I have gained a lot from this forum and would appreciate any suggestions on getting my life in order again.
I have just had a 3 month situation of dealing with family matters, an athletic injury, schedule changes of my own and family members and I am amidst a growing and daunting mess of new mail and oldpiles, new tasks and new schedules, medical appointments, many needed home repairs, unfinished perosnal projects, and a lot of things I really want to do for enjoyment but they take planning as well.
I have been partially successful in implementing GTD in the past.
The greatest benefit to me has come to me from defining projects by desired outcome and only putting on the calendar true appointments, deadlines, and windows of opporunity to consider (e.g., Mary in town 8/27-9/1).
My failures are:
Using Next Action lists for any intellectual work, sorting, financial stuff, organizing, planning, and physical labor tasks. I do okay with these for phone calls and errands. I don't need them for grocery shopping and cooking (but they might make these jbs less time consuming).
I need to review context to perform most of the next actions I list. in order to do them. This is just the way my brain works. I have tried to use the GTD widget cranking paradigm and I can't get it to work for me.
I also need to journal about my actions as on I go along to meet work requirements and because this benefits me in tracking what I am doing and how it is working (why and why not).
I am great determining the first action on a project but then I tend to drift when the tasks are gathering information, analyzing information, writing, sorting papers, financial stuff, organizing papers and materials, planning projects over time, and physical labor tasks.
I get lost easily, mentally and physically when I multi-task and have poor memory. As a result I have a natural tendancy to want to work a project to either completion or a natural stopping point. I have always worked project-by-project (and managed by crisis very well) and had a lot of energy but due to advancing age and the huge number of complex projects this isn't working so well anymore.
I work best when I have brainstormed a project pretty fully even although I usually end up applying a solution that is a little different than what I mapped out originally.
I very much value and thrive on discussing plans and possibilities with others and getting their input, even although imy solutions are usually very unique and implemented independantly. I find it very useful to write down what others suggest because then I understand it better.
Even for seemingly small and ordinary tasks, like "clean the garage out", I just can't do it without a full written plan, including a desired outcome and a list of the first few actions. I am not OCD just spacey. I have tried medications (Ritalin and such) and I do better with them but am likely to get hyperfocused on the wrong things and afterwards I forgot what I have done and how I have done it.
Numerous things in my house are in disrepair due to its age and my inattention to it. Repairs are interrelated and will require my analyzing and seeing what I can do myself (what materials and tools I still have) and what I need to get bids on. I hope that in the process of getting bids on several projects that I will find someone whom I can employ on a regular basis for recurring maintenance and new repairs. I need to keep track of dimensions, materials, and other considerations. In the pst when I have contracted for repairs, if I have not really thought through the project and defined each part I have gotten a really poor job done, even on such simple things as getting a new kitchen drain. It does not work for me to carry and open my Palm or laptop in a Home Depot type of place unless it is just for one specification like a part number.
Finances are not clearly organized.
Calendar problems: I am out and about a lot for work. I like to use the Palm because it is small and light weight to write down all appointments and deadlines, and possible date-bound opportunities ones as well (e.g. events I might attend, dates that available options). However, for some reason I just cannot use either the screen of the Palm or the computer to do "looking a head time planning" (e.g., to do this by....I need to start....; or I will only have 2 hours that are not committed on Tueday...) I just seem to have to do this with paper, so I end up using both paper and Palm. Any suggestions?
Communication problems: I need to communicate a lot of changing information to 3 other people daily (one has e-mail) and 2 others by phone several times a week. One of these two can get really hostile if words are not chosen carefully and if something is presented as a firm date and then it changes. Once this person gets hostile, it is more than just an annoyance that one can ignore, she becomes uncooperative and passive-aggressive and will also influence the other one of the pair.
Journaling: I need to record briefly who, what, where, and next-actions and so on as I work. I need to be able to review these entries and pull together those that are related. Using the stylus to pick through the keyboard on Palm is just way too slow. Any suggestions, paper or electronic on this?
Filing problems: using a single a to z system has resulted in similar items not being located together unless I make headings that bridge them and then I am looking in too many places or I have to remember the rubric. I need to separate my filing system into "functional" areas again.
I get extremley board and deenergized while filing at home. Music does not keep me going but interesting NPR type of talk shows do but my local radio stations do not have these. I don't have cable TV. At the office, there is so much background noise that I cannot think clearly to file my papers there.
I have 13 days before my next out-of-town trip. Of these, three days are heavily booked but the others have flexibiility in the form of 2 to 4 hour blocks of time. I can however expect a lot of short notice requests and time changes on meetings and presentations in this period (this is business as usual).
Any suggestions? I have two tubs of new mail to process and all my desks and work surfaces are covered with unfiled stuff! I am just not sure where to to begin. Weekly reviews have goine by the wayside, but I am thinking maybe I need to start in with a session defining what my active projects are for the next 13 days and what I am deferring to a specific time after that to review or pursue or to an indefinite Someday Maybe.
Thank you in advance. Jamie