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Falling off the (GTD) Wagon
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Kevin Hardcastle

Posted: Aug 25, 2011
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This has probably been answered to the 'nth degree' already but I ask it nonetheless.

My problem with my GTD system (and ToodleDo) is what I call "surfing the wave". I paddle, get up to speed with my tasks/GTD system (i.e. "wave of tasks" / things to do) and successfully negotiate it every day. I've become highly efficient with it...but when it fails, it does so with a bang.

The problem comes when a) I go to sleep late or b) illness creeps in -> inevitably, causing me to go through the next day or two sluggishly. Motivation is there but I just can't pull it together. So invariably, all of the tasks / projects I have, with their time-sensitivity and dependencies to each other "roll forward" and the "wave of tasks" crash over me, tumbling me over and over within them.

I wind up wasting time "rearranging" the dates for the multitude of tasks I have to do.

Many of the tasks, I cannot delegate and even if I prioritize the tasks, lower priority tasks, if left undone, have unforeseen consequences later.

I budget margin where I can but is limited when I just have a lot of crap to do!

What am I missing here?

Posted: Aug 25, 2011
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See this post...

I've recently fallen into the trap of assigning too many due dates that are arbitrary. The "out of the blue" stuff that you reference comes up forcing me to adjust dates.

Kevin Hardcastle

Posted: Aug 29, 2011
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awesome. Thanks for this, Ben!

If anyone else has any input, I welcome it also.

Posted: Aug 31, 2011
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This happens to me as well. I give myself permission to stop and regroup. I used to feel guilty about doing that, but I've found that if I don't take time to get re-organized, then I just continue to flounder. Good luck!

Posted: Aug 31, 2011
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an article came up in lifehack just for this issue:
The 3 Step Productivity Slump Reversal

"I’m saying it’s ok to break the rules and go with the flow of the moment, but then what? Then jump right back on that wagon with your goals set and your positive habits installed. It’s a lot easier to get back on track after life throws a curve-ball or a little marble of interruption in your day when you have your goals and habits to support you. Strive for your goals but don’t forget to be present and smell the roses every once in awhile. This will ensure that you achieve what you want to achieve as well as enjoy the journey."

Posted: Sep 01, 2011
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I completely understand what your going through. Have fell off the GTD bandwagon numerous times. From what I've read, seems like your over-commiting yourself to tasks and dates. I understand how some like to have lots of structure and assign start dates, due dates, or both to all of their tasks. As if the date will force you towards completion. All it does for me is create more anxiety.

So, what do I do? I simply do not assign dates unless its absolutely critical for that task to be completed by that date. Were talking life-threatening, world stops turning, piss-off-my-boss or wife type of criticality.

Because I lean towards GTD purism, my calandar is sacred. Nothing goes on there unless its an appointment or I want to be reminded of an event happening on a specific day/time. Thats it.

We've all heard the mantra about the weekly review being the corner-stone to the whole system. Frankly, its the only thing that keeps me on the wagon. Without dates tied to tasks, I'm free to pick and choose what to do based on my energy level at that moment in time and space. Yes, some items are more important than others, and sometimes I just have to suck-it-up and do them.

This is where my someday/maybe list is probably as equally important as my project list. If I know I'm not going to get to a lot of stuff over the next few weeks simply because of schedules and the two or three projects that are competing for my time, I move a lot of stuff to someday/maybe. By doing so, I'm relinquishing my commitments to those projects/tasks. For me, makes staying on the wagon much easier. Everybody has their own unique spin on GTD and your milage may very.

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