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  • "Active Reference" and a few clarifying questions

    Hello,
    I've been trying out GTD for the last few weeks, and I have run into a few snags. Whenever I do, I always start to muddy the water with extra lists, contexts, etc., making it too specific and inconvenient.

    My contexts are always @place1, @place2, etc., and my action types are the following ( i use tokens because I use evernote):
    !Next Action
    !Project
    !Someday
    !Delegated

    1. I also had !Waiting, but I think waiting might be more of a context (@waiting)
    2. I have a hard time determining !delegated or !waiting (usually i use this to mean I can't do a task yet, and am waiting to do it, but as such it could be seen as "!delayed" rather than !waiting.
    3. I am having issues with filing. I have a lot of general reference material that i have in A-Z format in one location. I also have stuff that I want to read, like an article that I clip for later. I can't decide where to put it. If i file it, I have to make a !Next action to read it. I also have ongoing documents that are not actions, but I don't want to file them away as I need to work on them. I created a folder called "Active Reference" for these types of thing, and also checklists, driving directions, etc. Is Active Reference used by anyone else? How do other people relate referene to someday/maybe and the rest of GTD?

    Thanks,
    Black.Rhino

  • #2
    You can do this, of course, but it's a bit risky. The main risk here is: why don't I want to file this? It often tends to point towards a filing system that isn't as efficient or convenient as it needs to be. Not always, but often.

    Also, if you're feeling even the slightest disinclination towards creating a Next Action item, that's also not a good sign. You're going to be handling dozens, maybe hundreds, a day. The smallest aggravation here adds up quickly.



    Cheers,
    Roger

    Comment


    • #3
      your Active Reference would be called @READ REVIEW by most others.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Black.Rhino,

        I also had !Waiting, but I think waiting might be more of a context (@waiting)
        I certainly use Waiting For as a context, then check that these are linked with my projects during the weekly review - I don't tend to worry about them at other times. When I tick off things that come in, it prompts me to either create the next action or check the project/project support material for where to go next.

        I have a hard time determining !delegated or !waiting (usually i use this to mean I can't do a task yet, and am waiting to do it, but as such it could be seen as "!delayed" rather than !waiting.
        Waiting for should really only be used for tasks that you cannot do because you are waiting for someone else to complete something. Otherwise, it should really be a next action - an action that has been deferred to your lists to be done when you have the time to do it. If you feel that the item does not need to be done yet, you could put it on Someday/Maybe, or create a note in your calendar to reactivate it on the right day. I have a number of meetings that require a call for agenda items two weeks before the meeting - I don't want to call for items too early, but I don't want to forget either so it goes in my calendar as an "event" for a day two weeks before the meeting to remind me.

        I also have stuff that I want to read, like an article that I clip for later. I can't decide where to put it.
        This is definitely a read/review context. I keep mine in a folder on my desk with books that I refer to regularly. I then use a trigger in the weekly review (every 2-3 weeks) so that I don't forget about it.

        I also have ongoing documents that are not actions, but I don't want to file them away as I need to work on them. I created a folder called "Active Reference" for these types of thing, and also checklists, driving directions, etc. Is Active Reference used by anyone else? How do other people relate referene to someday/maybe and the rest of GTD?
        This sounds like either Action Support Material, or Project Support Material. For these types of documents I use a hot file on my desk so that I can quickly access the information without going into a filing cabinet, but can also keep it tidy. When a project is complete, I simply move the file from my hot file area into the filing cabinet.

        I hope that this is helpful to you. Best of luck with refining your system and let us know how you get on.

        Sarah

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for all the tips! I have a few more reference related questions:
          I am using evernote, but that is not necessarily applicable to my questions.

          1. When KISS filing in A-Z, i find myself labelling things into categories. For example, i have a lot of saved GTD articles, and they are all labelled GTD - "article name". Or Invoice - "name", Fishing - "name", etc. Does this go against the GTD filing principles, and if so, what is the recommended way to name my files and information?
          2. Sometimes i think of something like an idea (eg. a quote I come up with or hear), or something to remember, (eg: "Oh hey that person is allergic to nuts). Do things like that go into reference? They aren't really deep storage items, but I am unsure what should go on Someday/Maybe. Is someday/maybe generally seen as an action, a context, or reference list?

