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.
Ever Get Burnt Out From Doing GTD? Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Ever Get Burnt Out From Doing GTD?

    I have to say that today was a very productive day for me. From the moment I woke up I was tackling things on my available actions list.

    The only times I wasn't getting things done was when I took a break to eat, but even then I was doing some research online for a term paper.

    I'm impressed with myself though at the same time exhausted. Of course the available next action list never ends...well, until I die. But that's life.

    So, I'm wondering if perhaps this "Ever get burnt out from GTD?" thought is just pre-falling off the wagon..

    Like you, have falling off the wagon numerous times and hate having to pull myself back up. Especially in terms of processing everything that wasn't during my downtime.

    For the past week (almost time for my weekly review this Sunday) I've been productive during my days and when I come home or have 15 minutes to spare will do some processing, getting things out of my inbox and created into projects...but today, I'm spent. Not physically tired, but maybe mentally. It's 2am now for the past 2 hours have been mainly just listening to music and watching some TV; feeling as if I deserve it.

    Iono, rather than me dragging this on I feel this topic/thread is more open to interpretation as i'd like to believe i'm not the only one that has felt this way.

    Of course, all GTD'ers here will hopefully think: "Well, what's your successful outcome here?" & Personally I'm thinking its to continue to be productive even after being really productive. Reflecting back at the times I've falling off the GTD wagon, it's usually been after being very productive; perhaps subconsciously insinuating that I deserve the downtime after being sooo productive.

    I'm all ears.
    Last edited by kelstarrising; 10-24-2009, 09:19 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by HappyDude View Post
    The only times I wasn't getting things done was when I took a break to eat, but even then I was doing some research online for a term paper.
    Spending the entire day cencentrating on Getting Things Done is counterproductive and leads to fatigue and eventually to burnout. It's worth while to take your lunch time completely away from your work and concentrate on your tasty lunch, a change of scene, or quiet thoughts unrelated to your work. If you work alone, look for some people to be with (eating with friends, or munching on your sandwich outdoors watching passersby). If you work with people all around you, especially with much interaction, find some solitude for that short time. Either way, get outside if possible, and take a brisk walk. With such an intense schedule, you really need the break.

    Building variety and short periods of rest & relaxation into your day will not diminish your productivity. It will actually help. Try it for a few days; you'll see.
    Last edited by Day Owl; 10-24-2009, 07:04 AM. Reason: Further thoughts.

    Comment


    • #3
      the beauty will be to be able to practise without trying too hard. hope i can reach that state soon

      Comment


      • #4
        Balance

        Though some of David Allen's writings seem to validate the approach of using up every single minute for work, I don't think this is sane. When I eat I enjoy my meal, when I listen to music I enjoy the music, when I am with a dear person I enjoy his/her presence... and when I work I work. Or at least I try my best to do it this way.

        Not everything is work, namely exerting effort to change something, to obtain some desired result - many things or situations are the desired result already. Beware not to miss them cause you are busy chasing desired results - this is not only inefficient, but, in my view, plainly silly.

        Also, satisfying basic needs - good sleep, nutrition, probably exercise, probably social interaction, probably sex, etc - properly, is a must to go on being productive.

        Your view of a list of next actions that will continue all your life unendingly is quite sisyphic and frustrating if you don't take the time to enjoy the fruits of your work. What is it worth?

        There are times when we have to work hard (e.g. a project with a deadline), but in general, keeping a good balance between work and not work (not trying to change anything, just enjoying things as they are) is the thing for me.
        Last edited by Marcelo; 10-24-2009, 08:00 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't think it's the actual GTD that is tiring you out. I believe it is the actual getting things done part. If you go supercharged all day, whether it's mental or physical, you're bound to be tired. Follow the recommendations from the other posters and add some balance and take care of yourself.

          Comment


          • #6
            David would disagree!

            Originally posted by Marcelo View Post
            Though some of David Allen's writings seem to validate the approach of using up every single minute for work, I don't think this is sane. When I eat I enjoy my meal, when I listen to music I enjoy the music, when I am with a dear person I enjoy his/her presence... and when I work I work. Or at least I try my best to do it this way.

            Not everything is work, namely exerting effort to change something, to obtain some desired result - many things or situations are the desired result already. Beware not to miss them cause you are busy chasing desired results - this is not only inefficient, but, in my view, plainly silly.

            Also, satisfying basic needs - good sleep, nutrition, probably exercise, probably social interaction, probably sex, etc - properly, is a must to go on being productive.

            Your view of a list of next actions that will continue all your life unendingly is quite sisyphic and frustrating if you don't take the time to enjoy the fruits of your work. What is it worth?

