• If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.


No announcement yet.

When you are resistant to the runway!

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • When you are resistant to the runway!

    I have been struggling in my life recently as well as with GTD. Previously I was cranking things along very well in life and GTD. My runway was a bit of "big fish in a little pond" syndrome where I got a lot of positive feedback about accomplishments at a daily level. I had a routine I loved but I let it develop into a bit of a comfortable rut also. During this time when my husband and I would discuss our higher levels of focus, it seemed like we were moving toward larger life goals extremely slowly. That got discouraging, but since we spent more time on the runway than in those discussions mostly things seemed great.

    About 7 months ago we decided to stop playing at some of the goals, took a spanish class, and October 1 we changed our entire lives so that we now spend 4-5 days a week with our local spanish communities. As far as big picture goals, now I am thrilled with my life. 1-3 years down the road I only see myself getting more thrilled that we have finally gotten on the road to some of our higher level goals. As far as the runway though, there are days I feel like I am resistant to all of it. I only had a couple years of high school spanish, so the learning curve is steep. I do see regular progress though it's a lot of baby steps, and while we've been fairly warmly welcomed it definitely is a different culture.

    Being in a foreign language all the time is exhausting and there are times I find myself gravitating to other english speakers rather than struggling through foreign language conversations. Hubby used to be fluent in reading and writing spanish, so he is moving much faster than I am. On one hand, I'm glad one of us can be more useful more quickly, but I also feel a little left behind. We travel quite a bit more from home, and I have the more flexible schedule so my days home vs out have been the ones to adjust. At what used to be errand times and housecleaning times and such, I am so tired of going that I just want to lay around and read a book. I'm falling behind there, and hubby is able to help out less than he used to because of his extra workload.

    One more element to this that I know is significant, is that the beginning of Sept just as we were preparing for the move we lost 5 really close friends in a plane crash. There is pretty much no way to describe how awful that was, and we ended up delaying our move for a month because pretty much whenever I was at home I was sobbing. I know grief is playing a big part in how overwhelmed I feel, and I know being a perfectionist makes the grief worse by always worrying about what I am not getting done and what I wish I was doing better. I've tried to cut myself some slack there, but I am a "suck it up and do what you need to do" type of person, and I am frustrated by my resistance to the spanish part of my life. Where before I feel like I'd have done spanish lessons daily no matter what, and prepared every morning before heading out, sometimes I am so not in the mood that I let it slide. Long term I know that will only slow my progress with the language and make me feel overwhelmed for longer, but in that moment that argument isn't overcoming my resistance.

    I can say that GTD has been helpful in keeping most of the balls in the air during this chaotic time. I've been able to keep the most important...or at least the most urgent things from the lists done, but I am tired of feeling in limbo. I know others must have felt this way in making moves and career changes. Any suggestions would be extremely welcome.
    Last edited by Aspen; 12-15-2007, 05:17 AM.

  • #2

    Thanks for the glimpse into your personal world and for reminding us that practicing GTD, even if not at full capacity, is still beneficial and can help usmanage the positive and sometimes negative influences that life brings to our doorstep.

    I made a major life/career change this summer by leaving a fantastic job to be closer to aging family members who needed my help. My new job is a lot different and does not require the kind of GTD implementation I once enjoyed. I am much more "hands on" in this new job and am seldom sitting in an office processing my Projects and Next Actions. I, too, spend a lot of time on one step next actions and my Horizons of Focus have taken a back seat right now to the runway issues of my days.

    I have had to learn to rely a lot more on my Palm and only check email in the morning and late at night. My Weekly Review consistency is at an all-time low right now, too. But I am not fretting it as I know that this phase of my life will pass and I will be back on top again soon. I am dealing with CHANGE and that requires patience.

    Wishing you the very best.


    • #3
      Be patient with yourself. Everything takes longer than you expect or hope.

