Where’s the journey heading to? (ZTD)

I just realize that I actually never ever really gave an outline on my ZTD implementation. Of course I referred to the Forum and to Leo Babautas website. But the forum wont’ help my English readers, and Leo Babautas website’s big and you have to click yourself through it and read a lot. So I decided to write an entry with a simple outline that should give you an idea about what is happening (and also why).

First of all let’s focus on the why, then on the how, and only then have a look at the actual outline.

Why ZTD?

Babauta gives some reasons, why he thinks, that a number of people trying to use GTD are failing. He is pointing out that GTD is a number of habit changes and that a person who tries to get into it, is overwhelmed by them. You’ll start with full motivation, but as there is so much information and so much to do, to watch out for, and to handle, you wont be able to manage it. Also this is quite a bit to work on, so finally all those people who have problems organizing themselves anyhow and have piles of work to do, are now even more busy. The whole system then crashes, and the people get more demotivated.

To encounter this, and to enhance GTD, Babauta sets up a set of thesis upon which ZTD build up (and which leads GTD to fail, for some of us).

Once at a time
You only focus on one habit change at a time, because to change habits it takes a lot of energy and time, and as soon as you do to much, nothing will work at all (just imagine yourself trying to quit smoking, eat healthier, making a diet, starting with sports, and trying to stop watching TV – all at once!)
Do it
There’s a lot of planning involved in all those self management methods. Most people get an excellent knowledge of them, start dreaming, start planning, etc. But actually doing them is forgotten most of the time!
In Babautas point of view, there are a lot of people who need structure. And that is the one thing, which GTD is not giving us. The charming thing about GTD is that you don’t have any detailed plans of your day (like some other self managing authors may suggest) – you have no plans at all! Further on, you don’t have any priority system, etc. This is pretty revolutionary and pretty cool – but could also be a pretty mess, as you may feel that you are totally aimless.
Get everything else out of your way. When you do things, you need to focus. And you need to focus on that single thing exclusively. There is no multitasking, and everything that is not connected to your work is a distraction!
Personal goals
GTD may be ideal for you, to manage all of your every days tasks. You may become the ideal task solver – but you may also loose yourself in all that little tasks that you do every day. Babauta sees a danger in your live getting lead by the every days tasks (and therefore by everyone else who gives you those) and not you leading your live as you wish.

How to implement ZTD?

The number one rules by Babauta are to channel your energy and to take your time. Babauta sees everything that GTD requires you to do as a habit. And as stated before, habits need time and energy.
You can only give something all your energy if you use it for that exclusively. Otherwise all the other things you concentrate on as well, consume energy and in the end there’s nothing much left for the habit change (this of course does not mean, that you can’t do anything else – you can do whatever else there is to do – as long as it is not another habit change).

So this is what Babauta thinks you need for a habit change:

You need to commit it to your self. But that is not enough, you need to do it openly. The more people know, the better. This will motivate you to go on – as you don’t want to disappoint all the other people by telling them that you didn’t do it. You would loose your face, won’t you?
What to do, if you want to master sports? If you want to master an instrument? If you want to master certain skills? Exactly, you need to train them., every day, over and over again. There’s nothing different to changing a habit. Babauta sais that it takes around 30 days, to get an habit work as an habit (that means it works totally by itself, with out you needing to think about it) – before these 30 days you need to work. You need to motivate yourself, you need to focus, to think!
Motivation comes from the Latin word “movare” – to move. It could also come from “motive” which is the picture, but also the reason why you do something. All in all what you understand by motivation is a human driving motor. The force that keeps you moving to reach the picture that you have of the future (when you archived the goal). So it is quite obvious that you need to stay motivated. Babauta has some tips on how to motivate oneself – klick here – and there are a lot more. I was doing some research and work on my own – nearly a year ago now. I will definitely post on that as well. But for now I hope you find enough information. Otherwise feel free to contact me 🙂
To keep track of your movements can help in many ways. On the one side you can analyze it, and get an idea of what works good and what does not. Then you can take some deeper investigations into those things that don’t. You may also loose the idea of what you archived, as those habits only change very slowly and you can just make little steps. Looking back you’ll wonder how much you archived. And last but not least, it is one of many methods that keep you motivated!
Nothing is more motivating than to know that there’s someone who helps you, or who at least is in the same situation as you. To have a person you can change experiences with, that encourage you to go further, or who just suffer the same – so you don’t feel alone with your troubles. Go and get that person!
All of us appreciate rewards. I would even go as far and say that this is what keeps us doing things in the first place. Of course not everybody works just for money, and not everybody is aiming to win trophies – but isn’t even the knowledge (even if it is just you, who knows it) of having reached or done something, enough rewarding? Go and look for rewards that you like. Whether it is a chocolate, something nice that you’ll get yourself, an hour of television, or getting cheered by someone – you choose it. And you reward yourself. For every day that you archive something. For every week that you archive something. For every month that you archive something – the longer the time, the bigger the reward!
As mentioned before, you need to stay focus. So find ways that you can. Remind yourself about the fact as many times as possible. Find aids, like a poster, emails to your self that pop up every day, etc. These reminders may help you to not loose your focus.
Positive thinking
The most important and obvious motivator there is. Think positive. All negative thoughts will not only make you loose your focus, distract you and make you fall into self-pity, but they will also frustrate you and hence act as a self fulfilling prophecy. So be smart, think positive – and eliminate all negative thoughts – as soon as they pop up. Always.

