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when you're depressed, learn something new

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  • when you're depressed, learn something new

    I figured I get so much out of this list I should give what I can. So here's something my wife read when she was in seventh grade in a book about King Arthur, and Merlin tells young Arthur something to the effect of "when you're depressed, learn something new." (i could have the reference, the book, and the quote wrong, if someone cares to correct it).

    Anyway I've been thinking that that might be applicable to my GTD system. There've been previous posts on mood management, I know, and I'm getting more and more into Energy as a context.

    Anyway I just added a category on my GTD which is '2learn' (I could have called it 'depressed' but that's pretty negative and plus i don't want my associates to worry). In '2learn' i put some actions that will take anywhere from 2-30 minutes, and which I know will pick me up, especially things that I might want to learn - like some vocab words to look up, or 10 spanish words i might want to know, or a card trick i want to master, or a chapter of a book I've been meaning to take off the shelf and read (i try to avoid things I need to learn specifically for my job).

    Personally, I find these things more relaxing than typical "relaxation" activities. That might make me a weirdo, but if anyone else is the same way, maybe you can get something out of this post.

    In any event this is a work in progress so, I'll let you know how the experiment works out. But it's nice to have those things in a list - not like Projects in the Someday/Maybe, but just as little 'mini" learning activities. I feel better already.

  • #2
    Not especially weird. I believe that there are some people who have a "Rewards" list along similar lines.

    Andrew

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    • #3
      ah yes - that would work as well. tho in my workaholic brain i'd be more likely to grab a 2learn than a 'reward' - especially if i'm in a mood not feeling like a reward. But good point.

      Actually andrew could i just ask you - you spoke on an earlier post about collecting all future actions about a project, then putting a 'bookmark' to tell you where you are. That sounded really interesting. could i ask - where do you keep the list of future actions? Do you then drag them over to your NA list, or just work through a bunch right from the project list and drag over where you leave off?

      -Arthur

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      • #4
        learning something new

        Just some comments, perhaps only tagentially related. I think that GTD appeals to people who like to learn new skills and information. I have noticed that people interested in GTD have a wide range of interests but are especially interested in tools and skills--technological gadgetry, languages, mind-mapping, possibly anything that expands their horizonsm to a greater extent than people who get interested in other time-management and productivity methodologies in which you basically get better at doing what you already know how to do. Many of my active and SDMB projects involve learning new things, so much so that I sometimes have trouble figuring out what it is I need to learn first and therefore what context I might do it in. This is especially so in regard to anything having to do with using computers to do work for me or organize information. Finally, I once read that one of the differences between top college students who are not stressed and those who are is that the former carry "pocket work", little things that they can work on when they have a few minutes here or there, such as diagrams, outlines, flashcards. In this reagard, I once had a colleague who spent a half hour blow drying her thick blond hair EVERY morning and she used that time to read and think about pieces of information that she found interesting and had put on index cards as she came upon them or researched them. She told me she had about 1000 cards she had mastered, foreign words, laws and regulations, zen poems, and Native American sayings.

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        • #5
          [quote="on_the_mic"]
          Actually andrew could i just ask you - you spoke on an earlier post about collecting all future actions about a project, then putting a 'bookmark' to tell you where you are. That sounded really interesting. could i ask - where do you keep the list of future actions? Do you then drag them over to your NA list, or just work through a bunch right from the project list and drag over where you leave off?

          Hi Arthur:

          There are lots of powerful ideas in GtD and triggers to personalize your GtD style. My weakness is not in outcome visioning, nor in building momentum once I start on something, but in taking the time to do the organizing bit right (whether it would be GtD or any other system). The bookmark analogy is the single most powerful idea that helps me to do the organizing bit and allow myself to indulge my laziness in organization.

          I use the bookmark analogy to avoid writing any more than is necessary. I don't see much point in writing what I already know (write check, put in envelope, seal envelope, affix stamp, take to mailbox). "Pay Bill" is enough writing for me to know what to Do. The NA paradigm works best for creating progress where you don't really know what the NA will lead to (check bank balance before you can decide whether you want to pay bills today). If a simple bookmark or NA notation will be enough to give me peace of mind that I won't "lose my place" on a Project, that's all I am prepared to create. (In some few cases, reminding yourself of the previous step may also be useful, especially if it is an incomplete step.) Anything that I create in a list needs to be reviewed and edited - that's the part that I prefer to minimize.

          To answer directly - either the future actions flow naturally because you know them (page 2 follows page 1) and you don't need to write them all out - you just keep going as long as you feel is right and then you stop and bookmark/note the NA - or there are no future actions yet because you don't know what you will learn from the NA (e.g., Call Joe and ask him how to do this thing).

          The only times I feel that it is useful to break out the steps in a Project is when:
          1. It can be broken out into concurrent Active sub-Projects.
          2. There are deadlines and milestone/dates which need to be kept sight of. In this case, I write out the milestones as a Project Support note and write the next one in the Calendar as a Reminder (not an action).

          There is an exception to this minimalist approach when it is possible that you will be called to account for your future plans on a Project, but in my experience clients/customers just want to know that you are on schedule, not all the details.

          By and large, when it comes to making lists I subscribe to: "Just enough but not too much".

          Andrew

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