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  • Emergency: Ahrg! I fell of the wagon.

    I need emergency help please...

    I was looking for an ideal system as you perhaps know if you have read this thread: http://davidco.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6168

    And now I realise that I fell of the GTD wagon couple weeks ago because I have so much stuff do do right now. And this is also my problem now, I am procrastinating on all my work because it is so much and I don't know how with which system to track all this now.

    Here are some of my things:
    I have something like 5 'long-term' projects which are stuck and have to be done till mid/end of december. These projects are: 2 diffenrent software development projects which are stuck 2 papers I have to write, ...

    Then I have weekly tasks which I have to do for which my boss gave me a schedule which task has to be done when - but he always wants to see parts which I have not done because they are at the end of the schedule.

    And then there is stuff/work/tasks comming into my world during my day.

    And now I am totally stuck, procratinating and unproductive.

    Has anyone of you gone through this as well? Any suggestions how to come on top again?

    Please help a desperate 'GTD-diciple'

  • #2
    Hi wbc, while I haven't necessarily had the same backlog to overcome, I've fallen off the wagon a few times, and the first step I find in getting back on track is to do a "weekly" review. I've found that just by going through my normal weekly review process, it helps me to get a better picture of where things might be.

    As far as the major projects, things are different. For the papers and software development, all I can suggest is basic GTD, break it all down as much as possible into small NA's, and start working through them. In some cases, even if you do a 2 minute action, I'll also write it down and then cross it off, just because the visual impact of seeing completed actions can be a positive motivator in getting more done.

    As far as working with the weekly tasks your boss gave you, I'd think there are two potential avenues:

    1) Talk to your boss re: the due dates, and try to set the expectation that there will be results for the tasks on their respective due dates, but due to other projects, you cannot guarantee being able to show work in advance of those deadlines.

    AND/OR

    2) Use the given deadlines as a final date, but perhaps for all intents and purposes, your deadline can be earlier and you can try to get the work done. Then, to ensure that you can still set the proper level of expectations, don't submit everything at once, but still follow the given schedule, and if parts are requested, then you're able to give "interim" updates for work that's already completed. While it may seem a little on the sly side, it can provide you with greater flexibility in getting other major projects done, and also helps maintain a certain level of expectation such that even though maybe you ploughed through a bunch of tasks quickly this time due to certain circumstances, they don't suddenly decide that that's a good expectation EVERY time.

    I hope these help, but as I stated above, the first, and I've found, most useful step, is to do a full review, as then you know what's happening, and there aren't the open loops, or looming shadows of all these projects and no time. I feel it is definitely worth the time investment.

    Good luck!!

    Adam

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    • #3
      What Adam said. A brain dump and weekly review is definitely the first step. The second step is to organize all that stuff into a "good enough" system that you can work with while you keep looking for a better option. What you have now is no system at all, with obvious conseqences.

      I would definitely suggest emphasizing to your boss that you may not have progress to show him in advance of your stated due dates. If he doesn't like that, he needs to change the due dates and take something else off your plate so that you can meet the new schedule. Having a reliable system will help this endeavor, as you can show the boss that you haven't forgotten the future tasks (they're in your system), but here (show project list) are all the things he's asked you to do first.

      Good luck!

      Katherine

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by kewms
        ... The second step is to organize all that stuff into a "good enough" system that you can work with while you keep looking for a better option. What you have now is no system at all, with obvious conseqences.
        I think that is my main problem to find a "good enough" system to really work with.

        Originally posted by kewms
        I would definitely suggest emphasizing to your boss that you may not have progress to show him in advance of your stated due dates. If he doesn't like that, he needs to change the due dates and take something else off your plate so that you can meet the new schedule. Having a reliable system will help this endeavor, as you can show the boss that you haven't forgotten the future tasks (they're in your system), but here (show project list) are all the things he's asked you to do first.
        I think my boss just likes the power... sitting in the weekly meeting smelling cold sweat from all employees. I think he will not change his behavior... ok 4 more months and then he is gone

        Thank you for your advice. I will do the braindump on Friday and hopefully things will get better. And I have to find my "good enough" system

        Wolfgang

        Comment


        • #5
          Make a list of 2 tasks that you need to do.

          Do them.

          Repeat.

          Comment


          • #6
            Pad & Pen ... it's low tech and it works

            If you're looking for a system ... go for a pad and pen (plus paper calendar). There low tech and do not take much thought time!

            Ps I did read/keep up with your last post re your needs. So again pad and pen ... it's that simple.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by wbc
              I think that is my main problem to find a "good enough" system to really work with.
              Are you clear in your mind about what "good enough" means, though? If you're living with the results of no system, a first step (after the brain dump/weekly review) might be to decide what the minimum features of a "good enough for now" system are. Then, ask yourself whether you can meet those features with a pad of paper and a pen. If so, you know what to do. If not, you need to decide what the simplest thing you can do for right now is. You can always add embroidery later, but you need the weave of the fabric first. Do the simplest thing that can work for right now, and tweak it later.

              It's easy to let yourself get lost in the search for the perfect tool. At the end of the day, though, an imperfect tool is miles better than none at all.

              -- Tammy

              Comment


              • #8
                Back on the wagon

                Ahh it feels very good to be on top again...

                Just to give a little update to my situation, after falling of the wagon a couple of weeks ago without realizing it I really felt burried under my stuff.

                I followed your suggestions and did:

                1st a braindump
                2nd put all remaining NAs into my inbox
                3rd took notepad, calendar and pen
                4th processed the stuf
                5th reviewed the lists and did 3 tasks immediately which felt very good

                And to make the GTD methodology my natural behavior I will stay with notepad , pen and calendar for at least the next 3 Months (hopefully)

                Thank you for your support
                Wolfgang

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