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  • Smart Use? PDA only for next actions and project names?

    Starting a new job next week -- stressing, stressing, breathe, breathe -- okay, I'm fine. Really.

    Of course by the time next Monday rolls around I want to be the GTD master, king-on-high, all-knowing, the guy David comes to advice but...

    back down on Planet Earth I'll be struggling to vanquish the same demons of procrastination and stumbling around as always and hoping that my modest modicum of facility with GTD will give me just a small edge and that I'll continue growing as I implement the concepts. If I can't even manage that, well -- maybe I can impress them with the four-colored Bic I'll have conspicusously protruding from my shirt pocket.

    (My two weeks between jobs is supposed to be one long processing marathon of at-home files and errands; we'll see how many yards I actually log on THOSE projects.)

    What a preamble -- here's my question: I'm thinking of investing in a low-end Zire -- like the 8mg B&W version for something like $40. This adjunct to my paper planner will serve ONLY the purposes of jotting my next actions and storing my project names (and descriptions).

    Is this a sensible use for a PDA or will it simply create a rift in my alleged trusted system?

    And as a post-amble: Truthfully, I'm excited about and nervous about the new gig which perfectly fits the paradigm described by David in his Quisic interview -- I will indeed be responsible for defining my own work and creating outcomes that meet others' unspoken (until I mine it out of them) needs and expectations.

    But I can crack it.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Vilmosz
    What a preamble -- here's my question: I'm thinking of investing in a low-end Zire -- like the 8mg B&W version for something like $40. This adjunct to my paper planner will serve ONLY the purposes of jotting my next actions and storing my project names (and descriptions).

    Is this a sensible use for a PDA or will it simply create a rift in my alleged trusted system?
    It's hard to know if this is a sensible idea without knowing the advantages and disadvantages of your current system. Why do you want to jot next actions in a PDA rather than your current paper planner? What aspect of your system maintenance will be reduced? What is working well in your current system? What's not working so well?

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    • #3
      The main thing I'd expect a PDA to address is the bulk factor, since my mid-size planner is the size of a hardcover book -- so having something to slip into a shirt pocket sounds convenient. So, having the ability to view my next actions anywhere I may be.

      Comment


      • #4
        To me "jotting next actions" sounds a lot more like capturing ideas on the fly, rather than recording next actions. If your biggest, strongest, most pressing need is a portable place to record things, I'd get a pocket notepad rather than a PDA. PDAs are (with some exceptions that have been heavily contested, even here) inefficient capturing tools.

        If you're looking for a portable project and next-action list manager, PDAs are great, and a low-end Zire is great for the task.

        Comment


        • #5
          For the bulk factor, the PDA definitely is great for the sheer amount of searchable data you can keep with you nearly all the time. I personally don't like the idea of using two tools to maintain my own system, but some people probably make it work. Using it for just the NA lists sounds reasonable to me. And for $40, what the heck, why not give it a try.

          I used a PDA to maintain my entire system for 3 years and during that time captured many, many actions and projects. I can capture to the PDA as fast as anyone around me does to paper, and usually faster. (I am still using an old device with original Graffiti rather than the slower Graffiti2, though.) Just do everything as efficiently as possible: master Graffiti and use the interface to best advantage.

          The important thing is that you do have a purpose for the tool, not just a desire to play with it (which you probably won't with a B&W Zire anyway) or an unrealistic hope that it could magically change your life (which of course it won't).


          Congratulations on the new job! Best wishes.

          Comment


          • #6
            I recommend capturing on paper, processing at the keyboard into the Palm Desktop or Outlook, and synching to the Palm. Unless you're exceptionally fluid with Graffiti, capturing on the fly will likely become a chore. Processing at the keyboard gives also gives you the the option of copying and pasting all kinds of support materials (e.g. email snippets) into the Note fields of your projects, actions and calendar entries.

