Input on the October 3rd webinar

sstrisik

Registered
Hello fellow GTD Connect members: I'm looking forward to presenting the upcoming webinar, The Next Action: Lion, Tiger, or Bear? I'm going to talk about how to manage (and even transform) the constraints that get in the way of your productivity and flow over the course of the day.

In preparation for the webinar, which is for GTD Connect folks, in particular, I'd like to know in advance the kinds of projects and next actions that confound you and get in the way of your flow.

The elegance of GTD is a system that provides for the management of our commitments, either to make them, to renegotiate them, or not to make them at all. What are the projects or next actions you're committed to, but that you can't be relaxed around? The ones that take up too much space in your head, even though you've got it written down? Maybe it's one that you dread doing and have a hard time relating to or breaking into a do-able next action? Really appreciate your feedback.
 
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PeterByrom

Registered
The one's that trouble me most are the relational projects, such as "resolve dispute with..." or "find way to stand up to..."
Then secondly I would put projects where you can't control the outcome that you really want, so you have to figure out how to phrase the project to settle for something lesser. e.g. instead of "get compensation for fraud", settling for something like, "explore all opportunities to get compensation for fraud".
Thirdly, I get intimidated by the prospect of turning a project into a goal!

As for next actions, I get stuck the most with next actions that involve sitting at a computer with a piece of software open, because they can sometimes become vague, such as, "resume working on spreadsheet design". Physically, that's what I'm doing, but something's still missing... do I just sit in front of Excel and see where my mind goes, or should I be more granular, such as figuring out the next physical thing to type or what to try with a specific part of the spreadsheet?
 
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sstrisik

Registered
You nailed some real gems Peter. And your types: the relational aspects; projects in which you want to level-up to a goal; and (my favorite) the flattening feel of a task or next action that is missing its vitality. Very helpful. I think you've captured nicely that loss of deliciousness or liveliness that makes a task so difficult. Thank you. Really appreciate it.
 
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Oogiem

Registered
I'd like to know in advance the kinds of projects and next actions that confound you and get in the way of your flow.
The projects that get stuck for me are the ones that are more personal, that I consider important but seem to get overwhelmed by work as it appears or higher priority projects and so leave me with a nagging sense of dissatisfaction as I review them each week. Things like the project to weave some 8 harness twill fabric to make both a new knitting bag and a fitted jacket. I really want to do that but there hasn't been time for such detailed, focused personal tasks for over a year. Other projects that are difficult are those where I want to move forward, however small the steps we take, but my husband is less than enthusiastic and all or nearly all the next actions require both of us. Negotiating those differences is hard.

On actions the ones that I dread are the basic housekeeping ones. They may not individually take much time but in the aggregate they drain hours each week and days each month. Things like having to log on to each and every investment and bank account and manually download transactions and statements and file them on my computer properly. I've tried to automate that and to automate the filing of the statements but the formats change so automatic filing breaks down about once a quarter and has to be rewritten. You can't automate the web browsing part at all. No available Mac software package can handle the number and variety of different accounts for download of the transactions. I've tried everything. I can get it all working and it holds for a month or 2, best case 5-6 months, then something changes. The system stops working, usually catastrophically, requiring a day or 2 of detailed work to clean up the mess with incorrect transactions as I don't often figure it out until I've done the automatic procedure at least twice. If I do it manually it's a 4+hour project each month. Hours I'd rather spend on almost any other project! I can't seem to develop a system that stays working for more than half a year and the time it takes to fix it is more than I wish to spend on the task and is mind numbing to boot. As to SW I've tried everything out there and could probably write a book on the shortcomings of all the commercially available and open source investment, budget, tax and money tracking software for the Mac!
 

sstrisik

Registered
So insightful. Thank you Oogie. You went right to the hard part in a project: negotiating differences. Whether it's negotiating differences in values and needs within yourself or with another person, like a spouse, being stalled is tough.

And I appreciate how you captured the sense of waste--of wasting time and resources--when next actions and activities become hostages of poorly functioning systems.

Perhaps, the stuck-ness described by Peter and the dread you mentioned puts us in a place of now what? What's the purpose of this? Victor Frankl described the importance of meaning to our lives in his book Man's Search for Meaning. And I think it's especially relevant today https://www.amazon.com/Mans-Search-Meaning-Viktor-Frankl/dp/0807014273/ref=sr_1_1?crid=24100F04Q8PDE&keywords=victor+frankl+man's+search+for+meaning&qid=1569699738&s=books&sprefix=Victor+,aps,267&sr=1-1.

I believe the apparent stuckness of internal or interpersonal differences and the senselessness of wasted time is key for many of us, and I appreciate you bringing it here. Hoping to hear from you during and after the webinar.
 

ML1

Registered
At the project level, I have difficulty with the outcomes that are stated as out-of-my-control. There are a few projects, stated in within-my-complete-control perspective, but I've noticed there can be a sense of possible loss of purpose and the fear of completing that project without realizing it's no longer relevant or that there is the possibility of a better approach given my resources and time available.

At the action level, my issue is when facing actions that could go on forever. There is no criteria as to when to stop doing it or when it will completed. These usually have a creative-nature; they are not concrete enough to determine when enough is enough, such as writing and sometimes planning.
 

sstrisik

Registered
Hello ML1! Your description of projects that have an element of out-of-my-control is noteworthy, and I'm going to reach in a little further to your mention of possible loss of purpose and of relevance. You are really pointing in an elegant way to what's at stake: the possibility for actions to lose congruence with purpose and meaning. I think what makes GTD Connect such an important community is our shared affection for this system for living with clarity and order; we're awake and notice when our actions aren't congruent with purpose. That's my intention in the webinar: to re-establish congruence between the outer world of next actions and the inner world of meaning. I am so interested in hearing later whether the webinar was helpful in doing that. Thanks so much for checking in here and sharing.
 

