Give Up Control to Maintain Control

ControlCan you relate to this?

“This GTD thing is pretty awesome. I really enjoy getting all my thoughts out, being able to visualize them, and seeing where my priorities are. But dang, I still have a lot going on… and when I get off track for a couple of days it’s really hard to get back into the swing of things. Maybe I don’t need to implement all of what the book teaches…”

If you can relate, then I feel your pain. When introduced to the GTD methodology about seven months ago, I was really excited about the prospect of getting my brain feeling a bit less cluttered with the barrage of information that was constantly flowing (speeding really) through it. Seriously. It was like I had an eight-lane interstate going through my head.

I still have an active mind, but the rush hour has calmed to a smooth flowing traffic – and I do a decent job of making sense of most of it. I attribute that to 1) understanding goal setting based on priorities (see pg. 51 of the book for details), and 2) an understanding of how to capture my thoughts and get them out of my head. One of my recent struggles with the whole thing is that I no longer have an iPhone (I’m using a Motorola Droid). That has caused some necessary adjusting, because OmniFocus isn’t available for the Android platform.

Now let’s not get into the debate of why an OmniFocus user on a MacBook Pro is using an Android handset now (if you really must know DM on Twitter). All-in-all, as someone that has done his best to immerse himself in the methodology, here is what I have found so far:

Capturing is key. Be it on a notebook, notepad app, scratch paper, sticky note, your hand, or whatever, make sure you get the stuff out of your head – all of it – and into your system for future processing. If you don’t, things will slip through the cracks.

Trust your system. I used to really like to know how everything in my life is working. While you can’t control everything (that job belongs to someone much higher up than you), you can have total control of your thoughts by developing a system that works for you (based on the book), and trusting that if you follow it your going to be okay. Try it out. See if I’m wrong.

Get high. Allow yourself to dream a little bit. Get up to that higher elevation of thinking – that 50,000 foot point of view – and make sure your basing your actions of today on where you want your dreams to take you. You’re still allowed to dream in this world, and act on those dreams – don’t let anyone tell you differently.

There is always a lot to learn when you’re completely revamping how you stay productive with the important things in life. Start with the basics and build up.

Question: What have you found to be the biggest part of adopting GTD into your way of life?