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The fastest way to GTD is to remove the need to do them

This quote from Nick Smith, linked to in a comment over on this really interesting thread, really resonated with me:



“We seem to be developing a whole industry of productivity aids and techniques to help us find balance, carve out periods of ‘flow’ and ‘get things done’ within stressful, conflicted lives that are befuddled by limited beliefs. I am sure this need not be.”



I love my GTD for the few but important techniques that it taught me, but it isn’t the end game. It efficient, but not necessarily effective.



My mom recently asked me to loan the book, and I’m quite certain it’s not what she needs. She needs to study her motives and fears, not techniques.



GTD doesn’t help if you’re not doing the right things, or if your emotional patters are hurting you. In fact, chances are it might hurt, because it delays the breakdown where you realize you really need to do something.



That’s not meant as a warning against reading it, I do recommend it, just read it for the right reason. And it would have been a lot better as a 50-page e-book, so just scan it for the nuggets.

3 comments

Nick Smith

You are absoulyely right Lars. You can end up doing stuff you don't really want to do, only faster.... and end up just a little more confused about the meaning and purpose of our life. I guess what we all long for is to express our soul in our own way..... and that's a process not a goal. But it does require us to build in a little quiet time into our lives to first get to know our true Self and then the willingness to step back from all our everyday thinking processes so that it can nourish and guide us on a moment to moment basis. All the best to you.
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Anne Grethe Pind,grethe@artgallerypind.dk

Lars is right: GTD is not always the solution. As engineer from 1965, first as systemplanner, projectmanager, consultant and later with my own it-softwarecompany with 40 people employed I have done planning so much in my life that I until 2 weeks ago even haven´t thought of changing that habit. I thought my planning habit helped me to get my thoughts out of my head by writing everything down on paper forehand. And that meant that I on one night could write 20 pieces of paper, neatly sorted out. The effect was that I always felt obliged to do a lot of things every day and could feel tired from the beginning of the day and never gave myself free.The reality is that I suffer from severe insomnia and have done through many years. I need to be cured, because by body and mind can´t take it any longer. By working through many years very much with both my body and mind I suddenly a couple of weeks ago got the intuition, that I should stop writing todo lists and have confidence in being able to remember the things when they are necessary to be done. Thereby I will get room for spontaniety and delight in my life. And I do experience that it helps! Although I have stopped my career in it-business I am to day full occupied as an artist www.artgallerypind.dk .
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Hey Lars - serendipity that you're writing about this, I am in the midst of a GTD overhaul of life. And, I must disagree :-), to some extent, with the opinion (as I understand it) that GTD does not help with bigger picture issues like deep beliefs, personal pyschology, and lack of self-examination. David Allen points out, correctly I believe, that until we get the daily chaos/work/patterns under control and out of our minds, it is much harder to free up the mental energy and security to look at the bigger picture. Most people (esp. clever, creative people) let themselves be swept away by being "busy" - and let so much mental clutter build up that they are at risk of being forever busy until it's graveyard time. GTD's promise (being fulfilled as I write) is to clear the mind with a trusted external system that handles all the details. So far, I am amazed at its completeness and elegant design, and find it will be a vast improvement over my current ways (and most people find me "too" organized already). I'll write more as I progress further with its implementation. :-)
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