Capturing it all, no time to act

spiritualclarity

GTD|Connect
Hello all,
I'm still pretty new to taking GTD seriously. 3 Failed attempts over the past 10 years.

I'm farther than ever before and would love your suggestions on my current challenge.

Time.

I have 7.5 hours a day that are not committed to my family and the rest of life.
5 Hours are for my job
30 minutes to eat or nap.
Leaves 2 hours a day for my self employed work.

Often 1 hour is a client call or other networking call, or class that I lead.

That leaves me with 1 hour, sometimes 90 minutes, to do all other "Actions".

The past month as i've been implementing GTD that has gone mostly to managing my inbox. I no longer have time for walks, payer or my spiritual life.

I don't believe this is the point of GTD.

Now its 9:30 on a Friday night. My Kid is in bed, and i'm sitting here trying to figure out how the heck to clarify my inbox items.

So do I:
1. Spend an hour or two each night after kids in bed to capture, clarify and prioritize for the next day?
2. Try to get faster at Clarifying so I could maybe do that in the day and still have an hour of action time?
3. NOT capture all my items, and just try to focus on what I consider my priorities
4. Do a radical overhaul and put almost everything into Someday maybe. Which would include major and important projects/area's of focus for my business like "Create content to promote my program"

5. Open to thoughts/suggestions.

Thanks for any help!
Wil
 

manynothings

Registered
Comments on potential approaches:

1: If you find it too busy, you do not have to capture (I'm assuming you mean something like a mind sweep) / clarify / organize every night. You can do them every two days, or even every week before you weekly review. Heck, you could even do it during your work, when you have some inactive periods of time between fixed events, or when you're just not feeling right for work.

2: I would recommend this.

3: I would not recommend this. GTD requires you to capture everything, to make sure your mind is clear of any agreements you've made with yourself. One useful tip that might help is to capture things as they appear, so you do not have to spend dedicated time in the evening for capturing.

4: I think a better way to word this suggestion is to evaluate every single current project. If you find your time is getting squeezed too much, you can look at Area's of Focus and evaluate whether the project is truly necessary for your priorities, and then move to Someday Maybe.
 

Gardener

Registered
So do I:
1. Spend an hour or two each night after kids in bed to capture, clarify and prioritize for the next day?
I'm wondering how much time you're spending clarifying and prioritizing Inbox items that you don't end up doing shortly (within a week or two) of entering them in the Inbox. If I'm not extremely likely to do something quite soon, I put it into one of several categorized Someday/Maybe lists. The item consumes perhaps thirty seconds--ten seconds to type it into my Inbox, and ten seconds, later, to choose which list to drag it to. (OK, that's twenty seconds.)

If I were staring at "Create content to promote my program" I might create (or already have) a Someday/Maybe list that I might title, "Important Projects to consider--PICK ONE!" And then as part of my weekly (or monthly?) review I might have a task, "Consider choosing/changing important project." I would habitually have ONE of those important-but-not-urgent projects that I'm nibbling away at, and that once a month action would be to decide if it's the best one for now, or to register the fact that I finished it and I'm ready to pick a new one.

However, if I did pick up, "Create content to promote my program" I would shrink it when I created an active project. Like, I'd leave "Create content to promote my program" in Someday/Maybe and create a new project, "Write blog post" or "Find guest blogging opportunity" or "Investigate needed resources for creating Youtube channel," or "Research content platforms (blog? Youtube? Instagram?) with the intent of picking one," or...something. Something not huge.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Hello all,
I'm still pretty new to taking GTD seriously. 3 Failed attempts over the past 10 years.

I'm farther than ever before and would love your suggestions on my current challenge.

Time.

I have 7.5 hours a day that are not committed to my family and the rest of life.
5 Hours are for my job
30 minutes to eat or nap.
Leaves 2 hours a day for my self employed work.

Often 1 hour is a client call or other networking call, or class that I lead.

That leaves me with 1 hour, sometimes 90 minutes, to do all other "Actions".

The past month as i've been implementing GTD that has gone mostly to managing my inbox. I no longer have time for walks, payer or my spiritual life.

I don't believe this is the point of GTD.

Now its 9:30 on a Friday night. My Kid is in bed, and i'm sitting here trying to figure out how the heck to clarify my inbox items.

