Trying to get back on the GTD bandwagon... would love some tips on a few issues

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by dashik, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. dashik

    dashik Registered

    Jul 8, 2015
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    I used GTD for a little while last year while I was unemployed, and things went okay. My tasks were out of my head, but at the same time I had a few problems, mostly:
    • Even though my next actions were on my lists, I felt resistance in picking some tasks to do over others. For example, I would always choose to "Do chapter X of Japanese textbook" over "Fold clothes in laundry basket", resulting in my clothes never getting folded. (Clearly I find the former much more fun and interesting than the latter.)
    • My weekly reviews were a bit half-assed (partially because, again, I preferred doing something else and felt a little resistant to doing them); I'd mark completed actions as done, make sure projects had a NA, etc..., but would skip/skim the rest (reflecting on past/upcoming calendar items, going through my Someday/Maybe list).
    As a result, when I got a job, I didn't keep up with GTD. I'm unemployed again, and trying to get restarted, but I've got a few questions that I hope you all will be able to give advice on.

    (1) I'm processing my "In" box now, and many of my ideas/projects have nebulous NAs of "Research X", "Figure out how to do Y", etc... Rereading David's books, he mentions that the next action is the "next physical thing" one needs to do to move forward. Are verbs like "research" or "figure out" considered physical actions? To me, "research" means "browse the internet", but I feel like the only output of that action is just knowledge. I still wouldn't be sure what the next action after the "research" is complete.

    (2) How do you deal with actions that you feel resistance to, or have a preference for, one task over another (like my "fold clothes" example)? Is it a matter of changing the wording or breaking it down into smaller tasks? Or is it a matter of a lack of discipline and motivation (and if so, how would one rectify that with GTD)?

    Neither task is high priority or has a hard deadline, and David mentions not imposing fake/soft deadlines to respect the hard landscape... but otherwise one tasks will never get done.

    (3) The next time I get a job, how can I prevent myself from falling out of GTD again? Oftentimes after coming back from work, I'm exhausted and don't really want to do anything except relax.

    I'd appreciate any insight you guys can give. Thanks!
  2. treelike

    treelike Registered

    Nov 8, 2005
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    Research is fine but at some point it has to stop and you have to do something. And the appropriate time to stop is different in every case and can only be decided by you. And sometimes it's appropriate to give up or SDMB it and have a look at it again another time (amazing how many times the answer just appears later on).

    I think there are many answers to this one and no catch all answer (other than a strong life purpose... easier said than done). One tactic I had some success with recently is to focus on one project and really commit to getting that project complete. If I am highly motivated to getting that one thing done then I see all the other things I have to do as obstacles to getting that one thing done. I am therefore motivated to get rid of these obstacles (fold clothes) because it enables me to do the real thing I want to do (learn Japanese) guilt free.
    Relaxation is probably more important than GTD. Do GTD at work? Maybe you are a morning person. Get up early and do it before work? (Go to bed earlier though to prevent sleep deprivation).

    When you're doing GTD you're doing it all the time anyway...
  3. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

    Jan 2, 2005
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    Some thoughts...

    1) "Research paintball costs" seems too big to me by itself. "Look at Amazon for paintball gun prices" seems better. Specific next actions are almost always better, even if you end up changing them as you do them.

    2) "Start folding clothes" then "Fold more clothes" then "Finish folding clothes". Just do a little to start is all it takes. Oddly, by the time you have just a few clothes left to fold, you'll probably be eager to be done and cross it off your list.

    3) GTD is a set of habits and skills. Before I started it, I had literally thousands of emails in my inbox. Now I have the tools and skills to keep my inbox processed. After the holidays and a week with lots of family time, my inbox went up to 250 or so. It took what seemed like no time at all to knock it back down to near zero. Don’t say "I've quit doing gtd" instead say "I’ve fallen behind on processing email" and put it on a list. If you’ve stop looking at your lists, start again. Easy off the wagon, easy back on.
    Jodie E. Francis and TesTeq like this.

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