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Lost my way, need a way back
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Posted: Dec 10, 2009
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I started up my account here to help me get more things done. What I've found is that my life got out of hand and this went to the wayside. I want to come back to use this but now I'm overwhelmed with all the overdue tasks.

I guess my question is; Do I start over with a clean slate or push my way through a bunch of tasks that may or may not be valid.

I may have bitten off more than I could chew, does it make sense to get 1 or 2 tasks that I start to accomplish before jumping in with both business and personal tasks?

I used to be very organized, but it took great effort, I'm finding the same level of effort is now more difficult to achieve and maintain. All ideas and input is welcome.


The sloth who is trying to fly

Posted: Dec 10, 2009
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Why would you want to work in taks that may not be valid? Until you get back in the groove with things, I would suggest that you look at both your old and new lists (or whatever is floating in your head if you do not have a new list), and pick a half dozen important and or urgent tasks to focus on. When completed, pick another half dozen and work on them. When you are feeling like you are ready to get back into using a "system", you can then tackle your past and present life tasks. Obviously there is no one right way to approach this, so I suggested a simple way to get back on the horse and start riding again. If this approach does not sound like its for you, try something else that does. Either way, the important thing is to do something!

Good luck,


Posted: Dec 11, 2009
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Mark Forster has a good method for dealing with this situation. He recommends a three step approach:

1) Isolate the backlog

2) Get the system for handling new stuff sorted

3) Keep working away at the backlog

So, if you are using Toodledo, create a folder called 'Backlog' and move all the old tasks there. Keep them separate from new stuff, which can go into your usual folders. One of the new tasks should be 'Review Backlog'. The priority is to stay on top of new tasks, but allow time to deal with the backlog, a bit at a time, till it's cleared.

The advantage of this approach is that it lets you focus on current issues, while also allowing you to retrieve anything important from the backlog. You should soon start to feel more in control.

Mark Forster writes about it here: ck.html


This message was edited Dec 11, 2009.

Posted: Dec 15, 2009
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+1, Mark Forster's method is really simple and efficient.

Posted: Dec 17, 2009
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GTD practice would be to take each task put it on a piece of paper and throw it into an inbasket/collection bin. Process each item one by one decide what it is and what are you going to do about it.

Posted: Dec 21, 2009
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Posted by manuelhe:
GTD practice would be to take each task put it on a piece of paper and throw it into an inbasket/collection bin. Process each item one by one decide what it is and what are you going to do about it.

I agree 100% with manuelhe.

Even if you don't practice GTD, this simple process would get you a fresh start while addressing the current task at hand.

What you need to do is put all these task in a sheet of paper or a list and process them one at a time.

Decide if it's actionable, can you complete it right away, do you need to delegate it to someone, is it a project with more than one step to be completed, is it something you want to someday/maybe do, etc.

When you are done with this process, you should have identified the task that need to get done asap and you should have eliminated many as well.

Eliminated by completing the small task that take less than 2 minutes or by deciding that it's no longer actionable and just Delete it from your list.

Posted: Jan 23, 2010
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To chip in a month later, I've stopped using due dates because I'd get way too discouraged with all the red screaming at me from my list. (I use Pocket Informant on my iPhone and it colors the background of all overdue tasks with red.)

I use start dates to help with planning instead.
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