Caring for loved one after accident - How GTD can help?
9 days since my partner was in a motorcycle accident.
Today is my first day at home - She has spent half her time in A&E (ER for Yanks), Surgery or Intensive care after life threatening surgical complications.
(This does relate to GTD but giving context)
On Friday she completed the repeat surgery and it went as planned.
It is now confirmed she has no head, neck or back injuries
- Her only major injury is her leg which has implications for high level activity
but she will walk.
GTD saved my sanity.
In my pocket has been a small notepad with Derringer pen.
Everything from insurance, police, surgical, work, family, friend, directions and other information has gone in there.. and been processed under massive duress.
The morning of the accident I was starting a new workplace taking over as General Manager of a facility with 60 staff with required preparations for an imminent move up to 170. The design, establishment and management of business lines is my responsibility.
I received a phonecall metres from stepping into work and turned round and got on my own motorbike to get to the other side of London.
My internal inbox was suddenly flooded with stuff.
The brain went into overdrive and rapidly overspilled with scenarios, potential next actions and a recognition that decisions were required and focus needed to be tight.
I have gone from total runway to 50,000 feet within seconds during conversations with surgeons and had to assess which was the appropriate level and commit myself to that to prevent total emotional paralysis in a time when another individual was counting on me.
After nearly incurring brain damage on the operating table two days after the accident I was back in a new workplace after a weekend of seeing her tear at her throat to remove a tube.
I had to accept that being in work was necessary as if I am to adopt sole earner responsibility then the new role was not something I could lose.
And with her Personal Training (physical) certificate landing on my doorstep this morning her future earning and our planned lifestyle needs to be reviewed.
David spoke of someone he met once on a plane that created a similar decision making mechanism as GTD as it provided productivity during periods of high physical and mental impairment.
The circumstance was working in the Arctic and the system was a red, green and amber system that supported workers in undertaking a clear next action without having to fully process the wider conditions of the context - having pre-processed earlier.
A&E / ER is not the Arctic but it is a difficult environment to move
- My journey from my point of origin to where my girlfriend was being cared for in hospital was spent working through possible scenarios, best possible outcome and understanding the dependencies and factors within immediate control.
Upon arrival I was forearmed and scratched instructions for myself on my pad and gathered information to answer my questions.
That process has lasted 9days and included matters domestic, medical and business related. I got things done.
Now I'm moving away from runway (although I have spent time strategic planning for business and future care needs and changing home relative to mobility issues) and taking personal time to understand what the months ahead with contain in detail and what possible outcomes are in the future and the questions that will bring those into being.
I found myself this week - and I found that I was massively resilient and capable.
I was tested and not found wanting.
For that I am massively appreciative and I know that my investment in myself and my development relative to GTD played a large part in that.
I know there are going to be challenges ahead but I know that the new stuff..
a lifetime stretching ahead of us can be done in such a way that satisfies outcomes that we had prior to the accident.
I never believed a response of calm could come to such an event
- My mind was a torrent during times this week,
but it was directed and the channel is clear for the next set of stuff.
My Inbox lapsed slightly this week but I even got my company e-mails (I've had my own company for the last three years) largely cleared and my palate clean so as to better appreciate that which I choose to sample.
This week has taught me more about control and information flow than my MBA dissertation in knowledge management and consensus decision making ever could.
I know I agree that I will sleep well tonight.
If anyone has cared for someone and used GTD to support their process I would be interested to hear from them.
My interest is in the challenges of interaction with a loved one and other family stakeholders to take mutual decisions with long term impacts when there are multiple perspectives on the ideal outcome and they are operating under high stress but at different horizons of focus.
This is an ongoing challenge but this evening concludes any life threatening implications. I've never been so pleased to be bossed about and finally be told to clean up the area around her bed.
Thank you David Allen and the GTD community for being such a vibrant feedback mechanism to develop the system in a radically agile fashion.