Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

Knitfisher's GTD project

This is my project to Get Things Done. (The book is by David Allen here)

PA helps me overcome the fear of things not done, things I avoid, things that are scary and helps me to stay on-track and avoid distraction. It gives me a safe place to discuss how I'm getting on and the small victories where I know people will understand.

I hope that GTD can help me keep track of all of those things. And by bringing them out in the open where I can see them, I will worry about them less in the subconscious. (Well that's the idea) However, putting things you'd rather forget about front and centre is difficult, and the tendency is to let the lists slide and to try and avoid those too.

GTD isn't for everyone. There's a risk you get bogged down in the organising (as with many other systems and ways of thinking) and forget that the whole point is to keep DOING and DECIDING. Also the lack of prioritisation is a worry for some. But sometimes, especially if you procrastinate, you have to concentrate on doing something, anything, because if you're always looking for the right thing to do, you might not do anything at all.

Shall we see how I get on? My minimal goal is to look at the list at least once a day this week. I worry that I will crash and burn, and give up on it like I did last time. But with the forum here and the encouragement (silent or otherwise) of my fellow PA-ers, I think I can make progress.  

KF GTD quick update

15.42pm email inbox now 2315. Have done 1 pom of physical inbox today and feeling much better about it. Will do more very soon 

A maybe non-helpful comment

I hesitate to make this comment because it may be really not helpful for you (in which case of course, please ignore /delete). I forward all my work email into a gmail account. That way I never reach the quota and I never delete anything. (I couldnt imagine going thro it all.) I suppose the downside would be that if gmail ever went down then potentially I would lose a lot of info....So maybe not suitable for you, just thought I would mention it en passant.

All the best with your new system anyway. 



@ Hooch Thanks.

Thanks for the suggestion Hooch. As I am self-employed, my 'work' email is a bit scattered. I have an email at one of my clients, my 'work' email for all my other clients and then my personal email . Both the personal and work emails are yahoo and gmail respectively so deleting is not a matter of space, more of relvance. Whether I delete or file or action doesn't matter, I still need to 'deal' with each peice of mail in my inbox so I can truly see what's left that needs my attention.

In my personal email I delete mainly sales newsletters, youtube updates, facebook stuff etc (which I am trying to unsubscribe from in the main) Anything remotely conversational or useful I file. With search getting much better nowadays, I could probably drop the number of folders right down to make it easier. I rarely actually just go into a folder to find something anyway.

Not sure if that's what you were driving at, but all suggestions are helpful. This is a long-term thing for me, and for it to work at all I need to see it as a process of finding the right way for me, rather than a do it once then fall off the wagon thing... Ask me how I know :-)


Oh I see what you mean. I had the same prob of several email accounts now I just filter everything into my gmail account. The downside is I can never not open my work email, because there it is... but yes, we have to find a way that is sustainable for our own circs,  and cling onto the wagon by fingernails and teeth if nec. Good luck with it, sounds like you are doing a grand job.

KF staring-at-the-size-of-the-mountain GTD update

Should have got this inbox done in one go. Now it's still growing and not going down. I wrote out a whole load of next actions in a session, and now I'm feeling like I'm wasting time entering them into my online system. I wish I'd just done that as i went along, as re-typing things I've already done is demoralising when my inbox is so massive already.

This was meant to help, but I'm sure I've got way too many to dos. I've got 40 already, and there is a lot lot more to go. I can imagine having 200/250 by the time I'm finished. (although that includes a lot of someday maybes) How is anyone meant to function productively like that? I can't help thinking that writing these all down is actually causing the thing that the system is meant to avoid. Worry and anxiety. Because I can SEE how many things I have to do, rather than allow my brain to protect me by 'forgetting' most of them.

Perhaps the withdrawal of the coping mechanisms I've had is what is hurting me, I don't know. Am I over-extending myself my telling myself that i have to do these things when I don't?

All in all I cannot see myself using a system that confronts me with 100 things to do. How can anyone not feel that a list like that is judging you every minute of the day. I'd rather be deluding myself. 


@Knitfisher GTD

As you can see Knitfisher, I haven't progressed much in the GTD department yet.   I know that DA himself says that the list may go into the hundreds, and certainly mine has, but I absolutely agree that it is overwhelming. Part of my make up as a procrastinator is that I find choice enormously difficult, and although the list is supposed to get the stuff out of your head, it sort of lurks in the filing system ready to bite me.

i did decide NOT to have an online or computer based system and have gone with the Manila folder option because not only to i become more caught up in the system than the problem i am trying to resolve, but I find sorting stuff out on the computer demoralising, bad for eyes, back, hands and morale. My tack now is to clear a space, to make a little posy of flowers, brew a pot of tea and put on some calming music, and then approach the list.

take heart dear Knitfisher 

@ Mole - thank you

Such a kind post from you, especially with the mention of tea. I will take heart, and I'm glad to not be the only one who finds THE LIST stressful.

