10+ years in & I still can’t get anything done


someday may be
Wow. I saw you phrase this in this way. What I said in my head was "Someday I may be ready to do this." It sounds more meaningful than <shrug> someday divided by maybe = never.

Thanks for the cool take on multiple connections in your system. It really deepens meaning.


At the time that I found GTD, I Created this belief that it was going to be capable of solving all of my problems. I thought, if I could only just see everything and get it out of my head, maybe I could turn things around. I’ve been trying for ten years.

I understand all the terminology, what goes where, what the components of each are, etc. but I’ve never been able to make it work. I have always thought this is because of the limitations of the tools that are and are not available. In all these years, I’ve never found a tool that can do what I want it to. IQtell was close, though. I’ve tried coding my own tools as well, some decent. Never good enough.

I’m beginning to worry that maybe it’s just not for me. Another issue is that I have OCPD and also OCD compulsions, particularly checking. There is a very strong likelihood that I will never be satisfied with the tools available to me.

Has anyone else struggled after so long? Anyone with any similar mental disabilities that have made adopting and maintaining the practice to be more difficult ? Or know if any magic tool out there that checks all the boxes ?

I’ve tried: Asana, IQtell, nirvana, motion app ( pretty cool ), Notion ( hate it ), Coda ( obsession over the last few years, ruining mg life ), Omnifocus, Evernote, Monday.com, click up, Wrike, todolist… probably forgetting some.

I don’t think I can handle a paper system. Paper is hard for me. The second I make a mistake on it, I will want to throw the entire thing away.
I would stick with IQtell, and just make yourself use it. I was missing appointments for ages and finally just buckled down and used iCal on the iPhone. Not great but that doesn't matter. What matters is to actually use it. I understand the need for perfection. Maybe there's a way you can integrate perfection into an imperfect tool. Also see if you can find an accountability partner. Someone that will help keep you on track. I would make that a priority. Just say up front that it's for a time limit so you don't get trapped in a stale relationship.
I have OCD too but I have fought it assiduously for most of my 60+ years. Still fighting. Winning!!! Today I emptied the trash and after I brought the wastebasket back I saw a piece of trash on the floor. I put it in the wastebasket. I just knew that when I walked out of the room it would bother me. I told myself I would forget about it in short order and I walked out of the room. Well as you see I didn't forget about it, but I did walk out of the room. I used to check my alarm clock about 7 times. I can't say for you but for me it was amenable to change. I just stopped. I had the worst night of sleep for exactly one night. It was agony. The alarm went off the next morning and I was cured, at least of that. Other things like hoarding, invasive thoughts, do not go away as easily, but like I said, I fight and I win small battles. The thing is when you stop doing the OCD things it really hurts sometimes, but it gets easier. In my case I just tell myself that's how it is, live with the (sometimes intense) discomfort and move on.


I would love to hear more specifically from Hurst on why he decided to get rid of all the tools. My personal experience is about 14 years on and off with GTD. I am currently on. I am also someone that has to fight back against their perfectionist tendencies and that has ruined my GTD experience with one app after the next. Also, wanting to try other systems or make my own has been a temptation repeatedly. On a positive note, I keep learning from those experiences and try to put in safeguards into my next gtd implementation. The key for me is simplicity. I hesitate to say we're in the same boat because I use notion and you mentioned that you hated it. This makes me think that maybe we have some major personality differences that might make us need different tools. But I try to use Notion in a manner as close to paper as possible. Every item gets its own page so I always have room for notes. The fact that Notion pages act like both pages and folders at the same time really helps simplify things. I even have found that using a tickler system with 43 folders approach is actually easier than using Notion's built-in calendar functionality. The fact that I can just move a page to the correct day makes it so easy. I have also learned that I need to have projects and actions living on those lists not trying to create my next actions or projects lists dynamically through backlinks or mentions. Again, the key for me is simplicity, which feels counterintuitive but if I approach it from the standpoint of assuming I don't know what's best for me and just seeing what happens, then I realize that many of the power features are helpful in 5% of times but add baggage in the other 95%. Reasons I love Notion is that it has the aesthetic of paper, doesn't force you into any particular setup, has infinite hierarchy for those edge cases where it's needed (i avoid going too many levels deep most of the time), and it's free to use without limitations. These really help me to let the tool really fade into the background, rather than having cool features constantly thrown in my face (although that does still happen some). I'm hoping my current system will stick and that I can offer the perspective of someone who has also struggled MANY times to stick with GTD.


Yes! So glad you said this, I started June 2010 and focussed on an app based system (Pocket Informant), then an Outlook based system, and am now focussing on a OneNote based system. It' not perfect, but I think I'm getting there, I really like with OneNote I can have my next actions within my project plan and use tags to find them.
Part of my issue is my job workload, so now I have decided to categorise my projects by the amount of effort I will commit to them - extra, normal and minimal. Those with minimal effort I try and delegate, postpone etc. I am going to discuss these categories with my boss and make sure they are ok with them too.
Another part is I tend to obsess about getting everything super efficient, and go into a lot of detail to sort out how each part works. It has taken me months to work out a tagging system, more months to work out how to lay out my project plan pages etc. But once each part is working it does seem to help. Now I'm trying to work out the best way to setup my agenda lists...