View Full Version : Suggestions for getting going again with GTD?
04-14-2009, 08:46 PM
Suggestions for getting back into GTD? I attended the Work Flow 2-day seminar back in 2006 maybe. I have had a personal coach for four or five sessions over a year ago. The last nine months have been the busiest of my professional life; I was able to do two weeks of weekly reviews several months ago; but I have not done them since. I have been close in the past to getting things going...any suggestions? I am feeling overwhelmed and really need this...somehow.
04-14-2009, 10:24 PM
1. Re-read the Getting Things Done book
2. Try a new tool or software program
3. Collect all of your thoughts about getting back into GTD
4. Do a Weekly Review
5. Listen to an interview or audiobook by David Allen
6. Develop a presentation or talk to teach others GTD
7. Identify a leak in your system
8. Rewrite your lists with a view to better clarifying successful outcomes for each task
9. Read through all of your outcome visions for each of your projects
10. Do something
Still overwhelmed? Try cutting down some channels of input with this list: Prune Your System (http://www.readysetdo.com/category/xtras).
04-14-2009, 11:37 PM
David Allen put out a recording of a seminar a while back called 'Getting Things Done Fast'. He's not reading, he's doing everything in real-time and he's very animated. It gets you excited about restarting the program and it's what I listen to whenever I'm lagging or have screwed up and need to jump back on the wagon.
Using 'Things' for iPod and Mac makes my system pretty seemless too.
04-15-2009, 04:35 AM
Just keep trying and accept the fact that you'll fail many times before you succeed. It took me about a year of on-and-off GTD usage before I was able to do it consistently.
For me, the most vital thing is the weekly review. Stick it on your calendar and consider it the most important appointment of your week.
04-16-2009, 08:36 AM
has an article on Emergency GTD by Lisa Peake. Whenever I fall off the GTD wagon I use David Allen's suggestion of "yellow-taping" (i.e. stashing for later processing) out-of-date lists and projects, and then use Lisa Peake's article to get current.
This is how I do it:
1. "Yellow-tape" all my out of date lists/projects.
I use Outlook as my GTD "hub" and index cards as my "take-with-me" lists. So I create, under my Outlook Tasks folder, a folder called something like "yellow-tape tasks" into which I slide all my old out-of-date commitments. I can still access them if I have to, but I don't have to process them until I'm back on GTD track. The index cards task lists (Next Actions by context) I toss, because I'll recreate current lists in the next step.
2. Follow the steps of Lisa Peake's Emergency GTD.
This is, in essence, an emergency review, compressing the steps of collect/process/organize/review. I open a document on my computer, and begin typing out a list of "what's on my mind," as completely as I can manage for about 5 minutes or until you feel the pressure coming off. Then I begin processing each item as I would any collection list: Outcome? Project or action? Etc. As soon as I have a clear sense of what I NEED to do now and what I CAN get done today, I stop doing this and get to work.
If I have time later in the day--I'll begin moving the items I came up with into appropriate action lists in Outlook and my index cards. If I don't have time, I'll repeat the Emergency GTD process daily until the crisis has passed and I have time to do a proper weekly review.
I love this method because when I'm off track, it's generally because l feel too busy to do anything like reading the whole book or listening to the GTD CDs or taking two days off to collect my stuff. This way I can find my way back to a fully-functioning GTD system with a short series of small steps.
04-16-2009, 10:36 AM
There are some great suggestions here. I'd like to add a little extra at the very beginning. If you want to make a change in your life or form a habit, you must first know your outcome or purpose for making that change. It has to be something that excites you and drives you. Then decide that making this change in your life is something that you MUST do, not should do or could do. Focus on the pleasure you'll get by doing it and the pain you'll get by not following through.
Unlike someone who's never done GTD before, you have a reference point of what it feels like to be "on your game" because of GTD. If you desire that feeling strong enough, you'll get there again. Use the great advice that's here and take action.
Put some stakes in the ground right away for things like daily processing and weekly reviews. Block off your calendar and keep those commitments to yourself.
