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  • I'm doing GTD, but I'm not getting things done

    Here's what I'm not getting done: Make my business profitable.

    Call it a goal, an open loop or whatever, but it's something I've resolved to get done a long time ago. But so far, it remains undone.

    Believe me, I've brainstormed, did countless hours of project planning, and created hundreds of projects for it. I really want to make my business work, but so far I haven't been able to.

    I used to think of GTD as a magic formula that gets anything done. But now I realized that if you don't actually have to ability to get it done, GTD won't help you. It's nice to muse over the slogan "Make it up. Make it happen." But if you don't actually have what it takes to make it happen, in the end, you'll have to do the renegotiating and lowering of your standards. It's still a legitimate GTD option, but it's not getting things done. It's just getting things out of your head and renegotiating them, so you'll feel good about what you couldn't get done.

    Frankly, I still can't get myself to renegotiate my commitments and close down the business. I acknowledge there might still be more subtle things at the higher levels that I haven't captured yet. So I'm resolving to do just that. But whatever it is, I still wasn't able to make my business profitable. I wasn't able to get it done, not even with GTD.

    Anyone tell me I'm wrong...
    Last edited by corrallingyourstuff; 03-07-2007, 03:50 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by corrallingyourstuff View Post
    But whatever it is, I still wasn't able to make my business profitable. I wasn't able to get it done, not even with GTD.

    Anyone tell me I'm wrong...
    That may well be the case, but the problem may just be the market you are trying to operate in. Maybe it's just too competitive and there's little space for anyone new to make a profit.

    I understand your frustration as I'm in a similar position myself.

    Okay, so if you were incredibly good at business then you would be able to make any business profitable, but not many of us are like that. And of course no one is perfect!

    At least you've used GTD to give it your best shot.

    You can use GTD to help you make the very difficult decision of whether to close the business down and try something else. It's such a difficult thing that there is a danger of procrastination. Make a project to confront this issue. The project can be small at first, such that it is seems less daunting. I'm not saying you should definitely give up on the business as yet - only you can know that, but you need to really face up to all the possibilities, which includes new avenues.

    As you can imagine I'm sort of talking to myself here so I can imagine your reaction to all this.

    I disagree that this represents a failure of GTD and it's certainly not a failure on your part. Businesses fail and are abandoned all the time, often by people who are excellent in business. This is just part of how the world works.

    And if GTD helps you renegotiate and not feel bad about what you couldn't do, well what's wrong with that! I think the fact that you've realised that's how it can work suggests you will be able to manage this.

    Good luck by the way.
    Last edited by tominperu; 03-07-2007, 07:01 AM.

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    • #3
      GTD is just a framework, you have to build and operate it. If it's not working for you then either you need to reassess it or find a framework that does work.

      On your business, you should ask yourself what is the cost (financial, physical, mental etc) of not closing it down. Wishful thinking will only get you so far then reality bites. So acknowledge the situation and move towards closure it's cheaper in the long run.

      Comment


      • #4
        GTD is not a motivational system

        Originally posted by corrallingyourstuff View Post
        But whatever it is, I still wasn't able to make my business profitable. I wasn't able to get it done, not even with GTD.
        I can't speak to the detailed reasons why your business never became profitable, because I don't know them. I can speak on some level about what GTD does and what it doesn't do.

        GTD is not a motivational system. It does a wonderful job of getting you to keep track of all the things you should be doing, but it doesn't actually help you do them. I had a burst of productivity when I adopted GTD, but that faded and I was soon left with nice neat lists of things that weren't getting done. That's what drove me into my interest in procrastination.

        GTD is very much about defining and organizing work and not so much about what gets you personally motivated to do that work. GTD is workflow management, not psychology. No matter how much GTD you do, you're the one who has to get those things done.

        I'm not trying to be harsh here, and I apologize to anyone who reads this message that way. I'm just pointing out that GTD is only one of the collection of techniques we all work out individually that helps us get things done.

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree with many of the other points here.

          GTD won't make your business profitable. GTD won't even accomplish your goals. GTD is a framework for ensuring that you're making progress towards your goals.

          I don't recall David Allen writing that, if you use the system, you're guaranteed to get everything you want. Even if you're making progress to your goals, there are still outside forces that may derail you.

          So, kicking it back to the original poster, what are you going to do about it? If nothing else, you've now found something to not do. So what will you do?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Brent View Post
            I agree with many of the other points here.

            GTD won't make your business profitable. GTD won't even accomplish your goals. GTD is a framework for ensuring that you're making progress towards your goals.

            I don't recall David Allen writing that, if you use the system, you're guaranteed to get everything you want. Even if you're making progress to your goals, there are still outside forces that may derail you.
            That's what I basically said on my original post. I may be able to do all the phases of GTD to "make my business profitable," but different people would do it differently, and that difference determines why some achieve the outcome and some don't.


            Originally posted by Brent View Post
            So, kicking it back to the original poster, what are you going to do about it? If nothing else, you've now found something to not do. So what will you do?
            I think I need to sleep over it, so I'm writing it down as an action for my next weekly review. In the meantime, I'll just continue cranking down the widgets I set from my last weekly review.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by tominperu View Post
              That may well be the case, but the problem may just be the market you are trying to operate in. Maybe it's just too competitive and there's little space for anyone new to make a profit.

              I understand your frustration as I'm in a similar position myself.

              Okay, so if you were incredibly good at business then you would be able to make any business profitable, but not many of us are like that. And of course no one is perfect!

              At least you've used GTD to give it your best shot.

