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    Good morning All

    I am from Brisbane, Australia.

    I have read and re-read the David Allen's book, "Getting Things Done". just out of interest the Australian version is called "How to get things Done", not sure if there is any difference.

    I am currently the director of a smallish company (around 20 staff), but I have shocking time management skills. My time management is so bad that the first time I read the book I had problems conceptualising it as most of is seemed foreign to me.

    I am now starting to get a better understanding but had some questions from a practical apsect that hopefully someone may be able to advise me on:

    I am trying ti impliment this firstly at home and will then do for work. My home implimentation will be paper based and once I cazn understand how the system woks I may go digital, my questions are as follows:

    1) The next actions list, what exactly is it? Is it paper in a manilla folder, is it paper without a folder? Is it a note pad?

    2) If it is a folder, how does one carry a folder with them everywhere they go?

    3) Waiting For, is this a folder, list do I carry everywhere?

    4) Can someone please explain what the project planning is. How does this work? And also what is it physically? (non-digital).

    5) What is the link between project and next actions ? Where do next actions sit physically for Project?

    I know these questions probably sound a bit amateur hour but any advise at all would be helpful.

    Thanks

  • #2
    It seems like you're having trouble fleshing out a lot of the physical details of the system, the gear, per se. The touchy-feely answer is that you should use what you feel comfortable with. I'll see if I can fill in some of the details.

    1) Your next actions list is a list kept wherever you need it such that you look at it often enough to get you doing the tasks you've promised yourself that you'll do and also often enough to keep them out of your head. It could be a set of papers in a manilla folder, one page of @Home, another for @Office, yet another for @Computer, and still more for maybe @Errands or @Online or whatever other contexts you have in your life. The point is to have a list available for you to work off of so you don't have to think about what you need to do. Just got out of a big meeting and are looking for something to do at the office? Check out your @Office list. Visiting a friend at a coffee shop for an afternoon get-together? Check your @Errands to see if you can knock out something on your way home.

    Another paper-based route is a "mid-tech" styled planner. Just a notebook to keep all your running lists of tasks that you've deferred for a future date yet still need to get done when you have a chance.

    2) If it's a folder (or set of folders), you could carry around a briefcase to carry them, or even one of those plastic file carriers (the one with the elastic band to hold them closed). Another option is one I've mentioned above, to use a planner of sorts with your context lists as well as others.

    3) I would think of Waiting For as a list that goes with the rest of your context lists (next action lists). The point of the waiting for list is to have something to remind you of the commitments that others have made to you so you can keep track of them. If the next action on a client is to provide them with your service, but you still don't have a contract back from them detailing pricing, terms, etc, then there really is no next action; you're now waiting for them to give that info to you. It's often good practice to date your waiting for's so that you know how much time has elapsed since you've handed off something.

    4) Well, the point of the projects list (which could be a list or set of pages) is that you refer to as often as you need to in order to get yourself moving on your projects. You'd probably look at these once per week during the weekly review. I would describe a physical projects list as either a folder labeled "Projects" with sheets of paper in it, one project per page or a set of pages in a planner with your projects on them.

    5) The way projects and next actions fit together is that if you have a next action that begets another action (there's still something left to be done after you call the airline for some ticket prices for your vacation), then it's a project. You keep the project list to track yourself and your progress according to your desired outcomes. You'll probably find yourself repeatedly going between bottom-up to top-down between projects and next actions as you realise the scope of your goals and how you're planning them.

    Also, there's a free set of articles here: http://www.davidco.com/store/catalog...-p-1-c-254.php Contained in the file is one that particularly helped me see how Mr. Allen organises his life, the one about how he manages his lists on a Palm device. Another great article that helped me out (and may also help you out) is the one entitled "Paper Organizer" in which he talks about the example paper-based organiser that he shows at his seminars.

    Above I've sort of assumed the template of an organiser as "folder with divider tabs" or "planner with tabs and calendar" but there are other options out there as well. There's also the "Hipster PDA" which is a nice way to organise if you feel more comfortable with a compact solution that uses index cards.

    I hope most of that helped out. This is my first post here so I hope I did well.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi there and welcome to the forum, good to see another Australian hanging around.