            There are times when we have to work hard (e.g. a project with a deadline), but in general, keeping a good balance between work and not work (not trying to change anything, just enjoying things as they are) is the thing for me.
            I'm going to take a risk and speak for David Allen....he never advocated using every single minute for work. In fact, I think he'd say he wants to manage his life better so his attention ISN'T on work when he's not working. And I bet he does that very, very well. From what I've read of all the DavidCo people, they lead rich, full lives apart from their work: they travel, they pursue higher education, one is a poet, they hike, they run...and I'm sure that's just the tip of the iceberg. But I don't see any of them (the visible ones anyway) as workaholics.

            Comment


            • #7
              GTD and Zen

              Originally posted by Barb View Post
              I'm going to take a risk and speak for David Allen....he never advocated using every single minute for work. In fact, I think he'd say he wants to manage his life better so his attention ISN'T on work when he's not working. And I bet he does that very, very well. From what I've read of all the DavidCo people, they lead rich, full lives apart from their work: they travel, they pursue higher education, one is a poet, they hike, they run...and I'm sure that's just the tip of the iceberg. But I don't see any of them (the visible ones anyway) as workaholics.
              I cautiously used the word "...seem to validate..." because the subject needs further clarification.

              The sentence from the OP that triggered this observation of mine was this one:

              "The only times I wasn't getting things done was when I took a break to eat, but even then I was doing some research online for a term paper."

              This attitude of working while eating -trying thereby to use up every single minute for work-, may seem to be validated by, for example, the following quote from Getting Things Done:

              "While you're on hold on the phone, you can be reviewing your action lists and getting a sense of what you're going to do when the call is done. While you wait for a meeting to start, you can work down the "Read/Review" stack you/ve brought with you. And when the conversation you weren't expecting with your boss shrinks the time you have before your next meeting to twelve minutes, you can easily find a way to use that window to good advantage." (p. 199).

              While it may be argued that there is a substantial difference between a break to eat and being on hold on the phone or waiting for a meeting to start or having an unexpected shrinked window of time (these are not breaks), this difference is not self-evident, more so as David Allen proposes that work (now in the common sense, not in the GTD sense) and life should not be differentiated.

              The consequence is that anyone, as the OP author seems to have done, can project the example quoted to his eating break and similar situations.

              Furthermore, I have to say that I am a Zen practitioner, and from the point of view of Zen, dwelling in the present moment is a central practice. While waiting on hold on the phone, I wouldn't rush to see what I am going to do afterwards (who knows? may be that call will change my next actions), but rather would gently breath and relax. No stres will accumulate from breathing and relaxing, rather, if there is any, it will be dissipated. Trying to foresee my next actions while I am not yet done with the present one, seems to me to unnecessarily allow stress to build up.
              Last edited by Marcelo; 10-24-2009, 01:55 PM. Reason: adding title

              Comment


              • #8
                Multitasking

                Originally posted by Marcelo View Post
                I cautiously used the word "...seem to validate..." because the subject needs further clarification.

                The sentence from the OP that triggered this observation of mine was this one:

                "The only times I wasn't getting things done was when I took a break to eat, but even then I was doing some research online for a term paper."

                This attitude of working while eating -trying thereby to use up every single minute for work-, may seem to be validated by, for example, the following quote from Getting Things Done:

                "While you're on hold on the phone, you can be reviewing your action lists and getting a sense of what you're going to do when the call is done. While you wait for a meeting to start, you can work down the "Read/Review" stack you/ve brought with you. And when the conversation you weren't expecting with your boss shrinks the time you have before your next meeting to twelve minutes, you can easily find a way to use that window to good advantage." (p. 199).

                While it may be argued that there is a substantial difference between a break to eat and being on hold on the phone or waiting for a meeting to start or having an unexpected shrinked window of time (these are not breaks), this difference is not self-evident, more so as David Allen proposes that work (now in the common sense, not in the GTD sense) and life should not be differentiated.

                The consequence is that anyone, as the OP author seems to have done, can project the example quoted to his eating break and similar situations.

                Furthermore, I have to say that I am a Zen practitioner, and from the point of view of Zen, dwelling in the present moment is a central practice. While waiting on hold on the phone, I wouldn't rush to see what I am going to do afterwards (who knows? may be that call will change my next actions), but rather would gently breath and relax. No stres will accumulate from breathing and relaxing, rather, if there is any, it will be dissipated. Trying to foresee my next actions while I am not yet done with the present one, seems to me to unnecessarily allow stress to build up.
                I am really coming to believe "multitasking" is pretty much a farce, but it seems people who try aren't being attentive enough to the present moment. So Zen-type practices seem to me that they would provide more relaxed control, and I see that as nirvana (at least for me).