              You can use GTD to help you make the very difficult decision of whether to close the business down and try something else. It's such a difficult thing that there is a danger of procrastination. Make a project to confront this issue. The project can be small at first, such that it is seems less daunting. I'm not saying you should definitely give up on the business as yet - only you can know that, but you need to really face up to all the possibilities, which includes new avenues.

              As you can imagine I'm sort of talking to myself here so I can imagine your reaction to all this.

              I disagree that this represents a failure of GTD and it's certainly not a failure on your part. Businesses fail and are abandoned all the time, often by people who are excellent in business. This is just part of how the world works.

              And if GTD helps you renegotiate and not feel bad about what you couldn't do, well what's wrong with that! I think the fact that you've realised that's how it can work suggests you will be able to manage this.

              Good luck by the way.
              I honestly like this post of yours... so I've saving it for future reading. Thanks so much...

              Comment


              • #8
                re: Not Getting Things Done

                I had a brainstorming session with myself a couple of months ago out of similar frustration in not getting things done. I'm not sure if any of my own thoughts will be of any help to you, but you can find the list I finally came up with here under the title "Why It's Not Getting Done Checklist".

                It's hard to tell sometimes whether something not getting done is an issue of needing more effort and specificity or whether circumstances have changed such that what is called for is a higher-level review based on your 30-50,000ft goals.
                Last edited by Todd V; 07-01-2011, 10:42 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by corrallingyourstuff View Post
                  That's what I basically said on my original post. I may be able to do all the phases of GTD to "make my business profitable," but different people would do it differently, and that difference determines why some achieve the outcome and some don't.
                  This used to be my line of reasoning too, especially when I was having my slump with GTD. Similar to flexiblefine, I developed interest in procrastination. I also remember visiting this forum once, high on GTD and mostly lurking. When I started to falter, however, I thought those people back at the GTD forums get things done and I don't. So something must be wrong with me.

                  Then I caught myself because I have never bought into the notion and obsession that some have with only going after the "best and brightest." Nowadays that's what certain big-name firms lead us to believe, that only they know what's right and wrong in business with their high GPA's to prove it. (In terms of successful businesses, why then do some people like the Sloan Brothers of StartupNation make it big with no MBA's?)

                  I have recently found a little phrase that has made a world of difference to me. It's "survivorship bias."

                  Survivorship bias originally began as a stock market concept, where some fund managers wrongly believed that companies that lasted during a given timeframe did so because they knew what they were doing. So any business owner can think because they did X, Y, and Z and they have a profit, they did the right thing. Consequently then, those who failed didn't do X, Y and Z and they only have themselves to blame. That's wrong.

                  Sometimes, the real reason is nothing more than luck. Or timing. There is randomness to consider, not to mention emotion of both seller & buyer.

                  I just heard this week on the Bob Brinker Money Talk program the author Michael Raynor who wrote The Strategy Paradox. It's about figuring out why some firms make it and others don't. He gave the example of Apple with its iPod, how that took on tremendous marketshare. Is it to say that other makers of MP3 players didn't have as smart, dedicated, etc. a strategy as Apple's, and so they deserve less? To avoid falling in love with a hero like Steve Jobs, Raynor also pointed out how at one time Jobs was once told to leave Apple altogether, that not everything that Steve Jobs touches turns to gold, yet now he's seen as an unstoppable charismatic character back at Apple and Pixar.

                  If anything I have found great about GTD is that it helps me isolate what factors can I control and can't. I can take the Next Action right or wrong towards what I think will help my business, employer, etc. I can't control what competitors do. Though I specialize in marketing and product management, I can't control what my customers really think about my advertising. I do know that I can use GTD to assemble marketing campaigns, and at one point they're released.

                  I couple this with my recent finding of "survivorship bias" to avoid thinking that if my business succeeded, it's all because of me and my systems. Because then if it fails, I may arrogantly toss an otherwise reasonable framework like GTD. Successful people do fail, and some who have failed become late bloomers. (At least in this century, I hope neither you nor I have to be posthumous composers to be appreciated in the marketplace.)

                  Do look up "survivorship bias" and
                  Good luck!
                  Last edited by QuestorTheElf; 03-08-2007, 04:50 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    GTD and Your Business

                    Originally posted by corrallingyourstuff View Post
                    Believe me, I've brainstormed, did countless hours of project planning, and created hundreds of projects for it. I really want to make my business work, but so far I haven't been able to.
                    I hope you haven't quit yet. I started a wholesale business two years ago and have made many mistakes. Last year I began to study Michael Gerber's business insights and have included them in my weekly review process for Next Actions and the "right" projects. Leadership is at the core of Gerber's Seven Centers of Management Attention which include:
                    • Marketing
                    • Money
                    • Management
                    • Lead Generation
                    • Lead Conversion
                    • Client Fulfillment

                    Gerber teaches that if you create an extra-ordinary process or system, it can generate extra-ordinary results without always having to hire extra-ordinary people. GTD has given me the focus, structure and tools to stick with Gerber's business processes. I'm still not profitable yet, but at least I have a better understanding about my business.

                    I do not work with the E-Myth company or receive any money, but like GTD, I experienced a mental "relief" when I learned about Gerber's programs. The E-Myth Mastery teaches about the Seven Centers of Management Attention and Execution. I preferred listening to the audio CD, but the book has excellent diagrams and tables. Both were available at the local library.

                    Have you considered working with a coach to help you get going? I hope this information has been helpful for your business.

                    Nancy
                    Last edited by nancyrezmer; 03-09-2007, 01:46 AM. Reason: Spelling

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