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Action List Categories? Trying GTD again for second time. Questions?

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  • Action List Categories? Trying GTD again for second time. Questions?

    I tried my hand at GTD a few years ago and have fallen away from it. I really want to get back in the swing of the GTD process. I think part of the reason I failed before was that I was keeping my action lists on my Palm and there were some action lists I never actually checked often. Since migrating away from GTD process, I have been using a letter sized paper planner called a Planner Pad. I do like being able to see all my different lists and week’s appointments at a glance. I think my downfall last time was that I had too many different action lists. Right now my list categories have been not very GTD oriented. Marketing. Business, Home, Personal, Financial, Spouse, Kids. I can have 7 categories in my planner. If you want a better idea of how the planner looks like:

    https://plannerpads.com/concept.asp

    What are your Action lists?

    I work as both a partner and employee of my business I own with my husband and marketing is something we need to focus on right now. I also a wife and mother and have a household to run.

    Any suggestions for my action list categories?

    I still need to figure out what I am going to use for my project planning and my note taking on the go. I still have my Treo, but it is cumbersome for taking quick notes and I am planning on replacing it in a few months. My paper planner is letter sized, so not very portable.

    Any hints or suggestions would be appreciated!

  • #2
    You need as many as you need but as few as you can get by with.

    I suggest you start with the basic default GTD list and work with it for a few weeks. After a while you'll start to notice whether or not you really need additional contexts. You want to avoid having too many contexts because you won't be sure where actions belong.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Amy

      Have you looked at this setup guide??? Itīs a guide that walk you throw a setup of a paper planner. Itīs really good stuff to read. I used it myself...

      https://secure.davidco.com/store/cat...ER-p-16162.php



      And as ellobogrande says....


      I suggest you start with the basic default GTD list and work with it for a few weeks. After a while you'll start to notice whether or not you really need additional contexts. You want to avoid having too many contexts because you won't be sure where actions belong.
      let the system grow under the time you are using it... keep it simple and "light" so itīs easy to add stuff in the system or lets you quickly find what you are looking for...


      Best regards and good luck with the tweaking of your paper planner....

      Comment


      • #4
        Perhaps I have misunderstood, but it seems you have used your categories "Marketing. Business, Home, Personal, Financial, Spouse, Kids" as contexts - I would call these categories Areas of Focus rather than physical locations to get things done. For example, things to do for your finances might be done @bank, @internet, @work etc. I agree with the previous posters that starting again using the GTD set up tools and guides might help.

        As for having lists that you don't check often enough, setting an alarm on your phone or computer to check those lists might help, at least until the habit becomes ingrained.

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        • #5
          They are Areas of Focus not contexts.
          My contexts are - Network (my work computer), Office, Chats, Waiting For, Agendas, WTP (a work field site office), Internet, Study (my home office), Errands, Home, Garden.

          Comment


          • #6
            I guess maybe I didn't make that clear. I know my lists I had in my planner were not really compatible with the GTD concept. I had strayed from GTD for a few years and I was trying some different things along the way. Thanks for the suggestion of the setup guide. I downloaded it and read it. I am thinking of using these basic action lists for now:

            Office, Computer, Phone, Home, Errands, Anywhere, Kids

            The kids is for stuff I want to do with DS. I don't want forget the things I want to be doing and focusing on with him. Then down the one side of my weekly pages I have note sections I will use for Agendas (mainly DH - my partner at work and home) and a Waiting forlist. For now I am thinking I will stick to paper for project planning and everything else. I am going to have to replace both my tablet computer and Treo with a smart phone soon, maybe after that point I will start using a combo of computer and paper. I don't know. I seem to stay focused on my tasks and appointments better when I can see the big weekly picture in my paper planner. I don't want to complicate things or waste time figuring out the perfect system. I am using the planner I have for now and I will use a folder with my other papers and then maybe switch to a thin notebook for the other project planning pages, etc. I figure my time is better spent reviewing my GTD book and re-listening to Ready for Anything audio book. Than searching for the perfect system.

            I think where I went wrong last time. I let some actions on my next action lists that should have stayed on my project list or someday maybe list. I think I had too many different action lists and I let them get too long, so I would tend to start tuning out the lists or ignoring some of them, and it was easier to tune out on my Palm.

