Some restructuring needed

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Travello, Aug 3, 2018.

  1. Travello

    Travello Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2018
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Hi friends

    I recently got into GTD and I need some help. I don't even know if the following entries should all be on the project list. But where else should I put them? I feel very stressed and overwhelmed when I look at it.

    Project list:
    Work
    Take three different medications
    Shop groceries
    Autoimmuntherapy (go once per week to the hospital for injections)
    Choose outfit every morning
    Loose weight, meet kg goal
    Build muscles: go tot he gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
    Meditate 10 min every day
    Fix haircut every morning in a satisfactory way
    Use shampoo and conditioner every Monday and Friday
    Schamponera och balsamera M-F ca 29/3
    Sing in the shower
    Listen to audibook every time I drive
    Smile to everybody
    Plan social activities
    Wear sleep mask when sleeping
    Walk with bigger steps
    Rent out apartment
    Sublet apartment (different apartment from above)
    Speak from the stomach
    Use the scale every morning
    Go on a 100 dates
    Do therapy
    Update Line and Facebook
    Eat healthy

    I also have a saving for list where I put some stuff I need to save money for. Should I have that or how should I handle the fact that I'm saving for some items?

    Thanks
     
  2. Cpu_Modern

    Cpu_Modern Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    565
    Likes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    18
    It doesn't surprise me that you are feeling overwhelmed. What you are presenting to us is an insurmountable load of work and I guess it is just a part of it. However, you seem to be willing to improve your life and that is good!

    A lot of these are about changing your day-to-day habits. I would say start with one and put the others on someday / maybe lists.

    Others seem to be pointers to big overwhelming things and not well thought out. Some make no sense at all, they just seem to be randomly barking commands from yourself to yourself.

    Let's see…

    Go on a 100 dates - If you manage to go on one date per week, this still would be a ~2 years worth of work, since a year has around 50 weekends. So this would be better dealt with as a Level 2 Area of Focus. To count to your goal maybe you could make a foto during each date and when you have a stash of 100 such dating fotos you've reached your goal…

    Smile to everybody - You could have a note (or several) in your Tickler and re-tickle it to random intervals, to surprise yourself with such reminders of your new (?) practice.

    Wear sleep mask when sleeping - Put your sleep mask on your cushion when you make your bed. This will remind you at the right place and time to put on that mask. After a while your gut will get it and you just wouldn't do without it. Maybe have a monthly Tickler note to make sure you stayed on top here.

    Use shampoo and conditioner every Monday and Friday -
    Sing in the shower -
    Use the scale every morning -
    You could use a bathroom checklist for all of these. I did this once with affirmations. I had them printed out, hung them at the bathroom wall in a plastic thingy and so I could sing out loud my affirmations every morning when taking a shower.

    Hope this helps somewhat.

    But you probably need more clarification about these things, what you really want to get out of all these activities.

    It is probably helpful if you clear up your Higher Levels 2-5 at least tentatively.

    Be honest to yourself and others. For example you have a better chance at dating, if you are honest to yourself what you are actually searching for. Then of course you have to be honest to your prospects about it.
     
    kelstarrising and TMac like this.
  3. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Messages:
    681
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I'd say that "restructure my GTD projects" could be a project. There are countless ways to handle this; the below is one scenario.

    Several of these could be broken out into checklists that you post around the house such as:

    Morning checklist:
    Medication
    Meditate
    Hair
    IF Monday or Friday, shampoo and conditioner
    Use the scale
    Go to work

    After work checklist:
    IF Monday, Wednesday, or Friday, go to gym.

    Evening checklist:
    Medication
    Choose outfit for tomorrow
    IF Thursday, Update Line and Facebook

    Bedtime checklist:
    Wear sleep mask

    You could just scan the checklist, or you could actually use paper ones and throw them away every day, or you could plasticize them and use a wipeable marker.

    Others could be handled with reminders posted in specific places:
    In the shower, a reminder to sing
    On your car dash, a reminder to turn on the audiobook. You may also create a project to supply yourself with audiobooks.
    On your phone, random reminders to "Smile!" or "Walk with bigger steps!" or "Speak from the stomach!" If you find that these are not producing the habit then create a project: "Establish a habit of smiling" and

    You could create a project "Make sure I do my injections" and it could pop up every ten weeks to remind you to make the next ten week's appointments and put them in your calendar. If you already have a therapist, that would be similar. If you don't, then this is an actual project, say, "Get into therapy".

