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Getting Significant Others Into GTD

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  • Getting Significant Others Into GTD

    Not sure if this has been posted about before. I was just wondering if there were any GTD'ers on here who have successfully resolved any issues with their spouses or sig others regarding GTD. My fiancee is a bright intelligent woman with a knack for just naturally getting things done. I, on the other hand need all of the help that I can get when it comes to remembering things. Because of this I am always scrambling to write things down when we are clearing up"agendas for each other". Currently, I am as happy as I can be with my PDA set up and paper capture tools when it comes to going out. When I insist on having these things around she gets frustrated. She has started to view my system as a crutch that I now must rely on. She sees this as a bad thing. Does anyone have any advice here for this situation on how I can get her on board or at least help her to understand where I am coming from? Am I doing something wrong here? Is my system still too much on my mind?

    Any help/suggestions would be great!

    -Erik

  • #2
    What are her reasons for getting frustrated? Are you more productive with your "crutch"?

    Comment


    • #3
      fitter, happier and more productive...

      Originally posted by jkgrossi
      What are her reasons for getting frustrated? Are you more productive with your "crutch"?
      Yes, I would like to think that I am. GTD has been amazing for me to focus and remind myself of things that I would like to get done. We had a flare up a few weeks ago when we were on a walk talking about wedding plans. She was talking about something when I asked her to talk with me later when I had some thing to take notes with... she didnt like that very much (understandably). I differ from her in that I name the project and define next actions. She sometimes wont do that, so the same topic might come up 3-4 times a week when it comes to her mind. Hope that helps.

      Comment


      • #4
        speaking solely from personal experience...

        The scenario you describe reminded me of many communications I've had with my boyfriend that ended up in fights. What I discovered was the issue had more to do with different expectations I wanted to make progress on the project, he wants to brainstorm, etc. When you tell her to talk about it later, she takes it as you not being interested in the event at the same level that she is and that might be what upsets her.

        A tactic you might want to try in the same situation is to sit down after the walk and ask her to remind you what was decided or what she wants you to do in relation to the topics you discussed on your walk together. My boyfriend and I actually clarify these things as we talk by flat out asking each other as we go- things like "Do you want my opinion?" "Should I take care of it for you?" "What do you want me to do about it?" to keep the expectations clear. Ask your fiancee why she wants to talk or what the goal of the conversation is- is she actually expecting you to do something about this topic, is she simply wanting to discuss a future event that she is excited about, is she brainstorming ideas and desiring your input?

        Also, my boyfriend had to get used to the fact that I don't remember anything, so if he tells me something while we're on the phone, it's not likely to get done. This was facilitated by the fact that I would repeatedly say "Remind me of that later" or "I won't remember that, can you send me an email?" (which is the most effective one for us). He now asks me if I've written it down because he knows that that action is what makes me comfortable about what was discussed/ decided.

        Comment


        • #5
          One of the key ideas of GTD is that you should *always* have a capture tool with you. So you should *never* have to postpone a conversation for lack of something to take notes with. That allows you to be more responsive (um, mind like water?) to the things that are important to whoever you're talking with. And yes, as someone else pointed out, postponing a conversation about something as emotionally fraught as wedding plans is likely to seem unresponsive.

          This also means that your notetaking tool should be as transparent as possible to the people around you. Usually that means small and portable, and it always means fast and easy to use.

          Mindi's suggestions about clarifying expectations are good ones. I would add that no one else cares about your system but you. Your fiancee cares that you are present and engaged in your conversations with her, and that things that you've agreed to do actually get done. If she is frustrated, it is probably because one of these things is not happening, and she views your system as an obstacle, rather than an aid.

          Katherine

          Comment


          • #6
            Can only talk for my experience but I will say this...

            My wife and I are 2 different persons in the productivity/organization aspects, as I am going to try to explain and hopefully you will get an Idea.

            1.- My wife can work 18-20 hours a day, take a shower, sleep 3 hours and go back to work for another 18-20. My capacity is 10-12, after that I am useless. Because of this I need a system that allows me to be as effective as possible, because when I hit the NO_MORE point, it is over. Because of that I use extensively GTD, she do not used, and it is not interested because her list of Blah (when she made it) it is more than enough.