            I am just going to jump back and get started, while reviewing the GTD books.

            Comment


            • #7
              you may run out of spaces for n/as

              Different sizes of planner pads have a different number of lines in the top third. I think 10 or 12 in the largest. In the course of a week I have 40 @ phone and more for @computer. @adgenda can get very long for people I interact with infrequently., plus I have 10 people for whom I build @adgenda lists and then there are others who are listed ad lib. I think non-calendared n/as need to be able to go on and on (within reason).

              I am guessing you will use the middle third for date-specific actions and these may be fewer. What I love about Planner pad is the space for the day specific actions in that they are associated with calendar but not clogging it up.

              What about having a separate n/a notebook or binder?

              You might find the posts by Bob the Diplomat in Libya useful to peruse--he uses an eraser. His system is amazing.

              Would love to hear about your GTD system in progress.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think for me I have to limit how many next actions I allow on my action lists. Between work and home 80-90% of my day is crisis management at work or day to day routines at home. My husband and I own our own medical practice. Most of our days are spent seeing and treating patients and dealing with the paperwork that is generated treating patients. There is very little time to focus on other business tasks and projects. If I move too many next actions from my project planning pages, it is not realistic and it is distracting.

                I think for a lot of different professions a planner like mine wouldn't be able to accommodate all the next actions someone would need in their line of work.

                I am very visually oriented. So, I have gone from paper planner to Palm and back again for planning. I like seeing the big picture in the planner I have now. I may tweak my system over time. I do plan on a separate little thin binder to hold my other planning pages, since my planning is wire bound planner. But, I just want to keep things simple for now and focus on actually getting back into the GTD process.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Successful GTD implementation requires some time.

                  Originally posted by Amy View Post
                  Most of our days are spent seeing and treating patients and dealing with the paperwork that is generated treating patients. There is very little time to focus on other business tasks and projects.
                  Successful GTD implementation requires some time for processing, organizing and reviewing. If your time is fully utilized it is not possible to maintain healthy GTD system.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                    If your time is fully utilized it is not possible to maintain healthy GTD system.
                    Great point. If you don't take the time to collect, process, organize and review your GTD system will be rendered obsolete and useless in a very short time. You'll be in constant crisis mode, dealing with what's latest and loudest without any thought to the really important things in your life.

                    Another way to put it: You'll be caught in the perpetual cycle of being too busy with fires and crises to handle the "Quadrant 2" (important but not urgent) things in your life, but the fires and crises are generated by those "Quadrant 2" things falling through the cracks.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I know that GTD does take some time to process all the inputs and for review to maintain the system. I am well aware of that. Not taking the time to plan is not really an option. I don't get what you both are getting at. Are you implying "Why get back into GTD if you are so busy?"

                      Not planning would mean, running in full crisis mode all the time. I already do plan and set goals. I need to do a better job managing projects and managing my action lists. Action list that are too long are not realistic. We simple don't have the financial and time resources to act on all potential projects and their next actions at any one time. So, I can only move a certain number of next actions to my action lists at any one time anyway. So, choosing the projects and actions that have the greatest current value only makes sense. The nature of my job means that I am reacting to the needs of my patients most of the day, not acting off my list of next actions all day. That will never change. That is the nature of practicing medicine. I don't get a free pass not to move other important projects forward. We still have a business and home to run.

                      I need to make sure the time I have is utilized most effectively. Over the course of the next few months I should have a little more time to get some things done. Right now we are understaffed at our office and we have projects to put in place that should save DH and I time during the day. Time we could put toward administrative business responsibilities and projects to grow the practice. But, those projects take considerable time and money to implement. We do have more available time on weekends, but that is split between catching up on work & home tasks and family time.

                      I really don't think that someone in a crisis driven job needs to plan any less than someone in a more self directed profession. In my opinion, the only difference I see is that someone in a reactive job needs to be more choosy about what they allow from their someday maybe list and project list onto their next actions list. And, they need to be choosy about the number of and which commitments and projects they take on.
                      Last edited by Amy; 06-17-2011, 03:10 PM.

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