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            • #7
              It don't take much

              I've been using a 2mb M100 (25% your size) for about a year, and I've been able to do fairly well. This is what I think you'll find useful:

              1) Keep your address book on your PDA. You won't believe how useful it is if you've never had one. A well-maintained address book is worth getting a PDA in itself. My wife, who hates my Palm, nonetheless has me look up addresses, phone numbers, hours of operations, contact names, directions, and so on for her regularly -- because I always carry my Palm, and because the information is always up-to-date.
              2) Use your date book (DateBk) for actual appointments. This is the 'hard landscape' that David Allen talks about.
              3) Forget "ToDo". Instead use:
              4) Use the Memo pad (or better yet: MemoLeaf, available through: www.redwood-creative.com) to handle all projects and next actions.

              One additional application I highly recommend is a password safe. I use KeyRing, a freeware product found at this web page: http://gnukeyring.sourceforge.net/

              Despite the small size of my Palm, I am able to keep the full GtD system in it with room for a few games, a DOC reader, and some DOC files. This webpage: http://www.spindlitis.com/home/pda.html carries a lot on the subject of maintaining GTD on a PDA. Also see: http://avm.online.fr/cyb.html for a description of "Cyberpoche" method which uses MemoLeaf's unique features.

              With that said, I would strongly suggest that you use your PDA as a retrieval tool, and do your entry via a keyboard. I've had a PDA since 2001, and although I'll enter an address on my Palm, I try to do any serious entry at the keyboard. Therefore I also recommend carrying a small notepad for "capturing", as long as you make sure you ALWAYS enter it later.

              --Phil

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              • #8
                What about Nokia smartphones?

                Originally posted by Phil Hair
                I've been using a 2mb M100 (25% your size) for about a year, and I've been able to do fairly well. This is what I think you'll find useful:

                1) Keep your address book on your PDA. You won't believe how useful it is if you've never had one. A well-maintained address book is worth getting a PDA in itself. My wife, who hates my Palm, nonetheless has me look up addresses, phone numbers, hours of operations, contact names, directions, and so on for her regularly -- because I always carry my Palm, and because the information is always up-to-date.
                2) Use your date book (DateBk) for actual appointments. This is the 'hard landscape' that David Allen talks about.
                3) Forget "ToDo". Instead use:
                4) Use the Memo pad (or better yet: MemoLeaf, available through: www.redwood-creative.com) to handle all projects and next actions.
                ...
                With that said, I would strongly suggest that you use your PDA as a retrieval tool, and do your entry via a keyboard. I've had a PDA since 2001, and although I'll enter an address on my Palm, I try to do any serious entry at the keyboard. Therefore I also recommend carrying a small notepad for "capturing", as long as you make sure you ALWAYS enter it later.

                --Phil
                Consider Nokia smartphone for Contacts, hard landscape (with alarms and repeating events) and information capture.

                I have Nokia 6670. It is smaller than any Palm and it is always with me! I can use my PC for entering and synchronizing information.

                Nokia 6670 can be used as a capturing device too. There is a posiibility to enter text notes but the real strength of this device lies in recording voice, video and images (letter size documents are readable at 1 megapixel digital camera resolution).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for all the information and resources, Phil, Tes, et al...

                  Andersons, do you no longer use a PDA? If you have posted the specifics of your Trusted System can you send me a link; I'd be interested in reading.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Vilmosz
                    Andersons, do you no longer use a PDA? If you have posted the specifics of your Trusted System can you send me a link; I'd be interested in reading.
                    Yes, I do still use the PDA extensively, but now I use the desktop version of the software as well. The desktop and PDA apps are the same, contain exactly the same data, and sync perfectly. So the PDA gives me the portable, syncable version of my entire system. Any change I make in the PDA is just a button press from being updated in the desktop version.

                    I do have to add that it took me a bit of time to become fast at capturing actions directly to a system in my PDA, but the initial effort has paid off many times over. But nothing beats the speed of typing; I certainly do enter as many items as possible from my laptop.

                    I have posted some specifics; I'll see what I can find when I have more time.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Vilmosz
                      What a preamble -- here's my question: I'm thinking of investing in a low-end Zire -- like the 8mg B&W version for something like $40. This adjunct to my paper planner will serve ONLY the purposes of jotting my next actions and storing my project names (and descriptions).

                      Is this a sensible use for a PDA or will it simply create a rift in my alleged trusted system?
                      If you are interested in how He uses his there is a link here

                      http://www.davidco.com/store/product...cat=254&page=1

                      Michael

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