Hunting vs. Gathering – our cavemen brain

I’ve spent the last few months implementing GTD and I’m still getting used to it, although I feel I’m achieving a comfortable rythm. One of the big “ah-hah” moments in this process however is the difference between our “hunting” and our “gathering” brains. The basic premise of dividing your time in “collecting without doing” and then “doing without collecting” is what makes you feel like you’re “in the zone” when you’re doing stuff and gives you a relaxed feeling when you’re done collecting your stuff.

After doing this for a little bit and then having a small crisis on a Scrum project (where requirements for the current sprint kept changing during the sprint). I realized that one of the big sources of mental stress is precisely trying to do both at once. Our brains just don’t seem to be able to handle it.

The way I see it, our brains are pretty much still cavemen brains, used to running out and hunting deer for a very long period of time, and then going out and foraging for food for another long period of time. If you get into a “chase” mode when you’re foraging, it means you’re the one being chased, and it automatically fires our stressors.

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