The thing I love, and need to keep revisiting, with GTD is that if you’re on a flow, you stay with the flow and you don’t need GTD. GTD is there for when you fall off the horse, when you’re stuck or blocked and when you’re procrastinating. I’ve been in a slow panic for a couple of weeks with regards to, well, everything. Time management, household chores, running the press, getting my PhD up and going, a bunch of big commitments I signed up for this year. You name it, I think it’s currently out of control. And when completely overwhelmed, I tend to ignore and hide. And, you know, generally make it worse.
I’m still fascinated by how you can be in a rut for days and days and weeks (and months sometimes) and then one day you just wake up and feel differently. Suddenly tackling the big scary pile of whatever it is you’ve been avoiding feels like the only thing you want to do that day. Or getting stuck into solving some problem that seemed insurmountable every other time you vaguely thought about it feels easy. I need to remember, to remind myself, that it’s all ebbs and flows, ups and downs, and that just because I feel a particular way about something doesn’t mean I will always feel that way about it. Just because something seems hard now, doesn’t mean it won’t be easier later.
This year I’m working on putting out into the world what I want to see in the world. No matter what the world throws back. And I’m also working on stepping back from emotion. Not ignoring or denying how I feel about things but stepping back to observe them. I came upon the realisation that the meditation I’ve done in yoga of observing thoughts and feelings as leaves floating past you is the same as the idea of the seated self, that part of you that is immovable and apart from fleeting thoughts and feelings. And when you become in tune with that part of yourself, you can (sometimes) step back when you feel something, and let it pass by you. Not so that you don’t feel anger/hurt/jealousy/pettiness etc but rather that you name it and let it pass you by and then you react.
And what does that have to do with GTD? I forgot that Next Actions don’t have to be the Final Action. That you can work on things and take them to temporary done and come back later to finish them. And that sometimes that’s more progress than waiting to do it perfectly the first time. I had a dire situation in my kitchen that required a massive task of pulling everything out, culling, sorting and cleaning before organising to a better system. Not fixing it was stressing me out. Fixing it was stressing me out. We spent a whole weekend on it, two weekends ago now, and it mostly got done. But you know, not everything fit back in the cupboards. Funny that. But I really want everything to be neat and organised. It makes me happier to actually be in my kitchen and do things. And so I’ve been slowly trying to rejig it all. But I still have a bunch of things that don’t fit. And of course, I can’t move on to the next task until I deal with this one. But it finally occurred to me that since it’s all clean and whatnot, I could out everything back and then reorganise smaller parts that don’t work as they are not yet in the perfect configuration now. That whole, it can be perfect or finished but not both.
I’m slowly trying to climb back on the horse of practicing GTD – I’ve not done a weekly review fora few weeks, I’m struggling to get my email inbox back to zero and my intray empty and I don’t know what many many Next Actions are. But I’m slowly trying to climb back on and that’s more progress than sitting here pretending I don’t even see the horse.