Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Empty Head- Now what

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Empty Head- Now what

    After staring GTD 2.5 years ago, I think I may be just now "getting it" (all though from day 1 it has helped me improve at getting things done).
    I have had a sloooow but steady progression to where I am at today, and I purposely approached it this way as I knew it is was the only it would stick with me. While I doubt I will ever get a "mind like water" at least my mind is rarely like Alka Seltzer anymore.

    Last half year or so I Have noticed I occasionally get caught off guard when say a boss or co worker calls and asks about the status of a particular project--while I am away from the office, (I usually have 4-5 larger scale year long projects and the several usual types of projects we all have). I used to be able to rattle off down to the minute detail any of my projects, with my head ready to explode any minute. Now I truly do need to refer to my trusted system (Outlook add-in). Regular reporting of my project status, and keeping a laptop with me while in transit keeps these moments to a minimum but they do happen.
    Personally I would never do a paper based system…that’s just me.
    Is there a point where your system becomes a bit too trusted? I know the pure GTD answer I "no" but...does anyone have any similar experiences--how do you deal with (maybe I should say avoid) the "duh" factor?

  • #2
    I relate to what you're posting about. I was called this week to my boss's office to give a rundown of four major projects that I'm managing right now. He and his admin wished for an update and off the top of my head, I was somewhat lost. So I just fired up my laptop, opened up the four mindmaps I've created for each project, opened my Projects lists, and went to work answering their questions and giving progress updates. Everything flowed smoothly and I was on top of my game.

    I couldn't have done this as well as I did pre-GTD!

    Comment


    • #3
      You could stave off on-the-spot questions by providing transparency throughout the life of a project, i.e. sharing files at regular intervals or (if possible) allowing file access at any time.

      Or, you could do some memory-training exercises and eat better. (Seriously.) I'm not convinced that having an empty mind and a trusted system is really an admirable goal. You want your system to keep things running smoothly and ensure you don't forget anything, which is not the same as forgetting everything.

      Comment


      • #4
        Interesting question. DA actually gave an answer to a similar question in the List Manager 2 episode of the DavidCo podcast.

        He said that you're only a "black belt" when you MUST refer to your list to know who you need to call next, for example.

        So, in answer to your question, DA thinks your system can't be too trusted.

        IMHO, if that's what being a black belt is like, I think I'll stick at yellow/green/brown belt for a while. I would like to have sooome awareness of my life.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by enovabus View Post
          Is there a point where your system becomes a bit too trusted? I know the pure GTD answer I "no" but...does anyone have any similar experiences--how do you deal with (maybe I should say avoid) the "duh" factor?
          Oh yes, soon after starting with GTD: Suddenly I couldn't remember phone numbers, account numbers etc. any more! But I didn't mind too much because I always know where to find them very quickly in my trusted system. I prefer to think it's a sign of my brain reserving its power for more important things. And my head/brain feels much better this way.

          Comment


          • #6
            Weekly review!

            Weekly review is the time when you look at it all from top. With that, I usually remember where I am on any project. Of course all the minute details are impossible to remember (otherwise we wouldn't have books and reports and minutes of the meetings and so on!). In such a situation, I actually say that this is what I recall right away, and would give more details after looking at my records. I don't know whether this is possible for you.

            Regards,
            Abhay

            Comment


            • #7
              RE: "empty head"

              If your mind is quiet*, then you can talk to your wife or kid or co-worker, or do whatever needs doing and put 100% of your attention on it. If you have stuff in your head, then your only partially present to your wife/kids/project that you're doing. If we are worried about something we maybe only minimally present to what we are doing and very present to what we are worried about. The idea is to be fully present to whatever is going on, and then when you're done have your mind be quiet and ready to be fully present to whatever is next. I think David talks about this in the talk he gave to the people at Google which is on youtube with the analogy of throwing a rock into a pond.

              *No doubt writing things down ala GTD is helpful in quieting the mind, but a quiet mind is difficult to really achieve without some form of meditation.
              Last edited by ScottL; 06-22-2009, 12:35 AM. Reason: clarification

              Comment


              • #8
                I definitely sympathize! Two suggestions:

                1. Collect status beforehand. If you receive requests for status frequently enough that being caught off-guard is a problem, then maintain a rolling status report, updated once or twice a day, that you can access quickly.

