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facing a common issue with Gtd...need your guidance

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  • #16
    Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
    To summarize:
    • the good thing about the PigPog method is that it is extremely simple, forces you to have a Next Action for each active Project and directly links Next Actions to Projects (by definition);
    • the bad thing is that PigPog method limits the number of Next Actions for each active Project to one (not "one in @context" but globally - one in your GTD system). But it's better to have one Next Action than none!
    I would strongly recommend against PigPog for two reasons. First, it is a cumbersome method of recording projects and next actions, with a strong risk of producing a system one will be resistant to using. I ought to know. I tried it. It's a terrible, inefficient kludge.

    Second, "one next action is better than none" is a false dilemma. Limiting oneself to one next action per project is not only arbitrary, inefficient, and a bad practice regardless of whether one adheres to GTD; it's also totally unnecessary. Whether using paper or a digital tool, one can easily record multiple next actions for projects where it makes sense.

    Srinarasimha Katte, if you are finding it cumbersome to enter projects and next actions into MLO, I would suggest trying a simpler system. It doesn't have to be paper. Wunderlist, for example, is a very good cloud-based task manager that is ideal for GTD. You can easily group actions by context with it, it allows but does not force due dates, and you can add notes and even attach files to list entries. It's not the only alternative but it's worth checking out.

    I happen to use Evernote. You can easily create a nice, streamlined GTD system using it.

    Toodledo is also a decent alternative. There are others, including I'm sure ones I'm not even personally aware of.

    In any event, the key is to choose and stick with a tool you can use to the point where it becomes nearly as automatic as breathing. I've found DA's advice to be correct: if I have to think too hard about how to enter something into my system I get lazy about doing it and the whole thing falls apart.

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    • #17
      PigPog automatic breathing?

      Originally posted by bcmyers2112 View Post
      I would strongly recommend against PigPog for two reasons. First, it is a cumbersome method of recording projects and next actions, with a strong risk of producing a system one will be resistant to using. I ought to know. I tried it. It's a terrible, inefficient kludge.
      A lot of measurable arguments here. I'm afraid I'm not able to find any counter arguments strong enough...

      Originally posted by bcmyers2112 View Post
      Second, "one next action is better than none" is a false dilemma. Limiting oneself to one next action per project is not only arbitrary, inefficient, and a bad practice regardless of whether one adheres to GTD; it's also totally unnecessary. Whether using paper or a digital tool, one can easily record multiple next actions for projects where it makes sense.
      False dilemma? It is not a dilemma. It is a theorem that can be proved! One next action is better than none because without any Next Action a Project is stalled while with one Next Action progress is possible. Maybe it is slower than with more than one Next Action written down but still better than zero.

      Originally posted by bcmyers2112 View Post
      In any event, the key is to choose and stick with a tool you can use to the point where it becomes nearly as automatic as breathing. I've found DA's advice to be correct: if I have to think too hard about how to enter something into my system I get lazy about doing it and the whole thing falls apart.
      So what is your opinion: is it OK if someone chooses and sticks with the PigPog method and it becomes nearly as automatic as breathing and things are done?

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      • #18
        Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
        So what is your opinion: is it OK if someone chooses and sticks with the PigPog method and it becomes nearly as automatic as breathing and things are done?
        If you're asking if it's "OK" with me that someone succeeds with something that I do not feel is beneficial, the answer is an unqualified "yes." Why wouldn't it be OK with me? I'd prefer to see people succeed rather than fail. If their success disproves a view I hold, I don't find that at all threatening. My worldview is ever-evolving, expanding and changing to accommodate each new thing I learn.

        One of the benefits of this forum is that it provides a variety of points of view, including views that conflict with each other. Often it is through exploring multiple avenues that we have the best chance to learn what will work for each of us as individuals.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by bcmyers2112 View Post
          I would strongly recommend against PigPog for two reasons. First, it is a cumbersome method of recording projects and next actions, with a strong risk of producing a system one will be resistant to using. I ought to know. I tried it. It's a terrible, inefficient kludge.

          Second, "one next action is better than none" is a false dilemma. Limiting oneself to one next action per project is not only arbitrary, inefficient, and a bad practice regardless of whether one adheres to GTD; it's also totally unnecessary. Whether using paper or a digital tool, one can easily record multiple next actions for projects where it makes sense.
          Frank Buck, who used to participate on these forums, used essentially the PigPog method with success. He was a school principal who wrote a book about organization and time management for teachers and school administrators. I think my N=1 sample is just as good as your N=1 sample. Both Wunderlist and Toodledo have subtask functionality, and would work for PigPog-like set-ups.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
            Frank Buck, who used to participate on these forums, used essentially the PigPog method with success. He was a school principal who wrote a book about organization and time management for teachers and school administrators. I think my N=1 sample is just as good as your N=1 sample. Both Wunderlist and Toodledo have subtask functionality, and would work for PigPog-like set-ups.
            As I told TesTeq, I'm OK with being "proven" wrong. That's one of the ways human beings learn.

            Although I stand by my opinion that it is unnecessary and even harmful to adhere to an "only one next action per project" rule. One of my roles necessitates managing projects and overseeing the efforts of multiple people. It would be impossible for me to effectively steer such projects if I so limited my GTD system.

            Getting back to the point of this thread -- helping Srinarasimha Katte -- I've found great value in letting go of some of my notions of what I "need" to be organized and effective. I used to be sure I needed a link between next actions to projects but have found recently that that is not the case. I also used to over-plan projects and try to outline many of them in greater detail than was necessary. In letting go I found both greater freedom and control.

            I've found that many of my projects don't need any outlining at all. For those that do require more detailed planning, I usually outline broad objectives and then record my next actions in my context lists. When I do my weekly reviews, those broad lists in my project support material serve as triggers for additional next actions.

            I'm offering this not to "prove" any "theorem" but to share my experience in case it might help. If Srinarasimha Katte finds that a different path is the better one, so be it. It's a big enough world for all of us.

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            • #21
              It's probably no surprise which way I'm leaning in this, so I'll try to come up with something new and useful to say.


              The idea that a system-enforced One Next Action somehow saves the user from having to decide which Next Action to proceed with is, I think, objectively inaccurate. The user still has to make this decision -- they just make it earlier on, when they decide which of their project's Next Actions they'll promote into the system. Whether that's a good time to make that decision is a matter of some debate, and I suspect there's enough variance between users and what they're up to that there'll be people on all sides of the fence.


              All that being said, I can think of at least one core GTD artifact which actually does promote this sort of linear approach. And that artifact, my friends, is the checklist.


              And, yes, a checklist doesn't need to be a strictly-ordered list of Next Actions (indeed, now that I look around a bit, I realize with a bit of a shock that most of my checklists are not ordered at all; hunh) but it is a very common implementation, which I think is worthy of some consideration.



              Cheers,
              Roger

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