How to GTD

Getting Things Done is not really as simple as it might sound. In the past few months, I’ve found myself keeping postponing my work, one after another. Time passes by, and the next I knew, nothing was ever gotten down until its deadline approached. Poor me. My self-esteem has been lowered since. I remember in my primary school years, high school years, and even in my dental school years, I always finished all assignments right after they were received. No need to be worried about the deadlines, ever. The same situation applied to the time for examination. I was never so worried about midterms and finals all that much. At least 2 weeks before the exam dates, I’d already review all materials beforehand.

Life gets more complicated and more difficult as we grow older. But that shouldn’t be counted as an excuse for procrastination. Is it because of the aged brain though? Nah…Actually, all I need is fewer distractions and more self-determination. Again, that is not very practical for these days’ tech world. Why wouldn’t I want to take my eyes off of my papers for a few minutes just to watch Doraemon on Youtube, to read what the raves are all about on Delicious, to check the newly added items on my favourite shopping web sites, or to daydreaming about getting a Nintendo Wii (seriously)?

Indeed, those were what I did. A few minutes then became half an hour, an hour, two hours or even longer. Obviously these distractions are more tempting than my real task–to write up a BMP-Smad1/5/8 kind of manuscript. I excused myself such that I could relax and write up in between the time. The truth is, forget it, things would never be done if I could only write a fraction of paragraph once every 2 hours.

So what are my strategies for GTD, then? Here are some thoughts I found helpful to motivate my inner self to finish up more work than I usually do.

1. It’s all or none. I must remind myself from now not to ever partition the time of the work for play. I shall dedicate full attention to either way. Work is work and play is play. Writing a portion of work just to play in between the time is nothing but a waste. It’s hard to connect patches of this-and-that, here-and-there work without having to do it all over again after all.

2. Calculate total time wasted. Think about how long you have actually spent on that paper. Calculate, accumulate, and write the actual numbers of hours, days, months or whatsoever down.

3. Set a deadline, even though it’s vague. Set it then save it on your handheld, notepad or wherever accessible at later times. I saved mine on Entourage. It does not matter whether the goal can be reached by then or not. If it can, bravo! Otherwise, once these notes are read, or at the very least, skimmed over, the gulity conscience will definitely settle in–just like how it works for wasted time calculation.

4. Look, look, look at the future. Ask yourself what you’d like to be in the next 6 months or 12 months. Then you’ll discover plenty of things are awaiting for you to do in order to reach the goals, all of which would require that much of efforts. So why being stuck at this simple task at the very first step? You wouldn’t realize this until then. By the time everybody else moves on, you can only regret not being able to be more productive at first place. Sadly, there’s no way to turn back time and change yourself.

So, do it now! GTD!

I remember when I was a child, I read somewhere of these words of wisdom “If not you, who? If not now, when? “. I cannot really recall the names of the author or from which book I got the line. I just remember the words so well I could replay it over and over to motivate myself.

Life is tough, but life is also fun and beautiful. It depends on how we see it. (But definitely not from a view of a procrastinator!)

Stay well, GTD, and have a nice weekend. I will too. I am ready for my Saturday Tennis! 🙂


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