Finally, don't beat yourself up for falling off the wagon or doing it in the future. Even the master himself (David Allen) admits that he falls out of control regularly, too. The key is recognizing and knowing what to do when it happens.
04-21-2009, 03:17 PM
ToddV, thanks for the list of 10 ideas to getting me going again with GTD. The most helpful for me has been #1 Re-read Getting Things Done and #3 Collect all your thoughts about getting back into the GTD process. Your ideas are simple, clear and to the point. Thanks.
nondual, you sent me off encouraged looking for the lecture "Getting Things Done Fast" and the customer service people at DavidCo informed me it is not around anymore. Still...point well-taken that hearing David's lectures and energy can be helpful.
Grey1618 and ellobogrande, the idea about just doing a weekly review is what I needed to hear. I am "putting some stakes in the grouind" this week to make that happen. Thank you.
DinaS, I have not read Lisa Peake's Emergency GTD yet..but I will.
Thanks for the wisdom and energy,guys. Two nights ago, I went into a Barnes and Noble and got David's new book, Making It All Work. In his introduction, he admits there are some of us struggling with GTD in at least a couple of categories. Just hearing this from him was a serious boost. I guess I have been thinking for some time, "What's wrong with me that I can't just figure all of this out and make it happen?" There still may be plenty wrong with me, but hearing the entire GTD process is not easy-peasy for some is seriously encouraging. So...thanks for your ideas. You have offered serous encouragement. This is what I have grown to expect from this Forum.
04-21-2009, 04:27 PM
Suggestions for getting back into GTD?
Take a half a day and do a full and complete mind dump into whatever tool you think will work. Then wait a couple of days and do a full processing of those items and so on spreading out a major weekly review over a week of elapsed time.
If the tools you are using are not working spend some time thinking about and then writing down why they are not working, describe the perfect tool and then do some research to find an additional or new tool to try.
Give any new tool at least a month of steady work,and ideally 3-6 months before giving up on it and moving to something else and don't change unless you know why the current tool isn't working.
04-23-2009, 06:25 PM
It sounds like I'm doing everything everybody says. My time is quite limited. I do however have some time tomorrow and I will begin the half day dump you are talking about.
I am trying to "drive down stakes" and make this happen.
So...here we go!!
04-28-2009, 02:56 PM
Oogiem et al,
I must report that I am two days into a process you have suggested. I took a day to do a "mind dump." I have begun "processing" what I have collected and I can barely contain my excitement. On my office desk at home and my office desk at work, there are piles of "dumped" stuff in all forms. I have spent time today going through sheets here at work that have identified things that need to be done. I have begun to process them. I hold the sheet or thing in my hands and say, "What do I do with this?" I have David's "Mastering Workflow" template in front of me. I am building a Next Action list, a Project list and a list of dates for my Calendar. I have to say, I have never quite felt in such control as I do right now. Thank you for your suggestions. Reading and re-reading them has been powerfully helpful. I don't mean to be obnoxious here; I am excited.
04-29-2009, 05:59 AM
Excitement is wonderful and a great motivator, but it's possible that your excitement will run its course before you have finished collecting and processing. When set up and followed regularly, GTD can be an excellent antidote to mood swings. Now is the time to look ahead and determine what you will do to keep going when/if your excitement takes a vacation.
04-29-2009, 12:13 PM
Thanks for your wisdom. If I have fallen off the GTD wagon (and I have) a little excitement goes a long way. At least, it does for me. When I see something that has not been clear, the clouds part. However, I get it that the proof of the GTD pudding is working through excitement-less days and we stay with it. Feelings are roller coasters. I don't think I am entirely there yet. I have much to learn.
04-29-2009, 12:31 PM
I have much to learn.
We all do.
05-04-2009, 05:57 PM
Dear Day Owl:
I knew you were right. I went away for a weekend and came back to two piles of stuff that needed processing, two piles I was unable to finish last week...even though I took more hours than I was able. Now I am trying to do what you suggested. I am precisely at the place you said I would be. Excitement is gone and I have but to persevere with GTD. I guess this is where the achievers get separated from those left behind, right?
