Follow up: Giving up on deadlines

2 months ago I made the decision to not assign arbitrary deadlines to personal/side projects. You can read about that in the post Giving up on deadlines.

The short summary is that by assigning deadlines where not hitting them didn't matter, I created a negative feedback loop. I would have too many tasks due every day, and I'd just move the deadlines further. This made me feel unproductive for not hitting the deadlines, and made real deadlines feel inconsequential to me.

GTD has entered the chat

Since that post, I have jumped head first into GTD. I bought the book and listened to it in a few days. I then implemented it in Notion as an upgrade to my older task management system and have been using it for all my task management.

While GTD uses a different system of organizing stuff, it also eschews inconsequential deadlines. In GTD, a deadline should only be assigned when there are *meaningful* consequences to not hitting that deadline.

Having your apartment cleaned by a particular date does not have consequences, unless there are guests arriving the day after.

While following the GTD method & thinking has had a very positive impact on my productivity, it's also made me feel better overall by not enforcing arbitrary deadlines.

What I've accomplished over the past 2 months

Now for some numbers. In the past 2 months, I have:

  • Completed 30 projects of small to medium size.
  • Abandoned 23 projects.
  • Deleted ~10 projects from my "someday/maybe" list.

There is an almost equal number of projects I've finished and abandoned. Yet I'm happy with those numbers. The 30 projects I've not done are an equally important aspect of me being able to complete the 30 projects that I have. 

Everything takes time, and I'm happy that I was able to make the conscious decision of what not to do, instead of having that decision made for me by projects being left incomplete forever.

Closing thoughts

I'm in a good place right now when it comes to personal productivity. I feel better than I did before, and I have the confidence that I can complete the projects that are important to me, even if it takes longer than I initially thought it would.

I believe that not having to deal with inconsequential deadlines in my calendar is a big reason for me not feeling overwhelmed. That was the reason why I had gravitated towards less deadlines, and I'm happy to say it worked.

Using GTD has also been an amazing experience, and I hope to share my thoughts on how GTD has helped me be more productive in the a future post.