Vinod Kurup

Hospitalist/programmer in search of the meaning of life

GTD Again?

Thanks to Merlin Mann’s recent series of podcasts on GTD, I’m getting back on the GTD wagon (for about the 100th time). I read Getting Things Done in 2002 and have been trying to implement it ever since. I’ve had periods where I followed it religiously for a month at a time, but it’s never completely stuck. From what I hear, this is normal and I accept it now. This won’t be the last time that I restart GTD. Even when I’m not actively using GTD, I think in GTD terms, thinking about next actions and projects and ruthlessly placing projects on the backburner. I just have trouble sticking with the entire GTD workflow, especially the ubiquitous capture (I trust my brain too much) and the weekly reviews (they just seem too painful). I’ve used every online and offline tool in the book, too. Despite not doing so great with GTD, I’d say my life is an overwhelming success.

So why try again? Each time I have gotten back on the bandwagon, I’ve had a surge in productivity. I wrote more. I made some clear decisions on issues that I had been procrastinating on. I wouldn’t be surprised if each of my major life improvements over the past 10 years was associated with a time where I got back on the GTD wagon. I can’t prove that, because I don’t keep enough details, but I always feel better and think clearer when I’m on GTD.

But, I’ve failed so many times… what kind of hubris makes me think I’ll get it this time? “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” Parenthood has taught this to me. Of course we don’t expect our kids to learn each skill the first time they try. We expect that walking and reading and writing and bike-riding will take time, multiple efforts, and multiple failures. But eventually they will get it. Yet, with each failure, kids get upset (to varying degrees). The answer at that point is not to tell them to give up. Yet, that’s what I do to myself. So, I’m going to treat myself like a kid and let myself fail, understanding that each failure will get me closer to that one time where I will succeed.