Mind Like (gushing) Water

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by John Fessell, Oct 1, 2019.

  1. John Fessell

    John Fessell Registered

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    I was introduced to GTD over a year ago. I can’t get beyond the ‘get everything out of your head step’ because things keep coming and coming.
    The number of ‘things’ that pull my attention is limitless.
    Any suggestions would be wonderful, because my stress has increased, not decreased since trying GTD.
    Thanks Kindly
     
  2. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    Are you making heavy use of Someday/Maybe to narrow the items that you're focused on?

    And perhaps doing some ruthless prioritization and culling? Two or three years ago I had perhaps a dozen hobbies. I've cut them down to one and a half. (A primary hobby that requires a lot of thought, and a secondary hobby that gets some of my attention when my brain is full.) I may now and then have a thought for one of those lapsed hobbies, but I put those thoughts in lists even further away than normal Someday/Maybe.

    It's harder to do ruthless prioritization for, say, work, or kids, but for every form of overload I think that there's a tendency to over-focus on organizing and under-focus on just letting things go. There's a limit to the amount of stuff that any human can organize. GTD increases that limit, but there is still a limit.
     
  3. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    Years ago, my wife came across something in an article on time management for new parents that stuck with both of us: “First things first, second things probably not, and third things not at all.” It was true for us then, and I think we should probably keep it in mind today. GTD is so effective that it can lead to feelings that we can handle more than we actually can or should.
     
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  4. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    Interesting. Most of the "things" that try to pull my attention are remixes. They are boring. People repeat the same "truths", tell the same stories again and again, and each year we have to pay taxes... There's scarcity of really unique things in this world.
     
  5. John Fessell

    John Fessell Registered

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    Yes, thanks. I started GTD with the mindset of ‘this system is going to allow me to do everything’. And that mindset is what’s grinding things to a halt.
     
  6. John Fessell

    John Fessell Registered

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    T
    Thanks. I think I’ll need to steer most things off to Someday/Maybe. Hopefully I’ll realize I never return to most of that stuff, and eventually fewer things will pull at my attention because I’ll learn they aren’t relevant or a priority.
    I haven’t done the hard work of consciously letting go of a lot of things,.... perhaps because it feels invigorating to believe I can do ‘everything’
    Thanks again.
     
  7. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    You can also have two--or more--levels of Someday/Maybe. I have the things that I might/will do next month, and the things I might do this decade. The second category is really only listed to get them off my mind.

    And there are also specific lists. A list of books you might want to read, movies you might want to see--having specific lists for these things gets them neatly tied up so that you don't keep looking at them in every review.
     
  8. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    Capture them all into Someday/Maybe. I like to sort mine by my areas of focus but you might try, S/M this month, S/M thins season (I use a 12WY quarterly planning mode for my system) S/M within 5 years, S/M Bucket List or some other way to prune stuff.

    I like long lists, lots of projects and plenty of choices. I typically have 200+ active working projects at any given time. To answer another question I just counted the items on my Someday/Maybe lists and there are over 800 items on them. Many would turn into several projects if I ever decide to actually act on them. Once a quarter I go through and evaluate the things on those S/M lists. I even have a S/M but not me list for things I think would be cool but have decided I won't ever do. However, they are locally important and if I hear that someone is starting those things I'll forward my notes, research etc if they want it. That way I feel my earlier efforts aren't wasted even if they never get used by me or even by anyone else.

    I have thousands fo things I would like to do and I try to limit how much even gets onto my S/M lists but I capture even stray thoughts.
     
  9. MarkRust

    MarkRust Registered

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    I think that if you change that to "this system is going to allow me to see everything, and select what to do" then you might gain some leverage. Also, remember that the only things on your Action lists are things that you are committed to doing. Everything else is reference, Someday/Maybe, or trash.
     
  10. John Fessell

    John Fessell Registered

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    Thanks again. I’ve had a really hard time deciding on what kind, and how many lists to keep. I like the idea of having different levels of someday/maybe, but in the past it’s lead to the problem of creating, perhaps, too many lists. I.e. I look at an item I’ve jotted down, don’t think it fits well into an existing list, so create a whole new category of list.
    And before I know it, I’m overwhelmed by how many lists I have!
    Very frustrating.
     
  11. Gardener

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    You could try what I refer to as the news.groups strategy (named for how new usenet groups were created back when). Instead of creating a new list when its first item comes into existence, only create it after there are so many relevant items that creating the list significantly reduces the unwieldy nature of another list.

    So, say that I have a "Someday/Maybe Thoughts" list. I add a bunch of things to it, on all topics--just a lot of thoughts that are too unformed to be called projects. And I realize that, since it's garden planning time, I have a couple of dozen plant variety names. So I create a "Plants to Consider" list and move those there. And I have a dozen book titles, so I create a "Books to read" list. And I have two thoughts about dishes I'd like to learn to cook, but, meh, that's just two, so I leave them in the Someday/Maybe Thoughts list for now, because just two isn't enough to justify a list.
     
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  12. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    @Gardener has the right idea. That's how I started too. So my many S/M lists only got separated as I needed to when the general S/M list got too long. If you do it that way the development of the lists matches your ideas and needs and the system grows organically with you.
     
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  13. KW7

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    Several others mentioned it and I'll add my "vote" for the step of adding multiple layers of SDMB (Someday...). I have one marked Someday-W for weekly and another Someday-M for monthly. The thought is that the monthly list will only be reviewed on the first weekly review of the monthly while the other is tackled weekly. Truthfully, the monthly list gets reviewed less often than that. The point is that it helps my brain to have a pile for the "lottery ticket" idea that I might eventually get to (a win) and will keep me up at night if I don't write it down. I have piles of ideas. And the ideas breed more ideas. The little suckers are like Gremlins in a rain storm (anyone remember that movie?). On one level, that's great but it can be overwhelming.

    On that note, I don't think GTD, so far, has helped me get more done but it has helped me feel less stressed about what I am (and am not) doing. Because I can effectively see all the tasks/projects/needs it is very rare that I feel like I'm missing something.

    One more thought on the SDMB layers. I'm more vigilant now about ideas/tasks when I add them to the system. A year ago I would have put everything into my Inbox (Evernote) and then sorted it out later but now I have a good idea if something is doable in the next week or not. If it isn't, I probably will throw it into Someday-W or Someday-M right when it is created. This reduces my stress level and keeps me from tackling an Inbox with 50+ items in it. Takes some practice to be honest with yourself about what is possible over the next 7 days or so.
     

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