Joining the world of “GTD” (Part 1)

One of my greatest challenges this year & since graduting from University has been managing myself & getting things done. On my end of semester review when my director asked me what areas I felt I needed to improve in, this was my response.

For some reason life after University seems so much more complicated. Though sometimes I think I had more to do at University, it was all pretty straight forward: go to class, do assignments; go to C4C, get tasks done that were delegated to me. One thing I learned about myself in Uni was I operate on an “out of sight, out of mind/in sight too much, ignore it” basis. It works pretty much just like it sounds. If I can’t see something, I will eventually forget it exists. That applies to items in the fridge (yuck!), clothes in my dresser, assignments on past pages of my agenda, etc. The second part (in sight too much, ignore it) means that if I see it too much, it will blend in with the surroundings and I will forget about it. What I’ve noticed today was interesting: I will “lose it” faster if I see it on my task list (or out on the counter) and choose to procrastinate. This has gotten me in lots of trouble with roommates and coworkers as I so frequently put things off.

When I was first introduced to “Getting Things Done” by my older brother, I was skeptical that it would be effective for me, but because I was desperate to get my life in order I tried it.I became a believer instantly. It was eerie how I felt psychologically compelled to do an item immediately after putting it in my “inbox” if it took less than 2 minutes to do. Suddenly, I was accomplishing things almost against my will. my flesh was saying “procrastinate” and my mind was saying “that’s a waste of time, you can watch TV with satisfaction in a few minutes.”

So what changed? Two things:

  1. I didn’t have a good system in place to keep it up
  2. I allowed my other typical tendency of not following-through to overrule the inherent logic of GTD.

I imagine that #1 would have fixed #2 through positive reinforcement. All those good feelings of satisfaction after accomplishing so much in way less time. I gave up on the system sometime last year. I can’t remember exactly why. All I know is that I found myself time & time again wishing I hadn’t procrastinated and allowed myself to get into a bigger mess of un-replied-to emails, small tasks left unfinished and a really messy room.

I’m sick of all that. I need to get this in order. So I’m starting the process over again with my new life in the big city of Montreal, and I’ll show you how I’m going to do that and how you can too, if you’d like. Next post, that is.

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