So do I:
1. Spend an hour or two each night after kids in bed to capture, clarify and prioritize for the next day?
2. Try to get faster at Clarifying so I could maybe do that in the day and still have an hour of action time?
3. NOT capture all my items, and just try to focus on what I consider my priorities
4. Do a radical overhaul and put almost everything into Someday maybe. Which would include major and important projects/area's of focus for my business like "Create content to promote my program"

5. Open to thoughts/suggestions.

Thanks for any help!
Wil

What did you do with all the stuff that comes before implementing GTD? Chances are that, one way or another, you came to grips with those inputs. Perhaps you said to yourself “I really want to do this if there’s time” but there was never time.

There’s nothing wrong with front end triage so you collect less. GTD sees projects and next actions as agreements you make with yourself. When you don’t have extra time and energy, you make fewer agreements and put some of them off to someday/maybe. None of this has to be agonized over- it’s your choice. Walks and prayer may well be something you can’t neglect, at the expense of something else. GTD brings focus to the process of deciding consciously what you will or won’t do. One other thing: GTD does not emphasize priority so much as a front-end do/not do decision. Of course sometimes your life teaches you what you can do and what you can’t.
 

GTDengineer

Registered
It seems you are trying to squeeze your self employed work into 2 hrs each day and it doesn’t fit. If you cannot increase the time, you’ll have to change the scope of that work (i.e. reduce commitments) or delegate enough actions to fit the available time.

Regarding your priorities, if it’s not a priority then it doesn’t belong on your actions list. Keep these topics on someday/maybe until they are priorities, or if that future state is unlikely place them the trash.
 

ivanjay205

Registered
I am not sure I understand the 7 1/2 hours state. I have seen quite a few people try to implement GTD for a portion of their life and I think all of them fail honestly. It is a personal and work system because it has nothing to do with the content. It is a philosophy and a way of thinking.

There are 24 hours in the day, for everyone.... Lets say you sleep 8 hours of them... That leaves 16 hours.

Work the system into that. Establish your higher horizons, evaluate what is taking up ALL of your time. And evaluate your priorities. You will find you might be able to shift that 7 1/2 hour thinking.....

For me personally I wake up at 6:00 in the morning and I make a cup of coffee. While enjoying the coffee I review my inbox and clarify from the day prior, clean out any overnight email in my work and personal accounts, review my calendar for the day, and review any high focus (urgent) tasks to do. I also review my waiting list.

Once that is done I can focus on work where I theme each day.

Before leaving work and transition to personal life I clear out my email inboxes, my physical inbox (clarify), review my personal calendar for the evening, review my work calendar for tomorrow to ensure I am prepared for the next day, review a few other things I need to and leave for home. Once home I review my personal to do and see what I want to accomplish there.

Sometimes it is watch a tv show, sometimes it is do my personal banking. It can be recreation, work, or anything else in between.

Dont look at it only as a work management system and I think you will have more success.
 

schmeggahead

Registered
I no longer have time for walks, payer or my spiritual life.
These seem to be valuable to you and ongoing. Are they represented in your GTD system in some way? Anything like this that is being neglected can be turned into a project to bring back on track with where you want it to be.

Many people find that these activities can create a clear head so you have focus when you do other activities.

Now its 9:30 on a Friday night. My Kid is in bed, and i'm sitting here trying to figure out how the heck to clarify my inbox items.

I find that I have to interact with my inbox throughout the day just to do my work. I give myself a few seconds to decide if it is actionable and throw it into an @ActOn folder. If it is just reading, it goes into an @Reading folder.

When I am scanning for that email response I'm looking for to get my current task going, I allow myself to do the quick move of either @ActtOn or @Reading items.

Also, when I do major task switching, such as going from one project to another, I'll process one item from the @ActOn into my system to help clear my head for the next task/project.

1. Spend an hour or two each night after kids in bed to capture, clarify and prioritize for the next day?

My strategy when my @ActOn gets carryover from day to day, I do a scan - do I really need to clarify this week?, the rest goes into a backlog folder that I scan during weekly review.

I wonder how much value prioritizing work would give me. I visualize a successful day tomorrow. I see myself making good choices, efficiently handling incoming vectors, etc.