      I am trying ti impliment this firstly at home and will then do for work. My home implimentation will be paper based and once I cazn understand how the system woks I may go digital, my questions are as follows:
      Re paper v digital, I am a gadget nut so whenever I can go digital I do. Having said that with implementing GTD I have found that low tech has been the way to go. My reason for saying this is (as someone mentioned on the forum when I was looking for tips and tricks) paper is simple and when starting out with this system its best to keep it simple - concentrate on the system rather than the tools (playing with). With digital, there always seems to be some program or new gadget I can try to 'tweek' the system but all it really does is change the tools and potentially wastes time phaffing about when you could be getting things done!!

      1) The next actions list, what exactly is it? Is it paper in a manilla folder, is it paper without a folder? Is it a note pad?
      My read on the next action list (NA's) is that these are the very next thing you can do to move a project(s) along (a project being something that has more than a single task to achieve the result being completion of the project).

      I have a number of NA's listed that relate to a number of projects I have to do. The NA list is broken down into 'contexts' for example, @home, @calls, @computer, @errands etc (these will depend on your life stuff) and the NA's allocated to the appropriate @context.

      I generally keep these listed in a notebook (A5 size/moleskine) with tabs on each context page (labelled) to make it easy to find.

      2) If it is a folder, how does one carry a folder with them everywhere they go?
      As I mentioned above, I use a notebook for my NA's, the notebook also holds my Project list, someday/maybe list and waiting for list.

      3) Waiting For, is this a folder, list do I carry everywhere?
      I carry my @waiting for list with me everywhere but I also have a manilla file on my desk at home that holds the relevant paperwork relating to that waiting for item (so I don't have to lug everything around with me)

      4) Can someone please explain what the project planning is. How does this work? And also what is it physically? (non-digital).
      Depending on the size of the project Project Planning can be very helpful, if it is just something "simple" (for you to determine) planning all of the actions relevant to the project may not be necessary but if you have a project that is more complex (researching and approaching a potential new client) this may require a bit of forethought (better than just winging it). So the project plan is essentially a list of what, at the outset, you consider all of the NA's to be. Obviously this project plan can be reviewed and amended along the way (projects never do seem to be as we initially see them)

      5) What is the link between project and next actions ? Where do next actions sit physically for Project?
      The Project is the Big picture or the goal you want to achieve, for example, my Project may be to get more body tone, the NA's may be find number of local gym, call gym to make appointment to discuss my wish to increase body tone (determining if I can do it myself or if I need a personal trainer), join gym/meet with personal trainer, make appointment (with PT) or personal appt to attend gym session etc etc.

      I hope this helps. Feel free to PM me if you want to talk more, I live on the Gold Coast so if you need a hand let me know.

      Best of Luck

      Kim

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you!

        Thanks for the great questions and the great answers. I am new to GTD, also, and these were great at helping me visualize how I might actually do it.

        I have the next 2 weeks off between jobs, and I am very excited to finish the book, do my first collection, and get going!

        Cpetrus, you did good! And also Kim!
        Thanks,
        Elaine

        Comment


        • #5
          Congratulations on making changes to improve your self-management - what a great step.

          > 1) The next actions list, what exactly is it? Is it paper in a manilla folder, is it paper without a folder? Is it a note pad?

          I've set people up with a wide range of tools, with the default being a simple set of Manila folders, one per list. Each folder contains lined legal pad pages - as many as needed for the number of items you have. You'd have folders labeled:

          o projects
          o actions
          o waiting for

          plus your calendar. Those are the four key action categories. Note that the first three are simply lists, and that the projects list is just a master index of all your projects - just the names, not the plans (see below).


          > 2) If it is a folder, how does one carry a folder with them everywhere they go?

          I carry them in a portable file that's open at the top for easy access. Some people prefer more durable plastic folders (davidco sells some, but generic ones are fine). Along with them I carry my "Action Support" and "Read/Review" folders, plus any project folders I might need.


          > 4) Can someone please explain what the project planning is. How does this work? And also what is it physically? (non-digital).

          Project planning is the act of getting your head around a project's scope, and figuring out possible action, deadlines, milestones, etc. I like doing my planning with a legal pad, and storing the resulting thinking in a file (Manila folder) labeled with the project name. The name should be the same as the entry on the projects "master" list (see above). Most people have three places where project-related information and planning goes: Paper (as explained), email folders (for relevant messages), and hard disk (for relative files). All should be named consistently!


          > 5) What is the link between project and next actions ? Where do next actions sit physically for Project?

