I’ve always had high standards for myself. If I’m given a task to do, I like to complete it and do a little more. But like most perfectionists, this is a curse in disguise. Because not everything can be done “better”. Not every task is life is actually a chance to prove you are a valuable person (If they really love me, they will see my hard work, right!!)
Getting Things Done was an eye-opening read for me. Not because of the endless lists that I am now empowered to create (I’m undeniably in love with outlines!) – Because it finally helped me understand my own reasons for procrastination.
It is difficult for me to start anything that I can’t do infallibly. Since I hold myself to such high standards, I often wait until I HAVE to do something so that I can’t overanalyze, redo redo redo, or otherwise perfect myself into a corner.
But GTD (Getting Things Done) finally helped my understand the physological reason for my lack of motion. Guilt. Plain dirty little boy guilt.
High standards produce an internal commitment. So anytime I break my committments (by falling short), I want to crawl into my miserable mindhole and think about how I should have done it better. (See the problem here?)
So the main lifehack I’ve learned from GTD has little to do with making to-do lists or managing next-actions. It taught me to renegotiate with myself.
Renegotiating your commitments is something quite common (Hey Susie, I double-booked myself, can we reschedule our lunch for a different day?). We are quick to forgive others and ask for a do-over. But we rarely do it with ourselves!
Feeling overwhelmed means that something is out of perspective. Lists and note-cards simply help me refocus and pick a new target for myself.
This type of review process helps you to be objective about your life, work, or to-do list. Instead of feeling bad about what you haven’t done, it refocuses you on what CAN be done. Most of the things on your mind aren’t that big of a deal. The big deal is simply the guilt you feel about it.
So do yourself a favor: Learn to cut yourself some slack. Let yourself off the hook – Now get back to work!