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  • What do you think about having only ONE major target?

    I have been a big fan of GTD for a long time - and I believe it has helped me accomplish a lot in life.

    Recently, I have read (mostly for curiosity) about a method called simpleology. There they tell you to have only ONE major target to work on in your life at any given time. Work on one major target, and when that is "taken care of" or "self-propagating", then work on another one, etc. - only ONE at a time.

    In a way, that would be nice and relieve a lot of stress and lack of focus; but it seems impossible for someone with a situation like mine.

    I am a partly-supported missionary to Brazil who works on the side to supplement my income - plus works in the ministry.

    My different areas of focus are:

    - Develop and maintain a youth camp
    - Work on my other responsibilities in the minstry. (I work with my father.)
    - Teach English
    - Grow an online business for ESL (English as a second language) students (www.timandtammy.com)
    - Record CDs from our quartet
    - Grow and maintain a ministry site
    - Improve my piano playing
    - Be a good father, husband, son, etc.
    - Other miscellaneous interests

    It is true that I feel overwhelmed at times; but then, of course, I don't ALWAYS prioritize and keep my GTD system up to snuff as I should...

    I was just wondering what you all think about this thing of having ONLY ONE major target? Don't you think that GTD has helped us manage more than one target at a time?

  • #2
    If you focus on only one major goal at a time, you will make faster progress than if you try to move several things forward at once. That's simple math.

    The hard part is making the tradeoffs necessary to achieve that single-goal focus. Only you can decide whether your number one goal is worth letting everything else slide, and for how long.

    Katherine

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    • #3
      Oi tileeba,
      may I suggest an alternative that is working quite well for me? First, I think one has to give oneself some sort of constraint because time is limited. That's just it. The question is one of how to set the rules. Taking just one goal at a time seems to be too narrow to me. What works well for me is to set one major goal for each main area of focus. I think something between 5 to 10 goals works best.
      Best,
      Christopher

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      • #4
        Life is not that simple as your method Do you mean stop looking after my child and spend all the time earning money? I hope that answers your question. Try to find the happy medium or just don't live in extremes

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        • #5
          Thank you, everyone, for taking your time to answer!

          Although there has been a lot of hype about this "simpleology" system, I think I will just stick to our good ole' GTD...!

          As Borisoff said - life is not that simple!!

          Thanks again for your comments!


          Does anyone else here seem to have too many irons on the fire sometimes? How have you been managing that? I liked Cpu_Modern's suggestion.

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          • #6
            I'm a fan of the idea of having only one major project.

            I doubt that fans of simpleology believe in literally doing only one thing until it's done; if they were, they wouldn't eat or use the bathroom.

            I have found that the times in which I focused on one major project (while keeping up on other little things like making meals and checking emails) were much more satisfying than times in which I tried to keep thirty projects going at once. Total focus is a great thing.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Brent View Post
              I'm a fan of the idea of having only one major project.

              I doubt that fans of simpleology believe in literally doing only one thing until it's done; if they were, they wouldn't eat or use the bathroom.

              I have found that the times in which I focused on one major project (while keeping up on other little things like making meals and checking emails) were much more satisfying than times in which I tried to keep thirty projects going at once. Total focus is a great thing.
              To a large extent I agree with Brent. There are some possible problems though:

              1. Very concentrated work can be overpowering. It might be a good idea to have some other tasks to switch to for variety, but don't lose focus, and don't abandon the main task.

              2. Life gets in the way. Other people place demands - urgent or unexpected things happen. If you are in a place or time where there are few other demands, then focusing on one task can be really good. Many people are not so fortunate, and may have elderly relatives or children to look after, or many other possible problems which interfere - e.g car accidents, your shed blows down etc. Life is not always gloomy, but sometimes there can be a succession of unhelpful events which are a pain.

              3. Personally I think that having more than 3 major things to do at once is difficult, though it is possible to get through more than this if they're not too big. If I have a list with 20 things on, with luck 10 or so will get done each day. These are not usually very major though.

              If you can create conditions to get the one major task which you really want to do as the main task, go for it and it may go a lot faster. You may find that you are putting pressure on others though, as they may pick up the things you don't do. If you can get your major task done in a reasonable time still go for it, and thank the other people later.

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              • #8
                the time unit is crucial

                My thoughts:

                1. This is what you do in a crisis. Hopefully it has an end point, natural or artificial.
                2. Sometimes you need to do this to be really creative or think deeply. We need to given ourself the chance to do this and know how many hours it takes to get into the mode.
                3. This can be a real luxury that you create the opportunity for by getting the rest of your life under control or accomplishing things that elevate you to a certain status so you have support for everything else.
                4. Maybe if you work the GTD system and your mind is on only the n/a you are doing when you are doing it, it is the same thing just in a smaller unit of time.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
                  My thoughts:

                  1. This is what you do in a crisis. Hopefully it has an end point, natural or artificial.
                  2. Sometimes you need to do this to be really creative or think deeply. We need to given ourself the chance to do this and know how many hours it takes to get into the mode.
                  3. This can be a real luxury that you create the opportunity for by getting the rest of your life under control or accomplishing things that elevate you to a certain status so you have support for everything else.
                  4. Maybe if you work the GTD system and your mind is on only the n/a you are doing when you are doing it, it is the same thing just in a smaller unit of time.
                  I am not sure I fully understood. What exactly is the "time unit"?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dave2002 View Post
                    There are some possible problems though...[snip]If you can get your major task done in a reasonable time still go for it, and thank the other people later.
                    Oh, certainly; I agree. You articulated the problems very well; thank you for pointing out the weaknesses in my blanket argument.

                    This reminds me of the world of writing. Every writer writes differently; each author has habits and systems and reminders that help them. And each system absolutely works for some writers, and absolutely doesn't work for others. For example, some writers must use an outline, while others choke on outlines and can't use them. So, usually the best advice for floundering writers is to try out different systems and ideas. See what works.

                    Same thing here. Why not try focusing on only one project? It may work for you.

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                    • #11
                      what I meant by "time unit"...

                      The decision to focus on one project or one purpose or one action needs to be considered in the context of time. The time unit can be natural or artifical, set by oneself or others, a few years or a few minutes. And, the larger context needs to also be considered; how did you get to the place where you could do that kind of singular focusing? The "how" has practical terms (e.g., who will feed and cloth you?) as well as internal/ psychological/relational ones (e.g., how do you turn off internal pulls?). So, maybe doing work n/a by n/a allows you to focus on one action at at time, as if no others existed. If the time is short, like 10 to 15 minutes you need not really worry about these other factors. If so, this could result in working in the same style of "flow", "mindfulness" or whatever people might call it that one experiences when one takes something as a total focus, whether the work is physical, mental, spirtual, demanding or easy. If you want to take e year and work on one thing...you will have to do a lot of setting up in regard to the above matters, practical and intangible. This is what I think I meant to say and thank you for asking for clarifciation. Good luck! It sounds like you are considering making a choice about directing your energies in a particular direction. The process of making choices like that needs its own time and space , so that becomes ( a project unto itself). This might be getting into DA's high altitude stuff.

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                      • #12
                        Thank you so much for taking the time to explain, Jamie Elis! Now I understood what you meant; and I agree with you!

                        I really appreciate everyone's comments here. Thank you for trying to help me sort this out!

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                        • #13
                          Please excuse my ignorance - but what does "doing work n/a" mean?

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                          • #14
                            Doing work n/a by n/a means
                            Doing work next action by next action

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