Getting tasks and projects done - my problem.

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Piotr, May 9, 2019.

  1. Piotr

    Piotr Registered

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    Hi,

    I'm using GTD method for about 6 months. I keep all my tasks in Wunderlist, I think they are well organised, do my weekly reviews. But I have problem with getting them all done! What I mean is that I have plenty of tasks (e.g. doing programming course, reading specfic amount of book daily, compliting my mind map, ordering some stuff from online store etc.) and they are all there, in my wunderlist lists but I barely menage to finish any of them. I get back home from my work and even if I manage to sit infrot of my list, I'm so overwhelmed with the amount of taks I'd like to do, that I finish doing nothing or reading my GTD notes. Any ideas, how to push my tasks forward?
     
  2. RS356

    RS356 Registered

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    Piotr,

    Long lists (and overwhelm) are a common side effect of wanting to get a lot accomplished. It might be helpful to move some of your projects over to your Someday/Maybe list, and focus your short-term efforts on those things that will move your larger priorities forward. GTD doesn't stress strict prioritization in the moment-to-moment decision making, but some strategic thinking about your projects may help to shorten your lists and make them more manageable. Don't worry so much about it - we've all been there. I still get overwhelmed and need to defer things - I've been at this for 15 years!
     
  3. Piotr

    Piotr Registered

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    Thank you for your reply. Yes, I understand it and agree with you. But how do you manage to keep going tasks like learning new things if they neither neeed to be done in any specific date, nor are on the top of list of priorities (because there is always something more urgent)? I try to learn programming and speed reading but my progress is miserable and GTD doesn't really seem to help me keep these things going.
     
  4. Geeko

    Geeko GTD since 2017

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    Hi Piotr,

    I know how you feel. First of all you have to get clear about one thing: You will never get all your lists to zero, nobody ever does. As @RS356 says, it might be a good idea to move some stuff to someday/maybe. This could make your head free for the stuff you actually need to do. Maybe you could also have a look at your lists and consider whether your contexts still attract you or if you have to change something there.

    And most important: Try not to get lost in managing your stuff. The main idea of GTD is getting things done and not spending most of your time sorting it into lists.

    Cheers,
    Tristan
     
  5. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    We all have the same amount of time. If there are things you really want to do, then block time just for them. Remember, you decide what you want to do. Then schedule a time for all of those urgent admin tasks. Make the calendar your ally, not your enemy.
     
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  6. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    It sounds like you are having trouble with the number of tasks on your lists, and too many choices. Try shortening your lists. One way is to increase the number of contexts to give a shorter, more focused view. An example would be to break out @email from @computer. However, since you are using Wunderlist, I will ask if you use the star functionality? This can give you a smaller, more focused list for each context. You could pick in the morning a few tasks to work on that evening. This will help you focus your mind on doing rather than on thinking about doing, and help build the habit of doing. If you finish your short list, either go for more, or kick back and bask in a job well done.
     
  7. Piotr

    Piotr Registered

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    First, thank you all for answers. It's nice to find community so willing to help.
    So, my takeaways are:
    • adding blocks in calendar for learning new stuff
    • updating my contexts
    • shortening lists if possible
    I'll try my best and see how it works.
     
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  8. andrew732

    andrew732 Registered

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    This is indeed a very tricky problem in GTD. What can we do about things that are important but not urgent, and which always seem to get ignored when we look over the Next Action list for things to do? I believe that having to constantly grapple with this issue is part of the price we pay for a very agile system/philosophy that does not explicitly prioritize action items.

    One approach stated above is to designate such items as calendared items to ensure they get done, although this is contrary to the GTD philosophy of only using the calendar for things that must be done at a specific time. However, this might work for you. In any case, I really don't have a better idea than another one that was already stated, which is to simply make your projects and lists as short as possible to facilitate intuitive, informal decisions about what actions to prioritize.

    One thing that has helped me to keep my lists short is to remind myself that I only need one next action for each "moving part" of the project, and that it is not necessary to have all the next actions I can think of for every project on the Next Actions list. Another thing that has helped me is to look more deeply at procrastination around these types of important but not urgent items. It is possible that the relative freedom of the GTD system is enabling you to avoid some discomfort around handling these items.
     
  9. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    Actually, it IS okay to schedule an action that is very important and will take 30+ minutes to do on your calendar. This is not against GTD philosophy. Meg Edwards in GTD Connect webinars has repeatedly said this is a valid approach if you have a lot of meetings and need protected time for these important actions.
     
  10. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    Great to hear that GTD works in Szczecin. Move as many Projects and Next Actions as possible to Someday/Maybe. It works in Warsaw. Focus on few goals, accomplish them and then move to next goals. Powodzenia!
     
  11. Cpu_Modern

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    You have to ask yourself why this is a problem. Your why (purpose) is important. You probably now it. Then, the next clarification is the question for the successful outcome. Why is an evening doing "nothing" not better than starting to program? If you move on with the programming course, would this mean you won't do anything else on that evening?

    What I am trying to get to is, that "programming course" is not quite a good project. Better would be something like "establish habit of coding for an hour before dinner" or however else you would describe the success outcome. How would a well-lived work actually look like?

    In the morning, before you go to work, you usually already know if you will have enough energy to code in the evening. Will you use your GTD-system to lie to yourself?

    I don't know what that means, but from the sound of it something like "Hurray, pirates! Gun powder is exploding!"
     
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  12. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    "Powodzenia!" = "Good luck!" :cool:
     

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