I am trying for the fourth time to implement GTD, armed with the GTD Fast CDs to boot (only on CD 2 right now), but it seems I am very much resisting the idea of creating project files for everything that's more than one step and writing a list of discrete next actions for all of these projects.
It just feels so much easier writing out a list of things to today and then do the surplus thinking (what's the successful outcome and what is the next action?), whether consciously or unconsciously, on the fly. But I know this is very inefficient and also could lead to procrastination due to lack of motivation or clarity.
Can anyone related to this? It just feels like I'm wasting too much time creating projects and updating next action lists when I could be actually DOING, instead of processing and organising.
I have noticed that one of the key reasons for my past failures in implementing GTD was relying too heavily on my next action list instead of the hard landscape. I work from home and publish content-based web sites in various niche markets so have a pretty clear hard landscape. No meetings, no appointments, just a clear day to start with.
I have recently read Morgenstern's excellent book, "Time Management from the Inside Out", on using schedules/time maps (and I'm also reading "The NOW Habit" which teaches using the 'unschedule') which has opened my eyes. I now realise that the big rocks such as researching new niches, building web sites, promoting sites, etc. can be routinely scheduled on your calender to increase your productivity and efficiency especially if you're the kind of person who needs structure in their day, like myself.
Having said that, I still feel very awkward seperating what I'd usually put on one sheet of paper (actually I guess only 20% would be on the paper, everything else that's related would probably be in my head still!) in a folder full of papers (whether's that paper-based or computer-based). It just seems silly I guess, to have a seperate file called "Set up bluetooth connection with new phone", for example, with a list of action steps that would probably take 10-15 minutes to create, when I could just complete that task right away (it's not really a 'project') in the same time??
Also, the idea of having one next action list that includes EVERY tiny little thing that needs to be as soon as possible really de-motivates me. On the other hand, a short list of 10 tasks that I decide to do TODAY (which in GTD terms would be projects, albeit very small ones) ranked in order of priority seems much easier to get through. Otherwise, everytime I complete an action step and look back at that list I'll have to recalculate the priority of each action before deciding which to take on next. And I'll never know how many actions I have left before I end my day.
Would anyone like to enlighten me?
P.S. I'm also struggling with the actual physical implementation side, like whether to use a paper-based planner, Word docs on the computer, or MS Outlook, etc., but that's another issue for another time.