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  • GTD for making decisions and facing up to issues

    For me an unexpected benefit of GTD has been that it has really helped my decision making. I am generally pretty indecisive and have habitually procrastinated on decisions such that eventually a crisis would arise and I was forced to make a rushed decision often with inadequate information.

    With GTD I can designate a tough decision as a project in itself. I can then think of next action steps to incrementally make that decision, such as brainstorming, the collection of necessary information, discussion with specific people or whatever necessary. With this step by step approach my resistance to facing and making decisions has become far less.

    This new ability to make decisions has also helped my face up to and deal with confidence and self esteem issues. So much of our unresolved doubts (internal open loops) can be due to indecisiveness and vagueness about how we perceive our past and present situation, and that's even before we get onto the subject of the future.

    Of all aspects of GTD I think this has probably been the most fundamental for me.

    I just thought I'd share this in case any other indecisive souls haven't reaped the full benefits of GTD in this way, and also hoping that others can share with me how they have used GTD and other strategies for better decision making.

  • #2
    Thanks for sharing. I'm still struggling with decisions in my life. I resist things that are obviously good for me because they require me to get out of my comfort zone. It's not that I need more information for the decision, just couldn't follow through with the action... I know what I should decide on but just couldn't commit to making the decision... know what I mean?

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    • #3
      Bravo, Tom!
      What a great idea. I also stumble sometimes when tackling big jobs or when I exit my 'comfort zone.'

      Forgive me if I immediately steal your idea.

      Regards,
      Mike

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      • #4
        yes but...

        But what about making leaving the comfort zone more comfortable by...breaking it down into manageable next actions? And then, re-uping or not, as you go forward? I have so many personal goals on my plate and that's what I always thought I would do...er, will do, er, am doing!
        Trish

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Trish View Post
          But what about making leaving the comfort zone more comfortable by...breaking it down into manageable next actions? And then, re-uping or not, as you go forward? I have so many personal goals on my plate and that's what I always thought I would do...er, will do, er, am doing!
          Trish
          Hi Trish, nice to hear from you again. And good thread, Tom, it's making me look at things in a new way. As well as helping me leave my comfort zone, in teeny tiny increments, as you suggest, Trish.

          I must admit, though, that I've had to prune down (ruthlessly hack at?) my goals and projects: I've found that, even with GTD, having too many things in my Current tray was still making me feel overwhelmed. So I've cut down what I'm officially working on for each week, and that feels better: I'm actually achieving things and moving on from week to week, and not feeling like I'm drowning.

          How about you, Trish? Do you manage, with lots of things on the list? (If so, I'll be envious, but curious

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          • #6
            Alison!!

            Hi Alison!

            How do I manage?

            Well first of all, I think I have finally settled on a "good enough" system, and all I can say about that is---you know it when you find it.

            I probably do have too many projects and will start putting them into various categories--sometime maybe, etc. I find with all these projects and GTDing, that I end up with starts all over the house--the house is a total disaster zone, because one na might be 'get all makeup out of makeup drawer (in preparation to sort and throw away)', and another one might be 'stack up boxes in dining room (for eBay project where I am eBaying my designer purses)' and then another one might be 'move giant garbage bag to Dining Room to fill with stuffings and peanuts from boxes so I have plenty to use for packing when I make killing on my eBayed designer bags'. I think the general idea of keeping only so many projects on your weekly or whatever list is a good one...I haven't done it yet, but plan to. I keep thinking I can whirl around and really rip off all of them and in a way I can but there always comes the moment when you have to block out 2 hours to write on manuscript or some other such drudgery---I am a lover of widgets, unless it's pondering--I can assess and ponder for hours, no problem. Mindmaps, plans, all cool especially with some nice coffee or sitting at my local Starbucks. But the two hour stuff is my next frontier and I will have to find a way into that or I won't get very far on my work WORK.

