How to train myself to "engage" from my system, not my head.

Ben S

Registered
Hi all!

I've been doing my best to learn GTD over the past year or so, and I've noticed consistently that for me, the hardest thing about GTD is actually engaging using my system and not my head.

In general I think I've gotten pretty good about getting everything out of my head, and I'm decent at clarifying, but when it comes time to actually get to work I find that I almost always default to latest and loudest. I work in a fairly high pressure job, and sometimes when the ** hits the fan I wont even check my next actions list until my next weekly review, and then I suddenly realize all of the other things I've been neglecting.

Does anyone have any suggestions about behaviors to help train myself to actually work off of my next actions list?

Thanks,
Ben
 

ivanjay205

Registered
Hi all!

I've been doing my best to learn GTD over the past year or so, and I've noticed consistently that for me, the hardest thing about GTD is actually engaging using my system and not my head.

In general I think I've gotten pretty good about getting everything out of my head, and I'm decent at clarifying, but when it comes time to actually get to work I find that I almost always default to latest and loudest. I work in a fairly high pressure job, and sometimes when the ** hits the fan I wont even check my next actions list until my next weekly review, and then I suddenly realize all of the other things I've been neglecting.

Does anyone have any suggestions about behaviors to help train myself to actually work off of my next actions list?

Thanks,
Ben
What system are you using to implement GTD? I found this too in the past and realized I really needed a better implementation system to keep me focused.
 

Ben S

Registered
What system are you using to implement GTD? I found this too in the past and realized I really needed a better implementation system to keep me focused.
Do you mean what tools do I use?

I have to separate my system into two parts, since my job has strict security policies about keeping work related information on internal servers. For work I use some internally developed document sharing tools, and for my non-work tasks I use todoist. I have one list for projects and other lists for my next actions contexts. I keep my project plans and reference material in OneNote, with my non-work tasks in a onedrive notebook and my work tasks in a onenote hosted on an internal sharepoint server that I connect to via a vpn.
 

2097

Registered
I had the same problem and here is what worked for me, and this is going to sound like it's too obvi to work but I really did have the exact same problem and this really did work:

Teach your head to see "work from the lists" as an important task that needs to be done. While I haven't done it in a long time, putting in a reminder to "work from the lists today" can be great.

I agree with your analysis of the situation, that being driven by latest&loudest w/o checking in with the list first can make you miss "stitches in time that'll save nine".

I also follow a practice where I select something that I want to do that's late&loud—could be an important big rock or could be something fun I wanna do like read a book—and then I go through my lists and look for things that I want to do before. I mean, if there is none, then I can engage with the late&loud item fully focused, which is awesome.

If you have a loooot of NAs you can do this one level up instead: 1. is there a context I need to put myself in before I do the late&loud thing?
 

Oogiem

Registered
Does anyone have any suggestions about behaviors to help train myself to actually work off of my next actions list?
Every time you get a cup of coffee or take a drink of water or come back from using the toilet make a point of reading at least one action list. Every time you finish a task, take a look at the action list for the context you are in. In the morning, first thing at least read your entire set of action lists once through. If you can't read fast enough or the lists are too long to get through in less than 2-3 minutes then figure out how to reduce them.

IOW link checking your lists with some other task you do regularly. What you want is to build a habit of checking those lists regularly. It takes time but it pays off eventually.
 
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