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Anxiety and discomfort when stuff becomes conscious

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  • Anxiety and discomfort when stuff becomes conscious

    In re-reading GTD, I'm more aware now of the times the book mentions anxiousness and uncomfortableness (or, more properly, anxiety and discomfort).

    ..."potential anxiousness is going to surface as you make your stuff more conscious to you than it's been."

    That's the crux of my battle. Anxiety -- that gnawing feeling that makes it difficult to simply hold something, look at it and ask, "What's next?"

    When it overtakes me, I try to remember to count ten breaths and do it. I hope once the positive behaviors become more habituated in my life, the anxiety will be less pronounced.

  • #2
    Perhaps you are jumping to the conclusion that the thing is going to lead to some crisis or disaster? If you step back, you will probably realise that all of the things you do are well within your capabilities, yet when you first pick them up, you ASSUME they are a potential disaster (and then when you get to do them, they turn out to be fine).

    This could be based on a very very small number of crisis situations you had in the past, and we ALL have those. So, don’t let yourself generalise to the point where you feel all tasks-in-waiting are going to go horribly wrong.

    (Or if you can’t stop generalising, why not go the opposite way – and assume that all of the things that come your way going to be easily carried out? This generalisation probably matches your actual experience - after all, you’re not still stuck on things you took on six months or a year ago: they’re all long since done and dusted – by YOU.)

    Hope this helps


    • #3
      I think for me the anxiety happened when I became aware of the true scope of what I had to do. Without GTD, you are perhaps blissfully unaware of how much you have commited to do. With GTD, you start capturing it all, and it can be overwhelming at first. But with GTD, you have the tools to handle it.

      I just recently discovered the recurring feature of my Palm to-do list. And now I see that most of my activities are recurring ones. I have to go to the grocery store, and I have to get gas and I have to change out the backup tape etc... This can spark a little nervousness when I look at the list of all I have to do. But I like it much better than the state I was in of lettting things fall through the cracks all the time before GTD.


      • #4
        Learning the thoughts that precede the feelings

        Thanks for the input on this topic. As others have noted on this board, there is an emotional component to GTD, no question. I find that anxiety, depression and other emotional nemeses arise even moreso when it comes time to implementing productive changes in my life.

        I'm trying to counter this by augmenting my efforts to G-T-Done with exercises I'm picking up from Feeling Good, a program by cognitive psychologist David Burns. (I know there are some Albert Ellis fans out there and it seems Ellis is a fan of Burns.) This is tough work.

        Anyway, I admire everyone who's making progress and describing it here because it gives me inspiration.