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

    Hello,

    Being a fan of Gtd, I purchased MyLifeOrganized (MLO) for my android phone to practice Gtd.

    Now the keying of tasks has become a barricade and it really turns me off when trying to do project planning.

    I am trying to choose between the following options:
    1. Forget MLO and start using paper based organizer in mid tech fashion
    2. collect tasks on paper and process / organize them on MLO
    3. Use Samsung S Note software for gtd
    4. use S Note for collecting and MLO for processing and organizing actions

    my main issue is that I get bored easily to type everything into MLO. S Note can help me write using Samsung S PEN.

    Ultimately I want to be able to effectively use gtd.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Srinarasimha Katte View Post
    Hello,
    Now the keying of tasks has become a barricade and it really turns me off when trying to do project planning.

    my main issue is that I get bored easily to type everything into MLO. S Note can help me write using Samsung S PEN.

    Ultimately I want to be able to effectively use gtd.
    You are definitely right about lack of easy entry being a barrier. People differ widely in what they will do, so you have to find out what you are willing and able to do, reliably, not just when you are feeling lazy or feeling stressed (I have seen both behaviors in myself). However, there are special issues associated with outlining organizers like MLO, Life Balance and OmniFocus. They tend to encourage a project planning mentality that can interfere with building good gtd habits. If you are trying to fit all your activities into projects or planning multiple steps for most of your projects, you are probably over-planning. Most projects don't require more than one or two next actions. Many next actions don't belong in projects. Think about moving quickly through your projects and next actions. Imagine entering a quick project description, then entering a next action to get it started. How long would it take you? You want this process to be quick and easy. Using paper or a simple list tool can be very liberating.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
      You are definitely right about lack of easy entry being a barrier. People differ widely in what they will do, so you have to find out what you are willing and able to do, reliably, not just when you are feeling lazy or feeling stressed (I have seen both behaviors in myself). However, there are special issues associated with outlining organizers like MLO, Life Balance and OmniFocus. They tend to encourage a project planning mentality that can interfere with building good gtd habits. If you are trying to fit all your activities into projects or planning multiple steps for most of your projects, you are probably over-planning. Most projects don't require more than one or two next actions. Many next actions don't belong in projects. Think about moving quickly through your projects and next actions. Imagine entering a quick project description, then entering a next action to get it started. How long would it take you? You want this process to be quick and easy. Using paper or a simple list tool can be very liberating.
      I agree with you.

      A challenge that I faced with paper was:

      I would write the task on paper using one per page spacing so that I can plan further.

      I kept separate set of sheets for contexts such as @computer or @phone etc.

      So if my project next actions involved work in a computer and calling someone on phone, I would had to write them twice - once on task sheet as part of planning and once in list sheets. Also, I had to write the project name in parentheses so that I know why I have to call someone.

      This became too much in case of big projects. Any thoughts?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Srinarasimha Katte View Post
        This became too much in case of big projects. Any thoughts?
        Maybe you could try one of the medium-complexity GTD apps like Things, Nirvana, Doit, Zendone etc. They are not as complex and powerful as MLO, but they certainly allow you to track which project each task belongs to, and allow you to put as many context tags as you like for each task, etc. But they also all have their shortcomings. The filtering based on those context tags is not very flexible (but neither is MLO's), and the hierarchical levels are very limited (unlike MLO, which has unlimited levels).

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Srinarasimha Katte View Post
          I would write the task on paper using one per page spacing so that I can plan further.
          I still do this; I'm happy with it.

          Originally posted by Srinarasimha Katte View Post
          So if my project next actions involved work in a computer and calling someone on phone, I would had to write them twice - once on task sheet as part of planning and once in list sheets.
          With one-task-per-page, I don't see why there's any need for duplication. Write it on the page once; move the page to wherever it needs to be to get done. I do this all the time.




          Cheers,
          Roger

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Srinarasimha Katte View Post
            A challenge that I faced with paper was:

            I would write the task on paper using one per page spacing so that I can plan further.