            2.- Are you a round GTD? My wife is super efficient at work, but when personal shows up. Me instead are a round up GTD, there is little or no difference between Personal and Professional, and that frustrates her, because I can do more in were she see (our house and personal life)

            3.- I need to agree with the expectancies. When I start on GTD (and yes I posted the same question some time ago) I want her to jump in the wagon, and I cannot understand why she resisted so much. The reason was expectancies, when I am organized I am super productive... she is super productive now without any organization (and she does not know she can be even more, but that is another story). Also I want her to do GTD, as much as I like GTD, and as much as I fight everyday to be a black belt, I try to sell and make her another GTD person. GTD it is a personal journey, you can only bring your internal team. Today, when I want her to do something as clearly ask: Can you do this... and I understand that will take sometimes longer that what will take me, but I have learn to trust that she will finish it. (And of course I tracked on my Agendas, but try not to mention to her)

            4.- Do not sell the tools, just used. At the beginning I try to sell GTD to my wife, the tools, the palm, outlook, my lists, I was willing to share everything (or more pushing everything on my system on hers) When I stop selling the tools, and just making those my tools, she just got used to my lists, my need to write everything down, my Moleskine and my need to use the note taker wallet at dinners.

            After I stop pushing GTD, she was more open to the issues, I have almost 3 years doing GTD, and she do not do it, but she has learn the advantages of some of the things... and in her way and unique style is looking for a way to get to that space.

            Also remember something, in my case before GTD I was a complete mess, to-do list that never got done, projects at home that I never accomplish, oil changes more than overdue, has taking me more than 2 years for my wife to see that this is a permanent change, before that, was just the new idea for organization (and I have a closet full of those)

            To give you hope; I will share something else. She has an important business trip this week, after almost 3 years laughing to my travel list, she asks for a copy. 2 hours later she calls me and informs me that my list was not complete, since the list did not have creams, cosmetics and other things... I just smile, get my list, got a copy, put her name add these things and print her new copy.

            This is the closest she has been to GTD in 3 years, I have hope...

            Just remember, GTD is a Journey that you can only do with your internal committee, no one else will join you...

            Smile and enjoy the ride...

            Comment


            • #7
              Different types of personality

              Originally posted by gtderik
              Am I doing something wrong here?
              Maybe you should read about MBTI , and accept that you and your girl have different types of personality, and different ways of organizing, of managing time, and of getting work done.

              Suggested reading:
              http://www.organizedassistant.com/article_mbti.htm
              http://www.organizedassistant.com/ar...s_and_type.htm
              http://www.organizedassistant.com/article_study.htm
              http://www.cognitiveprocesses.com/index.html
              http://www.bestfittype.com/interactionstyles.html


              Rainer
              Last edited by Rainer Burmeister; 07-06-2006, 05:44 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks

                Wow, thanks jkgrossi, mindi, kewms, apinaud, and rainer for your comments so far!

                mindi- yes, you are very right. I forget to stop sometimes and realize the higher levels that are at play here: expectations and purpose. I usually forget about those higher level plans that need to be in place before a productive conversation can take place.

                kewms-you have also called me out (correctly!) on my clunky system. just last night (registering for towels and dishes) I only took a 3x5 card with me, it seemed to work out ok. i knew deep down that i didnt need all of my lists with me (ALTHOUGH I KNEW THEY WERE IN THE CAR! HA!) as the david would say a system on your mind is not an efficient system.

                apinaud- thanks for the story about bringing your sig other on board. i have asked my girl to try some gtd-esque things. she emails things to me more often now than casually mentioning them. she has seen that that is a better way to get things in to my world. the travel checklist bit was HILARIOUS... asking for the checklist had to have been the highest form of flattery! My girl will often email me dates and things to add in to my PDA because she knows that they are "on radar" then.

                rainer- yes, we have accepted that we are completely opposite people. all of our pre-marital counseling has proven that to us. yet, we still choose to love each other the same. this wedding planning process has been a testament to that fact. whereas I would want to break out the legal pads and start planning when we talk- she is comfortable just talking for 20-30 minutes without writing anything down. that is a big component in our relationship- i lean to the introverted side and she leans waaaaaay over to the extroverted side. this obviously includes how we think and process information. this has been crucial for us to discover. thanks for the websites, i will check them out.

                thanks everyone. please feel free to comment some more if you have anything else to add.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by shareyoga.com
                  Because my boyfriend is not practicing GTD or any organization system, he is constantly on his PDA checking email, responding, etc. I know this is a common issue amongst "modern" couples.
                  Oh boy is it!

