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Actually Doing!

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  • Actually Doing!

    I've realized I was first introduced to GTD about 2 years ago. Many times have fallen on and off the wagon with productivity and I think my OmniFocus archives prove it as well.

    Luckily the past 3-4 months I've been almost at Master & Commander considering I've really committed myself to trusting my system in terms of Collecting. I've really committed to Collecting, in terms of having the iPod Touch OmniFocus system with me at most times allowing me to add any random thought and trusting my collecting system. I even have postit notes in my car, blank legal paper on any desk I have and Moleskines usually reside either in my pocket or nearby backpack. I'm not too worried about my collecting system.

    With Processing I'm still fairly confident. My inbox is usually emptied within 24-48 hours, and 48 hours is when catching me on a lazy or busy day. Usually I tried to empty my inbox and process things in projects between 12-24 hours. The most interesting thing I've learned about this area is that every time I have things to process, my mind (perhaps naturally) wants to put off processing, as my subconscious somewhat tells me its too much (subconscious) work....but each and every time i'm in front of my computer processing I always think to myself that it's never as bad as I made it seem.

    I'm a fan of Organizing. Perhaps this is theneat-freak within me, but organizing allows me to tweak and try new things out..which is something I naturally experiment with on an (almost) Weekly Review basis. For example, upon coming across the famous Little Rocks/Big Rocks mantra I placed a few important projects in the Big Rocks pane and rest in the Little Rocks; of course with the alignment that the little rocks fall in much more smoothly after the Big Rocks have been tackled...Again, this is just one of many experiments i'm trying within my OmniFocus system and was implemented in this week's weekly review, so hopefully this helps me better understand myself and GTD along the way.

    With Review, I admit can get a bit lazy at times. Luckily (yes, luckily) about 5 months I fell off the GTD wagon, hard. My system was completely out of date. I was living my day-to-day-week-to-week live as if I had never even heard of GTD.....................& it sucked. When I finally forced myself to that Weekly Review to revamp my system back up again, I came to appreciate not only the art, but the privilege it is to have a trusted system.

    Since then i've always gotten around to my Weekly Review in hopes of never going back to that feeling of uncertainty.


    With Doing...Well, this is where I need help.

    Unlike my cousin who never seeks council from others, I am the complete opposite. I seek help in hopes of finding a solution. And in these terms, help towards the Doing part of GTD.

    Hopefully like you, I have numerous projects and numerous actions; and numerous next actions. Currently I have 45 active projects, of which 20 are timed to start sometime appropriately within the week. 22 on hold projects and about 160 someday/maybe items.

    Obviously with Doing let's focus on the active projects. From day to day I'll open my GTD OmniFocus system and tackle some important actions and other things that aren't the most important, but kinda easy to crank out.

    Here is my thought process: I know my important projects are important and in all admittance understand their next actions aren't that tough to tackle...but yet, perhaps i'm afraid of success within the project? Or perhaps afraid of failure? One thing GTD has introduced to me is that simple attempting a project or NA, usually never ends in failure. Hell, I know i'd rather tackle something and "fail." Rather than not tackle something at all; that's true failure. Yet, here I am waking up in the morning going for the easy items and putting myself in a coma filled with easy next actions, rather than doing the math homework, ordering the flight ticket and hotel reservations to Japan or going jogging.

    I've heard the reasons for not tackling a project or available action such as perhaps I haven't truly clarified the next action, or I haven't really the successful outcome, or am afraid of failure or success (The Now Habit by Fiore is my next read).

    Look, I could drag this post out but I'm one to talk it out.

    Please, I implore you...and advice is honestly, sincerely appreciated.

  • #2
    Originally posted by HappyDude View Post
    Please, I implore you...and advice is honestly, sincerely appreciated.
    I find that the projects where I procrastinate on the next actions tend to fall into groups

    I have not defined a next action.
    Easy to fix, really truly sit down and plan the project and get to a really well defined next action that is concise.

    The next action will take hours and hours and I'm not comfortable with that or I hate doing that type of task.
    Some actions I don't mind that they stay on my lists for months or years and get worked on as time permits, spinning and weaving tend to be that sort. The next action might be weave the rug but it might take a couple of days, or weeks or months and if it's fabric I might spend years just doing the action of weaving. I'm ok with that. The ones I get stuck on are things where the next divisible next action will take a huge chunk of time and I don't like it. A current example is updating a large flock lambing report in Windows. I hate windows and I avoid doing anything in it until it becomes urgent. The entire system repels me so I avoid doing any of those tasks. And this particular action will take something like 3-4 hours of uninterrupted time when I can fight Windows to get it to do what I need to do. I try to either break the task down even further (not possible in this case but you get the idea) or block out time on my calendar to do it and make it an appointment with myself.

    I am dreading when this project is completed because it's the precursor to a project I don't want to do.
    These are hard. I have to delve into why I don't want to do the project after this one. Often it's because it's undefined or I just hate the task (see the windows item above ) I sometimes make a deal with myself, If I finish project X and get through N many actions on the the nasty project Y then I can spend Z amount of time on a fun project.

    On rare occasions I procrastinate because I really don't think the project is mine to do. I try to re-negotiate that project off to someone else, hardly ever works in my case, being self employed means there isn't really anyone to hand projects off to, but that might work for you.

    Anyway a few ideas for you.


    • #3
      Originally posted by HappyDude View Post

      I've heard the reasons for not tackling a project or available action such as perhaps I haven't truly clarified the next action, or I haven't really the successful outcome, or am afraid of failure or success.
      That's about as good a summary as I've seen. There are some tactical issues, such as immersion in details of one aspect of a project as a form of procrastination on bigger issues. Here's a suggestion: go through a paper copy of your project list. Go through it quickly, noting simply whether or not you are happy with your progress on each progress. Then go through it again, and ask why you are unhappy with each project you marked: next action, successful outcome, afraid of failure, or afraid of success. Then work through those issues. If that doesn't appeal, then just start working your lists. If you come to an action that you don't want to do, ask why. Keep asking why all the way back to the project if necessary. If neither top-down or bottom-up work for you, then you may need to look at larger altitudes in your life, or look beyond gtd for an explanation.


      • #4
        Everyone procrastinates. I believe that even David Allen procradtinates (I hope I'll not be disconnected from Connect forum fof that ) I discovered that I procrastinated on next actions for the projects that I felt were not really needed. For me, I must feel the need to complete the project to make me Doing. Go through your list of projects and ask yourself if you need to complete that particular one. Do it at least for your first three projects on the list. Really means you really need. For example, if you are a millionere and you put Earn 100k till the end of the year then it is not real, it is just your wish. Remove all not real projects to someday-maybe folder for some time. Leave only real ones. Try to do them. Any difference?

        Ps give us your tge results of reading and implementing The Now.


        • #5
          I've found that by putting an estimated time next to the next action (paper based for me) helps a lot. When your feeling slack just grab your current context list and say to yourself 'ok, ive got a clear half hour I'm gonna knock out those two 10min items and those two 5 min ones' for example, set a stopwatch/timer and go for it allowing yourself to stop after the time runs out guilt free or when your done. That'll give you momentum and before you know it you've done a couple of hours work and your flying.

          It really works, kind of like a big two minute rule, if you get what I mean!