    Groceries could also be treated as an appontment. I don't know what Schamponera och balsamera is, but if it's a Monday-Friday thing I suspect it would fit into the checklist format.

    That would leave you with a small number of actual multi-step projects. I've combined some of them; you might disagree.

    Loose weight, meet kg goal/Eat healthy
    Plan social activities/Go on a 100 dates
    Rent out apartment
    Sublet apartment (different apartment from above)

    Edited to add: This is not to say that you need to have reminders for things that you'll do anyway, like getting dressed. But I'm tentatively assuming that the "pick outfit" doesn't just mean "get dressed" but is in some way connected to dressing in a better and more planned way. I'm assuming that there's some similar reason for all of the items that would otherwise be just unthinking habits.
     
    Sarahsuccess likes this.
  4. Travello

    Travello Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2018
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    I can line up 7 dates a week if I want to but that would be overwhelming so 3-4 is reasonable and will take 8 months if 3 per week. I already have about 30 of them done.

    Smile to everyone to tickler file is good, I did that.

    The problem with the sleep mask which is actually a black t-hirt is that I am sometimes too tired to put it on.

    Yes the bathroom checklist is genious and obvious, thanks!
     
  5. Travello

    Travello Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2018
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Thanks.

    I don't even know what multi level is, I never understood those chapters.
     
  6. Sarahsuccess

    Sarahsuccess Registered

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2018
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    3

    I like Gardener's reply and I want to explain what "multi-step projects" are.

    A project is anything that will take two or more actions/steps to complete. Going to the mechanic could be a project 1. call to make an appointment 2. go to the mechanic.

    "Rent out apartment" is a project because it will take several steps to complete. For example:

    1. write text for ad
    2. post ad online or in newspaper
    3. wait for replies
    4. show the apartment
    5. have tenant sign lease
    6. collect rent

    Lose weight/meet kg goal is also a project because it will take several steps to complete, for example

    1. make food plan
    2. go food shopping
    3. prepare meals etc.

    According to the examples above , you need a project list containing:

    - rent out apartment
    - lose weight

    You also need a next action list containing:
    1. write text for apartment ad
    2. make food plan.

    ...or whatever your real next actions are. You should not have other next actions of post ad, or go grocery shopping because they are not next actions, you cannot do those until the first actions are done. Those are project PLANS. (You don't have to write out project plans. Only if you want to. Often the next action is obvious.)

    It is recommended to keep the project list separate from the next actions lists and separate from project plans. As the lists get longer, they are easier to use this way.

    Several items on your list are "next actions", but are not "projects" because they do not have two or more steps to complete. They can be completed with one action, but you want them to repeat. Perhaps putting them on a checklist would be a good idea. For example:

    Take three different medications
    Choose outfit every morning
    Meditate 10 min every day
    Fix haircut every morning in a satisfactory way
    Use shampoo and conditioner every Monday and Friday
    Wear sleep mask when sleeping
    Use the scale every morning

    The following should probably go on your calendar because it is (probably) scheduled:

    Autoimmuntherapy (go once per week to the hospital for injections)

    Hope this helps.

    I'd appreciate feedback on my reply.

    Sarah
     
  7. ellobogrande

    ellobogrande Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2006
    Messages:
    490
    Likes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Occupation:
    Systems Analyst
    There's already been lots of great advice given here, but I'd like to offer this word of caution. If you make your system too complicated and try to manage everyday, common sense habits within the system you'll bloat it, complicate it and make it dysfunctional. It can be tempting to manage things within a GTD system or a fancy new app that good old fashioned common sense and good habits will handle. Don't fall into that trap. Keep it simple.

    For example, I made an *extensive* checklist for keeping my house clean in an app called Chore Checklist. I defined over 100 specific "job jar" chores and organized them into time-boxed routines (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.). I really thought that it would help me to direct my energies when cleaning the house. Little did I realize that it would bring nothing but stress and I would stop using it.