      We moved from Boston to Seattle this spring, and even though it was a company-paid move and everything went as smoothly as we could possibly expect, it was still three months before I had anything resembling a stable routine. One of our neighbors said it took them a year before they were completely unpacked. Major life changes take a lot of time and energy. If your move was in early October, I wouldn't expect things to settle down until January or February.

      Yes, living in a foreign language is hard. It's probably the best way to actually learn the language, so I won't tell you not to do it, but the more articulate you are in your first language, the more difficult suddenly being mute and illiterate is likely to be. Remember that there are ways you can take a break without retreating to English. There are lots of activities that don't require much or any conversation: gardening, walking in the park, playing tennis, listening to or playing music, and so forth.

      You might try to find Spanish language materials that you can enjoy at your level, rather than forcing yourself to struggle along in the deep end all the time. You should be able to find plenty of bilingual books (English and Spanish on facing pages), movies with subtitles, and so forth. Children's books and children's television are good, too. For that matter, your new community probably has actual Spanish-speaking children whose parents wouldn't mind a break while you take them to the park or whatever. You can play silly language learning games with them that you'd be too embarasssed to play with grownups, and their energy will do you good.

      (Good resources for immersion-style language study include and They focus on Japanese and English respectively, but the methods given are mostly applicable to any language.)

      And speaking of energy, it sounds like you simply don't have enough of it to do everything you want to do. Don't beat yourself up over that. As you explain, your workload has increased significantly, but the number of hours in your day hasn't. Trying to power through will just leave you (more) exhausted and make the problem worse. It might be time to sit down with your husband and figure out how to handle your other priorities now that Spanish has become such a big part of your life. Something is going to slip, so it's best to agree up front what that will be. Since his learning curve isn't as steep, he may not realize just how tiring Spanish is for you. Things that are exhausting for you may be exciting and energizing for him. He also may not realize how much additional load you are carrying because of the schedule change.

      Finally, you're right. Losing five friends so suddenly has got to be indescribably awful. Expecting yourself to suck it up and go on is not reasonable. Grief is not an illness, it's a path toward healing: allow yourself space to heal. I don't pretend to know what that might mean for you, but it wouldn't hurt to talk to a grief counselor or a religious advisor.

      I hope this helps. Good luck!



      • #4
        Katherine has made some very good comments.

        You have made an immense change in workload and expect so much from yourself. I think its time to renegotiate with yourself and your partner what has to be done.
        Once I read the citation: most people overestimate whet they can get done on one day and underestimate what they can get done in one year.
        In this situation where you are pressed by the changing surroundings and grief, it is normal that you see a big hill in front of you which has to be crossed. This is quite normal. Be patient, renegotiate and look back after some more month and you will see the things more positive and clear.

        Good luck.



        • #5
          Thanks for the responses

          I appreciate the ability to take a different view of my situation, and thank you for your kind responses. I agree that one of the things I need most is to try to take the pressure off and be patient with the slower success. Neither of those are things I excel at, so I guess this is an opportunity to work on some new, valuable skills. At least I am trying to view it that way!

          I had the conversation with my husband about how there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done to the level I have been attempting, and he was amazed that I thought I should do that in the first place. I'm comforted by the result but surprised that we hadn't had that conversation before. I didn't really realized that was such a big part of why I was feeling overwhelmed. Now that we are more aware that our communication is being somewhat of a move victim, we are both going to work on making sure we stay on top of it.

          The other big issue we're always dealing with but that has become more pronounced during this busy time is hubby's ADD. To be fair one of the reasons his productivity has been suffering is because he had dr problems and had no medication for 6 weeks, but he has been reverting to his tunnel vision. Most of his efforts are going to spanish and work, and he hasn't even seen his home responsibilities deteroriating. We are trying a time blocking weekly schedule to make sure everything moves ahead at some pace even if it isn't enough to do it all. GTD is really a challenge for him. If he stops processing to do a 2 minute activity, he gets off in a new direction and doesn't go back to processing.

          I suppose that is a problem for another day, I really appreciate the help in our developing a better plan and thank you much!