Longstreet

Registered
Hello ML1! Your description of projects that have an element of out-of-my-control is noteworthy, and I'm going to reach in a little further to your mention of possible loss of purpose and of relevance. You are really pointing in an elegant way to what's at stake: the possibility for actions to lose congruence with purpose and meaning. I think what makes GTD Connect such an important community is our shared affection for this system for living with clarity and order; we're awake and notice when our actions aren't congruent with purpose. That's my intention in the webinar: to re-establish congruence between the outer world of next actions and the inner world of meaning. I am so interested in hearing later whether the webinar was helpful in doing that. Thanks so much for checking in here and sharing.
I am so looking forward to this. I will be a bit late as I have an interview I have to do. Cheers! :)
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Hello fellow GTD Connect members: I'm looking forward to presenting the upcoming webinar, The Next Action: Lion, Tiger, or Bear? I'm going to talk about how to manage (and even transform) the constraints that get in the way of your productivity and flow over the course of the day.

In preparation for the webinar, which is for GTD Connect folks, in particular, I'd like to know in advance the kinds of projects and next actions that confound you and get in the way of your flow.

The elegance of GTD is a system that provides for the management of our commitments, either to make them, to renegotiate them, or not to make them at all. What are the projects or next actions you're committed to, but that you can't be relaxed around? The ones that take up too much space in your head, even though you've got it written down? Maybe it's one that you dread doing and have a hard time relating to or breaking into a do-able next action? Really appreciate your feedback.
This is an extremely busy tIme of year for me both personally and professionally: basically everything starts back up in September. There is an element of overwhelm, and the feeling that what has to be done is displacing what I want to do. There are projects where not only do I have my own work to do, I have to wheedle and cajole my colleagues as well. This is time consuming and unpleasant. Time spent defining work and reflecting on it sometimes just seems like time lost. I’m organized, I’m effective, but I’m not loving it.
 

Longstreet

Registered
This is an extremely busy tIme of year for me both personally and professionally: basically everything starts back up in September. There is an element of overwhelm, and the feeling that what has to be done is displacing what I want to do. There are projects where not only do I have my own work to do, I have to wheedle and cajole my colleagues as well. This is time consuming and unpleasant. Time spent defining work and reflecting on it sometimes just seems like time lost. I’m organized, I’m effective, but I’m not loving it.
Oh believe me, I hear you my dear colleague....o_O
 

John Forrister

GTD Connect
Staff member
At the project level, I have difficulty with the outcomes that are stated as out-of-my-control.
From a GTD perspective, I'd suggest restating those outcomes as within your control. Without knowing specifics, my hunch is that if it's out of your control, there is a way to restate it as complete when you have done what you can to influence the outcome, even if the outcome has not happened yet.

At the action level, my issue is when facing actions that could go on forever. There is no criteria as to when to stop doing it or when it will completed. These usually have a creative-nature; they are not concrete enough to determine when enough is enough, such as writing and sometimes planning.
For the planning example, David Allen's answer is that you've done enough planning when it's off your mind.
 

sstrisik

Registered
There is an element of overwhelm, and the feeling that what has to be done is displacing what I want to do. There are projects where not only do I have my own work to do, I have to wheedle and cajole my colleagues as well.
Glad to know about the overwhelm and maintaining good relationships with colleagues. It's a lot. I appreciate you carving out that hour for the webinar on Thursday and for making the time to let me know the constraints you're working with. I'm feeling like I have a much better grasp of what my GTD community is dealing with than I did a week ago. Many thanks. --Suzanne
 
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redsleaves

Registered
I can’t seem to nail down class planning and facilitation. Developing infrastructure, the content, and then the execution over the course of a semester. I’ve tried it a hundred ways and it never seems to work.
 

sstrisik

Registered
I hear you!! Class planning problems are what got me to GTD in the first place. I was overwhelmed by these big chunks of developing a syllabus, a cohesive overall strategy for the semester, assignments. . . I'm thinking college/university, but it's all pretty much the same across the educational system. The buck stops with you.

I was hoping to have a teacher/professor in the group tomorrow, so it's good to know there is at least one of you in GTD Connect. I'll be very interested in your felt experience of class planning/facilitation.Anxious? irritated? frustrated? I hope you'll be able to get to the webinar tomorrow and bring a project or next action in your teaching. Great photo of you, by the way. :)
 

John Forrister

GTD Connect
Staff member
Thanks to all who registered for today's webinar. As promised, here is Suzanne's list of references, readings that informed her for today’s webinar with a little annotation from her on the book takeaways.

Allen, David (2015). Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. A manual for life.

Godin, Seth. (2007). The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick). How to contain resistance, demoralization and move forward.

Pressfield, Steven. (2012). The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. Your muse may be calling to you—and scaring you.

Rohr, Richard. (2007). Things Hidden: On Scripture as Spirituality. On the relation between suffering, transformation, and freedom.

Rohr, Richard. Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life. The significance of values and beliefs in the early and late stages of life.

Ryan Holiday. The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trial into Triumph. How to turn constraints into strategy.

Sullivan, Harry Stack. (1968). The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry. The psychology of integration and interpersonal well-being; Source of the quote, we are all simply more human than otherwise.
 

Longstreet

Registered
What a pleasure today to be in the GTD Connect community and to hear from you all. Thank you. I'll look forward to checking in with you all in this forum.
I am so sorry that I missed this -- my interviews went longer than planned. Things happen, no matter how well we plan. I look forward to the recording of this.
 
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