriate manner - to me or to others, but your agenda seems something other than what this Forum is about. Frankly, I don't know anyone of any consequence on this planet who hasn't bothered and scared someone else by being who they are and sharing it with others. So? The good news about this discussion is the validation it has surfaced from those who follow my message: try it, and if it works, use it. If something works better, cool. I keep working on it, myself... I don't particularly like to play this way, but our WebMaster is tasked with keeping the Forums on track, so if you continue to pursue your agenda, it'll get nixed. - David Allen
    Thank you for the message. I have no agenda, other than trying to understand what GTD is all about, and which parts of it work, and which parts of it don't work. Surely GTD could benefit from some scrutiny, and subjecting it to proper testing done by independent sources in various accredited universities.
    Its vitally important for psychological systems like GTD to encourage and be totally open to analysis and criticism, and to not try to suppress it.

    In the 'Welcome' to the book Getting Things Done, David asked us to try GTD, and even challenge it. The quote is...

    "I want you to test this stuff out, even challenge it".

    I have tested it out, and there are some parts of GTD that I think could be challenged, or rethought, or might be mistaken.

    I don't think anyone would have any problem with labelers, filing, or making lists, and things of that nature.

    But around page 230 of the book, it moves into other areas, where I do have some challenges. So I am going to briefly list a few of these challenges, and see if there are others who have some challenging parts of GTD as well.
    GTD is not only just a few tricks to use. Its also stressed very clearly in the book that it is a totalist complete system for managing all of our personal and professional lives. My question is, does it actually work, or is the system too difficult to implement, and thus causes even more stress for some people?
    I think this is a valid a reasoned question that could be objectively tested.

    Here are a few areas I am not sure are necessarily correct.
    -Agreements. On pg 230-235, the point is made that the agreements we have made are all held in present tense in the psyche. I don't think this is correct, as I know my brain can certainly tell the difference between the past and the future in most cases. My grandma had a stroke last year, and now she cannot tell the difference between agreements made last month, or 10 minutes ago.
    Also, he says that we can break inner agreements we are not consciously aware of! That would seem to me to be speculative at best.
    Also, that breaking these agreements are the cause stress, and that writing them all out will help relieve this. I don't know for sure, but I doubt this is accurate when taken too far. I think if a person attempts to capture 'all' of these, then this can create more stress, and not just in the short term. So basically I don't agree that breaking agreements with ourselves that we are not even aware of erodes self-trust and creates bad feelings. I do agree that consciously doing this can create problems at times, but going to far with this can easily backfire.
    There are more issues in this area, but I'll leave it at that for the moment.

    -Organizations. I don't think the full GTD process can be fully implemented in an organization, and I don't know if that is even desirable. It would be interesting to see objective 3rd party research on the results of attempting this. Also, getting groups to behave and think together in this fashion can lead to GroupThink. I personally would not want everyone to be thinking and acting in the same way in a group or organization, I personally find that somewhat creepy. Also, getting in my head that others should be more GTD-like, is going to make me more stressed. The bottom line is, if I am not their boss, or even if I am, I basically have to learn to accept a lot of 'unacceptable' human behavior that I don't like in people. If my expectations for others behavior are unrealistic, I am going to suffer, with frustration, anger and even intolerance.

    -clear Psychic RAM. Does having clear psychic RAM make us more productive? Is it even possible to achieve this state? Is keeping 'everything out of your head' an achievable goal? Does not writing down a call make a person stressed? I don't know if it does. I know many people who are not particularly stressed, and they keep lots of things in their heads. I also know people who write everything down who are a mess. So again, I would think this could benefit from some careful testing, to see if it backfires for certain people. Also, there is often a genetic temperament component with these types of issues.

    -Contexts. One thing that seems to be missing, is our ability to create and choose our own contexts based on personal priority. This is a minor issue, but one that can stump people.

    -Stress-free productivity. I think that is obviously a catch-phrase, but I am not sure again, that is realistic. Reduced stress? Well, that can be objectively measured. Increased productivity? That also can be measured. But there ain't no such thing as 'stress-free' on this planet. But again, these things can be measured objectively by 3rd parties. Wouldn't it be interesting to see if the GTD process made certain types of people more stressed out? Is getting a Mind Like Water a realistic goal? Or is it another unattainable concept?

