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Is GTD better for procrastinators or the hard worker?

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  • Is GTD better for procrastinators or the hard worker?

    I've been trying to do GTD for a few months now and am having mixed results. This is partly due to things happening in my personal life, but I have also been wondering who GTD best applies to. I fall into the procrastinator category but wonder if the system is better for the hard worker is merely inefficient.

    This idea comes from listening to the GTD Fast CDs. I like the CD seminar and got some good points out of it, but a few of David's comments make me think it is geared toward the disorganized workaholic. David talks about the executives who work all sorts of hours but don't pay their utility bills. There is a big emphasis on being able to work a 40 hour week instead of overtime. And finally, there is David's example of the fun things he can do knowing he has everything under control. He prunes the plants in his yard. And this is from someone who repeatedly says he is lazy.

    I'll be happy to be told that my impression of GTD is wrong, but would like some advice on how the system will help an underworker like me.

  • #2
    Re: Is GTD better for procrastinators or the hard worker?

    Originally posted by beirne

    I'll be happy to be told that my impression of GTD is wrong, but would like some advice on how the system will help an underworker like me.

    Kinda depends...I guess. "Why" do you think you want to get things done? What external or internal pressure to you have to be "productive?"

    I don't know if it's predominately the "overwhelmed" to connect to our stuff; anyone can use it. In the seminars I deliver, I frame productivity as"

    "The ability to get done what you said you'd do, in the time you promised."

    As an "underworker," if you just "underpromise" you're probably set. If any part of you is looking for bigger and better (whatever that means: gardening, walks with the family, more money in your IRA, etc) then most likely some things will have to shift.

    Just last night, while walking with Jodi and our dog, I realized that while I was only 20 minutes away from the house (aka: the weeding I had to do, the packing for the next trip, the e-mails to respond to, the article draft due Tuesday, etc) I was a million miles away through choice: I chose to go on a walk.

    While people are doing one thing, do they think of others? If so, there's an excellent opportunity to implement even a little of this methodology:

    There are some people who just do not seem to get it [or want to get it] while others take to it like a duck to water. Life is negotiation. What is important? What is not so important? These questions will bring up the topics to discuss with your Self (big S self), your colleagues, your family (friends, community, church, etc). You can get used to or at least accept, that people will manage their agreements one way or the other. The good news about Getting Things Done is that it gives people “common vocabulary.”

    What's the next action?

    What's the successful outcome?


    • #3


      I am a fellow under-achiever. I have never been able to muster the gumption to really succeed in life, but I have never been able to escape the notion that I should. (Ponderous) I think GTD is a Godsend for people who are trying to conquer the world. I would venture that most of the people on this forum are pushing themselves pretty hard. Mind like water sounds good, but even with my 150 todos and 50 projects I still spend a good amount of time wondering what needs doing most.

      But GTD has a tendency to show you all things you are letting slide and that can be a motivator.

      Of course nothing works if you (or I) dont.


      • #4
        We all have different degrees of endurance, drive, mental and physical energy, efficiency and degree of focus (narrow versus wide, one thing or several at a time) that is optimal for our psyche. I would not assume that a procrastinator is or is not a hard worker, nor that a hard worker gets more or less done than an easy worker. A procrastinor may or may not be effective, he may need more time to let ideas incubate, he may like to wait and see what happens (maybe someone will dive in and rescue him--saving him resources), he may be working too hard because his work is ill-planned in terms of strategy (that's me, by the way) or a poor match with his talent. In fact he may be working twice as hard to accomplish half as much. Or, the work-environment may pose many challenges. That being said, I think you might find, as I did, that you have too many active projects for you at this time, and poor strategies for working on them. I have also found that too many of my next actions lead to real or imagined (or greatly exagerated predictions of) aversive experiences, so who would not avoid them and hence appear to procrastinate. So you might try GTD--you might find that sorting your active from your SDMB projects makes a big difference; along with taking care of 2 minute items as you process your in (inputs).


        • #5

          My latest realization about next actions that make me want to run and hide is that, instead of visualizing wild success, I am visualizing wild failure. Just doing a little more of the former motivates me to get it done and off the list, rather than searching the list for something more pleasant to do instead.

          Now, to make it a habit --



          • #6

            Jamie Elis

            I for one find procrastination to be an indispensable tool for lack of productivity!