As to 2 - absolutely yes

As to 3 - absolutely no - but capturing doesn't mean you have to do it.

4. Do a radical overhaul and put almost everything into Someday maybe. Which would include major and important projects/area's of focus for my business like "Create content to promote my program"

This has the seed of a solution that I like to use:
Go through my current project list and pick 2-3 projects to move to an incubating project list.
Repeat as necessary until you have the extreme focus and time for those activities that you miss.

As projects are completed, I have ready made replacements.

GTD isn't about perfection, It's about doing just enough to get it off of your mind so you can focus on what you are working on now and you deal with things as they show up before they blow up.

Clayton

Perfection is not perfect actions
In a perfect world
But appropriate action
In an imperfect world.

R. H. Blyth - "Perfection"
 

dtj

Registered
If you've got a bunch of random stuff piled up, make an appointment with yourself to get it done. If you consider an investment in your future to be valuable, treat it as such. It's like Peter whats-his-face talking about organization, if it one of your possessions is truly important to you, it should be in a commensurately place, not tucked into the pages of some random book. Block off time to do all the steps, like once, as a tangible investment in your future self. Think of it as mental cleaning, the basis of GTD. A cleaned room is easier to keep clean, rather than a cluttered one.
 

James M

Registered
There's much that is really helpful here.

Two quick things that I realised that meant GTD became less stressful for me:
  1. You capture to get things out of your head. As David Allen says, work out what has your attention, and capture it. When you capture you don't commit to do it, you stop yourself from trying to keep that thing in your head. Sometimes it's called a "brain dump" for that reason.
  2. Use the clarify stage together with the 2 minute rule. I think the clarify stage requires the most thinking. A phrase that's helped me here is, "What am I actually committed to doing about this thought/word/document etc.?" I physically or metaphorically throw a way a fair amount at the clarify stage (often my worries from the middle of the night!). A fair amount I save for later, or add to my someday/maybe list.
You'll feel better by investing the time you have to organise _something_. David Allen says, "If in doubt, tidy a drawer". You'll feel immediately better.
 

ivanjay205

Registered
There's much that is really helpful here.

Two quick things that I realised that meant GTD became less stressful for me:
  1. You capture to get things out of your head. As David Allen says, work out what has your attention, and capture it. When you capture you don't commit to do it, you stop yourself from trying to keep that thing in your head. Sometimes it's called a "brain dump" for that reason.
  2. Use the clarify stage together with the 2 minute rule. I think the clarify stage requires the most thinking. A phrase that's helped me here is, "What am I actually committed to doing about this thought/word/document etc.?" I physically or metaphorically throw a way a fair amount at the clarify stage (often my worries from the middle of the night!). A fair amount I save for later, or add to my someday/maybe list.
You'll feel better by investing the time you have to organise _something_. David Allen says, "If in doubt, tidy a drawer". You'll feel immediately better.
100% correct on capturing is the most important and clarify is the most thought. If I dont have the proper energy to clarify the Right Way I scan my inbox to ensure nothing urgent. If nothing urgent I just stop and wait for my next clarify time. Otherwise my lazy clarify costs me in the long run.
 

gtdstudente

Registered
Hello all,
I'm still pretty new to taking GTD seriously. 3 Failed attempts over the past 10 years.

I'm farther than ever before and would love your suggestions on my current challenge.

Time.

I have 7.5 hours a day that are not committed to my family and the rest of life.
5 Hours are for my job
30 minutes to eat or nap.
Leaves 2 hours a day for my self employed work.

Often 1 hour is a client call or other networking call, or class that I lead.

That leaves me with 1 hour, sometimes 90 minutes, to do all other "Actions".

The past month as i've been implementing GTD that has gone mostly to managing my inbox. I no longer have time for walks, payer or my spiritual life.

I don't believe this is the point of GTD.

Now its 9:30 on a Friday night. My Kid is in bed, and i'm sitting here trying to figure out how the heck to clarify my inbox items.

So do I:
1. Spend an hour or two each night after kids in bed to capture, clarify and prioritize for the next day?
2. Try to get faster at Clarifying so I could maybe do that in the day and still have an hour of action time?
3. NOT capture all my items, and just try to focus on what I consider my priorities
4. Do a radical overhaul and put almost everything into Someday maybe. Which would include major and important projects/area's of focus for my business like "Create content to promote my program"

5. Open to thoughts/suggestions.

Thanks for any help!
Wil
On this end, when in doubt, Empty Something . . . Anything . . . Emptying is Always a Win . . . Emptying Always Advances Everything Else!
 