    -GTD as a global thought process. David mentions that is his mission. But on a personal level, can the GTD methodology be gainfully applied to both our professions, and with our wives and kids? I personally think it is going way too far to push this type of systems thinking into one's intimate relationships, which is why most people 'grimace' when hearing the idea of directing the wife to your Inbox. I don't want to be hit on the head one day with an Inbox.

    There are a number of other issues along these lines that I personally question. David said there is more to GTD than meets the eye, and that GTD can have a profound impact on people. This I do agree with. But its a profound error to think that the full monty of GTD is simply a few tricks to be more productive. GTD is presented as a totalist system, and even a comprehensive philosophy of life, and folks are strongly encouraged to try to implement the 'entire system', to get the 'full benefits'.
    What can easily happen, is because this is so difficult to do, and certain aspects of GTD might not even be possible, it could theoretically make a person more confused, and stressed, and even to start blaming themselves for not being able to do it.
    I believe it was the big man himself, Robert Scoble (Scobelizer) who mentioned that even he could not consistently apply and execute GTD.

    So I agree that there is much more to GTD than meets the eye, and so it might be a good idea to have a look at those things with open eyes, and see where they work, and also where they do not work. It would be a shame if folks were blaming themselves, when it was certain aspects of the mental GTD system that was creating a problem for them.

    Its vitally important for psychological systems like GTD to encourage and be totally open to analysis and criticism, and to not try to suppress it.

  • #2
    Now you just sound silly.

    Comment


    • #3
      Come back when you will be sure.

      Originally posted by ProjectThis!
      Here are a few areas I am not sure are necessarily correct.
      Come back when you will be sure. Apparently you have too much free time so you do not need GTD.
      Originally posted by ProjectThis!
      There are more issues in this area, but I'll leave it at that for the moment.
      Good idea. Leave it for a longer period of time.

      By the way - you require more openness from David Allen but your forum profile is empty. If you wanna stay here tell us who you are, where you come from and how we can help you.

      Comment


      • #4
        You mean, some aspects of the GTD approach may not work for everyone?

        The Horror! The Horror!

        I think the same could be said of every self-improvement system ever invented, including almost all religions. (Probably all, but I'm not familiar with all of them.)

        *yawn*

        You clearly haven't read the rest of the forum, in which we spend a great deal of time discussing the benefits and limitations of GTD.

        Come back when you have something insightful to say.

        Katherine
        Last edited by kewms; 03-27-2006, 05:50 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Let's be open-minded of other opinions

          Hi Folks,

          While I do not agree with some of his comments, I think we need to be a little less intellectually arrogant and listen to his opinions and ideas. What is everyone afraid of? As a professor in a major research university, I do believe it is okay to question processes and dogma if there is not solid proof from independently conducted studies. Again, I think we should exchange ideas, refrain from personal slights, and listen to each other. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

          Longstreet

          Comment


          • #6
            A few comments

            Originally posted by ProjectThis!
            Its also stressed very clearly in the book that it is a totalist complete system for managing all of our personal and professional lives.
            You mean 'totalistic', don't you? If yes, I think you don't know what you are talking about.
            Or do you mean 'all-embracing'?

            Originally posted by ProjectThis!
            Also, he says that we can break inner agreements we are not consciously aware of! That would seem to me to be speculative at best.
            People do this all the time, it's called 'self-deception'!

            Originally posted by ProjectThis!
            -clear Psychic RAM. Does having clear psychic RAM make us more productive? Is it even possible to achieve this state? Is keeping 'everything out of your head' an achievable goal? Does not writing down a call make a person stressed? I don't know if it does.
            Please read: http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthr...789&#post24789

            Originally posted by ProjectThis!
            -Contexts. One thing that seems to be missing, is our ability to create and choose our own contexts based on personal priority. This is a minor issue, but one that can stump people.
            Agreed. But many people using GTD have added non-context categories to their system, so this isn't a real problem on the long run.

            Originally posted by ProjectThis!
            -Stress-free productivity.
            For about 40 years I have been experiencing stress-free productivity almost every day. But without any training or method it lasted only 30 to 240 minutes per day. Using GTD I can experience it for several hours per day.

