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  • Cleaned up desk

    I did the most astonishing thing this morning: I cleaned up my desk. Filled out all sorts of forms that have been sitting around, made much needed phone calls, paid some bills, dug around in my inbox, and cleaned it out.

    This is astonishing because I did not in any way use GTD. I just DID it.

    GTD is a great thing and I have been at it for 5 or more years (at least) but at times I wonder if I have lost the ability to just do something. Actually I have gotten into the idea that there is some easy way to do things, and granulating them, and little steps and all, and I have forgotten how good, satisfying, and easy it is sometimes to just DO a thing, instead of running it through my "system".

    Just thought I would share this thought.

  • #2
    Yes, sometimes you just got to do, whatever do means. The danger with any productivity system is what i call meta-doing. Basically getting so hung up in the system that it takes precedence over the doing. Any system should be a means to an end, not done for the heck of it.
    For me GTD has actually enabled me to break through the fiddling. I was mostly focused on what i 'should' be doing, i.e. what was currently on my mind. I think having a working list has helped me be more willing to do spur of the moment things. I am no longer thinking 'No, got to do this first'
    That said, i have fiddled and meta-worked a lot trying to get my GTD system to sit right. It took a few years admittedly. Well worth it, once it clicks into place though.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Trish View Post
      I did the most astonishing thing this morning: I cleaned up my desk. Filled out all sorts of forms that have been sitting around, made much needed phone calls, paid some bills, dug around in my inbox, and cleaned it out.

      This is astonishing because I did not in any way use GTD. I just DID it.
      I don't intend this to sound critical it is just a speculation, but the fact that you had a bunch of forms laying around that you hadn't filled out yet, and a full inbox, suggests to me that maybe you haven't actually been doing GTD, or at least not doing it completely.

      David has said he "thinks about once a week", in other words he thinks about his projects and goals etc once a week and the rest of the time he's getting things done. You might try to get back on the GTD wagon but use minimal systems and try to just review things as often as you need to keep your head clear, but no more. In other words - do stuff all the time, except for a key periods where you take a breather and look at your system to make sure you're still on course.

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      • #4
        I get 'ya, Trish

        Sometimes, if something repels you enough and you just do it, it's a huge victory....regardless of whether or not a list told you to do it!

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        • #5
          It's a great feeling getting a whole bunch of stuff out of the way.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Trish View Post
            I did the most astonishing thing this morning: I cleaned up my desk. Filled out all sorts of forms that have been sitting around, made much needed phone calls, paid some bills, dug around in my inbox, and cleaned it out.

            This is astonishing because I did not in any way use GTD. I just DID it.

            GTD is a great thing and I have been at it for 5 or more years (at least) but at times I wonder if I have lost the ability to just do something. Actually I have gotten into the idea that there is some easy way to do things, and granulating them, and little steps and all, and I have forgotten how good, satisfying, and easy it is sometimes to just DO a thing, instead of running it through my "system".

            Just thought I would share this thought.
            The first four phases of the workflow exist to give a huge boost to the fifth: DO. If that is not quite happening, then you have a huge opportunity to improve the workflow. If you have things on your desk which should not have been there, if the forms have been "sitting around", then most of your office is your inbox! And you won't feel like putting things into inbox but rather leave them on the desk if you are not cleaning your inbox. Was filling out these forms and paying these bills not on your action lists? Or were you avoiding these actions for some reason in spite of being on the action lists? I think what's needed is to identify the exact problem (Workflow? Resistance? Not knowing priorities?) and work on it.

            And you are not alone! From time to time, we all have big improvement opportunities that are invisible to us and obvious to others!!

            Regards,
            Abhay

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            • #7
              We all do lots of things each day which aren't in our system - wake up, brush our teeth, etc. When tasks are really obvious and you're just "flowing", you don't need to use your system, but that doesn't mean there's no use in having a system! The system is there to keep you focussed when you've done the obvious things that need to be done, and you're wondering "what's next?"

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