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Should I put fun on the lists?

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  • Should I put fun on the lists?

    Should I put all the Next Actions on the lists and is watching TV is really a Next Action i.e. in Relax Project? Should I put really all the NAs on the lists not some of them that make up my life? I'll explain below why this question appears.

    Last week I decided to go 20,30 and upper levels. Imagined the picture (Vision), decided Areas of Responsibility (or Life Areas) and resulting Roles. One of the Roles is the Father. As a father I want to be in good relations with my daughter, imagied her well educated and independent. That's in short. Then I decided a few projects to advance this Role. Some of them are Fun Games and Education Games. Under those projects I think there're different Next Actions available. For example for Education Games we could make the following: @Home: Paint a picture with the daughter. On the other hand I usually come home late and thus my preferred Next Action is @Home: stay still watching something on TV (But I don't have Relax Project under any Role now )

    The question is should I put such Next Actions like Watch TV, Paint a picture with the daughter, Talk to my wife, etc. and how to make sure that I don't spend too much time (anyway I need to relax so need to watch TV or read a book somethimes) watching TV then doing any other thing (probably more important from perspective point of view)? How do you cope with that?



  • #2
    a really timely question

    Hi Eugene. I just finished the two-day Mission Control workshop, and the kind of question you ask is *exactly* what I've been wondering myself. Here's my quick take on it: I believe GTD is extremely strong at the action and project level, but less strong at the goals/purpose/value part. The problem with the latter is that there's no direct connection between the two. For example, spending time with my daughter is very important to me, but no where is it listed in my actions, and ACTION is where our life is spent, moment by moment.

    The Mission Control approach is (v. briefly) to schedule every single thing that's important to me "somewhen" in my calendar, including things like exercise, time with family, and time to chill out. In addition, they have a very strong perspective on *why* I want to be doing each thing, an idea I've been missing lately in my GTD implementation.

    I'd love to hear others' ideas on this, but I wanted to chime in.

    (I can write more on Mission Control if there's interest, though there has been some discussion of it here before.)


    • #3
      I would appreciate more details on Mission Control. Does it mean I should block out time for different roles?


      • #4
        Do you want to be sure you'll do it? Then it can go on your Actions list. In my opinion, anyway.


        • #5
          A2A - Actions To Avoid list.

          Originally posted by Borisoff
          my preferred Next Action is @Home: stay still watching something on TV (But I don't have Relax Project under any Role now )
          I would rather put watching TV on my A2A (Actions To Avoid) list.


          • #6
            I don't normally chime in, but...

            I've been a lurker on the board for a while now. But I have 6 children, so I feel both the passion and the experience to add to this thread.

            First, I have to qualify my comments with this disclaimer: I am an avid GTD'er but not a 100% didactic zealot. I think the systems begs us to adapt it to our lifestyles.

            Now then, the ACTIONS you are describing are ciritcally important. but not urgent (Covey). They whisper their importance rather than shout for our attention. There are tons of actions that fall into this catagory. Some can fit neatly into projects (Family vacations, Date Nights, Camping trips, Run a marathon, etc.).

            But the actions you take from the time you get home until you go to bed, these are typically habitual. It is the sense of autopilot that needs to be addressed. Therefore, I would say that rather than NEXT ACTIONS, think about your ROUNTINES when you get home. This still falls under the GTD framework as a checklist rather than next actions.

            This harnessing the power and manipulating routines is a very powerful concept. In fact, I'd bet DA would say that, at it's heart, those that most successfully implement the GTD paradigm are those that slowly conform to a series of new routines.

            FYI, a couple good books, "The Power of Full Engagement" and "The Power of Focus" both discuss these concepts in better detail.

            On a more practical front, create a small checklist of the key things you want to make sure you do when you get home. The routine should focus on the biggest rocks and as those new behaviors become ritualized, lesser habits can be added.

            For me, my routines on this area, started small... kiss my wife everyday no matter what, read to my youngest every night before bed, and put out tomorrow's clothes. Those were the first three. Since then, they have grown more complex to where I am intentionally elbowing out TV (my habits don't allow enough time for it). I still take time for myself to decompress (the main reason we all plop down in front of the TV anyway).

            Anyway, I think what I'm suggesting is replace "next action" thinking with rountines/habits.

            Hope that makes some sense.



            • #7
              Putting Fun on Your Action Lists


              The short answer to your question is YES.

              The longer answer is YES...unless you make them appointments or ticklers.

              All seriousness aside, I think you will agree that spending time with your wife or your daughter is more important than cleaning out the garage. So why wouldn't you put those things in your system?

              A good life requires that you balance your efforts amongst all areas of your life - including just having some good-old, garden variety fun. A fully-used GTD system can help you do that. A GTD system that contains only work tasks and household chores can't.


              • #8
                Are your desired behaviours on auto-pilot?

                If a desired outcome / action is not yet an automatic behaviour for you (such as brushing your teeth before bed, or breathing consistently for example), then in order to maintain a "mind like water", it MUST appear on an action list, a calendar, a tickler, or a s/m list (ie in a system external to your head) - otherwise your mind will take back the job of reminding you of an "open loop" that you have made an internal commitment to, and you will not have 100% of your capacity to focus available for the other activities you want to engage in.

                As DA says, either the head IS the place to store things, or it isn't.

                This is not a matter of following the "rules" of GTD because someone said so, but because it is the way to achieve the ultimate GTD goal of working from a foundation of "relaxed focus" or "mind like water".

                I have yet to make such personal aspects of my life 100% subject to all my good hard-edged GTD system habits I apply to the business side of my life.... Hmmm, did I just create a new project for myself?


                • #9
                  FYI Mission Control summary, and comparision to GTD

                  Originally posted by Borisoff
                  I would appreciate more details on Mission Control. Does it mean I should block out time for different roles?
                  Hi Eugene. FYI I've just posted a detailed description of the Mission Control I attended, plus a comparison to GTD. It's at A GTD-er's perspective on Mission Control's "Productivity and Accomplishment" workshop. I hope you find it useful.


                  • #10
                    An amazingly balanced discussion

                    This is an amazingly balanced discussion of a very crucial theme. We rebel at putting those things that are most important on a mere list or into a system. Yet we can find, as so many unfortunately have, that we have missed weeks, even years of the things that will mean the most to us in the closing years of our lives. Get it into your system until it becomes second nature. Then post regular reminders to review your personal life to make sure you are not letting something slip you will never have an opportunity to retrieve.

                    Best wishes...