            Originally posted by ProjectThis!
            What can easily happen, is because this is so difficult to do, and certain aspects of GTD might not even be possible, it could theoretically make a person more confused, and stressed, and even to start blaming themselves for not being able to do it.
            Again: Read http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthr...789&#post24789.

            Not all parts of GTD work for everybody. So what?

            Rainer
            Last edited by Rainer Burmeister; 03-27-2006, 06:20 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Wait, wait, wait. ProjectThis!, you said you've "tested" GTD. Does that mean you've actually tried the system yourself? If so, what happened?

              Often, what seems illogical or non-sensical becomes clear and understandable when one actually experiences it. I'm surprised that you're still this critical of GTD after actually trying it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ProjectThis!
                I don't think anyone would have any problem with labelers, filing, or making lists, and things of that nature.
                Well, then you really don't have a problem with the system, itself then. I mean not really. As far as I'm concerned, these are the practical issues. For anyone who wnats to stop reading now, this is the bottom line of my answer.

                Originally posted by ProjectThis!
                -Organizations. I don't think the full GTD process can be fully implemented in an organization, and I don't know if that is even desirable.
                Its clear the GTD needs to be implemented on an individual basis. People can benefit as a group if they all use it and it works for them. Clearly the best you can do is encourage everyone in an organization to try it and see if it helps. I'm not in the buisness of defending DA and I certainly could be wrong but I don't remember anything in the GTD book, itself, that stated anything different. I remember many posters bring it up, though, so at minimum its worth addressing.

                Originally posted by ProjectThis!
                -clear Psychic RAM. Does having clear psychic RAM make us more productive? Is it even possible to achieve this state? Is keeping 'everything out of your head' an achievable goal?
                Originally posted by ProjectThis!
                -Stress-free productivity. I think that is obviously a catch-phrase, but I am not sure again, that is realistic. Reduced stress?
                This concept resonated with me. I can only speak for myself but I am more productive for having implemented the system. And I certainly do feel less stressed as I use the issues to face the challenges of my daily life. I'm a worrier. And I really do worry about forgeting things. I didn't realize it till I read the book but it was a problem. It helped and I do worry less now. I don't need a study to tell me that.

                Whether it will work for eveyone is a different story but I don't think that was ever a point. As DA quoted you in his replay, "Try it, if it works, use it." I think that's about all anyone can say and I don't remember anyone saying anything different.

                Originally posted by ProjectThis!
                -Contexts. One thing that seems to be missing, is our ability to create and choose our own contexts based on personal priority. This is a minor issue, but one that can stump people.
                I think this is supposed to be outside of the methodology. You need to make those choices independently of GTD. I, personally, have never missed this. I believe the point in the book was that you no methodolgy will do a good job of it and that the best you can do is to make sure that you are considering everything before making those decisions yourself. I personally subscribe to this theory.

                And theory it is. I think your call for scientific evaluation of these things is laudable but (IMO) the lack isn't really a problem. The thing is, it either works for you or it doesn't. It either helps or it doesn't. All the thoerizing about why it works is fine but that's all it is. I think you're fixating too much on little things that make no practical difference.

                Having said that, your question about whether "clearing psychic RAM" (better known as "mind like water") is achievable is an interesting one. I have certainly not achieved it and I never took it as a draw back that it might not be a possibility. It's just a goal, if - maybe - not a practical one.

                Let's put it this way. I'm a sinner. I'm constantly told not to do bad things. I certainly try my best not to. In theory, I could achieve the goal, a state where I'm without sin. But lets face it. Its not going to happen. I'm human and I'm a sinner. I'm always going to be one. Does that make the goal any less laudable? Should I stop working toward an ideal just because I'm never going to actualy get all the way there?

                Again, practically speaking, is it even an issue? While your question is interesting to think about, it isn't going to affect my daily life much and it doesn't make GTD any less valid as a day-to-day practical system of operation. I can only speak for myself but I'm just not "worried" about it.

                Tom S.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Misguided...I think so!

                  I have just read through both of ProjectThis' posts and find them absolutely laughable.

                  The first lenghty diatribe talks about the spiritual side of David Allen and apparently how GTD is trying to get us to his 'higher sense of being'. WHATEVER! I agree that every single concept that DA has is not original, and really a lot of common sense, but he brings that package together in a way that is helping me and a lot of other people work more efficiently.

