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  • Overcoming setbacks

    Hi everyone,
    I've been using gtd for some years now but am new to this forum.

    I've really seen how using these guidelines make one more effective, but 've noticed a pattern though, of when I can't follow gtd, and would like to know how others deal with it.

    For example the next action @computer, I have "install software xyz". The whole procedure is quite complex, but get there eventually, only something may happen in the lines of, complete crash, incompatibility with the other system that took a week to set up, etc... the result is one action gone wrong has added about 20 more actions to correct or take another path.

    I know this is the definition of "life", but how does someone overcome this quickly. I mean, the thing that something like this brings, is more in the lines of discouragement, that I don't even wish to do anything else for the day, procrastinate or other, because what I thought would free me from one worry, has just added a myriad more.

    Any thoughts?

  • #2
    One technique for containing a negative reaction is to make a checklist -- basically a filtered mindsweep -- of everything you need to do regarding now regard the project that's been set back. Once you extract the next actions from the list, you'll often find that the number of things you actually need to do to recover are much more finite than your initial reaction suggested. Instead of having "so many things" to do now (or 20, which is equally unlikely), you'll probably have four specific actions to take that will get you back on track.

    Of course, if you need to track thoughts with more intricacy, use a mind map, but I prefer starting out with checklists because they lend themselves to prioritizing your mental inventory on the front end.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by chtech View Post
      I know this is the definition of "life", but how does someone overcome this quickly. I mean, the thing that something like this brings, is more in the lines of discouragement, that I don't even wish to do anything else for the day, procrastinate or other, because what I thought would free me from one worry, has just added a myriad more.
      This is going to sound trite, but... Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.

      Before you start a task, you should take a quick look in your crystal ball to see what could possibly go wrong, then just spend a few minutes on contingency planning.

      I, for example, am one of those people who just cannot, under any circumstances, seem to be able to perform even the simplest home project without a minimum of three trips to the hardware store. This has held true no matter how much planning I do or how organized I am before I start. So, I just plan for it take 3 times longer than I think it should. If it takes less, then I am pleasantly surprised, and I have just gained a few free hours in my day.

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      • #4
        re: Setbacks

        I have had similar setbacks with GTD. Usually they turn out to be a more subtle element of the system I overlooked or never really implemented properly.

        I made a list for myself that helped me consolidate some of my thinking on this. One of the things that it took me awhile to actually "get" in employing GTD is just how important it is to RE-clarify outcomes as life circumstances change. The less clear and precise the outcome is the easier it is for it to bottleneck the system.

        Your own situation deals with the more cumbersome issue of when / how / whether / to mess with or transition to a new tool or setup. It's best to plan something like that on a weekend or when you've got time to fix things if they get messed up. And it's good to make sure you've got things backed up in case you need to move back to your previous tool or system.
        Last edited by Todd V; 08-08-2012, 01:22 PM.

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        • #5
          Excellent topic.

          How long does it take you to recover from a failure like this?

          I rejoice that GTD lets me recover in about one minute. I modify the Project and write a new Next Action. I may genuinely fee discouraged and decide to do something else, but at least I know what I need to do next.

          For me, realizing that this sort of setback doesn't slow me down alleviated most of my discouragement.
          Last edited by Brent; 06-03-2008, 06:49 AM. Reason: Re-phrased opening sentence.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by chtech View Post
            For example the next action @computer, I have "install software xyz". The whole procedure is quite complex, but get there eventually, only something may happen in the lines of, complete crash, incompatibility with the other system that took a week to set up, etc... the result is one action gone wrong has added about 20 more actions to correct or take another path.
            My experience with computers has been that "Install XYZ" is seldom a single NA. Granted, things have improved in the software world in the last decade or so, and being a Mac user lessens the pain considerably, but "World o' Pain" generally describes the software experience.

            The only thing I've learned from the whole mess is to be much more selective about the software I use: if I don't need it I won't get it. I got far too carried away for a while, trying every widget that promised to make things a little easier (or more fun).

            Also helps with simplifying my life.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by chtech View Post
              I know this is the definition of "life", but how does someone overcome this quickly. I mean, the thing that something like this brings, is more in the lines of discouragement, that I don't even wish to do anything else for the day, procrastinate or other, because what I thought would free me from one worry, has just added a myriad more.

              Any thoughts?
              If at all possible when something sets me back I try to physically change locations for a bit. I find that this simple act can often help me snap out of the gloom and doom mood I can get myself in long enough to gain some perspective, usually see the world hasn't ended and determine the Next Action(s) to get me back on course.

              I recently had to rebuild my computer after a little "mishap" and used this approach. It worked really well.

              Cheers

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