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Anxiety Disorder and GTD

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  • Anxiety Disorder and GTD

    I am new to this GTD stuff. I came upon this forum while looking for forums for people who suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder or any related illnesses (social anxiety, depression, panic attacks). I have suffered from GAD and depression my whole life. All the people who can't stop the swirling thoughts in their brains long enough to get anything done are not alone. However, there are those of us who cannot benefit from ideas like GTD without first having some help from anti-anxiety medication.

    I am not saying everyone with anxiety needs to be on medication. I am saying that some people have a chemical imbalance that causes paralyzing anxiety and often depression. I am one of these people. Are you? I find writing about this has been therapeutic and invite anyone who can relate to read my blog: .

    In a newer post I talk about Cognitive Behavior Therapy which seems to use many of the techniques of GETTING THINGS DONE. However, a trained psychotherapist has the expertise to help each individual anxiety sufferer wade throught their personal triggers and blocks and teaches each patient to live a happy and productive life. Most people would benefit from CBT and GTD. But some people can't function hardly at all and need help desperately. These anxiety sufferers often don't know what their problem is. I hope reading my blog will help you if you think you have been merely a "lunatic" your whole life. You can find help.

  • #2
    Hmmmm I'm not sure.... When my anxiety problems were at their worst, probably about 15-16 years ago, there was no such thing as GTD so I can't say with certainty if it would have helped me with that particular problem. I guess I was "lucky" in that my anxiety was mostly situational so that even when it was so bad that I felt unable to leave the house, I would have been capable of studying GTD indoors.

    Having said that there is no doubt in my mind that GTD can be used to help organise a project, projects- or probably this should be an area of responsibility- to overcome anxiety and other mental illnesses.

    Getting all the things which you are thinking about out of your head and on to a list must be a good thing. Once they are out of there you can work on them one bit at a time. The anxiety is caused by irrational thoughts and the only way to combat these thoughts is by testing them against the real world. You will only believe the bad thing is not going to happen if you go out there and see for yourself. But only in baby steps (next actions).

    Of course this is assuming that there is a refuge where rational thinking can proceed. I fully accept that if a person is in a constant state of fear or irrationality then the only way GTD could help is if the person helping them is using it!

    This leads me to the thought (on a totally different subject) that I bet there are plenty of people who are considered sane by most of society, who would be incapable of following the GTD system because their mindset is just incapable of grasping the concepts of projects, different levels and weekly reviews. I mean people who have not had the opportunities of education earlier in life, but are just as intelligent as the rest of humanity and get jobs and do fine in life. Maybe they don't need GTD.

    I think the reason I am thinking about this is because perhaps GTD widens the divide between the educated and uneducated and makes it more difficult for the two groups to communicate. Maybe there's an opportunity for a dumbed down GTD system for the dumbed down masses to springboard them up to GTD proper and all the benefits that comes with it (i.e. realise your dreams).

    Just thinking aloud.......


    • #3
      One area of personality disorder where it would not be helpful, would be with folks with OCPD, or a variant of that. With folks with some of those tendencies, then the last thing they need is more lists.
      If you look at the top 2 criteria...
      -is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost

      -shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met)
      Last edited by CosmoGTD; 04-01-2006, 03:45 AM.


      • #4
        Originally posted by treelike
        I think the reason I am thinking about this is because perhaps GTD widens the divide between the educated and uneducated and makes it more difficult for the two groups to communicate. Maybe there's an opportunity for a dumbed down GTD system for the dumbed down masses to springboard them up to GTD proper and all the benefits that comes with it (i.e. realise your dreams).
        GTD isn't exactly rocket science, and I don't see why the basic concepts wouldn't be accessible to anyone literate. DA has talked about teaching it to high school students.

        If you "dumbed down" GTD, what would you leave out?



        • #5
          Interesting. Similar problem here. GTD helps me. The mind like water concept is important, in my view, to dealing with GAD. Identifing actions and knowing everything is accounted for eliminates one source of anxiety. Not procrastinating and keeping the list current eliminates another. You still have to learn to come to peace with things you can't control and learn to talk to yourself about things that might happen or the results of things you have done. That's the last hurdle. Then you have a mind like water.


          • #6
            Originally posted by CosmoGTD
            I think Mind Like Water is a fun idea.
            But I don't go too far with that. There is such a thing as "emotional perfectionism" where we are always trying to "feel good" and avoid feeling painful emotions. Not a good idea.
            Trying to "feel good all the time and avoid feeling painful emotions" is very much not what "Mind Like Water" means.

            A Mind Like Water is able to react to circumstances flexibly. Water can rage in torrents or sit perfectly still, just like emotions. A Mind Like Water still feels emotions in all their intensity, but can still act even when those emotions are powerful.


            • #7
              DA took the "mind like water" metaphor from martial arts, which in turn took it from Buddhist traditions. Out of that context, it's pretty much meaningless. Or rather, the only meaning is what we ascribe to it.

              I study martial arts as well, but my own teacher would never use a phrase like "mind like water." He would say that the mind must encompass yin and yang, fire and water, stillness and action. Which again, probably doesn't mean much to any of you in this context.


