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GTD & Projects - Binder Usage Questions

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  • GTD & Projects - Binder Usage Questions

    I've read 2 of David's books and found them extremely valuable. However, I'm trying to figure out some of the details as to how to apply GTD approach to my world of managing a series of large complex, multi-year construction projects. This includes managing and directing a varied team of people; in-house (my staff) and 'out-house' (myriad of consultants..), and dealing with state and local agencies, etc.

    Some days I feel quite overwhelmed with all the long list of things that need to be addressed and some days on top of things...trying to smooth out the ups and downs using GTD...

    Spend lots of time during my workweek in various types of meetings with varied mix of people.

    I understand the overall 'big picture' and roadmap of how each of the projects will rollout over the next 3-5 years. Use the standard industry tools for this; MS Project, Primavera, etc...so, can literally see the projects in GANTT chart format with critical path(s) identified.

    My dilemma is how to 'stay on top' of the long list of tasks that need to be done on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

    I've converted my nice leather Classic size FC binder to the GTD setup suggested by David Allen. In addition to the 8 section tabs on the side edge of the binder, I've added several context tabs (@office, @phone, etc...) across the top in the Actions List section.

    So, while the binder is all set, I do have some confusion regarding where to put certain items that I need. Hoping that some kind GTD'rs here will straighten me out...

    Meeting Notes

    Where do you put meeting notes?

    I go to lots of meetings and need to record the meeting hi-lites, decisions, and action items.

    Here's the types of meetings I go to:

    A. Project Meetings

    - 6 separate projects make up the overall project strategy. There are meetings for each of these projects.

    - Two of these projects have several sub-projects. There are meetings for each of the sub-projects.

    - Some meetings are with 'design team'; my project managers, myself, consultants, and contractor.

    - Some meetings are with design team and state and/or local agencies.

    - Meetings are in various forms; conference calls, in-person, webex, etc....

    B. Leadership Meetings

    - Monthly meetings with local leadership group at site where projects are located. I report out on project status as well as get input on certain issues.

    - Monthly meetings with the regional leadership group at company headquarters to report out on project status and get input on issues.

    - Monthly 1:1 with local leader of campus where projects are at.

    C. Team/Staff Meetings

    - Monthly Team meeting with all my staff.

    - Weekly 1:1 meetings with key staff.

    There are other meetings, but these are main meetings that occur regularly.

    As a result of all these meetings, there are lots of decisions, action items, follow-ups to do on a constant basis.

    Several days a week I have back-to-back meetings most of the day or all day. Other days I have time in my office to try and take care of tasks that came up in meetings or do other things that need attending to.

    For various reasons, including legal since construction is involved, I need to track the meetings, so, lots of meeting notes.....

    I think I understand how to use the binder tabbed sections:

    - Notes/In (collection area of tasks...)
    - Calendar (Appts, Mtgs, Work on Specific Tasks)
    - Action Lists (tasks by context)
    - Agendas (items to discuss with staff, etc, by person)
    - Contacts (address book...)

    But I'm not as clear as to what to do with the sections:

    Projects/Goals

    I know what my list of projects is, their scope, schedule, and budget. So, is this section just meant for me to include this info there?


    Project Plans/Notes

    Given my work as described above, what would I put here?

    Is this where all my meeting notes go?


    Reference/Misc Info

    What types of info would go here given my work?


    Thanks for any and all input. It is greatly appreciated!

    Mark

  • #2
    Consider your binder as a temporary storage place for lots of these things.

    Meeting notes - go first into the inbox, then type them up, issue to people, add next actions to your action lists. Then once processed you can put them into storage - if you like keeping hardcopies make a folder, otherwise if you store electronic you can trash the hardcopy. I like to take the previous meeting notes to the next meeting, so before going to a meeting I would retrieve the hardcopy minutes/notes and put them in my folder under @agendas. Then after the meeting they would go back into storage. (I don't like to carry too much around, the folder can get too bulky if you do).

    Projects/Goals - if you already know this and have it detailed elsewhere don't feel like you have to fill it. Put project support info in there - eg print outs of essential gantt charts or any other support material that is useful to have on hand at a meeting or out in the field.

    Reference - I only carry a few things, I have 3 essential maps of the plant I work for and two process flow diagrams. Again, these are only key documents that I find useful to pull out when having a discussion and people have questions. Don't try to store too much.

    Comment


    • #3
      Suelin23,

      THANKS for all your thoughts and suggestions. Very helpful!

      You make some great points about thinking of binder as a 'temporary portable storage device'....I've tended to fill up binder with paper (mainly notes...) until it's full and then pull out enough paper to be able to reload it with new blank sheets....

      And good points about use of Projects and Reference sections...

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Suelin23 View Post
        Consider your binder as a temporary storage place for lots of these things.

        Meeting notes - go first into the inbox, then type them up, issue to people, add next actions to your action lists. Then once processed you can put them into storage - if you like keeping hardcopies make a folder, otherwise if you store electronic you can trash the hardcopy. I like to take the previous meeting notes to the next meeting, so before going to a meeting I would retrieve the hardcopy minutes/notes and put them in my folder under @agendas. Then after the meeting they would go back into storage. (I don't like to carry too much around, the folder can get too bulky if you do).

        Projects/Goals - if you already know this and have it detailed elsewhere don't feel like you have to fill it. Put project support info in there - eg print outs of essential gantt charts or any other support material that is useful to have on hand at a meeting or out in the field.

        Reference - I only carry a few things, I have 3 essential maps of the plant I work for and two process flow diagrams. Again, these are only key documents that I find useful to pull out when having a discussion and people have questions. Don't try to store too much.

        Thanks for your tips and suggestions. They helped me too!

        Comment

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