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My Early GTD Insights

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  • My Early GTD Insights

    I do have some positives from my GTD system, but here I will focus on the negatives:

    First, I might as well list my tools:
    - pad of paper in back pocket at all times for capture
    - Outlook complete with GTD Add-in of course. Just tell me what to buy Mr. Allen......
    - Blackberry complete with NextAction (which really does help!)
    - Missing tools? Someone to make my life/project/action decisions for me........isn't that what we're all really looking for here?

    1. I would rather "do" a task even if it is going to take me 5 or 10 minutes than enter it into my "system".

    2. I tend to be attracted to more "simple" tasks and "projects" since they are easier to define, track, complete, and remove in my GTD system. I guess that hasn't changed from my pre-GTD self.

    3. As my lists get longer and longer, I become numb and number (yes, there is a reference to dumb and dumber in there). I also start to duplicate things - like I can't remember if I've already inputed a certain task/project into the appropriate place so later I'll see it twice. Yes, I know I need to do more weekly reviews....shesh!

    4. Right now, I feel much more anxiety about my 'stuff' then I ever did before GTD --- out of sight out of mind and ignorance is bliss are principles I am really starting to think are is irresponsibility.

    5. I have also been "doing" less since I got into (I wouldn't use the term started) GTD about 2.5 months ago. I read GTD blogs and posts like it's porn. And I read DA's GTD book over and over to the point that I have not read a non-GTD book for months. And I used to love reading fiction!!! I am convinced that there is no greater procrastinating tool like reading about other people being productive!!! You get the feeling of getting things done vicariously through other people - without actually getting things done yourself! Long live 43 Folders.

    6. I realize that most of my stuff on my lists are things I don't really want to do. This again, should not come as a surprise since I have known for a while that my job and I don't really jive. If there is something I enjoy doing --- I usually just do it instead of adding it to a list.

    7. All I need is one more (tool, software, way of thinking, blog article, hour, dollar) and I'll be in the grove. Is it too much to ask to just enjoy being happy with where I am now??? Of course not.

    8. Despite all of the above - I LOVE GTD! How is that possible???

    Have a great weekend all.

    Last edited by roakleyca; 06-22-2007, 04:19 PM.

  • #2
    Ditto to several of the items on your list, but I feel I might have a bit of insight on one:

    I too find I am more attracted to the simpler items on my list. I think that a central tenet of GTD explains this. If an item is attractive it is probably in the category of a single action which we can do. If not, then it is probably in the category of 'project'. Unfortunately, what moves items in the latter category to the former is the inexplicably hard act of sitting down and thinking about projects. I know I have a very difficult time convincing myself at any given moment of the value of stopping and fully processing. I always want to get going and do - there's so much of that and it's stressing me out that that seems the most direct way to feel better. The longer view contradicts this, but in the battle of long-term vs. short-term the short term value always seems to win out. I don't know what a good remedy for this is, good habits can be deceptively difficult to groom.


    • #3
      I appreciate your comments and relate to much of what you're saying roakleyca. Moomoo - I also agree with your point. That we become numb to the actions list because they aren't really actions but projects. I feel that more training, input, etc. would be great on that topic. I am sure with practice it becomes easier but it is still a struggle for me to stop and figure out the next action.


      • #4
        It is called thinking

        Originally posted by roakleyca View Post
        - Missing tools? Someone to make my life/project/action decisions for me........isn't that what we're all really looking for here?

        I suspect you are just being humorous, so please forgive me for addressing this statement seriously. I think you are pointing out something that is important.

        What you are referring to is called thinking, and NO other person or system can do it for you. I would not be surprised if the root of the many peoples' problem with GTD is really the desire not to think, and I would argue that anyone who is not willing to think might as well not bother with an organization system at all since it won't help. Luckily, as DA points out a couple of times in his works, while you do have to think more than you might like, it is usually less than you might fear.

        To me the trick is to concentrate on one thing at a time. For my weekly review, for instance, I process my inbox, calendars, phone messages and emails, and literally leave my office so that I'm not as tempted to keep interrupting myself while I'm reviewing my lists by doing something easy instead of thinking. Then for each list, I try to read one and only one item at a time and actually think about it, if only for the 5-10 seconds necessary to actually make a decision about it before moving to the next item. It does take some discipline, but it gets easier with practice and doesn't take too long. My review last Friday required about 30 minutes to process my inbox, emails, etc. and then about 1.5 hrs to go through all my lists.

        Good Thinking,



        • #5
          Tornado - I think you make a key point to plan to do your weekly review in a place where you can actually think. And if your office isn't a place where you can get a lot of thinking done, then fine someplace that you can or set-up your office enviro differently. The thing that bothers me about doing my review offsite is that I don't have the folders & cabinets with me, so there is much left to do when I get back into the office to follow up on the review.


          • #6
            Process files first


            To avoid the problem of not having my files with me during my review, I process my inbox, support files, and emails in my office first. That way I rarely generate many items that would require me to get to my files when I do the rest of my review away from my office. If something does come up that needs filing, I throw it into my traveling inbox (a labeled folder) and simply process into my files when I return to my office. There are also usually a few 2-minute emails that I could do if I were in my office, and I just add those to my @email list. While this method does add one extra step for a few items each week, it is entirely worth it to me since I can think better away from my office.



            • #7
              Thanks. I think that's a great idea. I think I'll do better at focusing also (away from the office). I have little problem starting the review, but once something distracts me, someone interrupts or I start doing one of the actions... well then the whole thing is a goner because I'm out of "decision"/action-creating mode. Great advice, thanks!