              It's a productivity system, folks, not the Secrets of the Universe. Take what you can use, leave the rest.



              • #8
                What is Mind Like Water in GTD?

                For me Mind Like Water in GTD means: do not overreact or underreact to the external stimuli. Your actions should be appropriate to the situation - that's all. To be prepared for unexpected (Ready for Anything ) you should have the trusted system with all loops closed. So - in case of unexpected - you have to deal with one new open loop only.

                People often over- or underreact because they feel overwhelmed. One unexpected new open loop adds to other open loops and creates big wave (or no wave at all) instead of the wave that is objectively appropriate and most effective.


                • #9
                  "The mental attitude in [my martial arts system] is no different from that of the everyday attitude. In both peaceful times and in times of battle, it is exactly the same. Be careful to ascertain the truth from a broad viewpoint. Do not become tense and do not let yourself go. Keep your mind on the center and do not waver. Calm your mind, and do not cease the firmness for even a second. Always maintain a fluid and flexible, free and open mind."

                  -- Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of the Five Rings
                  (as translated by Bradford J. Brown)


                  • #10
                    I took the mind like water thing simply to mean that your thinking and therefore your activity flowed smoothly by being more decisive and sure of your decisions. Making a decision is easy- when you have all the information you require (and you know you have all the information you are likely to get). GTD helps you have the right data at the right time.

                    Originally posted by kewms
                    GTD isn't exactly rocket science, and I don't see why the basic concepts wouldn't be accessible to anyone literate. DA has talked about teaching it to high school students.

                    If you "dumbed down" GTD, what would you leave out?
                    I'd perhaps leave out the explanations of why the process works and just have a step by step guide. When I read the GTD book, the whole thing made total sense to me on many levels. I had been thinking about better use of time methods for a while and here I could see the answers to all the problems I had encountered. I do feel though that all the previous ideas and failures kind of primed me and gave me a deeper understanding of the deceptively simple system which is GTD.

                    I agree that GTD is not rocket science but I wonder if there are a whole lot of people out there who really want to take control of their lives but wouldn't even have the motivation to pick up a book and read it from cover to cover. On the subject of teaching it at schools; In the street I often see kids and young people congregating in groups, usually up to no good and causing hassle, and they look bored out of their skulls waiting for something exciting to happen like for the police to turn up. It seems to me that these people have no purpose in their life and have no way to develop a purpose. And I would extend this into much of western society where people "get along" but never feel fully satisfied, and feel forced to jump through hoops set for them by governments with occasional relief watching dull reality TV programmes presented by their other leaders, celebrities. The problem is twofold, society is becoming trained for instant gratification and to think less. With no concept of planning or deferring something until the right time, people are going to have less control over their own time and therefore lives.

                    So if you were going to create GTD "for the masses" I would do it as a step by step guide, perhaps a computer program that asks you to input all of your inbox info and then steps you through which item goes where and then you can press a button which gives you a list of next actions and contexts. Maybe another button which somehow graphically and simply shows you where you are with all of your projects right now (this would be the reward- seeing how your life is progressing towards how you want it to be). Maybe the whole thing could be done on a website. Maybe such a thing exists already, but it would have to be extremely simplified and in even more everyday language than GTD currently is (even leaving out the labels Next Action, Projects, Inbox etc.)

                    Of course the most important thing is to have faith in the system. I had instant faith because I could see that GTD addressed all the issues which I had discovered by experience. Someone who doesn't realise there's a problem isn't going to try and solve it.


                    • #11
                      "Uneducated" does not mean "stupid." The richest man in the world is a college dropout, after all.

                      Your note talks about people who "really want to take control of their lives" and people who "have no purpose." It seems to me that these are two very different groups. The first is motivated to improve their system, and will want to know why this system (GTD) is better. (If they aren't motivated, they don't belong in the first group. See also the Values thread...) The second group, having no purpose, will see any system as stupid paperwork.

                      By dumbing GTD down, it seems to me that you lose both groups. You patronize the first group, and bore the second group.

                      It's not clear to me what GTD has to offer the second group, anyway. GTD doesn't even attempt to help people find their purpose in life, that's Covey territory. If you're willing to drift, you don't need GTD, and GTD has nothing to say about why drifting is bad.



                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CosmoGTD
                        Us GTD folks are all basically obsessive kooks, excluding you and me, of course.
                        How dare you suggest that I'm not an obsessive kook!


                        • #13
                          Hi friend
                          As you told that you have suffered from panic and anxiety attacks for many years. And you have read many books about it, i can help you in this matter use abilify drug, for more information see - you can find more information here, and you will feel comfortable with this drug. avoid smoking please.


                          • #14
                            CBT is what has helped me and this stuff sounds very similar. And If I am correct in assuming this then it must be good My favorite CBT book was the one by Sam Obitz and if anyone is interested in CBT I suggest they check it out at the author's website CBT has enabled me to be a self starter again after being bound up by panic and anxiety for years and start getting things done


                            • #15
                              That was very funny!