Recipe to get going, when you can’t get going


Source: Brandon Doman


I often have the problem of not wanting to get started on a project. Or, of sitting down at my desk and being vapor locked.  Then, I begin to get skittish about even sitting down at my desk.

This post is the GTD-ish recipe I’ve evolved to use when I feel resistance getting to work.

Three Steps:

  1. Get away from the office/desk (meetings are perfect) with 3″x5″ cards.
  2. Say to yourself, “What are the parts of this project?” And then write down one part of the project, per card.  And do a mind dump about the project. Once You have all parts captured, you’ll feel relief.  

    You are seven plus or minus two next actions away from feeling better.

  3. Next, I take the cards back to my desk and never refer to them. Once I have the moving parts in mind, I can sit down and crank out all the next actions as I do the project.


Time for a family story, my grandfather Billy (Ugh, I hate being called Billy, but my grandfather loved it.) Blyth was an episcopal minister.  He wrote his sermons at a typewriter.  He would be typing up to the moment the service started, while in full regalia, and then run into the service and leave his sermon notes in the typewriter.  The typewriter with paper in it was a trusted system for an individual project (sermon).

3″x5″ cards that I write but don’t refer to, are my version of the Billy Blyth trusted sermon system.

Another fun thing to note about my grandfather is that he was the center forward on the men’s collegiate championship hockey team at the University of Toronto.  And he married, the goalie on the women’s national championship hockey team at the University of Toronto.  At least, that is what the family lore claims, I should probably check the records. :-)

This recipe IS NOT the GTD-approved way to do GTD.  But it works for me.  My students who don’t use GTD, manifest an extreme form of the above “cooking up next actions in the process of doing.” Todays college students sit down to the computer (no desk work first, no next actions) and then research, compose, write, edit, all at once for their projects (papers).

What is important for my workflow, is getting the project into buckets that carve a project at its joints. Hope this helps!  Comment, good, bad, or ugly please?

bill meade








One thought on “Recipe to get going, when you can’t get going

  1. Pingback: Web finds, Saturday 21 April 2012 «

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