                And I must vent for just a moment: A few minutes ago I went out to the grocery store. Saturday traffic around here is always busy, but we have construction all around and it's even worse now. I'm ready to pull out of the grocery store parking lot and here comes a man on a bicycle--on a 6 lane road---and he's TEXTING while he's riding his bike! He swerved just as he came upon the entrance to the grocery parking lot and very nearly ran into my car! I hate seeing drivers texting but this guy was really asking for it!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Marcelo View Post
                  I cautiously used the word "...seem to validate..." because the subject needs further clarification.

                  The sentence from the OP that triggered this observation of mine was this one:

                  "The only times I wasn't getting things done was when I took a break to eat, but even then I was doing some research online for a term paper."

                  This attitude of working while eating -trying thereby to use up every single minute for work-, may seem to be validated by, for example, the following quote from Getting Things Done:

                  "While you're on hold on the phone, you can be reviewing your action lists and getting a sense of what you're going to do when the call is done. While you wait for a meeting to start, you can work down the "Read/Review" stack you/ve brought with you. And when the conversation you weren't expecting with your boss shrinks the time you have before your next meeting to twelve minutes, you can easily find a way to use that window to good advantage." (p. 199).

                  While it may be argued that there is a substantial difference between a break to eat and being on hold on the phone or waiting for a meeting to start or having an unexpected shrinked window of time (these are not breaks), this difference is not self-evident, more so as David Allen proposes that work (now in the common sense, not in the GTD sense) and life should not be differentiated.

                  The consequence is that anyone, as the OP author seems to have done, can project the example quoted to his eating break and similar situations.

                  Furthermore, I have to say that I am a Zen practitioner, and from the point of view of Zen, dwelling in the present moment is a central practice. While waiting on hold on the phone, I wouldn't rush to see what I am going to do afterwards (who knows? may be that call will change my next actions), but rather would gently breath and relax. No stres will accumulate from breathing and relaxing, rather, if there is any, it will be dissipated. Trying to foresee my next actions while I am not yet done with the present one, seems to me to unnecessarily allow stress to build up.
                  Yes, I def agree that when example being on a call to not be doing something else with your hands. And you took the words out of my mouth when saying that w/e task you're currently on can affect the rest of your day or following hour.

                  Since reading GTD over a year ago I've heard the statistic too many times that goes along the lines of your brain needing 20 minutes to begin to focus on the task at hand...
                  What i'm thinking about when hearing "multi-tasking" is that rather than checking off actions in order on any particular project for example, "Plan Trip to Vegas" I'll be solely looking at my "Mac:Online" context and be tackling actions one by one in there... The what I think of multi-tasking part is that numerous of these actions aren't related to each other in this context... from: Plan trip to vegas, Type Poli Sci report, submit scholarship information, install snow leopard program, etc etc etc...

                  They're all from different projects and doing small chunks of each project bit by bit is mentally consuming and I'm not sure if its because i'm working on a bunch of different projects of because it takes 20 minutes to settle into each one.

                  On a side note, you mentioned you practice Zen which I absolutely love. For the past year have attempted to immerse myself in attaining peace. I've volunteered at a Buddhist temple earlier in 2009 which I loved, have read up on the subject and this summer accomplished the feat of meditating and practicing yoga every week day during the summer.


                  Originally posted by Barb View Post
                  I am really coming to believe "multitasking" is pretty much a farce, but it seems people who try aren't being attentive enough to the present moment. So Zen-type practices seem to me that they would provide more relaxed control, and I see that as nirvana (at least for me).

                  And I must vent for just a moment: A few minutes ago I went out to the grocery store. Saturday traffic around here is always busy, but we have construction all around and it's even worse now. I'm ready to pull out of the grocery store parking lot and here comes a man on a bicycle--on a 6 lane road---and he's TEXTING while he's riding his bike! He swerved just as he came upon the entrance to the grocery parking lot and very nearly ran into my car! I hate seeing drivers texting but this guy was really asking for it!
                  On a bike?! I can understand while driving but on a bike?!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You don't have to work straight down your context list. You can take a next action and then delve further into the project.

                    Also, the examples that are given in the book as cited by Marcelo, refer to examples of being more productive during idle times at work. It does not state that you cannot have lunch, tend to your garden, lounge with a good book or w/e.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by HappyDude View Post
                      Reflecting back at the times I've falling off the GTD wagon, it's usually been after being very productive; perhaps subconsciously insinuating that I deserve the downtime after being sooo productive.
                      You DO deserve downtime. Not just deserve it, you NEED it in order to continue to be productive. Is there any fun stuff on your Project list? If not, why not?

                      Katherine

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sdann View Post
                        Also, the examples that are given in the book as cited by Marcelo, refer to examples of being more productive during idle times at work. It does not state that you cannot have lunch, tend to your garden, lounge with a good book or w/e.
                        This is something that's quite easy to deal with when you're at work and have a well-defined work day - for example you can start at 9, work continuously with reasonable planned breaks until 5, then stop until 9 the next day.

