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Getting away from the grind

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  • Getting away from the grind

    I've been using GTD for a couple of months now and am discovering the peace-of-mind benefits of having all of my tasks listed. In the GTD seminar CD David explains that enumerating the tasks lets you handle your workflow like in the old days when you would go to work and have a defined set of things to do, eliminating a lot of time spent agonizing over what you have to do. The good part of this is that you don't spend all you time wondering what you are missing. The bad part is that I feel like I'm on the clock 24 hours a day. When I'm at home I'm using the GTD method just like when I'm at work, and I feel like I'm never away from the rat race. How do people deal with this?

  • #2
    Good Morning

    You're starting to touch on what GTD is REALLY all about; once you get beyond "surface level" (in my humble opinion) - so don't let go just yet.

    (I've touched on this a couple of times before on the board, once was in the GTD/Zen thread I believe...)

    You're correct that GTD is about "clarifying" our work. The next step is that GTD is about "objectifying" our work. "Objectifying" has gotten a bad rap in some cultural settings....women saying "you're objectifying me - not BEING with me" (yes, objectifying a person is a bad thing).

    BUT- objectifying our work is a GOOD thing! Several times - David has said there is a realization that takes place of "you are not your work." Putting them on a list allows us to stop "REacting" emotionally to our work. It turns them into a totally logical, object. That is also why he suggests we pare them down to the simplest, very Next Action. It strips away the emotional "filling in the blanks" that comes with "amorphous blobs of stuff."

    I think the title of "Getting Things Done" is incomplete. Once things are done - what have you got ? Nothing. You just "be." 100%, fully present in the moment. In one of David's examples - that moment could be pruning a tree in your yard, but you are there fully emotionally present!

    That is the real, subtle, higher level goal of GTD I believe. It is "Getting THings Done - So You Can BE Fully Present."

    If you CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE to do that by picking somthing off of those lists to be emotionally engaged in - that's fine.

    If you choose to "Just Be" - listening to the wind blow, or watching the snow outside your window - that's even more fine.

    GTD gives you the freedom of choice to stop REacting to your lists (the lowest level of awareness). The lists are your "safety net" - so you can focus on higher levels. They're not what should be driving your choices.

    So, just set aside your "elegant GTD implementation device," and just trust that it is all there when you CHOOSE to engage it again.


    • #3
      Getting Away From the Grind


      I've been in the same boat. Getting into a groove with the system can create a momentum that can keep me going like a bat out of hell from eight in the morning until midnight. However, I can't sustain that pace for more than a few days. Then I crash and burn.

      This is really an abuse of the system, and I have used two ways to deal with it.

      The first is to decide when my "workday" ends. This is the time when I put down the planner and do something fun: read a book, pursue a hobby, or (gasp!) watch TV. Rather than knock off at the same time every day, I go from morning till night some days and knock off early on others. The choice is just a matter of my temperament and schedule.

      The second is to decide that rest, play, and socializing are also important uses of my time and to use the system to help do them. For example: I make an appointment to take my wife out to dinner and a movie. I create next actions for pleasure reading. I use the tickler file to periodically prompt me to call and/or meet with friends.

      Although the first approach is simpler, I am trying to employ the second since I think it is important to internalize and act on a balanced approach to living.