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GTD Breakthroughs

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  • GTD Breakthroughs

    On the heels of another post, I thought I would ask the forum this question: Could you describe an "aha" or breakthrough experience in "getting" GTD.

    I realize we will all have a number of these as we move toward doing GTD in more subtle, sophisticated ways, but what have been your big leaps forward in understanding?

    I have two. The first one was the realization that a next action was a "bookmark" and that if I was on a roll I could just keep running - that is, if a phone call led me naturally to the next thing in the project, I could just keep going on that project, I didn't have to necessarily switch back to the next "Call" on my list and disturb my spontaneity and creativity. What I did need to do was record the "next" action in its proper place, when I moved on to different work.

    The second was the phrase "It's the habits, not the tools" which made me realize that if I was focusing on tweaking my physical system too much I was probably avoiding doing the GTD process well or properly. This understanding also removed a lot of my need to tweak by making it okay, as long as I wasn't losing sight of the need to build the processing habits as a solid foundation for staying on top of my work and life.

    Anyone else....?
    Last edited by BigStory; 05-26-2008, 07:59 PM.

  • #2
    The most important ahas I have to say for me is how I have customized the different aspects of GTD to fit in with my life. These 3 are the biggest so far:

    1. Context lists that fit my life. I first understood the exact benefit of context lists, once I started adding, removing and renaming contexts. I have 6, but am considering one more.

    2. Projects. By considering anything more than 2 actions as projects, I realized how often projects repeat themselves in my life. Now I have many checklists and templates that I use exactly or customize. I don't have to reinvent the wheel all the time.

    3. Horizons of Focus (HOF). After really implementing the 10k and runway GTD for half a year, I started defining my HOFs. It surprised me to see how so much in my life already was in line with my HOFs. Of course, some wasn't and still isn't, but I'm working on that.


    • #3
      1. When I realized that GTD is not the lists but an internal process. (F##k any software tool I used to waste countless hours with, fiddling my "system" to 'super-status! (Thanks for listening. I do appreciate that.))

      2. Understanding that the higher level horizon of focus are more perspectives on a given peace of work than a pyramidic hierarchy.

      3. Cranking widgest can be super-fast. I remember a day (when I still worked in the corporate world) I got 1 hour earlier off from work and used that time to clear both my @calls and @errands lists. This was an incredible feeling. It was an autumn day and in the dawn I was rushing through the city on a mission. No second-guessing involved. That day A-B-C died in my heart and @context is the new fancy since then.


      • #4
        For me, the biggest breakthrough was realizing why I had such a hard time with the Franklin-Covey system which basically says "In order to be truly effective, you really need to understand your values, roles, and general purpose in life before you start planning your day." I could never quite get a handle on those things -- too much ivory tower thinking.

        GTD, on the other had, says "it doesn't really matter why you committed to it; the fact is, you committed to it, so let's figure out how to get it done."

        After I got halfway decent at GTD (ok, maybe halfway is a bit generous, but I'm taking credit anyway), I realized that I could derive what my true values, roles, and mission were simply by looking at my current projects. By asking "why did I commit to this thing? what's in it for me anyway?" it was almost effortless to list those values and roles (the whole "mission" thing still eludes me: "be a good person... isn't that enough?")

        This (relatively simple) effort has subsequently shaped the kinds of new things that I commit to, and as a result, I am committing to much less "junk" and I am a much happier person.

        Thus completes the Circle of GTD.