Categories | Community Contributions | Getting Things Done | Implementation | Inspiration
A Writer’s GTD Journey
About a year ago I was beginning to feel overwhelmed with my list of unfinished projects. I’m a writer and had about a dozen scripts, stories, and article ideas backlogged on my computer. Not only I was not completing any of the projects, I was adding new ideas every day. Each new idea, rather than filling me with excitement at the prospect of undertaking a new creative project, instead filled me with dread and anxiety because I felt like I was looking at corpses—great concepts that would never be brought to fruition. It was obvious I was falling apart. I needed structure, an actionable plan for organizing my projects. I stumbled across Getting Things Done and this is what I embarked upon:
Collect. Address the items that are concerning you. I made a list of all my unfinished projects. It was like an endless scroll.
Process. Make decisions about the value of these items and what you will add or subtract to them. I looked at each project and decided whether or not this was something I actually had a desire to work on or whether it was something that at some point I had decided would just look good in a portfolio. I trimmed a list of about 20 projects down to five.
Organize. Put your value decisions in places you are likely to return to repeatedly. I made printouts of my notes on the ‘chosen’ projects and pinned them up in sequential order in my office. The ‘dismissed’ projects were filed in a binder that would be taken up in the future, but would not be thought of until then. These projects were essentially on hold. New project ideas were added to this binder, but not elaborated upon in any fashion.
Review. Reevaluate the judgments you’ve made from a new perspective. Now that my to-do list was manageable I was able to look at each project in a new light. Instead of each project anxiously reminding me of an unfinished aspect of another project, I looked at each one as its own island of productivity.
Do. Now get to work! What I used to consider the hard part—actually writing the stories and articles—turned into an enjoyable luxury because I no longer felt weighed down by scattered notions. Each new completed project made room for a dismissed project from the binder to join the wall. It was still an endless cycle, but it had a sustainable structure now.
GTD seems to me a very intuitive way of managing your psychology so that it does not disrupt workflow. In fact, the GTD system seems to help one minimize the emotional and psychological distractions that arise from the stress of living.