            So I continue to tweak but the switching from system to system to system is behind me I think. That was crazymaking and horrible.

            Trish

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            • #7
              Glad to hear you're past the system-switching madness, Trish. For the rest, I'd definitely suggest trimming your Current project list for a while: it'll help maintain your focus, and maybe prevent your house from looking such a mess.

              About the 2-hour thing, is it possible to sidle into it using a dash? I've found that these are quite useful. Here is Merlin Mann's list of useful tricks, and I've tried most of 'em. Whether you've got a bunch of short actions to do, or a couple of longer ones like writing, it helps to be able to knock off say 10 minutes and then stop, then another 10 then stop, and so on. I haven't tried the progressive dash yet, but that might be a good one for you: I like the (10 + 2) * 5 dash for some reason.

              Oh, and all Merlin's articles are really short.

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              • #8
                I am going to do it!!

                Wow, that is a great idea. I am going to put it into play today. Will report back to you. It's like NA's...but a little bit expanded. I work alone, am my own boss, nobody cares if I do anything or not, so I am all I got as far as discipline goes. Somehow I wanted it this way and this is what i got. Thanks so much for the tips. Trish

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                • #9
                  I can also vouch for the (10 + 2) * 5 dash to help get some action on those pesky NA's that just seem to hang around.

                  Another variation that I use arose out of a discussion I was having with someone at the gym one morning, I am not a lover of exercise but I know it is good for me so I do it, the person I was talking to said to me "you can do virtually anything for an hour". I have thought of that every morning that I have scheduled to go to the gym and it seems to work, it is also working with some of the more ugly work/study projects that I have on at the moment. I just set a timer for 1 hour and put my head down, before I know it the hour is over and I feel that I have at least started to knock a hole in the next stage of my project. (a variation I have recently seen of this is the 48 +12 dash - head down for 48 mins and "relax" for 12 mins).

                  Kim

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Trish View Post
                    Wow, that is a great idea. I am going to put it into play today. Will report back to you. It's like NA's...but a little bit expanded. I work alone, am my own boss, nobody cares if I do anything or not, so I am all I got as far as discipline goes. Somehow I wanted it this way and this is what i got. Thanks so much for the tips. Trish
                    Yes, I'm all I've got as far as discipline goes, too. And it's not a skill I've ever excelled at, except in a negative direction. I'll be keen to see how it goes for you.

                    I find that committing myself to 10 minutes of each project, and only 10 minutes, makes it easier for me to get a lump of work done: I don't think I'd succeed if I said to myself "Hey, let's sit down for an hour at the computer and work solidly" or "Let's do a fun hour of housework". I know my weaknesses.

                    And doing 10 minutes on five tasks means they're all a bit closer to done. Which feels like achievement of five bits of work, whereas I think an hour of housework, or an hour of computer work, would just feel like one bit of work.

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                    • #11
                      Y'all, it's really working

                      Hi all,

                      This 10 minute thing is really working. 10 minutes is plenty of time to do all sorts of things, and certainly make giant in-roads. Who knew? And like Alison, er, unstuffed, an hour---well, I would have to work up to that when in that same hour I would have accomplished the work of 10 strong men via the 10 minute method of self trickery. The secret is that you have to switch activities with each 10 minute segment, otherwise I would just plow on---and quit probably. Now off to unpack the groceries piled up in the kitchen. I would leave some of that stuff for days----let's see what I can do in 10 minutes!! BTW, this is my 2 minute Break---another key element.
                      Trish

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                      • #12
                        Trish, that's so cool. It makes an amazingly significant difference, for such a small thing, doesn't it? And really, it's all in our heads: in terms of our physical abilities to complete tasks, we're probably capable of doing any and all of the projects on our lists at any time, but our minds whimper pathetically at the thought.

                        So glad the 10-minute trick works for you too. I'd be interested to hear from others who've found it useful. And now I'm off to do some 10-minuting of my own.

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