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"ADOS" and help with GTD

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  • "ADOS" and help with GTD

    A friend of mine told me that he did not have ADD he had ADOS which stands for "Attention Deficit- "OH SHINY!" Which is definitely me as well. I bought the GTD book over a year ago and was able to pick up some great tips that I have integrated into my daily life. Most importantly my email organization.

    However, I am having a lot of problems actually getting things done so I was hoping for some advice. I work as a creative at an ad agency and don't have any problems in work related scenarios because I have other people managing projects etc. My problem is that I have a million ideas for side projects and separate business ventures but I am never able to really focus on one of them long enough to finish them - Classic ADOS. Obviously, GTD can't solve everything but I was looking for some pointers or best practices advice from other people.

    My Set up:
    Things for Mac
    Iphone with Things
    Ical for dates.

    Here is where I need help:

    1. Techniques for using the system on a regular basis. I used to have a daily alarm set up then I just started ignoring the alarm. Right now I am going back to that but any suggestions on other techniques for creating reminders would be helpful.

    2. Reminder alerts. From what I understand GTD isn't about creating dates, but I really need a way to remind me that a specific task is do. I am probably going to start using To Dos in iCal but if anyone has a better suggestion let me know.

    Thank you very much in advance,

  • #2
    I feel your pain, Ignatius!

    I also have been accused of being distracted by shiny things. I prefer to think of it as "a zest for living and ideas".

    I think GTD is a great system for people like us. The small successes from completing and crossing off next actions and the discipline of Project Planning are very good in keeping enthusiasm for the GTD methods alive for me.

    I used to make the classic mistake that is often mentioned in GTD, putting actions that I really wanted to get done on my calender with reminders in the mistaken belief that it would force me to do them RIGHT THEN! Almost always, it was NOT the time to do them, so I just had to keep putting them on snooze and that always frustrated me further. Putting them instead on Next Actions has been a very good thing.

    As an example, I recently downloaded a Firefox add-in called Simple Timer, that I have on a constant 30 minute cycle to remind me to stop playing online and get to work. Now I usually ignore it, but once in a while I take heed and clean up my act, so it serves mainly just to keep me aware of the ticking clock. So therefore even if I call it a 10% success, I think it is still a good baby step toward improving my behavior.

    The Weekly Review is also a very good thing for those of us who are attention-challenged.

    So in general I say just stick with it and stay here to share tips and tricks with other people who are getting things done. I've been here a month or so and it still looks shiny to me.


    • #3

      Sticking with it is probably the best advice. I think adjusting expectations is probably the best way to approach it. Instead of thinking of it as a system that works, I should probably change my perspective and think of it as a work in progress. I like the idea of the timer. I might adapt that.

      Thanks Spalding.


      • #4
        If the problem is lack of focus, I would suggest really spending some time to think about your higher Horizons. What do you really want to accomplish a year form now? (Goals) Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years? (Vision) And what are your core principles and reason for being on this Earth? (Principles/Purpose) I've found that once you put in the time to be clear at these levels then the day-to-day activities have a way of sorting themselves out as to what you should be focusing on.

        Of course, as David Allen points out, you can only have think about this high level stuff if none of the low level stuff is taking up psychic RAM. So make sure your inboxes are clean and you capture everything and do adequate Weekly Reviews so you're comfortable with those low levels (actions/projects/Areas of Responsibilities) first.

        As for using the system on a regular basis, the only way that happens is to actually do the whole system. If you don't do the whole system then you won't feel the full benefits of it and you'll have no personal incentive to actually keep doing it.

        As for getting reminders at the right time, though I don't use Things, I believe you should be able to put due dates on items. If Things doesn't let you do that try OmniFocus. OmniFocus definitely alerts you when due items are coming up.


        • #5
          One of the simplest techniques I use and have written about is simply limiting my goals to three. These are bigger type goals not NAs or to-do items. I read years ago in Inc. Magazine an article on the Marine Corp Rule of Three which limits the amount of "things" a marine has to think about. If this was increased to four effectiveness plummeted.

          I have found the way to get lots of goals accomplished is to limit the list, actually get the goals accomplished and move onto another list. So instead of a laundry list of ten or more goals you have three but work through several lists and get more done. If the goals are really big ones like start a business, or get an advanced degree, they will be on the list for a long time with only a few other goals, which gives the big goals the focus they need to get done. Good luck