John Forrister

GTD Connect
Staff member
Time.....

Thanks for any help!
Wil
GTD has a way of altering our perception of time, and how long things take. At first the capture step seems endless, because we're not used to getting things off our mind. Then the time to clarify and organize seems like it will absorb all of our "doing" time. Then we build the mental muscles to clarify. Is it really actionable? Then we learn how to organize with more granularity so that our project names and outcomes are well defined to be kind to our future selves. Less time required to think about our lists, and more time freed up for doing what we choose, whether or not it's on a list.
 

FocusGuy

Registered
@spiritualclarity About this, here is what I learned from life.
I would suggest to take time for examining yours commitments. Being occupied doesn't mean being efficient. We all do to much stuff which has no real impact. I took from the bullet journal 3 questions I use for each task : Is it vital ? Does it matter to me or someone I love ? What would happen if I never do it ? I also suggest taking altitude. Examin you horizons H2, H3, H4, H5 reformulate them if necessary. I do meeting with my self for this and it guides me on a daily basis. Fix intention, purpose and strategy where do you want to go? Why and how to make it ?
At last make a real daily review eliminate what must be, focus on what matter, avoid what is not.
Time is the core point. Nothing matters more than that (except healph of course). Use it carefully and accept to say no and delegate as possible.
 
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One of the byproducts of GTD is being able to discern what is essential and when you just have to say no to someone or to yourself. When I read your post, my first thought was that you may be trying to do too much: a job, a side-gig, a family, nurturing your spiritual life, your health, learning and development, me-time …. It is all part of the GTD journey. Lots of great advice in these responses for you.

A book that brought serious perspective to this issue for me is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.

Peter
 

Stefan Godo

GTD Connect
Hello all,
I'm still pretty new to taking GTD seriously. 3 Failed attempts over the past 10 years.

I'm farther than ever before and would love your suggestions on my current challenge.

Time.

I have 7.5 hours a day that are not committed to my family and the rest of life.
5 Hours are for my job
30 minutes to eat or nap.
Leaves 2 hours a day for my self employed work.

Often 1 hour is a client call or other networking call, or class that I lead.

That leaves me with 1 hour, sometimes 90 minutes, to do all other "Actions".

The past month as i've been implementing GTD that has gone mostly to managing my inbox. I no longer have time for walks, payer or my spiritual life.

I don't believe this is the point of GTD.

Now its 9:30 on a Friday night. My Kid is in bed, and i'm sitting here trying to figure out how the heck to clarify my inbox items.

So do I:
1. Spend an hour or two each night after kids in bed to capture, clarify and prioritize for the next day?
2. Try to get faster at Clarifying so I could maybe do that in the day and still have an hour of action time?
3. NOT capture all my items, and just try to focus on what I consider my priorities
4. Do a radical overhaul and put almost everything into Someday maybe. Which would include major and important projects/area's of focus for my business like "Create content to promote my program"

5. Open to thoughts/suggestions.

Thanks for any help!
Wil
GTD is not something on top of your 7,5 hs, it is HOW you manage your full waking time.
You will get input all the time, so you have to have the tools and habits to capture them (actively of passively) not only during 7,5 hs.
Yes, you need some time for deciding what to do with the captured stuff - but you did it even until now (eventually not efficiently enough).
You probably did use some sort of reminder system (calendar, action lists, etc). Simply streamline that it matches your contexts.
Well, and GTD at last shows you a true inventory of your actual commitments - which you might like (or not, depending on what you will see).

So make a true inventory.
 

ivanjay205

Registered
Just to reiterate I also use it find balance in my life (personally and professionally). For example right now I can see that in several of my areas of focus I have an overflow in one area and not a lot of work in the other areas.

So what do I do? In the overflow area of focus any incoming work is highly scrutinized and most of it no or goes to someday/maybe and manage expectations of others. For everything else I am pulling from my someday / maybe to bring some new work into my world.

It is a great way to balance and manage your own and others expectations effectively
 
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