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Off GTD wagon = off LIFE wagon?

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  • Off GTD wagon = off LIFE wagon?

    I feel like I'm off the life wagon. Going to work daily, compleating tasks from action lists, feel no priorities, get something done. Come homw, watch tv, the child is playing on his own with nanny. Is it possible to get back? Any recommendations?

  • #2
    What I’m trying to do though, is take a step back, and examine my reactions to all of this. Am I serenely taking time out each morning to prioritise my tasks for the day, taking my 15 minute break every hour to stave off RSI and insanity, or keeping up with my fun jobs? Am I heck. What I am doing is coming in early and going home late, and working solidly for several hours at a time without a break. I am being irritable with people who come to me with perfectly reasonable requests, and at the end of the day my back, eyes and head hurt.


    • #3
      It's a big, important subject -- maybe the biggest, most important subject there is.

      I think a lot of GTD people hit this sort of wall. It can be pretty unpleasant, as you've noticed. I suspect it's behind some people's negative reactions to GTD.

      A popular alternative is to never really confront or acknowledge that feeling; to just carry on with life as we know it and drown it out with more stuff, more activity.

      But if you can bring yourself to persevere, GTD will help. In a lot of ways, this is what GTD is "really" designed to do.

      Basically, under GTD, someone has a 50,000-foot Life's Purpose. Ideally, a line can be drawn from that lofty ideal down through to every single Next Action. In practice that line can get pretty tenuous, but that's the theory behind it. The third book, Making It All Work, talks about this at some length, so I recommend that to your consideration.

      The sort of angst you're describing typically comes from one of two phenomena:

      1. A disconnection at some level on the way up to Life's Purpose. Maybe you can't bring yourself to believe that "Next Action: Fold Laundry" is really a small step towards fulfilling your destiny. Maybe it's something gone awry at the Project level, or Area of Focus, or 5-Year-Plan. This is quite common, perhaps inevitable to some degree, and relatively easy to resolve.

      2. A crisis of faith. Maybe you're not so sure that your identified Life's Purpose is really the right direction any more. This doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it can definitely be a watershed event in your life. GTD inherently doesn't offer a lot of direction when this occurs; it tends to be the province of philosophy, religion, and other such heavyweights. If this is your situation, hold on tight and good luck.

      Either way it's not easy work, but it may be the most important work you ever do.



      • #4
        Life wagon

        I've been told that denial ( besides being a river in Egypt) is conscious lying to self.

        Well, I have a lot of D words that I have allowed to bring myself back down to the level of chaos that makes it feel as though my life is out of order and control. First is disappointment in my own reactions to how I handle a situation, for me it's either because of a human interaction at work that confuses me & tells me I am inadequately equipped to solve this dilemma & so I berate myself. If this goes on without resolve I then get discouraged and that is the first stage of shutting GTD out, my inbox starts to fill and is not empty at the end of the day; things are really running this stage I am seeking ways to not confront my behavior and begin to avoid confrontations and situations that actually scare me until I have no choice because I get cornered. (It's at this point, if I have an addictive nature that I begin drug or drink seeking behaviors) either way I have now become an actor in my own life, a fraud of myself. Because of the values & principles I have been endowed with, I still care, I always care about keeping up the functioning front. But if this goes on without the energy to come back to the surface (a pun on the life levels where I am now below the runway) I will end up in despair. That is when life's purpose no longer matters because I dealing with urgent crisis events as they occur and am floundering. Finally, a place where I have been in the past but not recently, gratefully, is the second to last D - depression. If no intervention takes place there is only one other D-the big one Death.

        Now I realize that this sounds very melodramatic; but you see, I have been shown & learned & practiced a means to 'making it all work' and because I allowed something, some little virus in life to stop me from continuing this process, I am running, fully aware that I have a solution but am no longer using it.

        I can ask for help, I can beat myself up, I can just stay angry, but ultimately it's still up to me to get back into my life and put my GTD black belt back on and deal with it. No more mamby, pamby, poor me, pour me a drink kind of attitudes. It's really about self-pity and feeling sorry for myself because of the apparent blows life is handing me.

        What I have written above could be biographical or hypothetical. That I will not reveal. I do know that it is a scenario that I have seen with my own eyes but whether it's in a mirror or another's eyes doesn't really matter.

        What I can say is that my own life presently is providing me with opportunities for growth through transition in both my personal & especially professional life. I am not always as graceful as a ballet dancer but I am growing through this chapter and it sure is interesting. There are always people, who may not necessarily know the GTD way of life, who are around me, mentoring me, guiding me, nudging me who care and for that I am grateful, but it's still up to me to get back and use GTD to create my own style of effectiveness & efficiency.


        • #5
          Thanks for that Jere; I really like the "below the runway" metaphor.


          • #6
            This is a challenge in the GTD system - if you are getting things done in an effective systematic way then you create the space to examine the why of those things.

            What attracted me to GTD was the fact is that does exactly that, it doesnt say start with life focus, it is down in the trenches.

            If you are just plodding through then its time for a review right up to the 50,000ft level. For me the great thing about having a GTD system that flows - and mine isnt by any stretch of the imagination a pristine implementation, is that I am able to look at opportunities.

            I am not a great goal person, my career goal has always been to get paid to do what I enjoy doing anyway - and I am lucky I am able to do that now!

            Apart from that its all flexible


            • #7
              Here's a great quote from David about the Runway vs. 50,000 level:

              Top-down approaches are excellent for improving your vision, but there’s no weather at 50,000 feet! As you descend from these high, “planning altitudes,” they give no instruments for flying at “project altitudes” – through cloud cover at 10,000 feet, and the ground fog on the runway. Top-down approaches bog down during taxi, take-off, and landing on busy days. Getting Things Done is the “instrument training” that you need to stay on course – especially on those foggy days when life’s runway gets backed up. - David Allen