Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Newbie - help

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Newbie - help

    Hi everyone,

    Although I've been researching & testing GTD for awhile now, I've not found a system (paper based or electronic) that works completely for me. I am a government admin assistant and am completely behind and overwhelmed due to our office recently going through a restructuring and taking on 2 large capital projects with no additional staff or resources. Although my boss is the primary on these projects, I must ensure that info on these projects is scheduled, recorded and archived and most of this info comes through my e-mail inbox. I also get multiple tasks thrown at me and deal with constant interruptions, so capture devices/solutions must be quick and easy. My main goal is to get myself back on track, but with an inbox filled with over 600 msgs, I need something quick and I don't know where to begin.

    I have read David Allen's books (need to read them again) and one of the systems I found that seemed to work best was collecting all my next actions on small post it notes that I would number and stick on coverstock that was placed where I could view & access it easily. Each number would have a corresponding manilla folder where the paperwork for that action/task was kept.

    This kept my desk clear and everything easily accessible. However as the workload increased, this system (and me) fell apart quickly.

    To try and figure out whether paper or electronic would be better, I've done some researching on the net and believe that the efficiency of paper would be the best. I have an iphone, but due to securities/policy, cannot sync info from/to work and don't have the time to re-record it elsewhere. However I can easily print this info. I have played a bit with Jello and also tried using tasks in Outlook 2007, but since I'm taking stabs at a solution and not fully implementing anything it's obviously not working.

    I posted this here opposed to the 'system' forum because I know I need help with everything and hope there is someone out there that has gone through a similar situation who can help.

    Sorry for the long post and thank you in advance.

  • #2
    No system will reduce your workload.

    No system will reduce your workload. GTD can help you assess when you should say "NO".

    Comment


    • #3
      In a similar situation, I would: print every message in the inbox, and proceed from there.

      Comment


      • #4
        Printing all e-mails?

        Originally posted by Roger View Post
        In a similar situation, I would: print every message in the inbox, and proceed from there.
        Printing all e-mails?

        Isn't printing e-mail messages an unnecessary additional work?

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, yes and no. If you're as dedicated to an all-paper system as I am, I'd call it additional necessary work. I got the sense from the original poster that they might be similarly-dedicated, so I thought I'd recommend it.


          Cheers,
          Roger

          Comment


          • #6
            Hello CK2!

            Smart of you to ask for tips on the Forums.

            I can think of a few resources that would help you sort this out:
            The podcast on The Perfect List Manager (David actually says paper is king)
            The GTD Implementation Guide to make sure you are fully set up.

            There are also loads of resources on GTD Connect about getting started and set up, but the ones above should be a good start.

            Kelly

            Comment


            • #7
              Hybrid System?

              GTD might not solve the volume problem but it could help.

              I would begin with a hybrid system of handwritten lists of projects and next actions that point to the emails that are organized from out of your In Box and into sub folders.

              The idea comes from David describing how in a pinch he would setup a workstation with a stack of paper, a pen, a flat surface and a phone and begin to be productive.

              Start with these email folders underneath In Box:

              Action
              (single emails where the next action is self evident from the content)

              Action Support
              Waiting For Support
              Reference
              Someday/Maybe

              Then create a handwritten Projects list and next actions for the relevant contexts:

              Agendas
              Anywhere
              Calls
              Computer
              Errands
              Home
              Office
              Waiting For
              Someday/Maybe

              Now you’ve got “landing spots” as Meg Edwards calls them for everything coming at you. Now print a copy of the GTD Workflow Diagram and start processing.

              From those 600 emails I’ll bet 10-12 all relate to a single project – e.g. XYZ Meeting. Processing will result in the following:

              Email folder created (under Action Support): XYZ Meeting
              Projects list item written: XYZ Meeting Scheduled
              Computer list item written: Email Joe re: XYZ meeting (Can you meet Thursday?)

              The paper lists of Projects and Next Actions will point you and connect to the appropriate emails and their locations. This hybrid system is easy to create, maintain, do and … foster a Weekly Review.

              Good luck!

              Mark

              Comment


              • #8
                I am against the orthodox "all-paper" or "all-electronic" solutions.

                Originally posted by Roger View Post
                Well, yes and no. If you're as dedicated to an all-paper system as I am, I'd call it additional necessary work. I got the sense from the original poster that they might be similarly-dedicated, so I thought I'd recommend it.
                Unfortunately I cannot agree.

                Printing every message in the inbox, and proceeding from there (as you suggested) is a total waste of time in my opinion.

                I am against the orthodox "all-paper" or "all-electronic" solutions. I think we should be more flexible.

                In the "all-paper" e-mail system we should write e-mails on paper and scan them before sending!

                Comment


                • #9
                  TesTeq my friend...

                  Which iis better?
                  Black or white
                  Dogs or cats
                  Blond or brown hair
                  Blue or green

                  It depends, right? On the person, situation, personal preference, etc.

                  Same thing with paper vs. digital in every situation.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    ck2,

                    When your system fell apart, how consistent were you in doing the weekly review?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Sorry for the delay in responding. Got a wonderful winter virus that was going around and then of course had to catch up for the holidays.

                      Thank you for all of your suggestions. I first thought that printing all of the e-mails would be unnecessary and as some said, not an efficient use of the limited time I have, however using the last few days before Christmas to tackle my inbox at work, I ended up having to print quite a few for archival purposes. Unfortunately I don't believe the paperless society in my office is going to happen anytime soon.

                      I got through about 200 e-mails and will continue to work through until I have a manageable inbox. Then I will start filling in the blanks by getting everything out of my head and into a system. Then I can start categorizing as Mark suggested and go from there. From what I've read and past experience, I believe using both paper & computer will be the best, but until I can get rid of this backlog I won't know for sure.

                      As TesTeq mentioned GTD won't get rid of my workload and I am working on saying no, however a lot of the backlog is due to the large projects before us and limited staff resources - no one else to give it to. I've resigned myself to the fact that I won't be able to do it all, but I do have to track it better.

                      Also, as syrex314 pointed out, my weekly review is pretty much non-existent. I have to set aside time each day to clear my inbox and time each week for review and be consistent with it. I'm having a hard time keeping motivated because once things get 'out of order', I stall because I get overwhelmed.

                      I have read through David's book again. Kelly, is the Implementation Guide a repeat of the steps in David's book(s)? I did listen to the podcast - this information helps, yet I tend to procrastinate by listening/reviewing these tools rather than 'using' them so I'm trying not to look/read too many of these until I can get something done.

                      Thanks again for everyone's suggestions. I have a few more days before I have to go back to work and my goal is to have the inbox cleared and my system basics set up so I can start fresh in the new year.

                      Wish me luck! Happy New Year everyone!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ck2 View Post
                        Kelly, is the Implementation Guide a repeat of the steps in David's book(s)?
                        The concepts are the same as part two of the Getting Things Done book, but the Implementation Guide is the first time they have been detailed out in that way. It's new material in that regard.

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Now you’ve got “landing spots” as Meg Edwards calls them for everything coming at you. Now print a copy of the GTD Workflow Diagram and start processing.
                          From those 600 emails I’ll bet 10-12 all relate to a single project – e.g. XYZ Meeting. Processing will result in the following:
                          Email folder created (under Action Support): XYZ Meeting
                          Projects list item written: XYZ Meeting Scheduled
                          Computer list item written: Email Joe re: XYZ meeting (Can you meet Thursday?)

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X