I was very tired and stressed the other day which did not help. I am trying to be firm as well as kind to myself on these matters. Firm in knowing that I have the will to change, but kind in that I should understand that I am only human, and I will fall down. I can face the unpleasant emotions, and win out. They cannot destroy me, only make me uncomfortable.

KF GTD quick update 4th Mar

Email inbox now 2751

Have done a pom on physical inbox today including sending off an email I had ben putting off.

Am not currently using or trusting my lists because they are incomplete. Not sure when I will get to that stage. Also getting confused about when to use a physical reminder and if I should mark it on my online system. 

thoughts on GTD

nice displacement activity - clearing the inbox instead of sending a difficult e-mail (BTDTGTTS) Laughing

 To try and answer your confusion, what sort of thing are you wanting to remind yourself about?  When my system is running properly I have everything in my next actions list (currently a paper list, not an electronic one).  If it's something that needs doing urgently i.e. absolutely has to be done in the next 1-3 days I also write it on my noticeboard where I see it everytime I walk past.


Proper answer to Hypatia

I think I meant those things for which there is an actual peice of paper that serves as the reminder or is required for the action. So whereas most of my list is "research this" or "fill out that online form" a few are tickets to be taken one day, or a letter with a reference number. Do I maintain the daily/monthly folders, or do a just have a calendar entry for the 'tickler' items, then a single folder where all the bits of paper sit for them.

I can't see me using the system if I have to empty out or re-arrange paper folders all the time. Nice as they are (and expensive in quantity mind!)

I'm trying to fashion this system into something I can cope with, but I am finding it difficult to even wrangle my existing inbox into it, let alone having it 'running' in any way shape or form.

I'm giving up, and I haven't even started. I feel like I'm staring at the top of the mountain, and it's a long way up. Long way.

Thx Hypatia


Moi? True, the emails are mainly about deleting and unsubscribing tbh, and
therefore much less aversive. (I had to look up 

I am finding it difficult to
find the energy and willingness to actually get through the inbox. I think I
need to look very seriously about the inputs I'm even allowing into my life in
the first place as the amount of tiny weeny things I need to do let alone the
big scary work or life-altering stuff is just overwhelming. Or perhaps it’s
just my view of them.

BUT posting here and avoiding
work will not help me (much) right now. i thank you for keeping me accountable
and asking questions though. It's nice to know people live with the system and
it works for them. It's not a pie in the sky endeavour.


KF GTD non-update

Feeling very annoyed with myself. I got up late which was OK because I had a late night and needed the sleep. I told myself this was an ideal day to do my inbox because I had no scheduled client work and the rest is fine to wait. It's now 3.20 in the afternoon, I have just over 2 hours til my DH gets home and I have only 45 mins (at best) of processing to show for it. I wanted to walk to library today, but between that and lunch I will hardly have any time left and I will have done virtually nothing. Again.

I know this emotional reaction is part of the reason I procrastinate. I escape into random distraction to avoid dealing with the feelings of shame and fear I have about my things that are not done. I fear that there are so many that they will never be done. That I am incapable (by past experience) of getting on top of things and being a functional human being. An adult who is capable of making timely decisions and taking grown-up actions.

I feel endlesslessly guilty because my husband works so hard. 40 hours a week plus at least 1.5 hours driving each day. If I make 25 chargeable hours in a week it's good going for me and most of that is due to the client I go to out of the office two days a week. He leaves me in bed at 6.50 am and finds me on the PC when he gets home trying to catch up on my imaginary goal. He does not have the luxury of procratination, not on work matters at least. He does not have the luxury of self-employment because we depend on his salary to pay the bills. He must feel trapped in his job because he cannot find a closer one that will pay the same money.

I know intellectually that I must be kind to myself. That this self-berating will not cause the desired effect. But I cannot silence the voice within me that says "you must do better. It is not enough. You are not enough" 

@ KF

Solidarity KF. I dont have any answers, but i agree with you that the harsh critical voice is completely self-defeating. Why wouldnt we want to escape when the alternative of sitting and working listening to 'this is not good enough, this is not enough, this is not right' is so unpleasant? The guilt and despair caused by not doing the bloody thing is also unpleasant of course, but it is less immediate.

Where does this self criticism come from and what caused this low self esteem? These are the obvious questions I suppose. (I have found therapy helpful. I dont know if this is something to consider for you?) I am not trying to give advice here or anything, I just wanted to say - I read your post. I know where you are coming from.

