View Full Version : Putting the fun stuff into the GTD system
I have been rereading the GTD-book now and one thing that I'm wondering about that I need to have some input on is this question: Should you add the "fun" stuff into your system?
As I see it, there are things that are "fun" to do, but the problem is that if I add this to my GTD-system, then it seems like a must-do-thing. I don't like that, but on the other hand if I don't add it, I might forget about it.
Do any of you guys/girls have/had this type of problem?
06-11-2010, 06:39 AM
As I see it, there are things that are "fun" to do, but the problem is that if I add this to my GTD-system, then it seems like a must-do-thing. I don't like that, but on the other hand if I don't add it, I might forget about .
If you want to do it, not might want to do it someday, then by all means put it on the appropriate project or next action list, no matter how much fun it is :). Seriously, you don't really want to have lists of things that repel you. You don't leave enjoyable events off your calendar, I hope.
I certainly put fun things in my GTD system.
Most obviously, scheduled fun goes into the calendar.
You can also create fun projects. I have a HAM radio exam coming up, which was a project. Other projects I've had included taking a creative writing class, taking a road trip, and getting a puppy. None of those is exactly serious business.
But I've found the very best place for fun is the Someday Maybe list. When I was on my road trip last week, I told my friend about the Someday Maybe list. She was super fascinated, and asked me to read her everything that was on it. As I read through my crossed-out entries, I realized I get through my Someday Maybes on a very consistent basis, and it's probably because a lot of the things on that list are just plain FUN! I do still have to get down to New Orleans for the Jazz Festival. It'll happen.
I think there's this myth that fun has to be unstructured in order to be true fun. Many fun things (like taking a class in something you like) do require some structure, at the very least getting to the class in the right place on the right day. GTD helps with that.
Would I put "take a picnic in the park" on my next actions list? Probably not. (Actually, if I didn't have time in the foreseeable future, I'd probably put it on my S/M.) But the nice thing about GTD is that you can review your next actions in one place, see that nothing is going to catch on fire while you're out, and gleefully skip away to the park without worrying about your other obligations. It's sort of like...organized spontaneity.
Don't lose yourself in productivity. The reason we do GTD is to minimize energy spent on worrying about the "must dos" and can maximize energy available for the "can dos". If that means belly flopping into a ball pit, so be it.
06-11-2010, 11:48 AM
I can understand the risk of an item in your system feeling like a "must do", which then tests our defiance.
As I have caught the vision better, however, my system is FULL of fun stuff and "want to's". In fact it is my "make my wants become real" system.
Even mundane tasks fit in here... I may dislike having to mow the lawn, but having that project under control (no "out of gas" surprises) allows me to cram more fun into my life.
If I really don't want an outcome then it isn't in my system at all. GTD makes doing the stuff we dread easier and gives more room for the stuff we enjoy doing.
06-11-2010, 12:15 PM
I also think that fun should be tracked in a someday/maybe list. Places to go, restaurants to visit, etc... are all in my lists. I review them periodically in the weekly review and it sparks my creativity to go and plan something fun. Most of these types of fun activities need at least a little planning. The spontaneous fun stuff never makes it to my list although when I spontaneously want to go out to eat, I have a nice reference list at hand that makes the fun even more rewarding.
06-11-2010, 07:57 PM
I have many many lists. some are next action lists, some are checklists, some are someday/maybes, some are project lists.
It seems like what you're after is a bucket to hold your fun ideas. I'd make a "FUN" list. A list of all those fun ideas you have. That way all your good ideas are in one place and you can keep adding to them without the fear of forgetting but they're not mixed into your actions causing numbness.
06-12-2010, 09:30 AM
If I've made a committment to myself to do something (fun, mandatory, work, home, etc) it makes it onto my project/NA/waiting for lists. During the weekly review I see that item and if I no longer feel the need to be committed to it, it comes off my active lists and may or may not go to Someday/Maybe.
I use the weekly review to renegotiate with myself as well as to identify where I need to renegotiate with others.
I have found that if I don't write down the fun stuff explicitly then it likely won't enter my mind when I do have a moment to relax. And isn't GTD all about remembering what you want to remember when you're in the right context?
Thanks to all the good replies.
I have been thinking about this for a while now, and I know that I sometimes are afraid that I will become that person that can't do anything spontaneous because he just does what it says in the GTD-system. But as some of you have been pointing out, if you have control over your situation you can afford to be spontaneous without your life failing apart. And the fun stuff can still be fun even if it is planned :)
I realize that this will take some time to get used to. I'm pretty new at this type of thinking. Thanks a lot for the insights!
06-14-2010, 01:21 PM
For what it is worth, I felt far more obligated and duty-driven when using OTHER time management approaches.
Illustration: when I was in college, I made a list of the things I wanted to be or do and what their deadlines would be. I then broke that list down into monthly/weekly/and daily steps. I'd end up with each day scheduled out to cram in as much as possible. Invariably, when Mom called (bless her heart) or my favorite movie came on TV, I'd be torn between 'must' and 'want'.
GTD has changed that. I do watch less TV, for example, because I find more things I'd rather do than watch TV. However, when I do watch TV, I don't have anything else on my mind, and it provides better therapy (distraction) and better entertainment that way... so I watch less TV but enjoy it better. More fun.
One of the big differences between GTD and other systems is that you do not pre-plan your To Do's (read: Next Actions). You plan your appointments and meetings, but the rest fits in naturally.
That makes for a good pun, because the rest of your work naturally fit in to the spaces between appointments, but also because the rest that you will sometimes need will also fit in naturally. That reminds me of the smart wordplay David Allen uses.
So, GTD will only have you as structured and rigid as your life requires... which is a lot less than you may fear.
06-15-2010, 06:06 AM
Just finished a major weekly review to trim my next actions lists to small snack size things (thanks Kelly for the wonderful term) that I can do while I am in waiting for ewes to lamb mode.
Nearly everything on it is fun stuff. Even before the review well over 70% of my items on both my current active lists and my someday maybe lists are things I want to do because they are fun.
My only real problem is that I have so many that I want to work on them all. GTD allowed me to put a bunch on hold so instead of bunches of partially started projects I have just 1 or 2 in each major area. When I finish a project one of the really fun things is to go through the someday maybe lists for that area to pick which one I want to work on next.
Case in point, I just finished knitting my first ever lace shawl. While frustrating during the learning process I got it done and I love the result. Now I get to pick out what knitting project I want to work on next. I have about 30 to choose from and the issue now is picking one I know how to do so I can pick it up and drop it easily.
06-15-2010, 12:05 PM
Love this thread. It has made me think that having fun needs to become an area of focus and responsibility for me.The biggest hindrance is that my other areas of focus and responsibility have schedules that are erratic or not communicated well.
07-08-2010, 01:52 PM
The short answer is yes you should organise the fun side of your life in your GTD system. It'll be MORE fun when it's under control and balanced. Go for it.