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Repeating Tasks in My Head

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  • Repeating Tasks in My Head

    The past week or so, I've really found myself attempting to follow the methodology of GTD and put a strong effort into it.

    As soon as I think of something, I've been doing my best to try and dump it into the system; however, I now find myself thinking of things and going, "Have I put that into the system yet?" I don't remember what projects and next actions have made it into the system. I want to trust my system and not have thoughts multiple times, but I'm back to having thoughts multiple times, because I can't remember what I've put in.

    And occasionally, I'll write a note and then discover when I do go back to my lists, yes, I have put that in the system.

    I don't want to duplicate effort and my mind is constantly coming up with new things, how do I develop mind like water and not worry about repeating thoughts, when I can't remember what thoughts have made it in?


  • #2
    In my experience, this is entirely normal in the early days of GTD.

    The keys to resolving this is the weekly review. In the early days, you may actually want to do reviews every few days. Eventually, you will re-internalize your stuff and will stop wondering "gee, have I captured that?"

    Re-internalize? I thought the idea was to externalize it all! Well, yes and no. You do want to externalize everything so you can be sure nothing gets forgotten, only to be remembered at a time when you can do absolutely nothing about it. But you also want to internalize it so you know intuitively that you are working on the right things at the right time in comparison to everything else you've captured. I compare it to cleaning a really messy closet -- the way you clean it is to drag everything out, then put it back (minus the trash) in a more orderly fashion.

    In the meantime, just keep capturing, and don't worry whether you've already captured it. If you come across something four or five times during your weekly review, it is probably a sign that it needs your attention.


    • #3
      This will disappear once you begin trusting your system more than your head. If that isn't forthcoming, then look hard at what piece of GTD you're not doing or avoiding which is keeping you from distrusting the system. In the early days it's because you don't have everything there.

      It can also be that what you're remembering is what's got your attention. There's lots about how to manage this in the GTD connect material.



      • #4
        It's a matter of trust.

        It's a matter of trust.

        Building the trust takes time.

        Remember that if you want to trust the system you have to earn the system's trust too.

        So be consistent.

        It does not hurt capture something more than once.


        • #5
          Sometimes I have an item captured twice on my someday/maybe list. Mostly I'll delete any duplicates, but I've found myself deliberately keeping those items that I want to really act on soon or those that are important. Then I'll read it several times during my weekly review. For me recording items several times is not a problem; not recording something is though.


          • #6
            When you encounter an item twice during processing it is prove that you are doing your homework: capturing deliberatly. This is a good thing! You are mastering habit number one! You are on your way...


            • #7
              Originally posted by jknecht View Post
              In my experience, this is entirely normal in the early days of GTD.
              and for absent minded professors, even the late days

              I find the duplicates are easily weeded out during the weekly review, and as others have noted on the thread, better twice than not at all.

              - Don


              • #8
                I run into this all the time. I recollect it and I end up with duplicates in my capture system. It is usually no big deal, the duplicates work out in my weekly review (when I do one). If it happens a lot for a particular item it could be a warning sign that I do not have a clear enough desired outcome for the idea or is the idea even a project?
                does it belong in someday maybe? or maybe I haven't come up with a real next action for the project; Is it sitting on my next action list as a mini project? Or is it in the wrong context? Is it listed as @computer when the real NA should be @calls?

                Ask yourself these questions if you see something crawling back into your head a lot and you will eventually beat the habit.

                Remember this system (GTD) takes conscious practice (Verb) in order to make it a practice (noun).