                2. I have had to educate my co-workers about this. While I can normally dredge up some status, when folks probe about a particular thing, I frequently admit that I don't remember, but that I'll make a note to check and will provide that status.

                I do believe we need to be willing to admit that we don't always have all the answers on the tips of our tongues. That's just not how we operate any more. If a boss wants status, we can provide it; we just can't rattle off everything at a moment's notice.

                But maybe that's just me.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by enovabus View Post
                  Last half year or so I Have noticed I occasionally get caught off guard when say a boss or co worker calls and asks about the status of a particular project--while I am away from the office, (I usually have 4-5 larger scale year long projects and the several usual types of projects we all have).
                  "I know this is a really important project, and I don't want to give you any incomplete or outdated information off the top of my head. Can I call you back (in some time interval or on some date) with the most up-to-date status?"

                  In my experience, people are only resistant to that because they don't trust anyone to ever call them back with anything. They learn pretty quickly if you're one of the few people that will always do what you've committed to, though, so they'll often learn to be happy with this approach.


                  Cheers,
                  Roger

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    empty head

                    I just had my computer hard drive bite the dust. I do have an offsite backup that runs every weeknight so it can be replicated but in the meantime I am working with a laptop that doesn't have a large capacity so much of my project files and next action are waiting for the repaired computer or new computer for the full backup download.My laptop can access my main office hard drive. I have decided to now be redundant and keep a quick analog list of all current projects with contacts, due dates and action status. Good for on the fly status and computer malfunctions.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MarinaMartin View Post
                      I'm not convinced that having an empty mind and a trusted system is really an admirable goal.
                      I wonder too...about the empty head part anyway...the thing for me I am not close to being "blackbelt/ Mindlike water" so while GTD has "quieted my thinking" the big projects creep back up in my head, when they do I can ease pressure by doing review/ mmap. I do notice that sometimes the less Important projects (albiet they are important) are not in my head with present status at the tip of my tongue at all (as they would be ALL day long pre GTD) until I set down at the end of the day, review my lists and make a mini plan for the next day (which I guess is controversial) in GTD ways.

                      I do really enjoy the trust I have developed in my system very slowly (as I said 2.5 yrs ago) if I ever attain the total empty head to go with it...I'll worry about the ramifications then.

                      Having lurked for quite a while on this forum...I appreciate reading the responses to my first post here. Great food for thought, and interesting to hear others experiences with regard to my question.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "clear mind" would be a better term

                        The term "empty mind" seems to have a bit of negative connotation! Take it in the spirit of what DA says (may not be these exact words): "your mind is to have ideas, not to hold them."

                        "Clear mind" would be a better phrase. Like clear desk, you are free to use your clear mind to focus on anything exclusively. (In fact, some folk here report that other people interpret a clear desk as an indication that this person doesn't have any work!) The purpose is to use the full desk/mind space for a given task, and then file it away, for the next task.

                        Try multiplying 3769 by 77925 in your head, and then on paper. On paper, the digits are in front of you, and you can deal with them one by one. While working on one digit, you don't bother about others. And even if the exact result is 293699325, you would rather refer to it as 293 million, or even "little less than 300 million". Same argument, extended to the whole life.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          hey!

                          Originally posted by abhay View Post

                          Try multiplying 3769 by 77925 in your head, and then on paper. On paper, the digits are in front of you, and you can deal with them one by one. While working on one digit, you don't bother about others. And even if the exact result is 293699325, you would rather refer to it as 293 million, or even "little less than 300 million". Same argument, extended to the whole life.
                          VERY good analogy! This one is going straight into my GTD notes. Thanks!

                          JohnV474

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Happy to be able to help!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I don't think you can ever have too trusted a system. Freeing your mind from keeping the details of any project in it means you have room for other thoughts. It's only when I have really done a good job of getting all my commitments and actions out of the way and written down that Ic an dream the really big dreams, which more often than not turn into projects and eventually reality.

                              I think a trusted system is the way to free your mind to be and think all the things you can do rather than just what you have to do.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X