                  This posting talks a lot about actual implementation of GTD to our lives. He seems to be stuck on the fact that GTD is an iron curtain system that only works the way DA outlined it. WRONG!

                  Every single person here has a GTD that is different from everyone else. It is VERY individualistic. The contexts that are laid out in the book are SUGGESTIONS to help you get started. My system has over 10 contexts in it, including an @Warcraft context for things that I want to do in a MMORPG game World of Warcraft. I don't think that DA ever thought about using that as a context.

                  The GTD concept may fall into a cult status, but I don't think that anyone worships DA as master of any part of their lives outside personal productivity.

                  If you don't like the system, please leave the boards so that those of us that do, can continue to share our experiences and GROW more productively [which is something that cults don't allow...growth].

                  Michael

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yes, we’ve got a troll (classic case: comes to harmonious well functioning group spoiling for a fight); there’s an excellent paper somewhere on the Internet about this, which I read many moons ago … PT is exhibiting all the classic symptoms.

                    Trolls actually have no interest in the topics on a board: their only interest is conflict, waged from a hidden source.
                    Last edited by Busydave; 03-27-2006, 07:53 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Longstreet
                      Hi Folks,

                      While I do not agree with some of his comments, I think we need to be a little less intellectually arrogant and listen to his opinions and ideas. What is everyone afraid of? As a professor in a major research university, I do believe it is okay to question processes and dogma if there is not solid proof from independently conducted studies. Again, I think we should exchange ideas, refrain from personal slights, and listen to each other. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

                      Longstreet
                      Hi Longstreet,

                      ProjectThis! suggests "Surely GTD could benefit from some scrutiny, and subjecting it to proper testing done by independent sources in various accredited universities." I too am on the faculty at a major research university, and we both know that this suggestion is a bit silly. As I recall, Time Design touts the results of some German study that shows their system saves x percentage of time. Who paid for it? They don't say, but I think it is fair to say that major US funding sources are not particularly interested in funding a study of claims that "putting items that need to be done on a list gets them off your mind and reduces stress." Of course, there are always those studies that show things like "frequency of teen sex is correlated with pregnancy." but they are a very small percentage of university research.

                      I am teaching a science and society course this semester, and the introductory lectures on "what is science?" coincided with national news about the teaching of evolution in public school. Critics of evolution often ask for more and more detailed proof as a debating tactic. For example, asking for very fine-grained transitions in the fossil record while saying that they do accept "microevolution." Critics of global warming studies have used the same tactic: more study is needed." I mention these examples for two reasons: 1) at some point, the consensus of the relevant community becomes clear; 2) universities have bigger issues to deal with than GTD.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Good points...

                        Hi Mcogilvie,

                        The funding availability for such studies may be very limited. I am in the biomedical sciences so I am not sure why type of funding would be available to support such studies. And yes -- of course -- we ALL have greater issues to deal with at universities than GTD...to say the least!

                        Thanks for your post!

                        Longstreet

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ideas and opinions or witch hunts?

                          Originally posted by Longstreet
                          I think we need to be a little less intellectually arrogant and listen to his opinions and ideas.
                          ...
                          Again, I think we should exchange ideas, refrain from personal slights, and listen to each other. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
                          I agree with you. Many times we asked ProjectThis to provide his opinions and ideas about GTD. I can hardly find anything in his posts that can be discussed on this forum. I think we are a very open community but ProjectThis' posts are rather in the witch hunts category.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My analogy

                            Well, just for fun, I think I would use this analogy of GTD as related to MSIA and John-Roger:

                            If you were to ingest some botulism toxin, you would die in very short order because it is poison. On the other hand, a strain of botulism toxin in microscopic amounts has been found to be useful and beneficial to others in enhancing their appearance. Just because one has the same source as the other doesn't make it bad.

                            David is on a "spiritual" journey, like all of us to one degree or another. Along the way he gathered some helpful information, some of which he incorporated into GTD and has passed on. I am sure he was happy to let some things he learned fall by the wayside, as well. I don't expect he has finished his search for truth, and who knows, some elements of his current spiritual life may fall by the way side as well. Either way, the botox version has been helpful to many, without requiring them to go any deeper than lists, labelers and Alpha files.