                  Mindi

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What is he focusing on?

                    Originally posted by shareyoga.com
                    I was just going to mention, in case it helps, is that the thing that bothers me when he is doing this is that once he picks up the PDA to check something or write something, he loses eye contact and personal interaction in our conversation and gets lost in the PDA. Maybe your girlfriend is feeling something similar that the "flow" of the conversation is interrupted when you capture things in your PDA.
                    The important question is:

                    What is he focusing on during a conversation with you.

                    Let's face the truth.

                    If he is really focusing on conversation with you then capturing information on PDA is not a problem. But if he is not very interested in the conversation then capturing information on PDA is a form of escape.

                    In this context paper as a capture tool gives less escape oportunities and I think it is more polite to capture information in this way. At the end of the conversation you can easily share your notes to clear any misunderstandings and to proof your involvement.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      mbti

                      Originally posted by Rainer Burmeister
                      Maybe you should read about MBTI , and accept that you and your girl have different types of personality, and different ways of organizing, of managing time, and of getting work done.

                      Suggested reading:
                      http://www.organizedassistant.com/article_mbti.htm
                      http://www.organizedassistant.com/ar...s_and_type.htm
                      http://www.organizedassistant.com/article_study.htm
                      http://www.cognitiveprocesses.com/index.html
                      http://www.bestfittype.com/interactionstyles.html


                      Rainer
                      Oh, I found one of the greatest lists when I was poking around in MBTI! I turned out to be INFJ, and they have a list that is so much fun! (I guess that's a little OT, but just wanted to share!)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by gtderik
                        Not sure if this has been posted about before. I was just wondering if there were any GTD'ers on here who have successfully resolved any issues with their spouses or sig others regarding GTD. My fiancee is a bright intelligent woman with a knack for just naturally getting things done. I, on the other hand need all of the help that I can get when it comes to remembering things. Because of this I am always scrambling to write things down when we are clearing up"agendas for each other". Currently, I am as happy as I can be with my PDA set up and paper capture tools when it comes to going out. When I insist on having these things around she gets frustrated. She has started to view my system as a crutch that I now must rely on. She sees this as a bad thing. Does anyone have any advice here for this situation on how I can get her on board or at least help her to understand where I am coming from? Am I doing something wrong here? Is my system still too much on my mind?

                        Any help/suggestions would be great!

                        -Erik

                        A couple things...

                        A. Many people don't react well to having things be pushed on them. This seems to be even MORE true for spice and significant others. It can work best to just do the work yourself, and if she is inspired to do the same because she sees the results, then great. IF not, then all the pushing in the world will result mostly in more resistance. This is due in part to there being an implicit message that "You are not good enough" which is not well received.

                        It could also be that she knows she could be better organized, but does not appreciate your reminding her of it. Maybe she prefers to try and solve the problem in her own way, or maybe she has other resistance to addressing that issue in her life at this time.
                        [Aside: I have spent 50 years being wildly dis-orgainzed and for some reason or the other, was never ready to change. It is famously quoted somewhere that we don't fear failure (which can be strangely comfortable) nearly much as we fear succeeding beyond our wildest dreams.]

                        B: If she views your use of GTD as a crutch, and makes you bad for it, this could be a reaction to the implicit suggestion that she is bad for NOT using GTD when you keep telling her she should. It could also be due to her being annoyed at how your use of GTD negatively impacts your relationship (e.g. interupts conversations, etc). So when she gets mad and says it is just a crutch, this could mostly be an emotional reaction, rather than a logically well thought out one. IMHO, both are valid, by the way.


                        Why not ask her what it is that bothers her?
                        Ask her what the difference is between something that helps you and is a good thing that betters your life, vs. a cructh which is somehow a bad thing. If she is detail-orieinted, ask her to be specific about what bad outcome happens by using GTD as a crutch?

                        Good luck
                        Mike

                        Comment

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