    First, it was so granular that I often forgot to check things off the list. If I went on a cleaning spree and did all of the cleaning I would usually do on the first floor of my home, I had to locate and check off over a dozen boxes. Second, if I didn't check off items right away, the next due date (based on completion date) would be miscalculated, making the reminders of when I needed to do a task unreliable. Third, because of the first two issues, my checklist looked like a sea of red overdue tasks. Finally, because I lost trust in that system, I started using my calendar to track the things I really didn't want to miss like changing filters or cleaning my dryer vent pipe. Now I have housekeeping reminders in multiple places and I'm not sure I'm looking at everything. It wasn't too long before I started feeling like crap every time I looked at the list so I stopped using the system and now my house is full of voices screaming at me to be cleaned. My brain has numbed them out and along with it the source of inspiration and enthusiasm. No wonder I've not felt mind like water in some time.

    I recently read "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo and learned that cleaning is easy and almost automatic once you've tidied your home and learned how to keep it that way. It reminded me of something David Allen once said in a course I watched. He likes to set things up so that things automatically happen without having to work at it because he's so lazy (in a positive way). That's what I want to do - get housekeeping on automatic pilot so I don't have to work too hard to maintain a system around it.

    It's tempting to try out these tantalizing apps like Chore Checklist to manage something that may need not be managed in that level of detail. I'm not saying Chore Checklist is bad - I love the idea of it - but it's working against me, not for me. As you try out new tools and apps keep a pulse on whether or not they are making it easier or harder to maintain your system. If they aren't helping, get rid of them.
     
    Dragon and Longstreet like this.
  8. Travello

    Travello Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2018
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Thank you, that helped alot.
     
  9. Travello

    Travello Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2018
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Thank you, you have a great point.
     
    Longstreet likes this.
  10. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Messages:
    681
    Likes Received:
    64
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Yep, I was wondering about that, but I'm assuming that if a "habit" item is on the list, it's because for some reason that area is not working in a satisfactory way.

    That does suggest that perhaps some items need to be rephrased or restructured.

    Is "choose outfit" about dressing better? If so, then it may make sense to try to form a habit of laying out an outfit at night. If that isn't working, maybe a project about dressing better would be useful, including analyzing one's wardrobe, figuring out what pieces would make it easier to assemble work outfits, etc.

    Is "shop groceries" there because frequently the cabinets and fridge have nothing for dinner and that results in a call for pizza? That might call for a project about meal planning.

    And so on.
     
  11. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2012
    Messages:
    698
    Likes Received:
    122
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    While I agree with the others that your "projects" list demonstrates a misunderstanding of the nature of GTD projects (and their advice for how you might handle these items instead is sound, so I won't belabor the point) I believe the more important issue is that your list reflects unhealthy levels of self-criticism and anxiety that will set you up for personal failure. I'm speaking from experience. At one point in my life I used to maintain lists like yours. I could never measure up to them, so they obliterated my confidence not only in my system but in myself as well.

    One of the things I learned by undergoing therapy is that anxious people will try to change too much about themselves. The mind resists change, which is why it's best to focus on one change at a time. When you try to change everything, your results will fall short of your grand designs. This undermines self-confidence which in anxious people is usually low to begin with.

    I don't think you need to structure your life as much as you believe. For example, I would bet you walk and talk just fine, and your hairstyle is pleasing enough as it is. I'm also guessing you can trust yourself to habitually shower properly without external prompts. I could go on about most of the items in that list but I think you get the point.

    Unless there is some underlying cognitive issue I'm unaware of that would require you to use external prompts to help you remember to do such basic things as style your hair (and there's no shame in that -- our disabilities and conditions don't define us), my suggestion is to address the underlying anxiety and self-confidence issues that are leading you to feel you need such rigid structures in your life. I did so by undergoing something called Cognitive Processing Therapy which has a high rate of success. I'm not guaranteeing it will work for you -- I'm not a trained psychologist -- but the success rate is high enough that I'd at least recommend looking into it. It basically involves recognizing distorted, unhealthy thought patterns and replacing them with more reasonable thoughts. It isn't easy but is well worth the effort.

    On the advice of my therapist, I gave up GTD for a bit while I worked my way through these issues. He advised this because anxious people tend to be so perfectionist about anything they try that self-help programs become obstacles to success rather than enablers. His advice was on the money. I turned my attention to focusing on one change at a time, the first one being mastering CPT. Eventually I returned to GTD and was able to utilize it successfully, but first I had to get a handle on my thinking.

    I would bet even if I'm right about your situation (and I have a strong feeling that I am), you might find yourself recoiling from this advice. I say that because I received the same advice multiple times throughout my life and resisted it until just a few years ago. That's OK. If what I say doesn't resonate today, perhaps it will someday.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018 at 12:15 PM

Share This Page