Newer to GTD, Hitting a Hard Wall with Implementation
Back in December a friend of mine suggested I look into GTD in response to a question I had about his immense productivity. So I ended up picking up the book and giving it a read. It really clicked with me and many of the concepts that Mr. Allen poses made lots of sense. I was excited to sit down and start attempting to implement the system into my daily life. So about a month ago that's exactly what I started to do. I decided to go with OmniFocus (at the suggestion of the very same friend) as my software solution for implementing and tracking GTD in my life. I really like the software, it's a great tool but over the past few weeks my anxiety around the entire system and it's place in my daily routine has began to give me a lot of anxiety.
I originally sat down and did my brain dump into the OF Inbox, cataloging all the "stuff" I had in my head. There was a lot more floating around up there than I had initially anticipated but when it was all said and done I had roughly about 150+ items. The processing step however, was a little more difficult and I believe is the root of my problem today.
Ultimately I had a really difficult time categorizing my projects down into a general folder/project hierarchy that I trusted. Top level folders were very difficult for me to choose and I started to feel that I had gotten too granular with my hierarchy. However, I was determined to press in hopes that I could figure things out later and small tweaks and course corrections as I used the system would help fine tune it into something useful.
This was also the case with Contexts. I tried to follow the Context suggestions provided by the books and members of the OF forums and while some of them are working, I find that there's a lot of grey area and overlap that leads me feeling not so great about using them.
But still, I decided to press on with the process. However, I started to notice that I was doing exactly what GTD warns about directly. I had built a very loose system that I didn't trust. It was like driving an old beatup junker car, knowing that it could break down at any minute but hoping it would at least get me to my destination and maybe I could fix it up later.
Even beyond the initial setup though, problems began to creep in regarding my High Level Goals and exactly where they fit into my GTD system. During the initial brain dump, several career and personal/pleasure/enrichment goals began to pop up; become a better designer, learn C#, learn Unity, learn guitar, become a better photographer, master adobe lightroom, become a better brewer, etc. Some of these had some clear, obvious next actions while others were a bit more nebulous. Beyond that, I wasn't entirely sure how to classify some of these goals in the system or figure out when/where I'd start tackling the tasks that I was able to create. Many questions started to arise; Are these Someday/Maybe tasks? Should all of them be in my system at the same time and should I be making progress on all of them at the same time? How do I dedicate time to all of these? When is something like "learning" every truly done and if I shift my focus away from this project to something else, won't that project begin to deteriorate?
So I feel like I've run face first into a wall. My organization of GTD feels loose at best and I'm not confident in the system I've setup. I'm really unsure of where to turn or what I should be doing to address the problem. All in all it feels like GTD has just shown a magnifying glass over all the things I have to do that I'm not getting done and the thought of trying to get it organized and working properly seems to give me more anxiety. I feel like I've definitely failed in implementing the system in a useful way.
I'm wondering if any of you have been through similar stresses of setting up GTD or if maybe you see something in my process that makes you think I ran down the wrong path or misinterpreted a key component of GTD.
Who's more productive: Beethoven or PSY?
Goal: make myself more productive this year!
Originally Posted by CSicking
Is it really a goal? What does it mean? How do you measure it? By amount of work done? What work?
Who is more productive:
- Beethoven who composed his 5th Symphony over the space of some four years (distracted by other projects)
- PSY who studied hard to find something new and stayed up late for about 30 nights to come up with the "Gangnam Style" dance?
OmniFocus? I think it is a great software but making two big changes at once is very, very difficult. By two changes I mean learning and implementing GTD and OmniFocus. That is why I always advise to use the tool you are proficient with at the beginning (for most people it is a paper).
How to choose Areas of Focus
Check out "The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One".
I've read this book several times and it really resonates with me. I have a lot of varied interests (sports, crafts, community, work, science, technology, programming, writing, home, family, music and on and on) and as others have mentioned I can't move them all forward at once. However, I do want to capture any thoughts I have about them and I do want to be reminded about them enough to recognize an opportunity when it arises. And you will notice that as you use your Someday/Maybe list (aka, review it regularly) opportunities will arise!
The Renaissance Soul suggests choosing three to five areas to focus on at any one time, scheduling time for working on them, and putting the rest on the back-burner. The catch is that you can change them at will as your interests change (or seasons, or whatever). For me, this happens during the weekly review - "Hmmm, anything I need to be doing about oboe playing? Nope, I'm good. What about golf? Oh yeah, I've got to renew our membership" Then I add to my @PersonalAnywhere list: "Print golf membership form from Nov 15 email (due Jan 15)"
I echo the suggestion to start your GTD journey on paper - writing your lists and seeing them and turning the pages from one to the next can help cement the GTD processes and help you see what contexts will work for you.
GTD is a great methodology to increase your personal situational awareness.
OK, I understand.
Originally Posted by CSicking
GTD is a great methodology to increase your personal situational awareness and determine what to do and what not to do.
OmniFocus can help if using OmniFocus is not a challenge in itself.