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GTD Stage Fright

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  • GTD Stage Fright

    Hi all,

    I recently got into GTD through Merlin Mann. I've read the book, listened to the audio book and love the whole system. I started incorporating it into my work an dpersonal life, making headway, taking to heart Mr. Allen's advice that learning GTD is a process, etc. Sadly though, I fell off the wagon.

    After wading through some frustrating times, I've jumped back on, but now I have a new issue: I have stage fright! If I crack open my book or listen to the audio book I start feeling tense, worried, and I assume it's related to my failue with GTD before.

    Anyway, long story short, have any of you had the same issue, and if so what did you do to get over it?

  • #2
    First and foremost, don't be too hard on yourself and give yourself permission to fail; it's part of the growth process. Nobody's perfect. David Allen even admits that his life gets out of control regularly; he just knows how to recognize when that's happened and how to regain control quickly.

    By falling off the wagon you've gotten to experience life in three ways:
    1. Not knowing GTD at all
    2. Knowing and practicing GTD
    3. Knowing but not practicing GTD

    Perhaps you needed to do this for GTD to really take root in your life. Use this to give yourself some perspective and answer these questions for yourself:
    • What did you like the most about GTD?
    • What did you like least?
    • Why did you stray away from it?
    • If you pick up GTD again, what pleasure will you experience?
    • If you don't pick it up again, what pain will you experience?

    I'd like to go out on a limb and ask a tough question about your stage fright. Does your stage fright *really* come from uncertainty that you won't be able to stay on the GTD wagon, or does it come from something deeper, perhaps from some unpleasant open loops in your life that you don't want to put on a Projects list where you see it each week? If you follow GTD you won't be able to hide them under the rug; they will be in plain sight all the time. I hallucinate that's the true source of your anxiety.

    If I'm right, remember that keeping an open loop out of sight only keeps it out of your conscious mind, but not your subconscious. It knows and remembers every single open loop in your life and it will bug you until you manage each one appropriately. The solution is to first define the best possible outcome from a situation and park that reminder in the appropriate place (Projects list, most likely) and decide the very next physical action you need to take to move towards it. No matter how complicated an outcome is it always comes down to "pick up phone", "boot computer", "talk to...", "look up...", etc. Doing these two things removes the anxiety from the situation and allows you to handle it with peak focus and control.

    Once you start to experience that consistently, you'll find it hard to live life without GTD. You'll stay on the wagon without consciously trying to stay on it. You'll just be living a lifestyle to which so many GTDers have become accustomed.

    If I'm wrong, my apologies. Please help me to give you what you really need.

    Good luck,

    -Luke

    Comment


    • #3
      Wow Luke, thank you! I felt a little foolish asking such a personal question, but after such a thoughtful answer I'm very glad I did.

      You've given me a lot to think about, and a new perspective. I actually feel a little bit of that excitement I had when I first read Getting Things Done! Obviously this will take a lot more work before I can truly say I'm back on the wagon, but I'm very appreciative of your words and your wisdom.

      Comment


      • #4
        Stage Fright

        Originally posted by BRSaxon View Post
        Hi all,

        Sadly though, I fell off the wagon.

        After wading through some frustrating times, I've jumped back on, but now I have a new issue: I have stage fright! If I crack open my book or listen to the audio book I start feeling tense, worried, and I assume it's related to my failue with GTD before.

        Anyway, long story short, have any of you had the same issue, and if so what did you do to get over it?
        I tried to implement the last pieces of GTD when I moved from the US to Jamaica and found that I couldn't cope with all the stuff that was coming at me from all angles.

        The big change I made was to own the fact that my failure was not because of GTD... instead, I didn't know that I needed to to return the focus to me, and my system.

        I found that when I did that, all I needed to do was to upgrade my own time management system to the point where it could cope with my new situation. That turned out to be a lot gentler than trying to replace my system with another.

        After all, no-one had put together a system that matched my situation, and the only person who could would be me.

        At that point, I realized that I needed to use the best I could find of GTD (and a few others) to do these upgrades, and I experimented with bits and pieces here and there until something went "click."

        I had to be pretty patient, however, because it's tough to change more than one or two habits at a time (or at least, it was for me.)

        For example, I found that GTD's contexts didn't work for me, and the kind of scheduling I learned in school as an engineer worked better (once I have the right tools.)

        So, if you can appreciate that the system you have has done a good job in getting you to where you are, and that you needn't throw it all away... but instead patiently work in some new habits, maybe that might help?

        Comment


        • #5
          If it's any consolation, even us "old school" GTDers fall off the wagon, too.

          I haven't processed my physical inbox at home in 4 days. :blush:

          Comment


          • #6
            There's not as many ways to really fail with GTD as you might think. If you're in a better place than when you started, then it's hardly a failure, even if you only managed to get halfway through collecting up your inbox.

            Keep celebrating those successes, no matter how small.



            Cheers,
            Roger

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