Struggling with GTD reviews

ArunM

Registered
I have been practicing GTD for exactly a year and at this point my whole life runs on GTD. I use Notion for my projects and next actions. I now have 64 projects on going and 69 in someday maybe. I do reviews religiously every weekend and typically lasts about 2 hours.

I have a daughter who is 5 and I regularly do some form of physical exercise and work as a programmer and count myself as a continuous learner.. So I have a busy schedule however I have a good perspective on my situation and understand that there are people who have much much more busy lives that I do. I am putting this out there to give a perspective on the type of life the I lead.

Off late I have found that I am struggling with reviews.I get a feeling of this being a "chore". GTD has made a big difference to my life and efficiency and the difference it has made to my life is clearly visible. So I am keen to remove this friction which has been creeping up so that I can align my GTD process in such a way that it can be something I do not feel an inertia to do. I follow the review system that has been recommended by this episode in GTD podcast.

I have identified 2 main issues with my reviews.

Issue No: 1 -
During my review I tend to spend the first half hour emptying my inbox which is a google Keep List. This is the only time in the week that I tend to empty my inbox. I know David recommends to clear inbox every 2 to 3 days. This is something that I am working on. My idea is that when I sit for a review the inbox should be fully processed.


Issue No: 2 I guess the fact that I have 69 ongoing project means that there are projects where I cannot do things much during a week.This means that there are projects which come across regularly in my review for which I have a next actions set but I just have not been able to get to them for quite some time. I do move some of them to a someday maybe if I feel I will not get to them anytime soon. But I think seeing these projects which I am not able to get to is maybe having an "psychic weight" effect on me.

I would really appreciate if experienced GTD'ers in the community can offer any suggestion to me to remove the friction in my GTD reviews. Any suggestions would be welcome. Thank you for your time.
 

Sojourner

Registered
But I think seeing these projects which I am not able to get to is maybe having an "psychic weight" effect on me.
I had the exact same problem when I first started. The overwhelming "weight" of feeling I have so many tasks/projects I need to complete.

I had to learn to limit my work-in-progress and prioritize the most important/valuable projects, move some out of site to Someday/Maybe with due date reminders, and delete many of them because I couldn't realistically see myself ever setting time aside for them. If I'm reviewing the same project (or task) for several weeks and I'm not moving forward on it, I have to ask myself, "Is this truly something I need/want to do? Why am I avoiding this project/task?" If I've neglected it for awhile, maybe it really isn't something that adds any value for me or maybe it's just not a priority right now so I can come back to it later. To use Dominica DeGrandis term, they become "zombie" projects "low-value projects that are barely alive." These projects need to be removed to free up my time and resources. I also learned to tell myself that I'm one person and can only accomplish a finite number of tasks any given day, week, month, or year. It's okay if I don't get to everything, so long as I'm doing the right things for me now. Prioritizing your projects also ties heavily into your Horizons of Focus. Take time to work through your Horizons so you have a compass to guide your project level priorities.
 

thomasbk

Registered
When it comes to clearing your email in-box, is your weekly review the only time you look at it? If so, I can understand it gets backed up since your last review. But if you're in your inbox regularly, and leaving the Clarifying step until your weekly review, then you're touching your email more than is necessary. When David says clear out the inbox every 2 to 3 days, I don't think he meant in one fell swoop. If you're regularly processing your email, then it's not such a heavy lift when it's time for your weekly review. Otherwise, having read an email but not doing anything with it is likely causing an open loop for you and adding to the psychic weight.

As far as not advancing every one of your projects each week, that probably means your system is working for you. It's one thing if there are deadlines that you're missing. Otherwise, GTD helps you decide what to do right now and feel good about your decision. When deciding what to do next, we look at 1) the context, 2) available time, 3) available energy, and 4) priority. The first three are quantifiable, but the last one is your intuition. There are reasons you chose to advance some projects last week and not others. Don't make yourself feel bad that you didn't work on every single project. It's not called Getting Everything Done. Instead, congratulate yourself and feel good that your system is working. :)
 

Cpu_Modern

Registered
I agree with @thomasbk your projects list is not meant to be a catalogue of all things that you want to touch during the arbitrary time frame of seven days ie a week.

Maybe you need to clarify more. What is realistic? What are you really trying to accomplish?
 

ArunM

Registered
I also learned to tell myself that I'm one person and can only accomplish a finite number of tasks any given day, week, month, or year. It's okay if I don't get to everything, so long as I'm doing the right things for me now. Prioritizing your projects also ties heavily into your Horizons of Focus. Take time to work through your Horizons so you have a compass to guide your project level priorities.

Yes. I do need to set my expectations appropriately and need to manage my expectation based on my energy levels as well. I struggled with this when I was in the starting phases of GTD, It is good to be reminded of this again.

As for horizons of focus, my GTD system is still at Horizon 0 & 1 (Ground Calendars/Actions/Current Projects). I have mapped on my Horizon 2 (Area of focus) as well but to be honest I probably can do better at incorporating this into my system.

I do not have any sort of mechanisms in my system for the the higher horizons(1 to 2 year goals,Long term Vision, Life). It is very difficult to map things out at those levels. So I am hoping that as my GTD system gets better I will get more and more change to ask questions at those higher horizons.

I will search the forums to find good ideas for managing the higher horizons. Thank you for your time and inputs.
 

ArunM

Registered
When it comes to clearing your email in-box, is your weekly review the only time you look at it? If so, I can understand it gets backed up since your last review. But if you're in your inbox regularly, and leaving the Clarifying step until your weekly review, then you're touching your email more than is necessary. When David says clear out the inbox every 2 to 3 days, I don't think he meant in one fell swoop. If you're regularly processing your email, then it's not such a heavy lift when it's time for your weekly review. Otherwise, having read an email but not doing anything with it is likely causing an open loop for you and adding to the psychic weight.
I use google keep list to do my capture. Any action items I get from the email mainly go into the google keep list or is added into my GTD system immediately if it is priority. At present my capture system is basically that any thought, idea or action that come up I immediately add it into my google keep list. I usually only do this into my system at the time of weekly reviews. So this was getting too big for me and typically took 30 - 45 mins away from my review time. I plan to get into the habit of looking at this list every 2 - 3 days so that at the time of weekly review I can start my review straight away.

When deciding what to do next, we look at 1) the context, 2) available time, 3) available energy, and 4) priority. The first three are quantifiable, but the last one is your intuition. There are reasons you chose to advance some projects last week and not others. Don't make yourself feel bad that you didn't work on every single project. It's not called Getting Everything Done. Instead, congratulate yourself and feel good that your system is working. :)

Thank you for this. This is the biggest gap in my GTD practice. I am not aligned to my system yet. The capture and 2 mins rule are ingrained into me now. What I would like to happen next for me is to choose things from my actions list. I know this is very obvious but I think it takes practice. On any normal day I have caught myself drifting and doing things without intention. It will be awesome when this stops happening and instead of being mindless I sort of ask myself what my context is and also what my energy levels and choose some action from my list. I remember a podcast in which David says that it usually takes people 2 years to internalise GTD so I have one more year. :)

Thank you for your time.
 
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