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  • GTD while traveling?

    Hello all - I'm relatively new to the GTD methodology, but have found it extremely useful and follow it fairly rigourously while at home. However, right now I'm in the middle of a 5-week trip to a different continent, visiting several different cities during the trip. I'm having real trouble staying on top of my inbox and my workflow. Because I'm traveling, I don't have access to many of my organizational tools (file cabinets), and my internet access is sometimes spotty, which makes going through email, even, tricky. But the biggest problem is that because I'm not in a stable location, all the physical reminders I have set up to help keep myself on track (even having a desk with ample space!) just aren't there.

    My basic "inbox" is a spiral-bound notebook: things to do go on a page in the back, and when I go through and process them in some way, they get crossed off and put on the appropriate next action list in the front of the book. This works very well for me at home, but even though I have the physical notebook with me, I'm just not staying on top of things. And with my routine so disrupted, I'm having a lot of trouble using the capture-process method reliably. This morning I realised that I had completely forgotten to write a very important letter to my accountant, for example.

    Advice? This is driving me nuts.

  • #2
    Originally posted by asstprof View Post
    Hello all - I'm relatively new to the GTD methodology, but have found it extremely useful and follow it fairly rigourously while at home. However, right now I'm in the middle of a 5-week trip to a different continent, visiting several different cities during the trip. I'm having real trouble staying on top of my inbox and my workflow. Because I'm traveling, I don't have access to many of my organizational tools (file cabinets), and my internet access is sometimes spotty, which makes going through email, even, tricky. But the biggest problem is that because I'm not in a stable location, all the physical reminders I have set up to help keep myself on track (even having a desk with ample space!) just aren't there.

    My basic "inbox" is a spiral-bound notebook: things to do go on a page in the back, and when I go through and process them in some way, they get crossed off and put on the appropriate next action list in the front of the book. This works very well for me at home, but even though I have the physical notebook with me, I'm just not staying on top of things. And with my routine so disrupted, I'm having a lot of trouble using the capture-process method reliably. This morning I realised that I had completely forgotten to write a very important letter to my accountant, for example.

    Advice? This is driving me nuts.
    All that travel sounds exhilerating/overwhelming!
    It might be a good idea to focus on capture. Absorb and enjoy your experiences and leave the processing to maybe once a week or even for when you get back from your travel.

    Make note of everyone you might have commitments with over the next few weeks and let them know that you are for the most part incommunicado and then commit to catching up with them when you get back.

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    • #3
      It sounds to me as if you have not set yourself up with the necessary tools before starting to travel, and that it might now be to late to catch up with that.

      If you do not have the option to wait with processing, doing and reviewing until you get back to your office, I guess setting up a new parallell "system" could work for you. What things from your office are you missing, and what could you do to replicate that while travelling?

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      • #4
        I don't travel far for work, but I do work at two different offices each week, plus also work sometimes from home, and have also encountered issues with not having my physical files and inbox & desk when I need something.
        First create contexts related to all the different places you could be, but also go electronic as much as possible, and offline preferably to online. I have separate computer and office contexts for example.

        Keep electronic versions - eg my boss gives me some hardcopy calculation sheets related to a project I'm working on. I scan this and put into my electronic project support file and then put the sheets into my hardcopy folder.

        I have my iPhone as my list manager, so I don't need to be connected to email to manage my lists. I have a travel folder with a few dividers in it (inbox, agendas, action support, project support, reference, filing), and also a home folder too. This is usually fairly thin because most of that sort of stuff is electronic on my laptop, so it's only the absolute essential stuff that goes in my travel folder.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mrubenson View Post
          It sounds to me as if you have not set yourself up with the necessary tools before starting to travel, and that it might now be to late to catch up with that.
          You are so right! I think the issue is really psychological, to be honest: being in a dislocated physical space makes me more likely to be disorganised mentally. What I'm really missing is the feeling of mental clarity that comes from having a well-working system, where to-dos are externalised instead of taking up room in my head.

          I had not thought in advance about what changes I would need to make to my system to have it work on the road, and this is why I've run into trouble. The system I have at home works well for me -- I like being primarily paper-based. So I don't want to change that radically. But I do need a different system or methodology while I'm traveling!

          For this trip I think I'm going to focus on capture as manuelhe suggested, and maybe buy one (slim) accordian-file folder to be able to keep some papers organised. And I'll think before the next trip about a more proactive system. And I'll try to make sure I scan my capture list regularly so that more important things don't fall through the cracks.

          Thanks, folks! This has been helpful.

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