                        There is some subtlety here - I find it quite easy to drive myself too hard on a moment-to-moment basis and end up stressed and burnt out even with sensible working hours. But overall it's tractable.

                        What I find more difficult to do is managing my stuff at home. Obviously, I don't want to spend all my time doing things from my lists. But I want to maintain a trusted system, so I have to be confident that anything I put into my system will eventually get done. I'm never clear when, and how much, how much time is best to put into getting home stuff done, as opposed to relaxing and fun stuff.



                        rob

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by HappyDude View Post
                          On a side note, you mentioned you practice Zen which I absolutely love. For the past year have attempted to immerse myself in attaining peace. I've volunteered at a Buddhist temple earlier in 2009 which I loved, have read up on the subject and this summer accomplished the feat of meditating and practicing yoga every week day during the summer.
                          That sounds great! I also have for this year (oct throu sep) learning and practicing yoga as one goal in my personal develop. AoF (the other one is learning and practicing GTD )
                          I maintained for a while a blog on Dharma which you may find interesting. It is mainly a collection of readings and videos. I stopped actualizing it cause I stopped reading for a while (not practicing though), but I may go on (got new materials) or start a new one with more personal inputs (may be both?)
                          Here is the link.

                          Also, concerning meditation, if you can free 10 days to go to a Vipassana retreat, I higly recommend it. It's very powerful, not only because of the contents but also for its intensivity: practice is from 4:30 am to 9:30 pm And it's free (you may donate if you want but only after the retreat. You can also volunteer for later retreats, which is another way to donate and go on practicing). Just google "Vipassana" to find a center in your area and read about.
                          Last edited by Marcelo; 10-25-2009, 11:19 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Great thread!

                            I've been 'doing things' much more these past few days and weeks.. even my parents have commented!

                            They were things I actually have wanted to do for years, like learn to bake bread etc. And there was some unexpected stuff that just 'came up' etc.

                            I found that when I came home I sometimes just 'dozed off' at the TV... Not even strong enough to turn it off, lol!
                            I felt slightly guilty too, but then again, I enjoyed the shows, they made me think in new ways (I haven't watched much TV last few years) and gain new perspectives, or learn thinks.. And some were just enjoyable too..

                            I may be MORE likely to do more work again, as I try to make it associate with pleasant things.. So, for example, prepping lunch today while watching an interesting documentary was simply FAB!

                            I keep asking myself, 'How can I make doing this more enjoyable?' And some ideas actually work pretty well..

                            If you found that doing 'lots of small bits' exhausted you, maybe try to limit the amount of such work, and only do a small amount of 'little bits' (eg 3-4 or whatever), and then longer chunks as a reward?
                            It's an interesting perspective to look at things.. I may hate the 'little bits too' (even when prepping lettuce, lol! I prefer to prepare a big bowl for a few days - I know it's not so much vitamins on day 2 or 3, it's still SOME vitamins and better than NONE, lol!)

                            I think I was 'burnt out' from 'doing GTD' in the first days, when I was overwhelmed with it all, and thought I had to do 'everything' on the lists.. When I embraced and accepted the fact that I can actually re-negotiate and/or do 'later' or 'someday/maybe' all or any of those things, I actually started doing MORE and enjoyed my life more! (Interesting paradox, I suppose! )

                            I am still struggling with balancing the different areas of focus, mine and those of other people etc. A lot of threads here on this forum (in public and 'Connect') have been really helpful to me..

                            Then I just had to 'go start doing things', try things out.. I'm trying to build habits and routines, not just do NAs... And I'm still struggling with how exactly to do this..

                            You could eg 'have 1 day to GTD things from the back log' or have a specific amount of time blocked for certain actions, etc. (Still working on that.. ) I have been contemplating having online and offline days, etc.
                            Last edited by Layla; 10-25-2009, 01:53 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              No Burn Out with GTD

                              GTD is not for workaholics. David said all of this was and is developed to find an easier way to get things done because he's basically 'lazy' or at least trying to find the easier softer way. All of what I've read, other methods, like the unschedule, etc. allows for other re-creation. One of my Areas of Focus is taking care of me. Sometimes that mean to feel good about what's not getting done for the next hour or two because I now have a trusted system to use to when I get back to the rest of my calendar and lists. I can and will block time out on my calendar for me. I place myself in the kind of state that one finds them-self in during a power blackout or internet downtime, or car break down or camping in the wilderness. What could I feel good about doing then? I can, too, put on my calendar or list time to think, ponder, meditate about my higher altitudes like my visions, my values, my mission, my epitaph, whatever.

                              I could never burn out with GTD. I burned out running around like chicken with my head cut off without GTD. These incompletion trigger lists, action lists and calendars are my rudders to help me steer, but sometimes I just gotta cruise.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X