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  • Getting GTD Done ??

    hello to everyone! it is nice to find this forum dedicated to GTD.

    i read about the book on amazon, and bought it. after a brief look, i put it aside to tackle later. that was two years ago. see what i'm up against? anyway, now i've made it through, understand much of it, and am trying to give GTD a go. i've already made some progress re my workspace and how i'm handling the little things. however, i'm a little stumped on how to set up my basic data handling and am looking for some help.

    it seems to me critical to have the ability to input (make notes) whenever something comes up. this means having a collection device handy at all times. this points to index cards, business cards, a treo, or similar. knowing me, i'm unlikely to carry even index cards at all times and it is likely that stuff is going to get written on the back of my business cards sometimes (i always have a few business cards in my wallet, along with a neat little wallet pen).

    it also seems important to have access to "action" data at all times, so that one can handle a task when unexpected opportunity arises (i end up at the mall, and can buy the things i listed IF i have the list with me -- oops, it is on my computer at home). this also points to index cards, treo, etc. except again i have to consider always carrying it.

    in the past, i've done my best work on projects by using a letter size pad with plenty of room for notes. i seem to conceptualize better that way. doing stuff like this on a computer screen is not appealing. but, no way i'm always going to carry a large notebook around with me.

    so, i'm leaning towards something like, cards while mobile --> "master" notebook at home --> ?? maybe some limited action lists on a treo.

    however, knowing me, the more i have to re-input data into another source (card to notebook, notebook to treo, etc.) the less likely i am to do it. and if i'm not getting it done, well, i'm not getting it done.

    anyway, after this long ramble, the question is ... can you all point me to any descriptions of "mixed" or "hybrid" systems that may work for me? i'll continue to sift through old threads for ideas but figured it would not hurt to ask.

    thanks!

  • #2
    some starting points

    In one of David's seminars he seemd to encourage people who are not married to particular electronic plaforms to start with paper and you sound like you like paper to start with. Search for posts by KEWMS who has migrated from electrronic to paper. Not too many people think as logically and write as clearly as she does.

    Start with paper if you are most comfortable with that, esp. for your lists of actions. You might get the smallest 3 ring note book or planner that you are comfortable writing in for action lists. But to capture on the fly, a three ring notebook is annoying, so a little spiral bound memo pad might work well.

    By all means use letter size pads for project planning but these are not all that portable for consulting on the fly so I don't think they are good for lists.

    For your projects descriptions, since they require more text and tweaking, I would recommend that you use electronic means of recording. I like Palm Desk top because you can sort by alphabet and it makes it easier to make sure you are not duplicating.

    Most people take a few tries before they fnd what they really like. But, mainly get started and don't feel you ahve to create the whole system. GTDing part of yur life is a good start. Think about when, where, and why you will doing certain activities and that will guide you.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by tm3 View Post
      anyway, after this long ramble, the question is ... can you all point me to any descriptions of "mixed" or "hybrid" systems that may work for me? i'll continue to sift through old threads for ideas but figured it would not hurt to ask.
      What are you doing now, and how well is it working for you? The question of what might work well for you depends on a lot of personal factors, as well as the nature of your work. The only thing your post really tells me is that there are several things you have already decided you can't or won't do. FWIW, I don't think GTD really requires access to your next action lists at all times, it's just that many people like to have them, or need them because of the nature of their jobs, e.g., sales calls. DA says he often just has his notetaker wallet with him when he's out and about.

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      • #4
        those are all good thoughts. thanks a lot!

        i think i'm going to end up with some duplicating regardless, whether it is typing into the computer or writing down in another format. maybe if it is just the NA list it will be manageable.

        thanks again!

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm an ex-software geek, but in my GTD system everything is paper. It's simple to manage, and after quite a bit of tweaking I've now got something that I'm pretty happy with, which imposes the minimum of overhead and works the way I think.

          Which is very important: if you have to learn new stuff, or make a substantial change in your habits, in addition to trying to get GTD running, you're less likely to succeed. Same thing if your implementation imposes extra overhead (for instance, rewriting things). Paper is almost 'transparent', in that sense: there's no extra overhead, and no learning required.

          My recommendation is you try the index cards as your Ubiquitous Capture Tool (or UCT ). If you want to be groovy, you can go for the Hipster PDA invented by Merlin Mann of 43 Folders. His latest post on the 43 Folders site is actually a link to some templates for the HPDA, because the thing is absurdly popular with geeks.

          For the main body of the system, go for paper in folders or trays. My Action lists consist of weeny stickies on the inside of some folders, because I can select a bunch to do today, rearrange them if things go pear-shaped, and see them all at once without ever having to rewrite. But then I do most of my work from home, so YMMV.

          Originally posted by tm3 View Post
          i think i'm going to end up with some duplicating regardless, whether it is typing into the computer or writing down in another format. maybe if it is just the NA list it will be manageable.
          Not necessarily. I mean, depending on the size and number of your projects, you could use each index card as your project 'marker stake', so when you capture each idea on a card, you can scrawl the notes about that project direct on the card, come up with an NA to put on your NA list, and just keep the collection of project cards as your list of projects. This is basically what I do, because most of my projects (barring the big software ones) can be tracked on one sheet. Anything bigger tends to have its own project support materials anyway. So you could do the whole thing without any rewriting at all, which is very GTD: if it's a waste of time having the same thought twice, it's also a waste of time writing the same thing twice.

          Hope that helps.

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          • #6
            thanks, unstuffed. those are helpful comments.

            most of my projects/actions are rather simple home related stuff, like "buy new tires" or "pick up X next time at walmart." i've been trying to keep all this in my head which of course means that when i drop by walmart i don't remember the other things i need to get and have to make another trip. also, things don't move along as they should because i forget about them. see, i'm a perfect GTD candidate!

            i think focusing mostly on index cards at least to start will be best, and seeing what i might need to use as a supplement. i've already started carrying some around and making more notes than i used to. i need to go through the process of getting the whole system set up and going -- if i remember.

            thanks again!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by tm3 View Post
              i think focusing mostly on index cards at least to start will be best, and seeing what i might need to use as a supplement. i've already started carrying some around and making more notes than i used to. i need to go through the process of getting the whole system set up and going -- if i remember.
              Sounds like a good idea. And I noticed, too, that I started making more notes once I started carrying around the UCT.

              And although the system works exceedingly well, it is sometimes a major change to the way we do things, and so it can be hard to remember where all the bits go and when. If you drive, think back to when you learned: it felt like being in an airplane cockpit, and I for one was sure that I'd have a hideous accident before I got home. But now I don't notice it.

              That's why it's best to start as simply and as transparently as possible. Then, once you've got a grip on the system, you can tweak by introducing some funky tools.

              Let us know how you get on.

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