                            I wish David a truly productive search for truth, and the ability to be both open-minded and critically evaluative, and am thankful for the benefits I have recieved from his work on GTD.

                            Gordon

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Five Minute Literature Review by Google...

                              I did a quick literature review by Google and found some articles with citations. For those who might actually be interested in scholarly research on these subjects. I'll leave it to the reader to follow-up on the individual scientific papers.

                              Originally posted by ProjectThis!
                              - Agreements. On pg 230-235, the point is made that the agreements we have made are all held in present tense in the psyche. I don't think this is correct, as I know my brain can certainly tell the difference between the past and the future in most cases. ... Also, he says that we can break inner agreements we are not consciously aware of! That would seem to me to be speculative at best.
                              Also, that breaking these agreements are the cause stress, and that writing them all out will help relieve this.
                              Hard to really tell where ProjectThis! is coming from here.

                              Search Term: Conscious vs. unconscious commitments & stress

                              Scholarly Papers Results:
                              - Rasmussen with 13 citations

                              ProjectThis! seems to be neglecting David's point that we have both conscious and unconscious commitments. It is the unconscious ones that we are often not aware of, that can't tell time, and that can cause the most stress. At least that's the hypothesis as I understand it.

                              Originally posted by ProjectThis!
                              -Organizations. I don't think the full GTD process can be fully implemented in an organization, and I don't know if that is even desirable.
                              Search Term: Productivity and Organizational Workflow

                              Scholarly Results:
                              - Brynjolfssen - 430 citations
                              - Zhao - 14 citations
                              - Keen - 275 citations

                              There is tons of scholarly work on productivity out there. Many of the principles of GTD are not that new. There are probably dozens of studies on some of the things like keeping lists, two-minute rule, and keeping a master project list.

                              Originally posted by ProjectThis!
                              -clear Psychic RAM. Does having clear psychic RAM make us more productive? Is it even possible to achieve this state? Is keeping 'everything out of your head' an achievable goal? Does not writing down a call make a person stressed? I don't know if it does. I know many people who are not particularly stressed, and they keep lots of things in their heads. I also know people who write everything down who are a mess. So again, I would think this could benefit from some careful testing, to see if it backfires for certain people. Also, there is often a genetic temperament component with these types of issues.
                              Search Term: Distributed Cognition & Stress

                              Scholarly Results:
                              - Rogers - 65 citations
                              - Surrett - 62 citations
                              - Dillenberg - 27 citations


                              Originally posted by ProjectThis!
                              -Contexts. One thing that seems to be missing, is our ability to create and choose our own contexts based on personal priority. This is a minor issue, but one that can stump people.
                              Not an issue for research. Not an issue for GTD.

                              Originally posted by ProjectThis!
                              -Stress-free productivity. I think that is obviously a catch-phrase, but I am not sure again, that is realistic. Reduced stress? Well, that can be objectively measured. Increased productivity? That also can be measured. But there ain't no such thing as 'stress-free' on this planet. But again, these things can be measured objectively by 3rd parties. Wouldn't it be interesting to see if the GTD process made certain types of people more stressed out? Is getting a Mind Like Water a realistic goal? Or is it another unattainable concept?
                              Search Term: Flow (Yes, David has re-branded this as stress free productivity... a marketing liberty that is certainly well within the norm...)

                              Scholarly Results:
                              - Fox - 440 citations
                              - Schacter - 462 citations
                              - Hoge - 122 citations

                              Ton's of research on the physiological state of flow.

                              Originally posted by ProjectThis!
                              -GTD as a global thought process. David mentions that is his mission. But on a personal level, can the GTD methodology be gainfully applied to both our professions, and with our wives and kids? I personally think it is going way too far to push this type of systems thinking into one's intimate relationships, which is why most people 'grimace' when hearing the idea of directing the wife to your Inbox. I don't want to be hit on the head one day with an Inbox.
                              I love it when people ask for scholarly research and then give personal thoughts, feelings and anecdotal evidence in support of their positions... Not sure what hypothesis (if any) ProjectThis! is trying to test here. I'll leave the 2 minute google literature review to ProjectThis!

                              One final thought. ProjectThis! has framed GTD as a psychological system. I tend to think of it more as a productivity system with psychological benefits.

                              okay back to being productive...

                              Comment

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