Problems with Getting Things Done

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by PTKen, Jul 3, 2017.

  1. PTKen

    PTKen Registered

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    I have just posted a new article on Medium about some of the difficulties I have encountered while trying to implement Getting Things Done. It's an honest exploration of the challenges GTD presents to us. You can find it here: https://tinyurl.com/uzdnfl8
     
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  2. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    @PTKen: You wrote a nice article. I think we all experience to some degree what you described. It is difficult to maintain a thriving GTD system -- no doubt about it. But I do sincerely believe it is worth the "extra" work. I think you would benefit with 1:1 interaction with a GTD coach and/or GTD Buddy. The weekly and daily reviews are important to gain your footing as your ship rocks i the turbulent seas of life. One thing about the weekly review I have found is to find a "special" place to do it. I leave work and go to a coffee shop. Just a change in environment can be quite helpful. As for skipping a week -- I think we all have experienced that. I do not schedule a specific time block anymore -- I know when it is time for me to do a review based on how I am feeling. Once anxiety about my workload starts to creep in, I know it is time for a "timeout". I need to step back and look at everything.

    One more thing -- one has to be careful to NOT spend so much time fiddling with contexts and tweaks. I have found that it is best to make your system as simple as possible. The key -- and holy grail in all of this -- is that you do not think and work on your system, but use your trusted system so you can focus on your work!

    So...stick with it. As for a good GTD-based system, take a look at Nirvanahq or GTDNext. Both are outstanding and were designed as GTD web apps.

    Best wishes!
     
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  3. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    Based on my own direct experience and those shared by others in this and similar forums, I think the biggest challenge to implementing GTD is that it flies in the face of the traditional "time management" principles most of us are taught. In a lot of cases it is our preconceived notions that get in the way of adopting GTD rather than any inherent flaws in the methodology. It sounds like that's what you're facing.

    The difficulty in challenging in our assumptions is that we often don't recognize them or even give them any thought. I used to weigh 300 pounds and I couldn't run an eighth of a mile if a bear was chasing me. For the longest time I accepted that this would be my lot in life, something beyond my ability to change. Today I'm at 215 lbs and last Sunday I ran eight miles in preparation for a half marathon later this year. The hardest part of achieving this wasn't the work involved, it was changing the underlying assumptions I held that prevented me from doing the work. I think GTD is similar. It's hard work, but the hardest part is changing the assumptions that get in the way of doing the work.

    I doubt that the "crowdsourced" solution you're hoping for will help you very much. While you're certainly not alone in experiencing the challenges you've described, there is no universal solution for them. You have to find what's right for you.

    I think @Longstreet offers very sound advice. I'll add a couple things. First, if engaging a GTD coach or joining GTD Connect is outside of your budget (as they are for me) and you can't find or aren't interested in a GTD buddy, just participating in these forums can help. In the last two months forum members have helped me clear away two big roadblocks with my GTD practice.

    Second, there is no software that can make GTD easy or make your practice successful. Moreover, you don't need any particular software feature to be successful. You can successfully practice GTD on paper if you want to. I use software called Evernote that isn't designed for GTD and isn't even a traditional list manager but it works very well for me. I'm not trying to sell you on Evernote, but to help you challenge the assumption that "GTD requires a specific kind of software." The only things GTD really requires are an open mind and diligence, and those are things that come from within.

    Finally, I agree that GTD requires an investment of time. But there is a cost to managing things in your head that often goes unaccounted for by most people because they don't think there's another way to do things. I started trying to practice GTD in 2007 but only really got serious about it three years ago. Every time I wonder whether GTD is worth it I remember how inefficient it was to have to repeatedly sift through emails in my inbox trying to remember what's actionable and what's not, or the time I would spend dealing with stuff that had blown up that would've been quicker to deal with at the time it had shown up, or dealing with crises arising because something had unnecessarily fallen through the cracks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017
  4. PTKen

    PTKen Registered

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    @Longstreet @bcmyers2112 Thank you both for your insightful comments. I truly appreciate you taking the time to offer assistance. I agree with most of what both of you said. One subtle hint that you may not have picked up on in my article — I first discovered GTD in 2007 and I was describing the difficulties I had in implementing in during the first four years. I have come a long way since then.

    I just posted my follow-up article describing the next four years and the new problems I faced. (That's eight out of ten...) The conclusion to my story will follow soon!