          Thanks again for all the tips!

          Comment


          • #6
            The only criteria for filing is how easy it is to file something and how easy it is to find it. Your first inclination about such things is often correct. There's probably more of a tendency to overbuild the system here than to underbuild it.

            Protip: If you find yourself looking in the wrong spot half the time for something, you can always put in a file like "'Name' -- see Fishing, 'Name'".


            Is someday/maybe generally seen as an action, a context, or reference list?
            It varies somewhat between individuals, but I'll give you my take on it.

            'Someday/Maybe' is a place for 'I do not have any commitment to this' things. It's a bit weird, because GTD is primarily concerned with managing commitments.

            It's the realm of possibilities -- these things could be projects, or could be next actions. But I haven't decided that they will be projects, because then they'd be in the Projects list and have some Next Actions. But I also haven't decided that they won't be projects, because then they'd just be in the Trash. They are being held in abeyance.

            So, for me anyway, I wouldn't put things like an interesting quote or piece of trivia into Someday/Maybe. They're quite strictly Reference items, which really just means that someday maybe I might want to refer to them -- just like everything else in Reference.



            Cheers,
            Roger

            Comment


            • #7
              I use a similar system

              and it works pretty well (see http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthr...nd-AppiGo-ToDo for details)

              I generally keep "active references" in a "_support" stack in Evernote.

              One problem I'm running into is segregating two forms of reference: articles I've clipped from logs of my activities. For example, I'm trying to use "deliberate practice" methodology (very powerful!) to improve skill in a few areas, and so clip articles on deliberate practice methods. At the same time, I actually use Evernote for deliberate practice. All of the above is tagged with "practice" and tossed into reference, but if I want to review the articles I've clipped I end up wading through my own practice logs.

              Maybe I should just tag my logs with "log"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by gtk View Post
                Maybe I should just tag my logs with "log"
                IMHO you should tag your logs with a unique word that cannot possibly occur elsewhere, i.e. [logsrctc] or logs_prc or something like that.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cpu_Modern View Post
                  IMHO you should tag your logs with a unique word that cannot possibly occur elsewhere, i.e. [logsrctc] or logs_prc or something like that.
                  I guess that's a philosophical issue, isn't it? Whether to use multiple tags ("practice" + "logs") or individual tags with a lot of specificity ("logs_prc")

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gtk View Post
                    I guess that's a philosophical issue, isn't it? Whether to use multiple tags ("practice" + "logs") or individual tags with a lot of specificity ("logs_prc")
                    Maybe it is philosophical, I don't know about that, but I meant it from a pure practical standpoint. If you use unique terms like I suggested, then you will be able to search for that exact term whitout getting results back for items where you just used the normal english words. For instance you may have saved an article that speaks about the 'practice' of a famous musician. You saved this article for a reason totally unrelated to the problem at hand. But now it comes up in your search results for 'practice' muddled togther with all the legitimate hits. If you use unique strings that cannot possibly be used for any other reason, you avoid that kind of problem.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cpu_Modern View Post
                      Maybe it is philosophical, I don't know about that, but I meant it from a pure practical standpoint. If you use unique terms like I suggested, then you will be able to search for that exact term whitout getting results back for items where you just used the normal english words.
                      OTOH will you remember what unique tag you used day, weeks, months or years in the future when you actually need to get to those items?

                      That's why I've never been a fan of tagging. If you use ordinary words as tags you will get a lot of false positive hits when you search. If you use unique terms you have trouble remembering them.

                      In the long run it's do what works for you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                        OTOH will you remember what unique tag you used day, weeks, months or years in the future when you actually need to get to those items?

                        That's why I've never been a fan of tagging. If you use ordinary words as tags you will get a lot of false positive hits when you search. If you use unique terms you have trouble remembering them.
                        The reasoning in your first sentence is why I prefer common terms to unique ones. They also give you the benefit of re-use, such as other forms of logs.

                        With common terms, what one has to remember, instead, are the combinations of tags that are useful in searches. What I've settled on is a set of saved searches for finding common groups of tags, to ensure specificity in retrieval, and a template system to create notes with common groups of tags, to ensure consistency in creation. To some extent, this allows me to get the best of both worlds. I'm looking at some AppleScript to extend it further.

                        As for not liking tags, I don't know what a better alternative.

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