I hope somebody who's mastered, or close to mastered, GTD or some modified form of it or any productivity system, can help me. I have been trying to implement GTD for over a year, and it just hasn't been working out. I've kept context lists, I carry a notebook around with me for capture, I learned the 2-minute rule, and have tried different systems for processing data, but I always feel more overwhelmed, because I have never found a way to organize my tasks and ideas in a way that made them all easily accessible and showed the connections between them. I've tried all paper, all digital, and a combination thereof.
This summer, I've been taking it easy, just using a daily task list (e.g. "do laundry," "go to store," etc. plus want-to-do items like "watch movie") and writing the few events or tasks with due dates in my calendar planner. I have a little notebook listing my current projects, which I've worked on occasionally this summer, but in the interest of motivating myself to move forward on some of those projects (which I won't have time for once classes start again), I decided to try to establish context lists, and pick up stragglers from my daily task lists and incorporate next actions from my project lists. But, I don't have project lists for every project, because I store a lot mentally, and I really hate writing things down in multiple places. Plus, I've been avoiding putting want-to-do or should-do items on my daily task lists, and now I'm wondering whether to even use context lists. l was feeling more relaxed before starting this, and I've found that since I keep having problems with any productivity system, starting from scratch is nearly impossible. But I was close to that this summer, but my life was not in the disarray that GTD assumes you're in when you start; it was simpler. Needless to say, I'm frustrated and wondering if GTD is really for me.
I'm not currently working, and I have many distinct areas of my life, from the basic (e.g. financial) to the involved (e.g. creative, which encompasses a whole bunch of projects, as you might imagine). And once classes start, I'll have all those tasks and projects to worry about. I need to know how to reconcile daily tasks with context lists with project lists, and I do NOT want to have a daily procedure that will direct me to a number of lists. Part of GTD that I like is the energy and time considerations you make before acting, but the system itself doesn't seem friendly to that, so I've never been able to access that benefit.
Please offer any advice you can...and sorry for this long-winded post. I hope you can pick it apart sufficiently; I'll clarify anything that needs to be clarified.