    Nevertheless, I am seeking input from others about the difficulties that they faced not to look for a crowd-sourced solution to my problems but to try and understand some of the underlying issues that people face with GTD. I believe that no matter what stage you are in with GTD, there is always something more you can learn. That's what I'm hoping to do!

    http://bit.ly/2tNVCLe

    Thank you again for your advice.
    Ken
     
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  5. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    Hi Ken,

    Another nice article. What struck me the most was the description of a disconnect between the upper horizons and your daily work. I really suggest you try a subscription to GTD Connect. Keely & Meg have some wonderful webinars there on dealing with the upper horizons. They are exceedingly helpful in how to connect your actions and projects to your areas of focus, goals, etc.

    Hang in there and please let me know if I can be of help to you. Best wishes!
     
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  6. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    LOL....I meant Kelly and Meg, not Keely.
     
  7. Ravine61

    Ravine61 GTD'R 4 Life

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    Hi Ken;

    Thank you for your thought provoking articles. I'd like to add my "two cents' to the comments that LongStreet and bcmyers have already shared:

    * You are correct...I initially did not find GTD to be "easy" or intuitive...however as I slowly but surely worked the process, I discovered that it was not easy or intuitive, because it was quite simply forcing me to break so many awful organizational habits.
    a. My old way of "staying organized" (which I was not) was to simply just create "to do lists".
    b. Transitioning from "to do lists" to a GTD methodology takes time and is indeed a process, because GTD essentially builds out "layers" of "to do"s", based upon What needs to be done, When it needs to be done and Where it needs to be done.

    * I "blamed" the GTD process several times over the past 5 years for being too complex, timely, or difficult...when in reality it was ME who was to blame...I was quite simply being lethargic and apathetic to working the GTD system, which then made it very easy to slip back into very bad and old organizational habits...I now challenge friends and colleagues whom have slide off the GTD wagon to ask themselves...is it the system or is it YOU?
    a. GTD requires discipline and routine....it's very easy to buck it and not want to work the system when we want to be non disciplined and "routine"

    * I was probably the very worst GTD student that there ever was...I initially put it into place 5 years ago, and then very sporadically and partially utilized it.
    a. Once I began to dig into it, by applying the necessary discipline and routineness that it deserves...my work and personal life got very very easy...and very very manageable...
    b. and wow...all of a sudden, so did GTD! (Read "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg...Once I figured out that GTD had it's own set of rewards, based upon my new "cues" and habits, it was a very easy process to stick too!)

    Life is so complex....and so very "non-routine"...I have found GTD to be the absolute best platform and process to help me make my life more manageable, less complex and...oh so enjoyable.

    Ken, I hope you to continue to seek feedback from those of us who have walked the path that you describe, but found some ways to stay on the journey with the GTD platform. Thank you for a thought-provoking post and an opportunity for me to share and re-affirm with myself why I use GTD!
     
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  8. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    I understand your intention with the survey, but what helped other people may not necessarily be right for you. I would suggest you seek help specific to you.

    I'll give you an example of how I did that for myself recently. I realized I was avoiding my weekly reviews because they were taking too long. I timed how long each portion was taking and identified the sticking point for me. I posted about it here and sought advice specific to my situation, which I received. It helped greatly because it was tailored to my situation. Had I simply surveyed everyone about their GTD challenges I think I'd have had far less of a chance of uncovering my particular problem and the solution needed.

    Those are my two cents, for what they're worth.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
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  9. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    Oh, I think I could give you a real run for your money for that title.
     
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  10. PTKen

    PTKen Registered

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    Thank you again for your comments and encouragement. Also, thank you @Ravine61 for the detailed and honest description of your experience. I assure you I am not giving up. I love GTD!

    @bcmyers2112 I was wondering if you could point me to the post you mentioned above about doing your weekly reviews. The weekly review, as important as it is, is one of the hardest things to stick with because it's simply so time-consuming. I'd love to see that conversation.

    Thanks again!
     
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  11. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    Here's the link to the thread:
    http://forum.gettingthingsdone.com/...mindsweep-portion-of-the-weekly-review.13343/

    But at the risk of sounding like a broken record, my challenges may not be the same as yours and the advice I received therefore might not be helpful to you. My suggestion to you is that as you encounter issues with your GTD practice write them down and then post about them in these forums. The advice you'll get will be much more relevant to you.
     
  12. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    Let me know if I can help. I love GTD too!
     

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