First of all, sorry for the long post - but I'm desperately looking for advice, and I need to vent a little and explain my situation fully. I tried to format the important bits, hopefully it helps.
I'm currently in the situation where I need to and want to use my time productively. I'm deeply unhappy with my life, especially with my career, and want to/need to make drastic changes in multiple areas. Probably not all at once, I know that - but the problem is that I'm not seeing any form of results or momentum going on, for months and years.
End of last year I quit my miserable job and took on a completely new one that is going to start in a couple of months from now. I lived off of my savings until now (and can continue to do so until the job starts), and did that so I have enough time to focus on my commitments and get my life under control. Problem is, I figured that it's not only the lack of time that keeps me from making progress, but also a lack of clarity. I kept working on ultimately meaningless things and haven't made real steps towards my goals in all those months, which is really depressing.
My question and concern:
I believe GTD and a real productivity system might be able to bring me towards actually making meaningful progress and closing a lot of my commitments and bringing back control into my hands.
My fear, though, is that it's another thing I add to the pile of things I have to do before I start making actual progress towards my goals, and that it overcomplicates things. Multiple people say it takes months and up to two years and longer to get fully functional with GTD. Can I afford to have a complicated system like GTD on my hands while trying to turn my life around, a system I am not comfortable with and probably often times don't know how to handle incoming things that adds extra time every week that I need to use to maintain the system?
My fear is that I won't be able to maintain the "Getting used to GTD"-Project with everything else I am stuck under.
That it's the shovel that's supposed to dig me free, but it just get's layed ontop of the mountain of rubble, adding to the weight.
That I am adapting the system and using in for a few weeks until I get derailed with it and chaos ensues, leaving me again without a functioning system, the guilt that it's not working, the stress that I have to get it to work again, and still the undone work and commitments that I had from before.
I have tried to implement Productivity Systems in the past, never GTD though. I ended up tossing them all aside fully (- even the parts that were still intact and "good" out of frustration or a desire to "reset" -) after a few months of use eventually after something blew up or the scale of my commitments and lists and projects just seemed to explode because of unending "capturing", where I then went on to "simplify" and ignore 90% of my Tasks.
I still have a excel sheet with a task list (sorted by category) around on my computer which I started years ago and used on-off till a few months ago.
Currently there are still over 2.400 unprocessed, uncategorized tasks on that list. I assume that at least 75% of those are either finished and shouldn't be there, super-unimportant and therefore deletable or just plainly not on my horizons/interest anymore.
You see that overcommitment, fear of missing something and perfectionism are deep problems of mine.
Currently, my Plan is to setup and work with Scott H. Young's System of "weekly/daily goals" while slowly adding and learning little aspects of GTD, each after another in isolation, until I eventually have something that looks like GTD, gives me most of the benefits and works for me.
"Weekly/daily goals" looks easy enough to implement without any hassle and might finally allow me to focus on things that actually move me towards actual outcomes and results, which hopefully fuel momentum and motivation, no matter if a lot of things fall through the cracks because of the simplicity of the system - it's not like that hasn't happened for the past few years anyway.
What do you think of that approach?
What would you do in my spot?
Do you believe my fears of adapting GTD and sinking down even deeper are justified?
Any advice, any help, any words of encouragement are all gladly appreciated. I'm really stuck, and I could really use all of those. I'm grateful for everybody that is willing to read through my ramblings.
Thanks in Advance, and dearest of wishes to all of you.
Have given some thought to your plight and believe I 'get it'.
There are many good suggestions in this post that have much merit from going 'bankrupt' to go through each and every task.
The following would be my approach to Categorizing 2,400 Projects/Task to can become operational as soon as possible.
When you express "Categorize," in my GTD system that means "Organize"
When I think GTD Organize, GTD Organize means
my four Areas-of-Focus/Purposes: Intrinsic Divine
, Extrinsic Fiscal
, and Utility/Tools
Thus, to conserve brain energy and avoid decision fatigue, I would divide the 2,400 Projects/Task into those four Areas-of-Focus with Four Inboxes and/or Four Digital Files, Four Bookcases.
For me Health [Health means/is valued as 'Vigor/Vitality' it either is or it isn't for identifying potential Projects]
is the biggest most general Organized category since it would included my own, lets say, Medical Records, Credential/Vital Records [Birth Certificates, Social Security Card, Passport, Degrees, Resume, ect
.], as well as all
Relationships (Protagonists and Antagonists), Leisure, Work (you did express leaving a miserable job), Hobbies, Recreation, Travel, ect
Second might be Utility/Tools
[Utility/Tools means/are valued as 'Frictionless-Reliability,' thus Utility/Tools either are or aren't for identifying potential Projects] since, in my world, that would include all that pertains to House, Appliances, Computer, Garage, Car, etc
With my Four Inboxes and/or Four Digital Files, Four Bookcases. I would then go though the Smallest one First and would now at least be able to only one
"Areas-of-Focus/Purpose" in mind and not concern myself with Horizons since Life events will take care of the Horizons. Further, I would deem EVERYTHING is on the "Someday/Maybe" List until it has a Next Context Action.
If I got stuck on Anything, that in it self would inform met that this 'Item' is a Project and not a Next Action . . . and thus, have my Plain-Copy Paper [Landscape] readily available and Mind-Map from Outcome [Right Upper-Corner], current 'Position' and Next Action(s) [Lowest Left-Corner]. That Project would be Listed as a Project on the particular Area-of-Focus Project List that I would be operating from and the Mind-Map Placed in the Project Support File for that particular Areas-of-Focus/Purpose for the Weekly Review.
Also, to avoid getting stuck, to avoid 'Perfectionism' I think in terms of Accuracy.
Well, Erik, that's what I GTD gut, Organization is my ultimate GTD 'guardrail.' Any/all clarifications are welcomed.
., I have posted quite a bit on my GTD approach that you might or not find worthy reading, up to you, most importantly just carry-on!