Of course there’s much more – I guess you can think about a couple on your own. You’ll find others if you dig into self motivation methods. Or if you read any other self managing methods. This can only be a sample – but it is what Babauta thinks is most important.

The outline

So let’s get to the actual topic of this entry. The outline of Zen To Done – the outline of my next eight months. The way I’ll go to actually reach the goal.
What’s to be done? Well as Babauta says, he things, GTD is just a bunch of habits. He thought about them, identified each habit and described it as one, and then enhanced them with the new ides he had. The output of this was 10 habits.

Now these are the habits, and this is also the order that I will work through them. Each at a time, one per month (except the first two). So each new month you’ll know what the next step is.

Collect & Process(October)
Not much left to tell here, is there? Goal is to develop habits to capture ideas, tasks and information, and then to process them in a fast way, making sure that every bit that is collected is treated as it should.
Plan (November)
Instead of doing everything as it occurs on your list (and thereby letting your lists, and especially the day decide on what you do, rather than you setting a focus on what needs to be done, and thereby organize the day), you rather sit down beforehand and look at the list of things, that need to be done and plan on where to do what. This step especially tries to connect both, Allen’s spontaneous method with a method where you plan everything.
Do it focused (December)
Do it, means to stay focus, so you need to learn to avoid multitasking, and distractions, and rather work as long as your concentration allows.
Simple trusted system (January)
Allen was stressing it so often. You need a system that your brain trusts blindly, if you want it to relax when it should and stay focus whenever needed.
Organize (Feburary)
This is the step, where David Allen’s overall process is really introduced and focused on: Information into the inbox, from there into the dustbin, delegated- or context list, etc.
Review (March)
In order to reach your goals, you need to know where you are. And is there a better way to know where you are, then to look back and see what way you took? Here we learn about weekly, monthly and yearly reviews, and how to adjust the further steps to our personal goals.
Simplify (April)
You have your own personal goals, but there are so many other things you need to focus on as well? Eliminate them! As much as possible. Stay focused on your goals.
Routine (May)
Make routines out of the steps we learned the last months. Routines have the advantage, that the totally work by themselves. We don’t need to think about them, we don’t need to plan them – we can relax and see how it just happens. Did you ever think about brushing your teeth, when you get up, or make your coffee? About taking of your clothes before you go to bed, or how to navigate your fork from the plate to your mouth when you eat? No, you don’t have to – it just happens. How cool would it be, if organizing your life is as simple as those things?
Find your passion (June)
Do you have a hobby? Think about it, something like running, fishing, swimming, playing football, going on hikes, what ever. Can you think of getting to much of it? Normally that’s never the case. Normally you get into a similar condition as flow. You forget everything around yourself. You are totally focused and concentrated on the thing you do, and if time’s up you even wouldn’t like to stop. Furthermore, you cannot wait for the next time, you really look forward to it… wouldn’t it be cool if that’s the case with your job? Think about it – you spend approx. 8 hours a day working. If you add breaks and time you spend to get there, you’ll end up with 10 hours per day, 5 days a week. That’ll make up more than 60% of your day. For the first 60 years of our lifes. Now take also into consideration that you spent your best time of the day at work. The mornings and afternoons, times where you are highly productive. Wouldn’t that be a waste of lifetime, if you actually hate your work? If you just do it for the money? I mean, of course money is important – but isn’t it more important to be happy and to do something you like? Something that pleases your desires, and brings you further with your personal goals? Well, that’s what the last “habit” is about (actually it’s not a habit, it’s just a tip with some help to actually find and go for your passion.

So I hope that now you’ve got some idea about where the journeys going to, and what to expect. 🙂

Please comment. I really enjoy your thoughts!

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