Leap of faith – trusting your GTD system

The short of it

At a certain point, you need to make a lead of faith and start trusting your GTD system. If you do not do that, you will not be able to test its real relevance to you.

The Last Crusade

There is this great Indiana Jones movie. It is not Raiders of the lost Ark, which is a wonderful movie although it never quite delivers on its promise of suspense of the first 10 minutes. It is not the Temple of doom, which we won’t mention ever again. It’s not Kingdom of the Crystal skull either, which honestly feels like a lame attempt to breathe new life into an older franchise. No, my favorite Indy movie by far is the Last Crusade.

I love it so much because it builds the suspense from the get-go, combining action on the one hand and mysterious discovery on the other, culminating in that intellectually challenging passage, which almost feels like a rite of passage, to the protector of the holy Grail.

Where logic ends

And then it comes. The most electrifying moment in all of Indy lore. There appears to be no logical solution to the riddle in front of him. There is just a chasm, and no apparent way to cross it. Is this where it ends? Of course not, but logic appears to end here. All Indiana Jones can do is abandon his fears and make a leap of faith.

When GTD escapes us

I have these periods where I struggle with my faith in GTD. It is an insidious struggle, in that it creeps up on me. If I fail to maintain a proper attitude, a good habit of system maintenance, it escapes me. If I’m not as complete as possible in capture, if I fail to assign tasks to the relevant contexts and projects, if I abandon my weekly reviews … I get lost.

I emotionally start feeling that I am no longer control of my days. It grates. Not in a cheese grater kind of way, more in a soft sandpaper-ish kind of way. It slips between my fingers. I am no longer in control, but rather circumstances start controlling me. And this is not a good feeling.

I am wondering whether you know that feeling? You know, I think you do.

Reconnecting through good meta practice

I firmly believe that the struggle will be eternal, or at least as long as we live. That is not a bad thing, but it’s an important point of attention. Knowing that a situation where we are no longer happening to things, but things are happening to us (Leonardo Da Vinci), is present just around the corner should help us in performing our required routines. We may not necessarily enjoy them, but they are necessary. Just like flossing, they are an essential sanitary habit.

In the end, at a certain point you just let go

But even if we properly perform all the meta-tasks GTD requires us, daring to let go, daring to let things slip out of our consciousness still requires a leap of faith from ourselves. We need to trust the system enough to let go. There is no real logic behind it.

Now, the funny thing is that the only way to gain even a little bit of certainty about the trustworthiness of our system is to engage fully in the daily and weekly practice. In other words, our meta-tasks and their quality provide us with insights into the quality of our life management system.