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Interesting David Allen's remark about GTD applications. Page Title Module
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  • #16
    In spite of the fact that I was more successful with GTD on paper, I could not go back. In the mid 90's I could keep it all in a TimeDesign book. Today the bulk of my tasks and communications arrive electronically it's just not feasible to copy it all to a paper system.

    My big issue now is the multitude of electronic of poorly integrated channels, work email, personal email Outlook tasks, Palm tasks etc. I would love to sync my work email with my personal system, but I don't want to upload my personal life to the Exchange server. Data capture just isn't good on a hand held. There is nothing better than a notepad and a pencil, but it isn't integrated into an electronic system. A full keyboard is great, but not portable.

    I'm seriously considering trying an electronic notepad like http://www.acecad.com.tw/dml2.html for data capture. Has anyone used one of these, or something similar? If only it had a small screen and ran a GTD interface it would be the ultimate tool.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by jrdouce View Post
      I'm seriously considering trying an electronic notepad like http://www.acecad.com.tw/dml2.html for data capture. Has anyone used one of these, or something similar? If only it had a small screen and ran a GTD interface it would be the ultimate tool.
      Is the screen of a Pocket PC too small? I use what's called "transcriber mode" on mine to input data. Its a pretty good and pretty fast handwriting recognition input mode.

      I know this is heresy to some but I've pretty much found that the best way to keep all of my electronic input synchronized is to use MS Office. Everything is pretty well integrated, now. The Pocket PC is a portable device that is as good as any Palm you'll find and, of course, its fully compatible with Outlook almost without compromise. OneNote has PPC version, too. I know I sound like a darned MS shill but, relatively speaking, it makes for a pretty comprehensive system depending upon what you want to do.

      In terms of keeping data separate, there's no reason why you can't keep your work email on an Exchange server and use gmail (web interface or pop mail) at home. The mail can certainly be collected and kept in different ost files (the pop mail being kept locally). OneNote is a pretty good, simple organizer which would certainly allow you to keep work notebooks on a portable USB drive while keeping personal notebooks at home.

      Tom S.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by jrdouce View Post
        From personal experience and this forum have convinced me that most of the complexity with which people struggle, on paper or on software, comes from trying to do Project Management within the GTD system.
        Bingo. Flat lists of Next Actions, a separate list of Projects, and a calendar really don't require anything specialized for a particular system. The odds that a developer's idea of proper GTD buckets will map to yours or mine are probably much smaller than is usually assumed when shopping for "solutions." A calendar and a generic list manager, whether paper or electronic, will tend to incur less overhead than GTD apps that are implicitly project management oriented, since it's faster and easier to work with self-defined buckets.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Gameboy70 View Post
          Bingo. Flat lists of Next Actions, a separate list of Projects, and a calendar really don't require anything specialized for a particular system. The odds that a developer's idea of proper GTD buckets will map to yours or mine are probably much smaller than is usually assumed when shopping for "solutions." A calendar and a generic list manager, whether paper or electronic, will tend to incur less overhead than GTD apps that are implicitly project management oriented, since it's faster and easier to work with self-defined buckets.
          Very well said! Progressive lists can be complicated enough. Add 50 sublists and it is easy to get confused.

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          • #20
            I am having somewhat of the same issue with getting the right system tools. I have used a PPC for a couple of years now and have really just caught on to the "simple is best" strategy. I am also using the note taker wallet for some capture items. Capture seems to the most challenging for me now. I cannot choose the one note taking tool and stick with it. I figure it will take me a few more months to refine. I am still excited by my progress so far.

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            • #21
              I've played with tons of the tools, and many of them are very nice (lifebalance, pocketthinker, that mind map thing, the outlook plug in, etc.). And at first they all work very well, then I end up spending a lot of time fiddling with the tool and not really doing the basic GTD steps - which is what i need to focus on. So, I always end up back with vanilla outlook (tasks, calendar, notes) along with VimOutliner for project brainstorming (which saves the notes inside the task as plain text).

              G

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Tom Shannon View Post
                Is the screen of a Pocket PC too small? I use what's called "transcriber mode" on mine to input data. Its a pretty good and pretty fast handwriting recognition input mode.
                Hi Tom, I haven't used a PPC, but I have been using a Palm for years. The only free form writing tool of which I am aware is the note pad, which doesn't hold much and doesn't recognize small writing. I carry a letter sized note pad around the office, so I'm intrigued by the idea of an electronic notebook sized capture tool. I remember that about 10 years ago, a coworker having a CrossPad. It had some OCR issues, but it worked. I'd probably go ahead and make the investment except for the fact that I don't see anyone else using one - and I wonder why?

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by jrdouce View Post
                  Hi Tom, I haven't used a PPC, but I have been using a Palm for years. The only free form writing tool of which I am aware is the note pad, which doesn't hold much and doesn't recognize small writing. I carry a letter sized note pad around the office, so I'm intrigued by the idea of an electronic notebook sized capture tool. I remember that about 10 years ago, a coworker having a CrossPad. It had some OCR issues, but it worked. I'd probably go ahead and make the investment except for the fact that I don't see anyone else using one - and I wonder why?
                  Well, I took a look at the website. I couldn't find anything that indicated a price, so that's an issue. In addition, I noticed that the data is save in two file formats, neither of which I'm familiar with. I couldn't find anything about exporting the data as, for instance, a tiff file.

