Strange problem: GTD negatively impacts my free time

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by karrenbauer2018, Nov 3, 2018.

  1. karrenbauer2018

    karrenbauer2018 Registered

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    GTD has lead to a behaviour where I tend to focus too much on just ticking off todos. It feels difficult for me to spend quality leisure time that is not controlled by my GTD system.

    When my mind is in "free mode", I feel a very strange urge to peek into my "Can Do" and "Can Do Someday" lists and get something done.

    -> Do you somehow discipline yourself not to peak into your GTD system in your free time?
    -> Do you incorporate leisure tasks (e.g. playing with kids) into your system (feels very awkward to me, also I don't want to plan these activities)?

    Example:
    I start weekends by ticking off some routine todos. When I'm finished, instead of just relaxing and spending time with my kids, I feel an urge to "get something done". I think, this is because it just feels more productive to tick off todos and it also creates a hormonal boost by ticking something off (similar to achieving something in a video game).
     
  2. Geeko

    Geeko GTD since 2017

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    Hi,

    It was interesting to read your post because I think most other people hat kind of problem exactly the other way round.

    For your specific problem i suggest you have a look at your higher horizons. Im pretty sure that you have something like „family“, „fun“ and „health“ on your Areas of Focus lists or on some higher horizon. When you are in doubt what is the best to do, you should climb up the horizons.
    If it helps you, you can even block time in your calendar to relax or play with your kids.

    Always keep in mind that GTD is designed as a help for us to keep control and not to control us ;) And the best tasks to complete are sometimes those that were not on any list.

    Have a good weekend.
    Cheers,
    Tristan
     
  3. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    I don’t have your issue, sorry. How long have you been practicing gtd? Have you tried putting “Play with kids” on your calendar or @home list?
     
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  4. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    No I don't have that problem because I use GTD to keep track of everything in my life, and that includes fun things. So my lists include things that are not "work" that I want to accomplish. I can't imagine not using such a powerful tool to help you do all that you want to whether it's read 100 books a year or knit a sweater or build a fence. I also spend time checking my higher horizons regularly so I am prepared for the serendipity of fun stuff that I treat like "work as it occurs" that is part of being a fun and happy human being.
     
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  5. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    Set your lists aside and enjoy life! Stop living out of your lists. David Allen himself has stated that many times he just does things that are not on his lists. HAVING the lists allows one to have this behavior. So put the lists away and go do something fun!
     
  6. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    One more thing....those new to GTD can fall into the busyness and obsession trap. There is a great video on Next Action Associates talking about this.
     
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  7. karrenbauer2018

    karrenbauer2018 Registered

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    Thank you all! It is very interesting to see your responses fall into two types of solution:

    Solution 1:
    Put everything, even leisure activities into my GTD system.
    If I understood mcogilvie and Oogiem correctly, they advise to put leisure items, even "Play with kids at home" into the system.

    Solution 2:
    Not letting GTD control my whole life. As Geeko ("the best tasks to complete are sometimes those that were not on any list") and Longstreet ("Set your lists aside and enjoy life! Stop living out of your lists.") mentioned.

    At the moment I am leaning towards solution 2. I love the GTD system and have been using it for at least 5 years, but I now sometimes feel like a robot just just completing one task after the other, albeit very successfully. I don't want to play with my kids, because I planned this a week ahead, but because I really want to do it at the very moment - even if I didn't plan it that way.
     
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  8. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    Good plan! Put the lists aside and focus on your kids. Don't let lists control your life!
     
  9. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    i am here to help. Feel free to contact me directly. :)
     
  10. karrenbauer2018

    karrenbauer2018 Registered

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    @Longstreet, thank you for video advice. I'm looking into some of these right now.
     
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  11. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    Let me know if I can be of help. Cheers! :D
     
  12. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    Solution 3: Overload you Someday/Maybe list. If in doubt move a Project to Someday/Maybe. Moving things to Someday/Maybe creates a lot of space now without the fear of forgetting.
     
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  13. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    1 minor correction. Although I do put lots of lesiure activities into my GTD system it's not all of them. Just because I plan some leisure projects does not preclude me from tossing my lists to the wind and doing other stuff. That's what I call "work as it appears" and yes work is loosly defined so for me that term covers all activities.

    and as TesTeq says also put lots into Someday/Maybe.
    So I do all three. The more complete my lists are the more I am free to decide to ignore them and do something else because I know what I have to do, what I want to do and what I may want to do sometime in teh future so I can can decide what is the best highest use of my time at this given moment.
     
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  14. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    But that doesn't mean that you can't play with them without planning it. It just safeguards against getting too absorbed in the structured parts of life and forgetting to make time for it. And there could be some kinds of playing that are worth planning. ("Clean the wading pool." "Book badminton court." That sort of thing.)
     
  15. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    Let me summarize: play is a form of work. You can play as play shows up, do predefined play, and define your play. I think that covers it.
     
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  16. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    The Tri-fold Nature of Play! I like it!
     
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  17. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    I really do not like to think of any kind of play as "work". I think that can create a bad mindset. Let's keep this separate.
     
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  18. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    I have to schedule and plan a lot of my fun these days, e.g. hikes, book club, poker, theater, family reunions, thanksgiving, winter break. I have contingency plans for activities with grandkids depending on weather, nap times and other factors. So my fun looks like work from a gtd point of view.

    Come to think of it, my professional life depends on play, in the sense of unscheduled time to ponder, to be curious, to explore. So is my fun work, and my work play? Thank goodness for Areas of Focus to keep it all straight!
     
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  19. Cpu_Modern

    Cpu_Modern Registered

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    In the original write up of GTD, Dave Allen distinguishes between Areas of Focus and Areas oF Responsibility.
     
  20. Josh Mitchell

    Josh Mitchell Registered

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    In the words of David, Getting Things Done is not about getting things done (checking things off), it's about appropriate engagement. It's about having a system for tracking what has your attention so what really has your attention can be dealt with.

    So my initial thoughts are....

    1. I guess I discipline myself by doing the Weekly Review... and Daily Reviews, and Quarterly Reviews. But I don't think of it that way. I just do those because they consistently put me back in that "appropriately engaged" state of mind.

    2. I create fun checklists of things to do around the house, things with family, and things I know get me back into the "clear and in control" state of mind..

    3. Play around with your Horizons of Focus (50k, 40k, 30k, 20k) - sometimes you have to go up to get a better perspective of daily life...
     
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