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Managing epiphanies with GTD

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  • Managing epiphanies with GTD

    In the course of your time, how to deal with certain ambigious attention items that are things that you think about but not really things that are actionable. For instance, you have an idea such as, "The Earth isn't Flat", or "I am happiest when I remember to think of X in a stressful situation".

    They can be tickled, but to what effect? What to do get these things unstuck into a next action, or is that not the correct way to deal with something.

    Essentially, I'm wondering how do you use gtd to help "internalize" these (typically 40,000 ft) truths that you'll stumble upon in the course of living?

    I've been tickling them, so that I tend to see them at least once a day... but that isn't quite satisfying the need to get them off my mind. Is patience my answer?

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    If I have an idea which I wish to remember, I take notes with all items that I want to memorize in my project template. I enter the name of this "project" even if it is not a real project (the earth isn't flat) to the Someday/Maybe list. If these thoughts come up very often, it would be time to make a more real project: "think about the flatness of the earth".



    • #3
      I tickle them, and re-tickle them until the concept sticks. :shrug: Works for me.


      • #4
        Hi Tor

        This is something that I have been wondering about for a long time.

        I write many such notes to myself, and most of them are written during working hours. I think that they could be generally described as “how I wish I automatically behaved in certain heat-of -the-moment situations”.

        They are descriptions of ideal outcomes, and how to get there. “If I could just focus on X every time Y happened, then I would always avoid this sort of uncomfortable outcome and instead experience a sense of achievement and successful outcome.”

        I think the route to these imagined ideals is through management of actions (dare I say, next actions?).

        As a series of events unfolds, I should try to self observe and recognise where I start following the well worn path that leads elegantly and inevitably to the undesired outcome. More often than not the decision to go that route is a default decision so deeply engrained that it is invisible to me.

        How to cure this? By taking different actions further up stream.

        On a discussion thread in the Connect forums Mike Williams has a great post where he describes how he micromanages himself into new behaviour patterns.

        I believe that the cumulative effect of changing small day to day actions will bring us to the visions that these moments of epiphany have given us.

        Bottom line: a personal development epiphany is like an unexpected snapshot of a rosy future. However, the only way to get to that future in reality is through a change of current behaviours and habits, and a set of clearly defined new baby step actions.

        The epiphany shows the end of a process of change, but the change begins exactly at your very next step.



        • #5
          Blog blog blog

          Another idea:

          If they're not too personal, blog them! If you don't have a blog, start one. They're free.

          My blog is like a big "lessons learned" retrospective of my life. (Well, I mean, it would be, if I ever updated it, and if it wasn't broken right now, and if I'd started it when I was 1. Hey, who asked you?)

          I've got everything up there from "the best way to dice an onion" to "here's how I solved a common problem in such-and-such software program" to "What is the probability of thinking of an acquaintance five minutes before learning of his death" (3 out of 100,000). And you know what's funny? I get Google hits on them all the time. I guess a lot of people are asking themselves the same questions.

          Might as well share the answers if you know 'em.


          • #6
            I have a daily review I read every morning on which I have a list of things I want to put into memory or my subsconscious, if you will. One item on the list is "be nicer and less impatient with John (not real name)." A project I have active is to record what puts me into bad moods (as certain members of my extended family sometimes do - this is an example) and what steps I can take react more positively. Please bear in mind, that I don't react negatively outwardly; some things just grate on me for some time afterwards, which is something that I really shouldn't waste my time on.


            • #7
              Other Ideas


              One of your concerns about using ticklers (and blogs) might be that you aren't seeing the epiphany at times that you really need to be reminded of it. Consider putting the reminders elsewhere. For example, you might want to be reminded of some of your 40,000 foot realizations before you do your weekly, quarterly, or annual reviews. In that case, put them on the checklists for those reviews. sdann might keep the reminder to be "nicer and less impatient with John" on the agenda of things to discuss with John, or on a checklist in the folder of the project on which (s)he works with John.

              The trick is to think about what you are doing when you need to be reminded of your epiphany and to place it on the support materials for the action.


              • #8
                I have to disagree with you there, Scott. I want to be reminded of things during times when I wouldn't normally be reminded of them. Surprise helps things stick.

                I think it depends on the nature of the concept. Some concepts simply require several months of regular reflection. Others don't. And that's okay.


                • #9
                  Through my method only rote will bring upon the right reactions at the right moments. Developing new behavior patterns is a difficult endeavor, one that I am continuously striving to achieve. In too many situations it is hindsight. Perhaps the micromanaging thread on the connect site...


                  • #10
                    Committing epiphanies to memory or taking action

                    This GtD Forum thread had helpful tips about how to commit an epiphany to memory:

                    Studying by integrating GTD with Buzan review techniques

                    3 minute memory technique and GtD

                    This is Michael Williams thread on how to incorporate a new idea into a habit

                    GTD and personal change improvement



                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tiomikel View Post
                      Studying by integrating GTD with Buzan review techniques

                      GTD and personal change improvement
                      Do these links work for anyone else? For me, they display

                      This feature is not available at this time. To get updates about new messages, please click on New Posts, or add this RSS feed to your reader:


                      • #12
                        A couple suggestions...

                        I agree with other posters that the element of surprise is key.

                        For awhile, I put a quotation which I had always found extremely motivational up on my wall above my alarm clock when I had a consulting gig that required rising at 5am, seven days a week. Instead of gleaning inspiration from it, I started to just block it out.

                        I *love* HassleMe. You can set it to send you email reminders at random intervals. I have one set that says "Just breathe" that pops into my email once every week or so. It always encourages me to take a moment to relax.

                        I also keep a "refresher" tag in with posts, quotations, etc. that I want to better internalize. I intentionally do not schedule "Look at refresher tag" into my otherwise very scheduled life, but whenever I log into for other reasons (often) I'll be drawn to click on it and look around.



                        • #13
                          They work for me without any problem.

                          Originally posted by tor View Post
                          Do these links work for anyone else?
                          They work for me without any problem.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tor View Post
                            Do these links work for anyone else? For me, they display

                            This feature is not available at this time. To get updates about new messages, please click on New Posts, or add this RSS feed to your reader:
                            Don't work for me either. Maybe you need to be GTD Connect?


                            • #15
                              How about GTD COnnext Intention Journal?