In Box Zero Disease: A conversation from RestartGTD

Part 2 here

From: Dave Findlay <david@findlay.id.au>

Subject: Thanks for blogging on Restart GTD
Date: October 30, 2012 4:32:53 AM PDT
To: “bill@basicip.com” <bill@basicip.com>

Hi Bill,

Just thought I’d drop you a quick note to say Thank You! for writing your restartGTD blog. I’ve found it helpful with all the practical details of (re)implementing my own GTD system.

As a brief background on the GTD journey of one of your regular readers, I first found GTD at age 25 (I’m 29 now), when I was working as the sole paraplanner in a busy financial planning office. I found it through a search borne of desperation — I was working long days, had weeks of work piled up, no possibility of outsourcing or hiring extra help due to some extenuating circumstances within the company, and my huge backlog was starting to cost the company money. I figured I was a few weeks away from a nervous breakdown, and implementing GTD offered immediate and spectacular relief, even though I did it poorly at the time.

Since that first experience, my GTD adherence has waxed and waned over the following four years, meaning a month or so of great GTD hygeine, followed by a 6-12 week period of gradually slacking off, usually followed by some high-stress event, like missing a deadline or getting caught short somewhere and having to pull an all-nighter or work over a weekend, followed by an all-day session relocating the handlebars of my GTD system, etc. Kind of like the Book of Judges on repeat, hehe.

Since reading your blog, I’ve taken the plunge and sourced a ScanSnap S1500M, which has significantly streamlined my filing, and I’ve also switched email providers to make filtering and getting to Inbox Zero a much more common event (would have done this years earlier, but all the passable variants of my name in gmail were already taken). Inbox Zero now happens an average of once a week, in all personal and work email accounts.

I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon recently when I do a good brain-dump and weekly review, where I get all email and physical inboxes to zero and get very clear on all my projects at 10,000ft, bring them up to date and recalibrate time-lines for the completion of ensuing steps … (and my weekly review still only happens on this level about once every 3-4 weeks, if I’m honest) … immediately afterwards, I get sick. It’s like my body has been amped up on stress for a period, and the clarity that a good review brings is enough to let my body down off its adrenaline-high, to an immune trough — I don’t want to accept the term “leisure sickness” just yet, but the experience is similar.

It’s amazing how our minds and bodies get used to a certain level of dysfunction, and struggle when it’s eliminated. I’m examining my GTD system to see where the gaps are — I figure if I’m stressed enough to crash my immune system, then somewhere along the line I haven’t externalised all my open loops and agreements. My brain is still trying to handle them.

Your thoughts would be welcome, but I understand you’re busy, so no pressure. Thanks again for writing such an helpful blog.

Warm regards,

Dave Findlay
Toowoomba, Queensland

Part 2 here