David Allen writes an interesting article, in his recent Productive Living newsletter, about getting GTD on cruise control and staying there: http://www.davidco.com/newsletters/archive/0411.html
Persistence and practice is so important when trying to learn anything new, riding a bike, driving a car, implementing a new method of working. I always find it so surprising when colleagues don’t give themselves enough of a chance to learn these new methods in the same way that they might with, for example, learning to drive. It is fairly unusual to be able to learn to drive in just a few hours and then pass your test. Yet so many people expect the behaviours of GTD to stick really quickly and then become disillusioned with themselves when they don’t. Persistence is key, as well as acceptance that you can’t change things overnight. Some of the practices, such as the two-minute rule, can make an instant difference. But for the real “mind like water” experience, practicing, learning and refining your system to fit around your needs takes time and effort – and is well worth every moment.
I have been using GTD for nearly two years and would not yet consider my system to be on cruise control. However, I have had glimpses of the mind like water experience and the more comfortable I become with my processes, the closer I feel to gaining this more of the time. I can feel my persistence paying off every time my inbox is at zero and with every completed action.