                  Tom S.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by jrdouce View Post
                    In spite of the fact that I was more successful with GTD on paper, I could not go back. In the mid 90's I could keep it all in a TimeDesign book. Today the bulk of my tasks and communications arrive electronically it's just not feasible to copy it all to a paper system.
                    Then don't.

                    I'm a happy paper user, and have found that the idea that I had to "copy it all to a paper system" was a major misconception. Say I get an email with lots of details about a project, several attachments, and a specific action item. So the action item--one sentence--goes on the appropriate paper context list, and everything else goes in the electronic file for that project. Done. Using a paper system does NOT mean that you can't continue to use a computer for things that computers are good at, like storing and searching huge piles of information. It just means that the very basics of your system--NA and project lists--are captured on paper, with all the simplicity that implies.

                    I think a similar misconception may explain the overwhelming complexity of many GTD-oriented software tools, too. They attempt to, as another poster pointed out, become complete project management solutions, combining the reference, planning, and tracking functions all in one tool. Which is fine if that's what you need, but is a whole lot more difficult (and expensive) to implement or use than plain old NA lists and project lists. It may be counter productive, too, since simply dragging that massive email I mentioned above to my "Tasks" folder doesn't mean that I've actually *processed* it. In an electronic system, it's very easy to just shift files around without really going through the GTD workflow. Yeah, your Inbox may be empty, but you're still overwhelmed by stuff.

                    Katherine

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by kewms View Post
                      Then don't.
                      I think this comment hits on one of the toughest aspects of GTD. There is no one right way to implement David's suggested methodology.

                      I wish there was.

                      Time/Design, Treo, Outlook, Blackberry, Filofax, Moleskine, 3-ring binder, Entourage, Circa, etc. all work.

                      My mind sees so many potential directions with strengths and weaknesses but the key for me is picking one and sticking with it.

                      Until I change of course.

                      Mark

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Mark Jantzen View Post
                        I think this comment hits on one of the toughest aspects of GTD. There is no one right way to implement David's suggested methodology.
                        Yeah, I think we all know that there's no right answer to this question. It depends upon how you get your information and work with it. For someone like me who spends a great deal of time receiving and answering emails and working on electronic documents, paper would be ridiculous. For others, its a totally different story, I'm sure.

                        Tom S.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Mark Jantzen View Post
                          My mind sees so many potential directions with strengths and weaknesses but the key for me is picking one and sticking with it.
                          Mark, I am completely with you on this. There's such a plethora of systems, subsystems, neat hacks, variations, hybrids of GTD with some other clever system, and so on, that my brain reels. I think that I've now disciplined myself sufficiently, though, so I no longer leap from one to another: I've found something that mostly works, and the most I do now is tweak it occasionally.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Tom Shannon View Post
                            Yeah, I think we all know that there's no right answer to this question. It depends upon how you get your information and work with it. For someone like me who spends a great deal of time receiving and answering emails and working on electronic documents, paper would be ridiculous. For others, its a totally different story, I'm sure.
                            Very true. I think a large part of my decision to stay with paper, despite trying a few apps, was that I'm getting old and cranky. In my last job (as a geek) I had to test drive and compare bunches of apps from time to time, and I think that used up all my store of patience. Now I just want something that's immediately obvious that I don't have to think about. Yes, lazy, I know.

                            It might also have something to do with the fact that, in that job, planning, brainstorming, and organising, always happened on a whiteboard. We'd sit in our office, tossing ideas back and forth, writing stuff down and drawing arrows and boxes and whatnots, and eventually come up with the bones of the software that we were going to build. So I guess, now that I think about it, I'm much more accustomed to doing those steps in writing, and since GTD has many of the same aspects as a software development project, I gravitated to paper for my GTD system.

                            I hadn't thought of that until I started typing this post, Tom. Thanks, you've given me an insight.

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                            • #29
                              NextAction

                              The best software that I've found to use with GTD is NextAction--which, interestingly, removes from, rather than adds to, the, native BlackBerry built-in Task Manager app. In other words, the point of the program (for me, anyway), is that it "declutters" the Task Manager app by allowing me to hide categories that are inapplicable to my GTD system. For example, I hide categories like "Christmas list" "Clients" "Family" that are used in the address book, and all I see are the GTD categories. It's amazing how little NextAction does, and yet how useful it is.

                              Now, version 2.0 has added the ability to tie NAs not just to categories, but also to projects. Great idea--but I'm trying to determine if its worth using this feature or whether it just complicates things too much.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by unstuffed View Post
                                Mark, I am completely with you on this. There's such a plethora of systems, subsystems, neat hacks, variations, hybrids of GTD with some other clever system, and so on, that my brain reels. I think that I've now disciplined myself sufficiently, though, so I no longer leap from one to another: I've found something that mostly works, and the most I do now is tweak it occasionally.
                                unstuffed: I am 100% with you. It's taken me a long time (and quite a few $$) to reach this point but I have a system that is simple, that works, and that does not distract me from the "doing" with the all-too seductive distraction of "tweaking". When I get into a chat with someone still in heavy experimentation and tweaking mode and they start challenging some of what my system doesn't do, I just smile a Mona Lisa smile, shrug my shoulders, and say something along the lines of, "I've concluded that is not really that important to my success".

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