Mikey threw down the gauntlet to his fellow David Allen devotees. Are we staying organized? What's the first habit to go? I replied to his post, but thought my reply was chunky enough to re-post here.

The time has come for me to confess although GTD has strongly influenced the way I've thought, I've really fallen off the rails with it.

It's hard to pick up the precise point of failure, but here are some thoughts.

  • I've switched implementations a few times (Emacs, GTiddlyWiki, Remember the Milk, Tomboy, iCal), and there's none that I really, really like.
  • Most of my tasks are tracked in Launchpad. Copying them to a separate system seems wrong.
  • Many, many, many ideas I've had have been pushed back because someone else sets my priorities. I don't really know how to best track these—someday/maybes perhaps.
  • My set of contexts has shrunk drastically. I'm basically always at home, on my laptop with an internet connection and phone line able to do work stuff. Breaking stuff up into @home, @work, @online, @computer, @phone doesn't make any sense for me.
  • I don't really feel support from my manager for maintaining the system, even though people appreciate my work "gardening the bug tracker". This makes me reluctant to spend Friday arvo or Monday morning doing a weekly review. This might be imagined.
  • Things have been broken so long that I feel I need to have a two day reboot. Scheduling such a thing is hard.
  • My collection habit has broken off. This is partly due to having crappy tools: the spiral notebooks irritate me, my pens keep disappearing and I can't always carry my moleskine around.
  • I'm not in regular conversation with others who strive for a mind like water. Even the people I've spoken to who understand the system don't really seem to value it.
  • Update:I get about 150 new email conversations in my inbox every day, and then probably get another 50-60 during the day, excluding spam. Most of these emails are totally irrelevant to me and my life, so I get into this groove of "Crap; Crap; Crap; Crap; Ooh, interesting; Crap; Crap; Crap etc" without doing any further processing. It takes ages to get back to actually reviewing the interesting emails and figuring out what I need to do. Then it takes more time to actual do it.

I miss the feeling of cleanliness and freedom that I had when I was doing GTD well. It wouldn't surprise me if there are real gaps in the system that I'll be able to understand better once I get back into it.

In any case, I'd love to know your thoughts.