I had a flash of insight into my own "peace of mind", or more accurately, what disrupts it. Here's what I think the problem is, and I'd love to hear what other think.
I think the only path to peace for me is to not have anyone who can call me out for something I committed to, but that I haven't completed (or won't now be able to complete) within the original terms or timeline. This includes commitments I have made to myself. Those are sometimes the worst.
This is a very subtle game. It includes late videos, being 10 minutes late to meet your friend, optimistic guess-timates of when the final budget edits will be done, and a million other little things we promise to others or ourselves, but that we realize will be delayed. Better to renegotiate early than to wait until you are late (stressing all the while). If all your commitments in their current state are ones you can keep based on your most current info, you never have to fear the ringing of the phone. You will do what you said, within the timeframe you said, and you will be at peace with yourself. No one can call you out for a commitment not kept. How do you know what counts? If you have anything where you would have that twinge of guilt if someone asked you about it, then you know what I mean.
This is not the same as things on your lists that are not done yet, but for which no commitment has been broken yet. You haven't gotten milk yet. No big deal. It's on your errands list, and you will get it the next time you are at the store. Ah, but it you were asked to get milk, and you forgot, or you chose to do something else, then you are on the hook. Contact with that other person will generate a little piece of stress, because you know they might ask about the milk (commitment) that you didn't fulfill. Multiply that by the hundreds of things we are on the hook for, and the stress level makes a whole lot of sense. Here's what I am going to try to do:
I will strive to only have commitments that I know I can keep. I will strive to never have to say, to others or to myself, "I know I promised, but..."
This means I need to 1) know about all of my commitments, and 2) either keep them, cancel them, or renegotiate them. This is not just about making commitments I feel I can keep - it's about renegotiating commitments when the situation changes. People often understand when things happen, but they just want to know whatís going on. There is a very different feeling being late when you have called ahead, and being late when you are just hoping to get something done before they call to see what's up. My major stressor in my life is not saying up front when I know I am feeling iffy about something. I have a bad habit of making commitments based on hope and optimism, and not reality. It leads to avoiding the ringing phone because I know someone is looking for something I told them I would have, but it isnít done yet, and I havenít renegotiated. When I'm on top of my game and my commitments, I look forward to interactions with others. When I'm not, I avoid others. More honest, realistic commitments on the front end, and more proactive renegotiations along the way, put me at peace with myself and the world. The tools and habits of GTD seem a great way to make that happen more consistently in my life.
Does this make sense to anyone else?