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Time to Think

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  • Time to Think

    I am an novice at GTD; dont do weekly reviews, dont look at my NA list enough, dont spend enough time on GTD maintenance in general. As such, I'm pretty scattered in my approach to work and life.
    Often, when I meet someone much smarter than me - which happens all too often - I wonder how much of that is a result of the time they spend just thinking. I think of alot of things - mostly in the car - but I dont get very strategic because I am too reactive. I dont think I'll get better at GTD and life until I get better at thinking.
    What about you? Does GTD help you get the big picture better? Does it help you think? I know it frees your mind up, but when my mind gets freed up its not automatically populated with strategic, 30,000 foot thoughts about my work. There are lots of other things I'd rather think about. Do you deliberately set aside time to turn off the world and just think about what you're trying to accomplish big picture in your work and life? I dont mean the Zen meditation type stuff (I have a Zen allergy).

  • #2
    Originally posted by dal1mdm View Post
    Do you deliberately set aside time to turn off the world and just think about what you're trying to accomplish big picture in your work and life?
    Yes. Once a month for an hour or so, and twice a year for as long as necessary. I also touch on this stuff during my Weekly Review, but mostly that's just reminding myself of the things I already figured out during my Semi-Annual and Monthly Reviews.

    Katherine

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    • #3
      In my case it was a process of thinking, learning, conversations with fellow humans, journaling, decision making that went for years. More or less from age 23 to 28 I had an active project "define personal life mission/vision". It started with understanding myself (partly at least), forming a more sophisticated picture of this planet and what's going on here and cringing through a lot of dificult and sometimes unpleasant decisions. It involved lot's of work and the desire to grow as a person (and as a project).

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      • #4
        One approach that worked for me was to go through each of my projects and ask "Why am I doing this one?"

        Once I had that answer (the answer usually defined a higher-level goal), then I asked "... and why is that important to me?" (the answer to this question usually identifies one or more core values).

        After a while, I started to see some common threads emerging. Once I'd identified those common threads, it was easier for me to start to think about potential projects to help me further realize those core values.

        It also made it easier to select from among the ever-growing list of someday/maybes, because I could ask "how does this project align with my values, and how does that compare to other items on this list?"

        As far as "Do I set aside time to think about this stuff?", no, I don't have a formal, scheduled, set-aside block of time for strategic thinking. I suppose it comes up during my weekly review, but mostly it's more ad-hoc than that. I've been thinking about adding a quarterly review to focus more on values and goals, but I like Katherine's approach (I usually do. She's very wise. You should listen to her).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by kewms View Post
          Yes. Once a month for an hour or so, and twice a year for as long as necessary. I also touch on this stuff during my Weekly Review, but mostly that's just reminding myself of the things I already figured out during my Semi-Annual and Monthly Reviews.

          Katherine
          The key to any kind of review is to have the necessary contexts that you can assess your review against. When I do my weekly review, I have my project list as basis. Similarly, when I do my monthly review, I have my monthly goals to check up my progress on. If you don't have these different contexts as basis, all your reviews would simply morph into a blob of look-alikes.

          Just my 2 cents.

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          • #6
            Got an epitaph?

            Originally posted by dal1mdm View Post
            There are lots of other things I'd rather think about. Do you deliberately set aside time to turn off the world and just think about what you're trying to accomplish big picture in your work and life?
            Thanks for sharing. Your comments remind of the tombstone joke that read - "Thank God I Died An Atheist."

            I'm still a GTD Rookie, but have noticed that whether I want to think about GTD processes or not, I do anyway. My capture tools are valuable in grabbing the ideas, so I rarely set aside time to think about the "important things" anymore because I think along the way, especially when I'm driving.

            I added an epitaph to my 50,000 ft list recently. I want my tombstone to have a picture of the world with a big check mark on it to represent DONE.

            Just for fun I'm going to make up a bumper sticker for my office called "Got An Epitaph? It's always interesting to ask people what they want their parting thoughts to be!

            Nancy

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            • #7
              Do not overthink or overplan. Be flexible.

              Overplanning your life and the lack of flexibility can be dangerous. If you plan to get married when you are 25 years old you will miss a perfect oportunity at 23 an you will marry the wrong person at 25.

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              • #8
                Writing while thinking

                For me it helps when i just write words or thoughts while thinking. It takes a bit of the chaos out of the thinking.

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                • #9
                  try mindmapping

                  Originally posted by Peter Muys View Post
                  For me it helps when i just write words or thoughts while thinking. It takes a bit of the chaos out of the thinking.
                  I'm a student finishing a professional degree, and the school is having us "reflect" in papers on a multitude of issues. I'd be going crazy if it weren't for mind mapping (writing out random thoughts and making links between the thoughts). A nice, free program is www.mindmeister.com.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dal1mdm View Post
                    ... Do you deliberately set aside time to turn off the world and just think about what you're trying to accomplish big picture in your work and life? I dont mean the Zen meditation type stuff (I have a Zen allergy).
                    No I do not currently do this but I really wish I did. It's always in the back of my mind to find time on a daily basis (whether you call it meditation, philosophy, thinking, or whatever) to reflect and just think ... big or small.. whatever...

                    It's not that GTD has prevented me from doing this, I instead have used the benefits of GTD (more time) to do more rather than sit back and think if what I'm doing more of, is what I want to be doing more of.

                    Don't know if that makes sense but your post and Katherine's response has inspired me to try to schedule thinking time.

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