All the best,


Thanks Hooch

Therapy is in my future I'm sure. I just don't want to go there right now. My demons are many and inventive, and I'm not sure I want to invite them to dinner at the moment.

I have heard many times that we would not speak to a child or a friend the way we speak to ourselves. It is an unkind, unforgiving, unforgetting voice.

We shall see if I can silence it for a while.

Gtd mini-update

Email inbox 2818 from 3201 last thurs. 400 emails not bad.

More detail tomorrow. Have been procrastinating about doing my inbox. Insert irony here.

inbox - 400 mails down

well done!  I've been there many times - it's great to see it coming down, and one day you'll reach the nirvana of Inbox Zero!



KF GTD 22/02

My inbox is mountainous and part of me wants to plough through it til it's done but I just can't justify that kind of time (even though I know it's time well-spent and the things I might be doing otherwise might not be)

Do I work on paid work, or do I work on my inbox (or do I study etc etc ) The irony that GTD places priority at the bottom of the list but it's all I can think about. Context is a tricky one for me because I spend a lot of time at home where most things can be done.

Will spend a pom on each thing: paid work, physical inbox, email inbox and repeat til my DH gets home. That's all I can think of to do. My aim with the email inbox is to unsubscribe from as much as possible. So little of it is useful to me that I must be brutal.

Yesterday was good in that I achieved several very challenging things as a result of my inbox processing. Even when I might have been able to justfy deferring them (and strictly speaking one did not take 2 mins) I did not put them off or write them down. This was excellent, but I still felt awful at the end of the day that I had not done much chargeable work. I just have to look at it as an investment. Study or filing or stationery don't earn me money, but they support it. This is me training myself and building a structure in which I can be more effective and less worried. Such a thing would be priceless surely? 

KF GTD 20/02 & thanks

Firstly I'm overwhelmed at the response to my GTD project. I guess I should have known that a lot of fellow PA-ers would be familiar with it.

I still have a massive bag of paperwork and small items to go through and process. I am at home today so can devote some time to it. (once I stop writing on PA that is...) I think I am quite worried that the list will be so big and there will be quite a few very aversive things on there that we turn me off to the whole list. But I will be brave and attempt to sit with my discomfort.

For those who are interested, I am using  for the Next Actions, Someday maybes etc with the associated app. I use Outlook for my calendar also synced to my iPhone. I also have the manila file folders that Dave Allen is so enamoured with, but I am not yet decided if I will use the tickler file setup I created last time or if this would be better served by an all-day entry in my calendar instead.

Phew sorry for the massive entry. Here's my thank yous and replies: 

Mole I'm so pleased that you will be re-starting your efforts with GTD. It sounds like you found it an eye-opener last last time, and worth re-visiting. And you've set a date and time too - very wise. Do let us know how it goes. Feel free to post in my thread or start your own as you see fit.

Gotmusikk Great to hear from someone who is practising as we speak ,and thank you for your support too. Meaning is definately the trickiest thing. Quite often stuff hangs around in my world for far too long because I haven't decided what it means yet. I think the same things will be a challenge though - the things I find VERY resistant. But GTD is a way to corral it all, and then I can unleash the power of PA to get it done... myabe.

Piqued Thanks for the support. I'm not sure it was the task that was compelling (and I didn't stop after 15 mins either.... Frown ) it was just that I felt that I wanted to get it done as the pile of unprocessed items is literally a bag of stuff in my study and I wanted to get rid of it. I am looking forward to the greater peace of mind as I practise GTD although I am realistic that it may take a while before I am fully in the swing.

Mole and GTD

I'm really glad to see this here knitfisher, I set up the filing system about a year ago, but have lost the habit. I think I found the list categorisations not quite right and could not tailor it properly to my needs. Partly, I think, because the system, although supposedly the whole of life encompassing, seemed more geared to office stuff. Having said that, it really helped me for quite awhile, not least because it meant I had to raise my head from the sand and face what did need to be done instead of fearing the daylight.  And one of the things that got a lot more done than I would ever have imagined was doing things that would take less than five minutes straight away.

It is time to revisit again, set aside a weekly time for lists and intray clearing, take that burden away, do those 5 minute tasks. 

I hereby set aside 4-5pm on Fridays to GTD

thankyou Knitfisher 


Mole's GTD on Knitfisher

Thankyou Knotfisher, I'd love to post GTD on your thread-much more likely to actually GTD in a shared location. 

