Would you mind explaining that effort, just a little more? I know you may feel that you already told us, but maybe if you described a day or a week's worth of your maintenance effort for your system, we could suggest ways to make it easier, or at least ask questions that would help you see ways to make it easier.The system is kinda helpful, but 1. it takes me a very high level of effort to keep it helpful
Nope. You can't have perfection. You had a specific date for an event, but the date moved. Maybe in an ideal world you would have looked up one day and said, "Wait. Graduation moved. Let's do a really fast skim of my ticklers to see if they're relevant to graduation." But...no. It's not like you failed to show up for gradutation, right? Nothing huge went wrong. One nice thought went astray. So be it.like should I have been reviewing my tickler file and not trusting all those dates I set in case something has changed? it's little leaks like this that really bother me even though maybe it's 1 in 20 things).
So there IS a reason to have a trusted system. It felt like maybe you were trying to persuade yourself that there isn't.And frequently I choose to act on the idea when really I don't have time and I'm letting something else slip. It's not ideal but it matters more to me to capture that flow sometimes than to take care of other responsibilities. I think that's one of the basic problems I'm trying to solve: if I trusted myself or my system to really capture the idea I could jot it down and finish what I really need to finish and then come back to it later.
Is it possible that you're making too big a task of writing down your ideas? For example, if your taxes are due tomorrow and you have a brilliant idea for a song, how much time do you spend recording that idea before you go back to the taxes?
Speaking of taxes being due: If you want to have a life where you can, as often as humanly possible, have the freedom to chase an idea when it comes, then it's worthwhile to get your non-negotiable commitments done early so that there are fewer things that can stop you from chasing those ideas. You might want to actually make a project of that--taxes done early, car maintenance done early, frozen meals in the fridge.
Maybe there are elements of your life that you'll just eliminate, because they produce too many non-negotiable commitments. For example, I don't expect to grow annual flowers in the vegetable garden again for...possibly ever, because they demand too much attention. To fulfill my craving for flowers, I'm putting in perennials that need very little attention, and won't fall over dead if they have to wait a month or more for the little attention they do need.
We've discussed splitting lists off of Someday/Maybe. You can also combine lists. My "books" lists has evolved to actually being a list of books, movies, television, podcasts, websites--it's basically a "media" list. Maybe that would help?The watch list is like that, I might have 1-2 things I think to watch a month so the list is just really small even if I put them on there always."
Is it worthwhile to check it ten times? Maybe you could have a phone alarm to remind you to check it twice a week?Agendas are similar or errands. The lists just usually don't have anything on them. Not because I don't add things (when I'm really using my system), but just cause I really don't have things. I'm not quite sure how to force my brain to see the value in checking an empty list 10 times to get a list with an item on it once you know? But then maybe that's perfectionism trying not to waste that 30 seconds and I should just "FORCE" myself to do it. Hmm....
I think that Oogiem's life involves more projects, and more tasks that will have serious consequences if they're delayed, than average--or at lease more than you or me. I don't think that she's saying that because she does that, you have to do it.Well Oogiem had mentioned doing a scan anytime they get up to go to the bathroom or get coffee or water and anytime they finished a task.
If you're in the midst of a task, I see zero reason to scan your lists for another task just because you're taking a personal-needs pause. Things that have time-related consequences--"pick up prescription before 5", "pick up Jane at airport", "put turkey in oven" could be set to interrupt you with an alarm. For things that don't, you could trust that you'll scan your current lists sometime in the next 24 hours.
If interrupt-and-check is the thing that trips you up, maybe design the rest of the system to minimize that--make that a high priority for your system, even if it's not a high priority for other people.If I don't pull it out to check it, it just becomes meaningless and I stop trusting it
You could, for example, decide that half an hour every morning is the only time that you will sit down with your lists. In that half hour, maybe you choose your planned tasks for the day, check your calendar for ticklers, and set alarms so that you don't have to remember to check for time-sensitive events.
Yeah, I don't have the brain you describe.because it seems like people just have these brains
I think you do have to choose a compromise. Also, you don't have to schedule a meeting--you could pick up the phone. If you can persuade yourself to maintain the agenda list--and you could have ONE Agenda list where all your agenda items for everybody are--then you might find a way to use it.Gotcha. A lot of my use of agendas is: I know I'm going to see that person in the next week and I want to mention this when I do, rather than the overhead of setting an entire meeting. I guess maybe once again this is because of perfectionism trying to not to add extra time or overhead to my life (like scheduling an entire meeting for a 5 minute conversation).
Have you considered blocking off time to focus on the prosaic, non-creative-flow things? When you're in creative flow and have thoughts for those more prosaic tasks, put them in a single Inbox list.1. On top of my GTD system and all the little things in my life but not inspired, not really focusing on the big things that matter 2. Creative flow doing the big things, but letting all kinds of other stuff slip and feeling bad.
When you're in a prosaic-task block and have a creative idea, you scribble that down. Yes, sometimes you will lose the mood and context. That's an unavoidable imperfection.
(I'm reminded of a talk by Elizabeth Gilbert. On this link, search for the phrase "Excuse me, can you not see that I'm driving?")
And one of your prosaic tasks is to organize those Inbox items into the right lists. I'm not sure if you're assuming that when you think, "Ask Jane to return that book" you have to take the trouble to find the "Jane" agenda list. I don't do that. I put all thoughts in a single Inbox and organize it later.