View Full Version : Fell off the bandwagon :(
01-24-2006, 01:05 PM
As the story goes...
a) my lists overwhelmed me...
b) and then I stopped looking at them...
c) and then I convinced myself that I did fine before GTD...
d) and my new GTD-less freedom provided me with hours of www surfing (guilt free due to the lack of lists and project reminders)
e) which led me back to GTD...
So...any of you have similar stories? And if so, how'd you get back on the GTD horse? I'm open to all suggestions, ideas, or other threads dealing with my dilema.
01-24-2006, 03:19 PM
1) collect all your open loops
2) process them
3) organize them
4) review them
5) do them
01-25-2006, 03:12 AM
I've never been able to keep to a system for very long. I just keep jumping back on.
One of the really great things about GTD is that it is so customizable. If your lists are overwhelming you, it's very easy to trim them down. I have a really bad habit of wanting to capture everything into an Outlook task, even the really stupid routine stuff like taking trash out every Tuesday afternoon and bringing the cans back in Wednesday afternoon. I'm not sure what your particular situation is, but I definitely understand overwhelming lists.
This post of 43 Folders helped me out a lot: http://www.43folders.com/2005/11/16/whack-the-stupid-out/ .
01-25-2006, 05:19 AM
I know how you feel, legidan. I have noticed that tendency myself. This time, instead of abandoning the system, I moved all of my lists to someday/ maybe (since I wasn't using them anyway, I decided the things on them must be able to wait) and started over. This time, I focused on only capturing and processing the things I wanted to do in the next two weeks. Then I created my next action lists according to those projects, with a few minor exceptions for day to day items not worth putting off. I have a renewed sense of purpose when I switch from context to context and I can actually accomplish all the tasks on my list in a reasonable amount of time. I think this helped eliminate the feeling of being buried under a pile of next actions. Now I look forward to reviewing my lists and coming up with just a few next actions to keep the ball rolling instead of looking at my lists and having to sort through all the things I care about every time I want to do something.
01-25-2006, 05:48 AM
This time, I focused on only capturing and processing the things I wanted to do in the next two weeks. T
Can you give me a brief example of what you once did and what you now do. This sounds interesting. Thanks.
01-25-2006, 07:23 AM
Previously, I would do exactly what you did, which is stop looking at my lists and "let it go" for awhile. Usually, I would fall to the bottom of a downward spiral that left me behind in the little daily tasks that can come back to haunt you (i.e., not paying bills on time, missing deadlines, losing opportunities because of work that should have been done already, etc.) and that would trigger me back into organization mode and I'd be gung-ho for awhile.
I think my main problem when this happens is feeling like I have to be moving forward on all the projects that are important to me at all times or I'm failing to reach my goals, and this leads to being overwhelmed by next actions. This time, I was sensing that feeling of being overwhelmed by lots of tasks and that's when I switched my focus to processing a limited number of my projects and doing the next actions for those rather than all my projects all at once. Everything that I didn't want to do in the next two weeks was off my radar and I was able to get things done. I found that it is really easy to focus on deciding whether or not a project needs to move forward if you have a time period in mind (i.e., the next week, month, etc.). I picked two weeks because in six weeks I was going on vacation and it was easy to sort things into "before vacation" and "after vacation" when it came to it's priority for that time period. I've done it for four weeks now and I have noticed a huge difference in my stress level and I've experienced more completion of projects without having to pull all-nighters or stress at the last minute.
01-25-2006, 07:30 AM
Thanks Mindi. This sounds similar, in spirit, to Covey's idea of planning around roles and limiting each role to a maximum of two goals each week.
Perhaps I was a little too gung-ho, and burnt out. I'm trying to scale back a la your suggestions.
01-25-2006, 07:52 AM
Scaling back is important. I often get the idea that if I managed a system like this properly, I should be able to get everything done, but that's not the case at all. I think I often forget that a bullet on the back of the book says "Feel fine about what you're not doing." We can't do everything, so a system like this, to be a trusted system, has to be one where we focus on what's most important (but not neccessarily urgent, as the Covey systems says).
01-25-2006, 08:33 AM
I think I often forget that a bullet on the back of the book says "Feel fine about what you're not doing." We can't do everything, so a system like this, to be a trusted system, has to be one where we focus on what's most important (but not neccessarily urgent, as the Covey systems says).
I do too! I think the reason my lists get so long is because I don't use the Someday/ Maybe list as effectively as I should- I think that if I'm committed to doing it, at any point, I should be working on it right now. I'm so used to being in Quadrant I that I don't know what to do with myself to get Quadrant II activities done- and there are so many I get overwhelmed.
01-25-2006, 08:45 AM
Sometimes we also have to completely jetison some of our projects. I had once started a college program through a distance learning institution that had no accreditation. I didn't understand what that meant at the time, but it turned out not to be as interesting as I expected, I was having trouble completing the work, my wife wasn't supporting me, and I realized that all of the time and effort that I put into it would amount to nothing more than personal enrichment. In the meantime, because I wasn't getting anywhere on this, I was letting a lot else slide because I figured if I had no time for this I had no time for anything else.
Eventually I realized that I had to drop it completely and move on. I had to beg my wife's forgiveness for putting out that kind of time and money for nothing, drop out, and enroll in a program that will benefit my career and interests. It was like having a giant clog taken from my system, and I started to become more productive. It's always good now and again to evaluate what's on our plates that we're note going to eat, but we feel bad for not eating it.