I was sorry to see your unhappy smileys (unhappies?) about your progress yesterday. It seemed to me that you had made great inroads to large undertakings. I have been avoiding my virtual/email intray, and was heartened (for my sake, not yours) to see that yours was as full as mine and filling all the time. Masses of it is unnecessary, unwanted and out of date and I would toss the lot in a grand gesture if only I didn't know that there are a few nuggets in there, and also some important documents I do not have duplicated anywhere else. I'm not quite ready to tackle it yet.

Today I filed everything fileable from my intray. As I mentioned before, I did set up Allan's Manila folder system last year and it has worked well for me, but I have now gone some way towards setting up a parallel set of archival files. I did what I could in the hour I had allocated. I know at the moment that stopping is as important as starting so my commitment remains for an hour each Friday AND dealing with under five minute tasks straight away.

Mole and GTD

A rather feeble little update. Only managed 1 pom this Friday, but decided better to at least visit it as I promised myself last week. will put it on the agenda for next Friday and also make eliminating inbox a focus for March.

Thanks for updating Mole

I'm glad to see your update and that you managed to just to the hour. You are quite right, stopping is important as starting. Bingeing is also a symptom of procrastination I think. Partly linked to a distrust of ourselves to get things done any other way I suppose.

Good luck with your GTD quest. I am so glad you have you with me. 

KF GTD 19/02

Not got any way through the processing yet. Tried yesterday before leaving for work, but am not getting up early enough and just ended up getting distracted and making myself 'late' for work again (technically I can turn up whenever as a contractor, but I'd like to be there at 9)

Here I am again, before work, making myself late. Will do 15 mins and then STOP. Perhaps I can do more tonight if I leave earlier. 

Go for it KF!

Don't know if you knew, but I'm a fellow GTD-er.  In the daily check-ins, "process inbox" = my GTD time.   On Mondays I try and do a weekly review but so often I procrastinate on that. 

Allen often says we don't have a crisis of too much stuff in our lives, but a crisis of MEANING.  I can definitely relate to that.  I'm realizing that 1) I feel like I should be able to do everything, 2) I have a hard time defining what things mean TO ME - do I really want to do this, or is it something that I perceive the "other" will hate me for if I don't do it?  I think these thought patterns have been majorly fueling my avoidance of work, because I'm a perfectionist and habitually want to please others.

Anywhoo, just sharing my experience.  I'm looking forward to hearing more of what you're doing!  SOLIDARITY! :-D


"Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?"

-- Pema Chodron

Thanks for keeping us in the loop on your GTD progress, KF

Good luck with GTD, knitfisher!! I've read the various David Allen books a few times and have made stabs at converting to GTD. "Closing open loops" is so fufilling, even if there's still a lot more work to be done on the goal in question. When I'm not worried about forgetting what I'm supposed to do, I'm much more relaxed.

Isn't it fun to have an organizing/administrative task that is so compelling that you have to "make yourself stop" after 15 minutes?

Looking forward to reading about how GTD does (and doesn't?) work for you. The system has tremendous potential. I'm impressed that you're taking the bull by the horns and wrestling some order into your life. Congratulations! 

KF GTD update 17/02

So I made a great stab at collecting all my open loops yesterday. I have a big bag full of paperwork, odd items and a lot of notes on scrap paper. I think the instruction to deal with one item/to do at a time is an excellent one. It's usually the volume and variety of tasks that get me down and make me hide from everything.

The goal here is to decrease my worry. For me to know that even if I am not dealing with everything right now, my system will remember it for me and help me decide what to do when. So I don't have to remember things at 3am.

Today is processing the open loops (which also includes getting my inbox down from something like 3,500. - I know, I'm shocked too) That doesn't mean I have to action them (most of them just need unsubscribing from and/or deleting) but just that I have decided what the next action is. That's the important bit.

Here's to (more) peace.

17/02 part two

Got some processing done. Excellent to have permission to do little things as long as they take less than 2 mins. Feeling sad I didn't get more processing done. Might try and do some before work. 

Good luck with your project Knitfisher

It sounds good Knitfisher. I wish you good luck taking little steps, and no crashing, no burning!

I agree with this too:

"concentrate on doing something ....... because if you're always looking for the right thing to do, you might not do anything at all."

There is no "might" about it, I find.

All the best,


Thanks Hooch

Little steps, you're right. And I normally paralyse myself with the 'best' way to go about something (you should see me try and plan a multi-stage trip... nightmare!) when really anything really will do. Just the Next Action, (from the book) no matter how small or simple.

Thanks for the support 

I like this

"if you're always looking for the right thing to do, you might not do anything at all" Something I will hopefully remember.

Good luck with your project knitfisher!

Thanks katia11.

I appreciate your support