Let me brainstorm some ideas to get going again with my "processing:"
1. Take an hour each day to keep working through my piles.
2. Just make a two-hour hole in tomorrow and process, process.
3. Wait until Friday when I work on another "weekly review."
4. Go into work extra early to process my pile of stuff.
5. Ignore my piles until I can find a morning or afternoon to get back to it.
6. Do absolutely nothing...shut everything else down and PROCESS!
7. Do an hour in the morning, afternoon and evening and process the piles until they are done.
8. Use my day off to take a chunk of time to process this stuff.
9. Get your ideas!
Since 10 is not an option and I am open to 9, let me process these others in your presence. #1 and #7 seem the most common sensical. The others make less sense. What are your thoughts?
05-04-2009, 08:35 PM
I sometimes get to the point where I don't have any blazing enthusiasm for processing, but I'm also at that feeling-scuzzy stage (David Allen likens it to our own individual preference for how often we brush our teeth -- go past our personal set-point and we have to track down a toothbrush!) where the pile of un-processed stuff is just bugging me. In that circumstance, chipping away at it an hour a day is agony for me -- I don't actually WANT to do it, so tend to drag my feet. OR, I get into it and get on a roll and get carried away and don't want to stop processing to do work on what I'm "supposed" to be working on that day.
So I end up frustrated because I either avoid it all day or it takes over and consumes too much of my day. In that case, I can sometimes focus a whole lot better if I commit to X hours on a NON-work day to just dive in and get it taken care of. Then I can have the the satisfaction of knowing it is "done", and also the certainty that there isn't anything lurking in the pile that might blow up on me in the coming week.
Hang in there! It takes time and onging effort to build new habits and it is SO worth it! Keep coming back to the forums for encouragement, support and companionship on the journey.
05-05-2009, 05:23 AM
...because (1) regularity is one of the best antidotes to loss of excitement and (2) the piles will disappear faster if worked on daily.
05-12-2009, 11:30 AM
I have not responded here in several days. I am still slowly working through
two piles of stuff at home and at work. This is taking longer than I expected. I suspect I need to let go of expectations and focus on getting these piles "processed." Perhaps learning to be regular is more difficult than I assumed. I feel stuck.
05-12-2009, 11:38 PM
Perhaps learning to be regular is more difficult than I assumed. I feel stuck.
Regularity and consistency is the core of the Art.
05-13-2009, 05:45 AM
This is taking longer than I expected.
It almost always does!
I suspect I need to let go of expectations and focus on getting these piles "processed." Perhaps learning to be regular is more difficult than I assumed.
It usually is. Society doesn't reward it.
I feel stuck.
You're making progress, right? How are you stuck?
05-13-2009, 08:21 AM
I believe several have answered my comment quite well. I feel stuck in that I think this should be more automatic; it should be going faster than it is. This is the point I tend to get discouraged and give up. Thanks for what should be obvious.
05-14-2009, 07:12 AM
I feel stuck in that I think this should be more automatic; it should be going faster than it is.
How fast should it go?
05-14-2009, 08:22 AM
Fast tends to come with practice. Think of learning to write, or to speak a new language. Every word takes a long time. You stumble over words, grammar and the physicalities of forming a sound or moving a pen.
It will be similar with the act of GTD. You need to get used to the mental side, remembering sequences, questions to ask etc, as well as develop some muscle memory. Moving things out of your inbox, filing, writing your lists.
Give yourself time. I read somewhere that it takes 10.000 hours to master a skill. That's a lot of time. Be patient and keep at it. Would it help to maybe have a progress chart? You could track GTD related habits, or simply track the time you spend reviewing and maintaining your lists.
05-14-2009, 02:35 PM
It is quite valid to challenge (as you have) my notions about what should be "automatic" or "fast." I heard David once describe going through a Weekly Review and his explanation sounds like "bim, bang, bong;" it is all addressed; the desk is clean and the in-box is clear. Now I understand that is David, the person who has years of working through this stuff. You are telling me GTD takes time. Several of your responses are helping me appreciate what is required here. Thank you.