getting self to decide next actions when I "don't wanna" (which is often)
I find myself constantly struggling in the process phase. I set aside a block of time, telling myself "This is your processing time - don't do work (unless it's two minutes or less) - just decide the very next action and record it."
However, I find this process very difficult (unless it's due right now, in which case the next action seems to magically present itself.) Most of the time I just 'don't wanna.' My internal dialogue goes like this:
"You need a new postcard for the restaurant. What's the very next action?"
"The chef is super grumpy right now, he's probably going to hate it, I don't feel motivated to do it, it's too hard to write copy. I'm hungry, what's in the fridge?"
I've been trying to train myself to break through anyway, but am having a hard time. Any tricks, tips to make yourself decide the next action even when you don't want to? I've been trying this without success for months now. I own my own marketing business so it's important I move forward on projects or else no one pays me. I normally wait until it's due and the stress helps me decide, but I'm tired of sitting down to my computer each morning with a feeling of dread, thinking "Oh god, what's overdue today?"
I have done complete weekly reviews before, although I still feel like I've forgotten things so I usually just feel worse, looking at all the things I should have done already.
"I normally wait until it's due and the stress helps me decide,"
I feel like this line is key. You've probably gotten by for so long by doing things reasonably well AT THE LAST MINUTE that you know you CAN delay making a decision.
I am a teacher, and I often resist the urge to do long term planning since I tell myself it is not the best use of my time. What's the point of spending hours meticulously planning lessons if I know I frequently stray from my plans? And, it turns out, my lessons are usually successful, perpetuating this behavior.
I, like you, do think I can benefit from more long term planning though.
Often Success or Failure is predetermined
Often our success or failure is determined even before we are adults living by ourselves. Our parents, family and friends' reactions to our habits growing up reinforce how we see ourselves and often we carry this into adulthood. It takes consistent effort to see ourselves in a different way.
I was very messy as a child due to a lack of organisation skills and the easy ability to become overwhelmed. Even though I have worked hard at overcoming this and at 28 I am relatively tidy, my friends and family still see me as that messy child. Just last night I was showing my Mum and Nana my house on Skype and I said "excuse the mess, I've been baking" and Mum automatically came back with "don't worry, we know you're messy, no need to apologise". In a single sentence she'd reduced all my years of effort to nothing.
As a child I succeeded with my procrastination. Teachers would give me another few days for homework. I would not make a decision about something so someone else would make it for me etc. I found the procrastination gave the best results with the least amount of work. So that became my habit. It has worked for me for YEARS. Even now I have to fight my inner urge to procrastinate. I HAVE to set alarms reminding me to do things. I have to get my partner to with-hold things until I do XYZ. I have to barter with myself.
My advice to you, look at WHY you don't want to work on things. Get a piece of paper and write a statement on it that resonates with you. An example of this is: I want to do XYZ because...
See how you feel about that. Write down some of those feelings. Explore it, really tap into your inner self. I had some amazing responses when I did this. I realise that I have found success as a 'failure' and that I am scared to do the work because I feel I will fail anyway so I want to save myself the time and effort associated with being a 'winner'. I really had to go deep and find out why I wanted to create a winner mentality and what I would get out of doing it. On bad days it is this work that gets me through.
If it helps any...you are not alone in this. I have been actively trying to implement GTD for the last 30 days and I still am trying to avoid any backsliding...but it is happening.
I guess we all are grasping for a way to change our ways and why we are looking to the GTD system to give us a framework to work from.
I sit down, tell myself, "You are going to concentrate on this." Then I do the action and usually I find myself getting it done and enjoying myself. Getting preoccupied with mind and other tasks happens but being firm with yourself helps you get in the mindset. Once you get it done, then check in the fridge. Focus first and tell yourself, "stay in the moment." You will find that you actually accomplish a lot in just a little bit of time and feel good after doing it.
Don't worry too much
When I started GTD i was under the impression that you should always be deciding next actions as you process items during the week. however this isnt neccesarily the case. In fact just the opposite is true, to a degree. The week is for working, the weekly review is for thinking.
What I find now is that some of the stuff that comes my way I can decide what the next action is, because its obvious - if a trustee says "can you email me X" then its easy to work out what to put on my next action list. Sorted.
But the rest don't get decided on until the weekly review. All I need to decide is "will this die in the next few days". If not then I add it to my projects list. I dont worry too much about clarifying the outcome, I just stick down what comes to mind and move on. If a trustee says "im not too happy with the way we recruit, is there a better way" i cant possibly think that through there and then, or even decide on the next action in some cases. I need to be in a thinking frame of mind. So I put "improve recruitment" on my project list, attach the email from the trustee, and keep on moving.
When the weekly review comes round I go through every project very carefully, including a bunch that I'v gathered as the week goes by. Then I do the thinking on it, clarifying the outcome deciding the next action, etc.
The point is that processing In simply means moving it into your system so you've got a complete picture.
And the thing that amazes me about GTD is that its so much easier to think when you don't have to do immediately - and how much easier it is to do when you don't have to think first.
I think the weekly review is the cornerstone of GTD, because its where the decision making takes place. if you can do it in the week do so, but if you cant then wait til the weekly review.
Thank you for this very simple and very useful idea that I have never thought of myself.
Originally Posted by Duckienz
My mother a teacher, and I often resist the urge to do long term planning since I tell myself it is not the best use of my time. What's the point of spending hours meticulously planning lessons if I know I frequently stray from my plans? And, it turns out, my lessons are usually successful, perpetuating this behavior
Yes this is probably the best advice you can possibly get.
Originally Posted by Duckienz
If you are feeling resistance to a project, there is a reason, your sub conscience knows what your higher perspectives want and this may not line up with your purpose.
you need to step back and look from a higher perspective. see why you have resistance, possibly plan a different route.
hope that helps
Tags for this Thread