Two reasons why GTD hasn't been working well for me

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Ship69, May 23, 2019.

Tags:
  1. Ship69

    Ship69 Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2014
    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Hello

    I have realised two reasons why GTD hasn't been working well for me:

    1. I read very slowly
    This means that all the frequent reviewing and scanning of task is both painful and takes too long. And so I find myself profoundly resistant to reviews.

    2. 'Resistence Creep'
    I don't know the technical term, but after every single time I even think about doing at task and DON'T execute it, the psychological resistance of that task goes up. And up. And UP. And pretty soon I have a whole bank of tasks that have all become massively high resistance. And for no good reason whatsoever!

    My latest approach has been to not even look at a large swaith of tasks for fear of increasing their resistance for no good reason.

    Furthermore I find it really hard to get a proper handle on what is important for my goals. In fact "reviewing my goals" has been on my list for a several days now, and even that has become high resistance! [Ironic or what?!]

    Any thoughts?

    J
     
  2. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    4,799
    Likes Received:
    530
    Trophy Points:
    113
    There's no action when there's no "why" standing behind it. If you don't have the reason to do things on your lists don't do them. Get rid of your lists and relax. Or... maybe there is a real "why" to do SOME of these things? Move everything else to Someday/Maybe or Someday/Never and try to engage with shorter lists.
     
    Longstreet likes this.
  3. Ship69

    Ship69 Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2014
    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Trivial tasks aside, my more time-consuming tasks are all tied to major projects.
    If I got rid of my lists and just relaxed, "Getting Things Done" would swiftly become "Getting Nothing Done" and my life would implode in fairly short order.

    I already work with extremely small lists (and use a sort of modified version of an Eisenhower Matrix to keep them even shorter) but the same principles I have outlined still firmly apply.

    But I'm not sure what you mean by "why"? What would be an example for you?
     
  4. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Messages:
    2,496
    Likes Received:
    438
    Trophy Points:
    83
    If you have a short list of time-consuming tasks tied to major projects, there is a good chance that they are too long to be next actions, the very next physical things you need to do on a project. Writing a clear next action where you look at it and say “I can do that right now” is a key gtd skill.
     
    TesTeq likes this.
  5. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    4,799
    Likes Received:
    530
    Trophy Points:
    113
    "Why" means "the reason to do something".
    You have some major projects but WHY do you have them? Just to prevent your life implosion?
    Here are some "whys" for my current projects:
    - "my new book" - why? Because I want to publish the most extraordinary book in 2019 in Poland. Without this "why" I would get rid of this time-consuming project;
    - "GTD Summit" - why? Because I'm thrilled to meet @DavidAllen, Dean Acheson (the Next Action inventor), Michael Sliwinski (Nozbe founder), and people from NirvanaHQ and Omni Group. Without this "why" I would not waste my time to go to Amsterdam.
    My goals are not to avoid a life implosion. They are rather about an inspiration explosion.
     
  6. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Messages:
    829
    Likes Received:
    146
    Trophy Points:
    43
    How small? How many items are on the list(s) that you feel that you should (whether you do or not) look at every day?
     
  7. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    4,806
    Likes Received:
    558
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Female
    Have you tried to put your lists into a system that can be read by readers for the blind so you hear the lists not read them? Or can you find pictures that represent the tasks rather than words? Maybe you can draw your own pictures that represent your tasks instead. They don't have to be good art, just enough for you to know what you need to do next.

    Are you SURE that your "tasks" are actually really tiny and well defined? I mean to the trivial level. Related to that is you almost certainly require a tool that automatically hides tasks until the one on top is done. I would also look at your contexts. If you look at a task and don't execute it is the reason because you don't really have everything you need to do the task when you first looked at the list? If so then your contexts are not fine enough. Maybe you need a much larger population of contexts so that you can say, I've got 15 minutes and I'm sitting at my desk. And that is a single context with simple things that can be done in 5 minutes at that location.
     
  8. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    4,806
    Likes Received:
    558
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Female
    How small is small? 2-3 items? If you hate to read then perhaps you need to limit your lists to showing you no more than 1-2 items per context. Then, when in that context you MUST do one of the tasks. If you can't do it you need to make the task smaller or redefine until you can do it. That might mean a context that is "5 minutes, with no energy, at home". The action might be take the garbage out. Or let the dog out to play. Or even wipe the kitchen counter or put away the dishes from the drying rack or dishwasher. Something small, well defined that you CAN do in that context.

    Not TesTeq but every single thing I do or is on my lists has a why associated with it. If there is no compelling why, then I get rid of the task and/or project. And you need to keep asking why until you get to the end.

    Example:
    Why am I re-reading my book how to solve linear equations used in agriculture? Because I need to rewrite the code to solve them in a new language on a new computer platform. Why? Because I want to include EBV calculations in LambTracker. Why? Because I want there to be an open source way to get those critical numbers that doesn't involve lots of cash outlay. Why? Because I think that genetic diversity and improvement should be something that any farmer can do no matter their financial resources. Why? Because I believe our entire future depends on the innovations and work of small entrepreneurial farmers. Why? Because I see the environmental degradation caused by huge single crop factory farming and I think it has to stop. Why? Because I care about what the world will be like in the future and the human species doesn't have a particularly good track record on doing a good job of staying within our ecological niche and limits.

    So reading an admittedly boring and difficult book on linear equations will help heal the planet.

    Following the task to the end covers just about all the levels of GTD too.

    Why do I balance my checkbook every month? Because I need to stay within my budget. Why? Because I want to have enough money to do both important and fun things and need to track where it goes and make sure we are not overspending at any given time. Why? Because I want to enjoy my life and continue learning and don't want to run out of money. Why? Because I think that ongoing learning is one of the highest purposes a human can have.

    So the mundane task of balancing the checkbook is an important part of enjoying my life here and now.

    Knowing the why gives purpose to the task and the project. Without it I'm just wasting my time and energy on things that don't matter.
     
    patrickthomas, petdr and TesTeq like this.
  9. petdr

    petdr Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2006
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Gender:
    Female
    You do have to keep your lists short if you are a slow reader. But even more important is the what goes on your list. "Reviewing my goals" would probably sit untouched if that was on my list too. Try breaking that down. Do you know what's involved in "reviewing my goals"? Write those steps down and make those steps the next actions.

    For instance, I would make reviewing my goals a project and these following items subprojects or next actions depending on how familiar I am with them or how granular I need them to be:
    1) What would I want people to say about me at my funeral?
    2) What do I want to do before I die?
    3) What do I need to do now so I have the resources - time, money, physical health, etc.. -- later to do what I want in #2?
    4) What am I doing now that is keeping me from being able to do what I want to do in #2?

    And so on. I find it easier for me to sit down and just tackle question #1 or #2 and stop. Go back and do some more later. Having "Review my goals" on my next action list would paralyze me.

    There are several good resources on how to set your life goals ('cause you have to set them up before you can review them, right?). If you already know the steps, then put those steps on your list, not "Reviewing my goals".

    You need to keep your list short but not by making the next actions too broad. It's counter-intuitive to have 4 next actions (or however many steps to set your goals) when you can just have "Reviewing my goals" to keep your list short, but that's what you need to do. And have just 1 of those next actions on your list at a time.
     
    Cpu_Modern likes this.
  10. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Messages:
    829
    Likes Received:
    146
    Trophy Points:
    43
    @Ship69 , any chance you could show us some sample lists?

    And are you willing to tell us how long your lists are?
     

Share This Page