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Disconnect between plans and actions

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  • Disconnect between plans and actions

    Saw some similar post in this forum, but cant find it now and wonder if it was actually in this forum

    Does anyone have the problem of spending all the time on reading about GTD, general productivity improvement, doing all the planning in the world but putting of the actual actions ? for example when it is time to do the next task, it is much easier to look for a better way to do things and forget about the task at hand

    That is: having a complete understanding of the theorotical aspect of GTDbut having a disconnect in the required action?

    any pointers (and feedback from people with the same problem) would be welcome

  • #2
    This issue has always been a challenge for me, and I would suspect, many others with a computer/PDA-centric apprach to GTD.

    If the GTD system were broken down to its most basic components, it would be about desired outcomes, lists and actions. Everything else is just added gumbo.

    It's human nature to want to find the 'easier answer' even when the answer is right in front of you. IMO, that is the real issue: bridging the knowing/doing gap.

    The GTD book sums up the situation quite well: it's the plodding oafs that often do well with getting things done, because they don't concern themselves with complex systems or excessive thinking. They just jump in and 'do the darn thing'.

    Thinking about things never got them done, it's only the first step in the process. Personally, I am working on spending more time in the doing mode. Sometimes, I actually succeed at this.


    • #3
      I had this problem for a long time (still do, honestly), and the only thing that worked for me is sheer force of will. What it all came down to was realizing if I wasn't doing the stuff I had there is no way I could keep up with other stuff that was sure to come my way, and my intense desire not to add unnecessary stress to my life propels a lot of the actual doing.


      • #4
        I'm guilty. David Allen wrote an article called something like "The Scary Swamp Between Thinking and Doing" and it nailed the problem for me. I still love to tweak my system though.

        I can't find the archives on the site now. Are they still here? It was from the newsletter some time ago.



        • #5

          You can find that article here


          • #6
            Some Tips Here

            there are some useful tips in this forum entry


            > scroll down a bit to where we start talking about Procrastination, especially CosmoGTD's posts

            another good link is



            • #7
              Originally posted by SriJei

              You can find that article here
              I got an error accessing that page. The solution was simple after I found it: your url ends with a dot, which shouldn't be there. The following link should work:
              It's a good read though. Basically it is saying: if you are a thinker you may need to have a top-down approach, first deciding on your major goals, splitting it into smaller projects and then defining next-actions associated with them.
              It may help you to look at a next action and think: what will I gain by doing this? What is the desired outcome of the project associated with this? When you see that it is a small but essential step in you plan for world domination, you may be motivated enough to actually do it


              • #8
                i vaguly remember reading somewhere a similar question and a reply by david where he starts with "if i knew the answer to that one..." or something similar

                does this ring a bell with anyone


                • #9
                  Disconnect between plans and actions

                  I always go back to this quote. In fact, I often leave a word page containing it open on my computer all day:

                  "What you have to do and the way you have to do it is incredibly simple. Whether you are willing to do it, that's another matter."

                  (Peter F. Drucker)


                  • #10
                    I have these two quotes pinned up on my cubicle at work, they help me so ...
                    If you have to swallow a frog, don't look at it too long. And, if you have to swallow two frogs, don't swallow the smaller one first.
                    - Mark Twain (1835-1910)

                    Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem - in my opinion - to characterize our age.
                    - Albert Einstein


                    • #11
                      Here's a note I sent to a client last week

                      The question came in dealing with "to-do's" that had been on action lists through several weekly reviews:

                      Why do I procrastinate?

                      The simple answer is that we procrastinate because either 1) the outcome of the thing is not meaningful enough or 2) we don't feel like we can move forward on it right now easily and successfully.

                      So, if you're procrastinating, my first question is: Why not just take it off your list? Or park it on Someday/Maybe? That forces the first issue about it's meaningfulness to you to begin with. Then, if you say, yes, I do want or have to do it nonetheless, then I ask What's the next action? Usually the simple next single action step is something that you can see yourself doing successfully, and that often unsticks the problem.

                      Sometimes procrastination comes from fear. "If I don't do anything, now one will see my weaknesses or limitations. If I don't take part or take action, no one can judge me." People who procrastinate usually know what to do, but for some reason they don't take action.

                      The problem really is, though, that it's the bright, creative people who procrastinate the most, because they can just glance at something and in a half second create 400 horror movies about everything that has to happen to do the whole thing perfectly, and they just freak out and blow a fuse! It does take disciplined focus to stay concentrated on just the next step, without running down all the "then I'll need to... and then I'll need to... and what if...?" etc. ad nauseam.


                      • #12
                        Disconnect between plans and actions

                        i vaguly remember reading somewhere a similar question and a reply by david where he starts with "if i knew the answer to that one..." or something similar

                        does this ring a bell with anyone
                        I think it's in the faq section.