          This is a common question. Each project must have at least one next action "active" in the actions list. More is OK, but one is the minimum to guarantee all projects will move ahead. However, some of your actions will be "one-off" or "stand-alone" ones that are unrelated to a project, e.g., "pick up dry cleaning." Finally, there is no direct link between the two lists - it's up to your brain to make the connections, and it's usually not a problem. When you finish an action, you often naturally think of the next one. However, if you do your weekly reviews regularly, you'll think of the next action when reviewing the project.

          Hope that helps!

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi All

            Thanks for advice. I really love the concept of this system, its just the practical implimentation that is getting to me. However, all of the above has been very helpful as it is coming together bit by bit.

            Kim thanks for your help, one of the reasons I mentioned I was from Brisbane is that I was hoping to stumble across someone in this area whom I could speak to about GTD more regularly. Its just the terminology I think, there are some words that don't mean anything to me as I think they are american words.

            Like for example someone showed me a "planner" today as I asked them what it was. They showed me and I said that is a "diary", this lady was from canada by the way.

            But I think there may be a few words that I can't visualise for that reason.

            I assume that PM means Private message - I haven't read the FAQ's as yet so not sure how. Will have a look between now and tomorrow.

            In the mean time with out knowing the etiquette on these public forums i don't suppose you can just forward me your email address?

            Either way I want to swap ideas about this system and really see what you have gotten in place and how it has worked for you.

            Thanks Again

            And Speak Soon

            Terry

            Comment


            • #7
              Helpful advice

              Hi Terry

              To check your private messages - when you log on to a forum if you look at the top right hand corner of the page there will be your logon name (rodeostar) and under that will tell you when you last visited the forum and whether you have any private messages waiting for you. You should see at least one unread at the moment as I just sent you my contact details.

              I understand what you mean about the lingo, I was talking to a friend today and mentioned I had just ordered a new 'planner' and had to explain what it was - I guess I have been spending a bit of time on the forums of late!!

              Talk to you soon

              Kim

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by rodeo star View Post
                I am from Brisbane, Australia.
                Hi, Terry, I'm from Adelaide. I tend to hang out more on the other David Allen board (ie not the Gear and Gadgets one), which is why I didn't spot your message straight away.

                Originally posted by rodeo star View Post
                I have read and re-read the David Allen's book, "Getting Things Done". just out of interest the Australian version is called "How to get things Done", not sure if there is any difference.
                No difference. Not sure why they did that. Perhaps there was already a book named GTD in the Oz market...?

                Originally posted by rodeo star View Post
                I am trying ti impliment this firstly at home and will then do for work. My home implimentation will be paper based and once I cazn understand how the system woks I may go digital, my questions are as follows:
                I started over a year ago, and I'm still sticking with the paper system. I've tried software a couple of times, because I'm a geek at heart, but in the end paper works best for me: it's simple, always on, and doesn't add any learning time or extra administrative overhead.

                Originally posted by rodeo star View Post
                1) The next actions list, what exactly is it? Is it paper in a manilla folder, is it paper without a folder? Is it a note pad?[/
                2) If it is a folder, how does one carry a folder with them everywhere they go?
                3) Waiting For, is this a folder, list do I carry everywhere?
                My lists are versions of the Hipster PDA. Basically, simple index cards with one per context (and one for Waiting).

                You might also want to have a look through the 43 Folders archive: it's full of interesting and useful stuff, and is just geeky cool.

                Basically, the lists have to be in a form that suits you, which is why I like the index cards. If you don't carry a briefcase, then you want something that's pocketable.

                Originally posted by rodeo star View Post
                5) What is the link between project and next actions ? Where do next actions sit physically for Project?
                I'll just give an example that might help. At the end of each day, I'll go through my NA lists with my Project list. I'll cross off any NAs I've done, then look at the Project they're part of: if that completes it, the Project gets crossed off, otherwise I have to think of the next NA to go on my lists.

                Some projects are really short, and for the longer ones, I keep a sheet of paper outlining what has to be done: not exactly NAs, but a guide for me. Something like a mud map.

                And because I'm looking at the NAs every day, and the Projects list daily as well, I have no trouble knowing which NA belongs to which project. It keeps me aware of where I am with everything. The weekly review helps a lot there too.

                Originally posted by rodeo star View Post
                I know these questions probably sound a bit amateur hour but any advise at all would be helpful.
                Hey, I've always told my students that asking questions is the sign of an intelligent, thinking, being.

                Comment

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