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Areas of Focus Reference

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  • Areas of Focus Reference

    When I open my area of focus "A" folder, should I have projects in there or reference material or both? How do I phrase a goal so it is not a project or responsibility, and are goals above aofs or under?

    Does gtd encourage ideas to go into someday/maybe, or their own list? Or reference? Example, i thought of a nice color scheme for a room. Reference list? Action list? Off of that, does anyone else leave reference items in a context list to act like a location based ticker? Eg, i am at computer and i see a note in @computer that says keyboard shortcuts for a new program. I would have forgotten to use them if they were in reference.

    OK that's enough. I really appreciate the help here, it is revolutionary for my work.

  • #2
    Strictly GTD style reference should be stored separately. For example, I have two areas of focus, Emissions and Mixing Zone. Both of these have to meet specific EPA licence provisions. Our site EPA licence is filed under reference, it actually applies to both areas of focus.
    However I find it saves time if I have a copy of the mixing zone requirements (a few paragraphs) stored in the Mixing zone area of focus plan, and same with emissions. The EPA licence is 25 pages long, and having only the stuff relevant to the area of focus is a bit of a time saver. I only really do this for 'essential reference', stuff I refer to so frequently it's really AOF support material.

    Nice colour scheme for a room - depends on what you think it is. If you have a project to redecorate a room or the house, this could be project support. If you don't, but are thinking of having such a project, it would be someday/maybe. Or if you're not really planning to redecorate but it's such a great scheme you want to capture it, put it into reference.

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    • #3
      Keyboard shortcuts

      For the keyboard shortcuts you might create a repeating task such as Use keyboard short cuts in XYZ program today. It could then be something that would be there each day to remind you until you were comfortable that they were second nature.

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      • #4
        When I open my area of focus "A" folder, should I have projects in there or reference material or both?
        I don't really have a folder for my Areas of Focus - I have a list of them on a mindmap and projects that relate to each area. Information relating to each of the projects goes in a file relating to them. Reference material is in a straight A-Z filing system.

        How do I phrase a goal so it is not a project or responsibility, and are goals above aofs or under?
        Goals are generally at the 30,000 ft level, so they would be above Areas of Focus. DA suggests that goals are a vision for the next 1-2 years or so. It really depends how you like to see your goals - some people use a mindmap, others are happy to use phrases etc.

        Does gtd encourage ideas to go into someday/maybe, or their own list? Or reference? Example, i thought of a nice color scheme for a room. Reference list? Action list?
        I'd put ideas into someday/maybe unless I want to make an immediate project. For the room idea, I have a file called "decorating ideas" and when I decide I want to redecorate a room I take a look at it as part of the "what do I want to do with the room" phase of the project.

        Off of that, does anyone else leave reference items in a context list to act like a location based ticker? Eg, i am at computer and i see a note in @computer that says keyboard shortcuts for a new program. I would have forgotten to use them if they were in reference.
        Not sure on this one. I tend to put things like that on a noticeboard that is to the left of my computer... If having a note in @computer is a good way to remind yourself then carry on with it. Mould your system to how you work to get the best out of it.

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        • #5
          When I open my area of focus "A" folder, should I have projects in there or reference material or both?
          One of the problems with folders is that itís not easy to put something in two places. If you put your projects into AOF folders, what happens when you have a project that applies to more than one AOF? In Windows you can use shortcuts, and on Mac you can use aliases, to make it appear like one thing is in multiple places but it doesnít always work that well. So you should only really use folders to structure things when stuff divides pretty cleanly into them. Getting that right can involve a fair bit of fiddling

          All that said, personally I do put both projects and reference material under AOF.

          The same problem exists with reference/support (nonactionable) material. But generally, if I have a piece of nonactionable stuff that relates to just one project, I put it in that projectís folder. If I have a piece of nonactionable stuff that relates to a whole AOF I put it in the AOF folder under "ref" to make sure it doesnít look like a project. And then I have folders for general "ideas", "records", and "knowledge" broken down into topics. This might seem pretty heavy-weight to other people on this forum but Iíve found I have a personal need for pretty precise categorization. Itís just an example of how far you can go.

          How do I phrase a goal so it is not a project or responsibility, and are goals above aofs or under?
          Depends on the goal. Goal is just another word for something you want to achieve. A goal could be cooking dinner in the next 50 minutes. If, by goals, you meant major life goals then those are probably above focus areas. To some extent, they might define your focus areas. Or, if they donít yet, they may in the future.

          Responsibilities are something different: these arenít things you want to achieve but things you need to watch to see if they have any projects or next actions attached, then those become things you want to achieve.

          Does gtd encourage ideas to go into someday/maybe, or their own list? Or reference?
          Really depends on the idea. An idea is just input. You need to decide what you want to do about the idea. Maybe you just want to hold that idea some where and add a whole load of other ideas to it so you can compare them against one another and decide which you like and which you donít. Then you can formulate some projects and next actions from that brainstorm.

          Example, i thought of a nice color scheme for a room.
          You have to decide what the next action is there. Do you love the idea? Do you want to talk to someone else about it, to see if they like the idea? Do you want to park it and to see if there are better ideas? Maybe itís brilliant and youíre going to go down the store right now and get the paints.

          Action list?
          An idea should never go on an action list. Itís input, not a clarified action.

          Off of that, does anyone else leave reference items in a context list to act like a location based ticker? Eg, i am at computer and i see a note in @computer that says keyboard shortcuts for a new program. I would have forgotten to use them if they were in reference.
          You might want to think of the keyboard shortcuts not so much as reference material, which you would go out of your way to find, but as a checklist for computer best practice. If you think of it that way then Iíve got the same problem as you: http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthr...-at-checklists I think using a context list as a place to trigger checklist material is probably a pretty good idea. I know David Allen says to come up with ďtricksĒ for this stuff so I think anything that works is probably permitted. Just make sure you donít go numb to it. That might mean limiting the number of keyboard shortcuts on there to 5 or so. Just the ones you donít already use.

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