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New GTD convert...interesting problem

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  • New GTD convert...interesting problem

    So I stumbled on to GTD a few months ago and have listened to the book multiple times, read different blog posts about the system and decided to dive in with 100 percent commitment.

    The collection period was a bit took me a little more than 2 days, partly out of fear...yes it seemed like I had that much stuff and I also was very deliberate in going through the inbox to make sure the appropriate actions were taken.

    I am using a paper based system...that is who I am, I am not a iphone, app user...pen and paper have always been my planning tools.

    My problem...I am getting bogged down by next actions and prioritizing the correct items. I find myself checking my lists and getting excited and removing is a real liberating feeling, but I think I am spending too much time on "stuff" and not enough time on work. Anyone else experience this when starting the program.

    Thanks in advance for any follow ups.

  • #2
    I made a post on a similar discussion thread some time ago. I think that it might contain the guidance you seek. Make sure you check out the entire thread, not just my post.


    • #3
      Originally posted by ellobogrande View Post
      I made a post on a similar discussion thread some time ago. I think that it might contain the guidance you seek. Make sure you check out the entire thread, not just my post.
      I'm not the OP, but thanks for pointing to that thread. I'm a teacher home for the summer trying to build some good GTD habits and I'm wriggling through some system re-vamping. I found a few helpful things in that thread. Thanks.


      • #4
        Malisa's right

        I went back and read the thread, and it was time well spent. I've been really resisting fully implementing GTD because my lists are already so long that I want to throw up my hands in despair. It's reassuring to learn that 1) that feeling is part of the process, and 2) it goes away - or at least is no longer constant.

        My S/M list is *enormous*, but it sounds like that's OK, as long as the items that need to get reviewed are reviewed.

        Thanks, all, particularly ellobogrande!



        • #5
          Having experienced something quite similar, a few quick thoughts:

          1) Make sure you're actually doing the 2 minute next actions, rather than adding them to the lists as well.

          2) When you're getting caught up in your list, try this: Look at the list associated with your current context (ie. "@online" if you've got internet access). Start at the top of the list, and as soon as you get to a next action that is physically possible to do right now, do it without thinking about it for another second. Let the momentum of knocking that list carry you to repeat that process until you've knocked down your list considerably.

          3) When your next action lists get too overwhelming, it's time to take a look at things from a higher perspective. Schedule at least a mini weekly review and review all of your projects, to make sure your next actions are clearly defined.

          I often get caught up in my lists when I haven't clearly identified the very next action. It's also easy to get caught up in the mental ping pong and avoid making a decision on which next action to do - in that case, I try out step 2 to get me out of the thinking mode and into the action mode.

          Hope this helps!


          • #6

            I found I had a huge someday/maybe list when I started. more worryingly it blended categories - some were definite long term goals, some were idle wishes, lists of books to read, some work projects at work I couldnt start because we had no money or it was the wrong time of year, some were things I could do right now but I had too much on my plate already. So i got that familiar numb feeling to the whole thing.

            In the end I broke it down a little more. I now have a "Not Yet" category for projects I want to do but just dont have the time or money to do, but will do as soon as possible. I check this most weeks in the review. I have a someday-maybe, which is longer term projects I haven't decided to do but want to decide some other time. I check this every few weeks. I have a list category, where I keep lists of books, places to go, people to meet. And I have a section each for 20 - 50K in my system, where I keep lists and mindmaps of goals and objectives, amongst other things. I check this every month or so.

            I like david allens term (which i think he used about contexts) "have as many as you need and as few as you can get away with". Splitting my SDMB list into the different areas just made the whole thing manageable.


            • #7
              I have the things that I've defined as projects (even if loosely) that I think I'll get to within the next few months in my regular GTD system/software (OmniFocus). There I have the ability to put projects on hold. This means that I can basically turn them on and off with the click of a button if I want to see them or not.

              I have a separate document of my list-type, way-future-type S/M's in another program (OmniOutliner). For me:
              -Visit the San Juan Islands
              -Try The Oinkster in Pasadena (from Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives)
              aren't the same sorts of things as:
              -Fix screen door
              -Plan July trip to Monterey
              -Write Chapter 3 test

              If I KNOW something is a S/M type thing and I'm at my computer, I enter it directly into the OO doc. If I'm anywhere else, it goes into my usual capture methods iPhone or paper, depending on where I am and what I'm doing. It's a little GTD cheating I suppose to organize on capture, but this has worked much better for me at keeping my 'main' system (OF) cleaner.

              Also, when I was on paper and also with using OF I bounce back and forth between whether it's more helpful to have my on-hold projects intermingled with my current projects or in a place of their own. On paper, they had a separate section in my binder (their project support page). I tried that with OF (having a separate folder) but I find it better digitally to keep them in the same folder but show or hide them according to need.

              So I guess I'm saying I've tried a bunch of different things to try to get what works. This is working for me now. But my needs may change in the future. Then I'll change.


              • #8
                Thanks for the links and great responses. It is appreciated and I have added an @home action to read that thread later today when I can focus on it completely.