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Open loops: CD, DVDs, Books, etc. and my Media Wish List

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  • Open loops: CD, DVDs, Books, etc. and my Media Wish List

    Not only am I an inveterate pack rat, but I accumulate CDs that I want to listen to, DVDs that I want to watch, books that I want to read, etc. These unused items might be efficiently filed (alphabetized even) as opposed to lying about (satisfying a good part of the GTD anti-stuff dictum), but I have come to discover that they still represent open loops.

    I bought these things. So I have made a promise (a subtle, unconscious one) that I would use them. I don't though, and these promises are broken. Every time I fetch an CD or DVD, these items nag, reminding me that I broke a promise and wasted money (it took me quite a while to diagnose this source of frustration, and realize these were open loops in GTD parlance). It is as if that these collections are piles of stuff that will take hours (weeks even) to work through. I also find it hard to 'renegotiate' these promises. I bought the stuff after all.

    So I have just started a 'Media Wish List' list in ListPro. I keep titles, artists, and notes (such as why I might want to buy, watch, etc.). These lists are not promises. So I plan to work my way through the books, movies etc. (including a copy of Moby Dick, for what that's worth -- maybe the mascot for all of us GTDers). Wish me luck.


  • #2
    Welcome to my world!

    I have a 'Media Wish List' list that runs to pages and pages and pages: books and CDs. If I bought everything on that list I would be immediately divorced – that’s assuming I wasn’t killed in the paper and plastic avalanche.

    I already have a MAJOR storage problem. I also had a major problem when I realised that I had accumulated an unfeasibly large amount of wishes.

    For a remedy, see the thread I started:

    Let go a little!



    • #3
      why not just put everything on your Wish List with Books, CDs, shoes, clothes, tools, whatever? You can print it out or you can just go to it any time you are on the web. You can also edit it there when you buy something. Another option -- use something like HandyShopper or SplashShopper on your Palm.


      • #4
        Oh, I understand.

        I just got TiVo. I used to watch about 3, maybe four hours a week of television, tops. But when I got TiVO, I selected a handful of shows that I never got to watch and set up to record on a regular basis.

        Now my list of shows to watch is too long and creating too many open loops.

        This is in addition to a stack of books checked out from the library waiting to be read, etc. And every time I go to, the site keeps suggesting more books for me, that actually look interesting.

        Oh, and there are those Playstation 2 games that I bought and haven't even opened from the shrinkwrap... they are supposed to be *fun* (and they will be) but yeah, they're creating open loops.


        • #5
          TiVo (or ReplayTV which I have) is the worst for creating those open loops. I've seen articles on the stress that it creates for people. They feel like they have to watch everything. I set mine to record Conan O'Brien every night. After about a year, I gave up on trying to watch them all. I just flip it on when I need a little down time.

          I also have stacks of newspaper that I intend to read. Unfortunately, my paper (the LA Times) has really good articles that aren't particularly date-sensitive. So there could be an article from two months ago that's still interesting.

          Just recently, I switched to weekend only delivery to solve three problems: 1) saving a little money; 2) saving a little time; 3) reducing clutter.

          In a lot of cases, once you decide that you don't need to read/watch something, it makes it easier. But you have to decide to not do it to really clear your head.



          • #6

            As I reflect on the replies to my initial post, it seems that my initial post and the responses are ultimately about gatekeeping. I wonder how many gates we keep that we are only semi-aware of. For me, unopened media was on.

            Its one think to want to do something. Its another to make some kind of self-promise to do something. As many have acknowledged on this forum, even keeping lists is a form of potentially stressful self-promise. As long as we are aware of our relationship to lists, or unopened DVDs, we can more effectively gate-keep.

            It could well prove that after this exchange, I might be better able to live with my ownership of unread books, because how different is that than living next to a library, and feeling the stress of the thought "hey, you know, I should make better use of the library next do..."


            • #7
              open loops of media

              I find relying on the library works for me. The differences between living next to the library and thinking you should make better use of it and actually owning a large number of items that you haven't had a chance to read/listen to/watch are 1) the money spent, and 2) the storage space used. I just keep a list on my Palm and refer to it when I have an open time slot, such as when going on a vacation. I delete items that I'm no longer interested in and feel no guilt because I haven't purchased or stored the material -- the library has. Most libraries will gladly borrow items they don't own, free of charge to you, from another library, so the selection is much larger than what you see in your own local library building.