Is it really possible to have a complete system?
I'm practicing GTD for several years but I don't think it's really possible to have 100% of my commitments/projects/etc. captured, processed and organized unless all I'm doing are weekly reviews non stop all the time.
The problem with an incomplete system is that I don't fully trust it when it comes down to reviewing it and choosing what to do. I mean the most practically useful aspect of GTD for me has been keeping track of projects with Due Dates. Other than that I'm doing things which are not on my lists most of the time.
Here is a related quote from David Allen
There is a light year of difference between a system that has merely a lot of our commitments objectified and one that has 100% of the total. And few people have ever gotten to a totally empty head, with absolutely every project, action item, and potential agreement we have made with ourselves and others out and available in an easily reviewable format.
I don't think you can keep the system 100% up to date at all times. Sure, you could keep it almost complete though but then according to David Allen it's not really worth it...
Either your head is the best place to hold all your agreements with yourself, or it's not. (You can guess which way I vote.) I can't imagine any intellectual justification for halfway in between. Yet most people still have over half their life in their heads. And a partial system is almost worse than none. As a favorite mentor of mine is fond of reminding me from time to time, in regard to tracking and renegotiating life commitments in general, "99%'s a bitch, 100%'s a breeze.
collecting it all vs processing it all
A complete system is more like Mt Everest, rather than a unicorn. Its not a fantasy, but it is not something the average person ever gets to see.
Originally Posted by supergtdman
The goal is not is to be 100 percent captured at any given time. Its good to push boundaries and over extend from time to time. But it is certainly worthwhile to create a system where you know you could capture it all because you've tested it at least once.
The difference between capturing it all, and processing it all is what gets people confused.
Capturing it all is a philosophical impossibility. What is necessary is to capture what is important.
Processing it all, however is critical and very possible. If something has made its way to your in basket, or something is constantly nagging your consciousness, its best to have a place to park it so you can truly understand what that something is and what you will do about it.