            I kept separate set of sheets for contexts such as @computer or @phone etc.
            ….
            Any thoughts?
            If you want to go paper could you try this:

            Each project is written on a small piece of paper, maybe 1/4 of a letter size or even a 3x5 card. You keep one running list of the projects if you choose to. Cross them out when they are completed.

            The current next action is written on the card as well, below the project name, maybe in a different color pen? Your context "lists" can be pocket folders (regular file folders tend to allow things to slip out so I'd go with pocket folders). So to work in a context you pull all the notes from that folder and quickly pick one. When done with as much as you are going to do on that project (using the next action as a bookmark metaphor) you write the next action for that project on the card and drop it into the proper context folder. And you will have an automatic history of the actions you took on a project if you need it.

            No duplicate writing, no fussing with keying into a phone and a good way to learn the methodology of GTD before you pick electronic tools to help you.

            Comment


            • #7
              PigPog method.

              Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
              Each project is written on a small piece of paper, maybe 1/4 of a letter size or even a 3x5 card. You keep one running list of the projects if you choose to. Cross them out when they are completed.

              The current next action is written on the card as well, below the project name, maybe in a different color pen? Your context "lists" can be pocket folders (regular file folders tend to allow things to slip out so I'd go with pocket folders). So to work in a context you pull all the notes from that folder and quickly pick one. When done with as much as you are going to do on that project (using the next action as a bookmark metaphor) you write the next action for that project on the card and drop it into the proper context folder. And you will have an automatic history of the actions you took on a project if you need it.

              No duplicate writing, no fussing with keying into a phone and a good way to learn the methodology of GTD before you pick electronic tools to help you.
              This reminds me the PigPog method that I always considered to be a very interesting and simple GTD implementation.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                This reminds me the PigPog method that I always considered to be a very interesting and simple GTD implementation.
                I hadn't heard of this before, so thanks for the link.

                Originally posted by PigPog
                There’s only really one major disadvantage to this method -- there can only be one next action.
                That's... interesting.




                Cheers,
                Roger

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Srinarasimha Katte View Post
                  I would write the task on paper using one per page spacing so that I can plan further.

                  I kept separate set of sheets for contexts such as @computer or @phone etc.
                  This is precisely what you should be doing, because "Collect" and "Process" are separate steps. Write everything down (analog with pen and paper, digitally with keyboard or phone) and let the lists grow and grow and grow.

                  Now later, when you're doing your weekly review and processing those inputs, you file those into your own contexts, so they make sense in the larger project-driven view of your workload.

                  If you're stuck trying to organize and sort your tasks and todos as they come in, you're not being as effective or efficient as you can be. The two are very separate steps, and that's by design.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PigPog
                    There’s only really one major disadvantage to this method -- there can only be one next action.
                    That's exactly correct, and as it should be. If you think you have more than one Next Action to move a project forward, then you haven't correctly thought about your next actions. There should be one and only one action that is required to move a project forward.

                    If you think there's more than one, then you haven't decided which one is the correct one to take.

                    Once you get past that hurdle, things become very easy.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by hacker View Post
                      That's exactly correct, and as it should be. If you think you have more than one Next Action to move a project forward, then you haven't correctly thought about your next actions. There should be one and only one action that is required to move a project forward.

                      If you think there's more than one, then you haven't decided which one is the correct one to take.
                      Not true according to the GTD books. If you have multiple things that can be done in parallel there can easily be more than one action for a project that is available. The key is they must truly not depend on each other.

                      So for example I have a project to update my lightroom catalog for 203 third quarter pictures. There are 2 actions in that project, "star rate all third quarter pictures according to LOM guidelines" and "apply keywords to all third quarter pictures in lightroom" Either can be done in either order but they are separate next actions. Now if I'm goo I might do both at once, look at each picture, apply appropriate keywords and then star rate but I have found that for me I need to separate those actions because the thinking is different for each type of task. So I have both actions on my actions list in the context of LightRoom and Photoshop and I can then choose which one to work on depending on my energy level and time. I know that star rating won't take much time and not much mental energy. It's not quite a brain dead item but close. Keywording OTOH takes a fair amount thinking to get accurate suitable keywords for each shot. Especially right now, when I am building my thesaurus of appropriate keywords. So that can only be tackled when I have more time and fair amount of energy.

