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  • Relaxation?

    I'm having an irritating problem I could use some help with. I've been using GTD in some form for a couple of years now, and I feel good about and trust my system. For a long time after implementation, I felt automatically relaxed after a weekly review, or a periodic mind dump, or even just by reviewing my next actions to make sure I was on top of things, and my baseline stress level was much lower than before. However, lately I seem to be losing that relaxed feeling. I'm no less on top of things than before, I've been doing weekly reviews, I've gone to great lengths to get everything out of my head, but my stress level continues to creep upward. I feel as if there's something I'm missing, although I cannot find any leaks in my system. I am making some changes, like applying to law school and looking for a new job and a few other things, but everything is progressing as it should there so I don't really have a need to get stressed about it yet. It's cut my free time down to zero, but I can live with that for a while. I guess, after that rambling introduction, that my questions are:

    How have others on this board handled similar situations?
    Are my expectations of GTD to help me get relaxed too high? It always worked before, but doesn't seem to be helping now.
    Is it possible that my system, trust it though I may, has gone stale somehow and that's making me constantly afraid I'm missing things?

    Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom. I've been scratching my head over this one for a while and am just not coming up with a solution on my own. I figured if anyone would be able to address it, it would be the people on this board.

  • #2
    Have you tried the "feeling too much stress" suggestions at the bottom of the Advanced Workflow diagram?

    I don't have a link for the diagram but I'm sure it must be around here somewhere.

    Also, are you:

    - breaking agreements with yourself (or not re-negotiating them)?
    - failing to collect everything?
    - using too many in-baskets?
    - not emptying your in-baskets regularly?
    - mixing actionable with non-actionable items?
    - not defining all outcomes and next actions?

    Or, could you simply be trying to do too much? Remember, "You can do anything but you can't do everything." - David Allen

    Or, maybe you're not getting that big sense of relief because you no longer spend a great deal of your time out of control and so the weekly review is more of a ho-hum event?

    Also, GTD is not (in my experience) an emotional or spiritual panacea. GTD helps us get control of our *stuff* in today's busy, information based world but it is only part of the big picture for a calm and relaxed life. If your GSA (gnawing sense of anxiety) is based on some emotional, spiritual or existential turbulence you'll have to look elsewhere for answers.


    • #3
      I suspect that your stress is caused by something outside of GTD. You say that you have no free time; I think that naturally causes increased stress.

      I expect that, if you allowed yourself more free time, you would experience less stress.


      • #4
        Here's a thought that popped into my head skimming the previous two posts, it's something they said already, but maybe if I say it in a different way...

        If you have no free time, it means you're not getting all your work done, so of course you're stressed. You need to reduce your workload.

        You can do anything - but not everything.


        • #5
          Created by Scott Moehring, based on David Allen's Getting Things Done:

          Advanced Workflow Diagram



          • #6
            Thanks for the diagram - I've not seen that before. Since posting this initial message and reading your responses, I've come to see that this is probably a good old-fashioned case of biting off more than I can chew. I do feel better to have some clarity on that - thanks!