                      Your idea of only a single next action per project is one of the most common beginner mistakes when first implementing GTD. It's not correct and can lead to a lot of frustration.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by hacker View Post
                        This is precisely what you should be doing, because "Collect" and "Process" are separate steps. Write everything down (analog with pen and paper, digitally with keyboard or phone) and let the lists grow and grow and grow.

                        Now later, when you're doing your weekly review and processing those inputs, you file those into your own contexts, so they make sense in the larger project-driven view of your workload.

                        If you're stuck trying to organize and sort your tasks and todos as they come in, you're not being as effective or efficient as you can be. The two are very separate steps, and that's by design.
                        According to whom? Certainly not DA. There's nothing in Getting Things Done that states one must wait until the weekly review to process inputs. That would be ineffective, inefficient, and impractical. If a phone call with my boss produces some actionable inputs for me on a Monday I sure as hell can't wait until Saturday to process them.

                        In fact, waiting until your weekly review to process all of your inputs is a sure-fire formula for failure. Most people have enough trouble disciplining themselves to do a weekly review. A weekly review should take 30 - 60 minutes, but doing what you suggest I could see my weekly review taking a few hours.

                        GTD is meant to be an enabler, not a straitjacket. If I get a call from my boss with a lot of actionable inputs, sometimes I'll do the collect, process, and organize phases immediately thereafter. Sometimes I'll toss my notes into my inbox and take care of them later in the day, or the evening. I trust my judgment to do what makes the most sense.

                        If you don't mind a suggestion: it may be worth re-reading Getting Things Done. I've read it three times and found it to be well worth the investment of time.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by hacker View Post
                          That's exactly correct, and as it should be. If you think you have more than one Next Action to move a project forward, then you haven't correctly thought about your next actions. There should be one and only one action that is required to move a project forward.

                          If you think there's more than one, then you haven't decided which one is the correct one to take.

                          Once you get past that hurdle, things become very easy.
                          I know Oogie has already responded to this one, and responded to it well. I just wanted to amplify her point. Your advice directly contradicts the text of Getting Things Done. In Chapter 3 DA states:

                          "A project is sufficiently planned for implementation when every next-action step has been decided on every front that can actually be moved on without some other components having to be completed first. If the project has multiple components, each of them should be assessed appropriately by asking, 'Is there something that anyone could be doing on this right now?' You could be coordinating speakers for the conference, for instance, at the same time that you're finding the appropriate site."

                          Moreover, it simply makes good sense to capture everything about a project that's doable now, for the reasons Oogie so aptly explained in her example. I won't belabor that point with any further examples because I think she took care of it.

                          I don't mean to pile on. In fact, I am trying to help. I had some initial misconceptions of my own about GTD when I first encountered it several years ago (2007 to be exact) that sent me down rabbit holes. Again, you may want to give it another read. As I already stated, I gave it three reads over several years and found I improved my understanding of it each time.
                          Last edited by bcmyers2112; 12-26-2013, 11:25 AM. Reason: Edited to clarify my initial difficulties with GTD were my own responsibility and not others'

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            List ALL next actions.

                            Oogiem and mcmyers are correct. And luckily in this forum you are allowed to say so, and to quote DA verbatim. Do indeed list all the actions that are possible to do now.

                            In most GTD app forums you'd be lynched if you said this. The prevalent myth is just what you said. My guess is that since DA emphasized that you must make sure to have (at least) one next action in a project (one is necessary and can be enough), this has been distorted through hearsay (how many app users do you think have read the book(s).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It's better to have one Next Action than none!

                              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!

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