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  • OMG! Am I Actually GTD!

    Hello all,
    I couldn't wait to come & tell my story! I have been a fan of GTD for quite some time. Though I consider myself very intelligent, I could not get an understanding of GTD! Each time I tried to read it, it was like a foreign language! Countless times I've googled for information on GTD. Though I found summaries & brief tutorials, it still was like Greek. I've also tried the Covey system; spent lots of money on paper planners-DayTimer, DayRunner, Mead, At-a-Glance, Outlink.... and found that I was just not getting the most out of them. So, I was sitting here today, frustrated because of all the things that I need to get done and not accomplishing anything, I went on YouTube trying to seek some sort of help. Most turned out to be project managers, people with businesses, etc. Then it dawned on me, okay, the paper planner system is not working for me because I do am not a manager and have no meetings that I must attend nor people I must contact to do any type of business with! Therefore that "pre-printed 8-5" structure was completely useless for me! I couldn't see that my need for organization begins when I LEAVE my job! So, a few minutes ago, I grabbed a piece of paper from the printer, folding it until i had 5 columns. At the top of each column i wrote, @Computer, @School, @Phone, @Shopping, @Ministry.... then I wrote each thing that I needed to do for each category. (Which is what i absolutely LOVED about PlannerPad but it was just too heavy to carry with me everyday) The area I was most overwhelmed in was @Ministry. I am a teacher and am working on putting together a group of study guides. I have started six and have completed none. I took several sheets of lined paper and wrote the name of each study guide at the top and began to list the things I needed to do to complete each one. Then I chose the earliest book to start on first, and I made a folder and put the others in. I instantly felt a sense of relief! Though they are not complete, I can now "see" them being completed! While I am sure I'm not following David's rules completely.... but am i anywhere close to GTD by the book???!!!
    Last edited by eLady; 10-29-2011, 09:34 PM. Reason: typo

  • #2
    Originally posted by eLady View Post
    Hello all,
    I am sure I'm not following David's rules completely.... but am i anywhere close to GTD by the book???!!!
    Yup! You've discovered the best part of GTD. It's NOT about the tool, it's about the methodology. So instead of trying to make your life fit into someone else's idea of the "right tool", ( "pre-printed 8-5" structure) you design the tool to fit your life. No tool will "get you organized", but learning and implementing the GTD thought process will give you the power to be in control.

    My suggestion for the time being is to stop googling GTD, and re-read the book. With your new perspective and understanding, it probably won't be Greek anymore. If you still have difficulty, try getting it in audio book format. It's available on Amazon or Audible and some libraries carry it as well. Reading about too many different people's viewpoints and systems can sometimes muddy the waters so that we lose the simplicity of the process. Page 120 shows the workflow diagram which really sums it all up on one page.

    I'm sure others here will have comments and suggestions as well, and these forums are a great resource. Keep us posted about how it's going.
    Cheers,
    Laura

    Comment


    • #3
      My struggle

      I struggled with the book too. It wasn't that I didn't understand it, I just didn't have that much time to read and I found it a bit dry, to be honest.

      I don't know what your financial situation is, but the thing that really made GTD click for me was to purchase the cds of the Live seminar. Although it's a slightly different product now, it's still worth it (it's called "GTD Live"). Or go to a public seminar if that's possible. They also sell an inexpensive implementation guide to help you get up and running in no time.

      And remember: it's a journey. Most people probably take between a year and 18 months to fully implement GTD. But you must fully understand it first. Customizing it to fit YOUR life is what it's all about. Good luck!

      Comment


      • #4
        Do not confuse Areas of Focus with @contexts.

        Originally posted by eLady View Post
        So, a few minutes ago, I grabbed a piece of paper from the printer, folding it until i had 5 columns. At the top of each column i wrote, @Computer, @School, @Phone, @Shopping, @Ministry.... then I wrote each thing that I needed to do for each category.
        (...)
        While I am sure I'm not following David's rules completely.... but am i anywhere close to GTD by the book???!!!
        Great but do not confuse Areas of Focus that you've identified with @contexts.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
          Great but do not confuse Areas of Focus that you've identified with @contexts.
          Can you please elaborate? Thank you

          Comment


          • #6
            area of focus vs context

            An area of focus is sort like a part of your job description, only think about your whole life, unless you are only GTDing a part of it. . Just beak it down in a intuitive way.You could think about it as areas of responsibility and satisfaction. If it isn't working you can re-do it.

            A context is a place, a tool, a state of mind--whatever works for you, that you can only do certain actions in, at, with or from. Or, that helps you organize your activities so you can do them more easily. Too many contexts, means too many lists and you will make yourself crazy.

            It takes a while to find what works for you. When you define either and put them forth for someone to look at, you might be surprised at how easily an uninvolved person sees that you have too many, too few, or some lack of clarity.

            Comment


            • #7
              Very simple example.

              Originally posted by eLady View Post
              Can you please elaborate? Thank you
              For (very simple) example I can have "Give a "Using Twitter" presentation" as a school assignment.

              This is a Project within my "School" Area fo Focus.

              But to complete the project I have to:
              1) Check some Twitter functions that I rarely use (@Internet context).
              2) Prepare slides (@Computer context).
              3) Check classroom equipment (@School context).
              4) Give presentation (@School context).

              Your "School" Area of Focus is not your @School context.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi eLady,

                Congratulations! It sounds like you done a great job of setting up a system that works for you.

                In terms of your question, I find the best way to think about this is:
                Areas of Focus: areas your maintain
                Contexts: areas in which you can do

                Areas of Focus are things that you want to maintain, but you can never actually finish eg. health, parenting.

                Within those areas you will have projects that you want to work on that you can finish eg. Improve health by going to the gym twice a week.

                A next action for this might be:
                - "research which gym would be the best to fit with my schedule" or
                - "ask X which gym they go to"

                These next actions would be placed in your context lists:
                - the first might be on your computer list or internet list
                - the second would go on an agenda list for that particular person

                I hope that this helps to illustrate the difference.

                Good luck!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by eLady View Post
                  So, a few minutes ago, I grabbed a piece of paper from the printer, folding it until i had 5 columns. At the top of each column i wrote, @Computer, @School, @Phone, @Shopping, @Ministry.... then I wrote each thing that I needed to do for each category.
                  Good start!

                  But I agree with TesTeq that you've mixed up areas of focus with contexts.

                  Of the things you mentioned I'd call @phone @computer and @shopping contexts but @school and @ministry would be areas of focus.

                  An area of focus is a general category of things you maintain. A context is the necessary place or tool you need to do individual actions.

                  So I have an area of focus called Manage Our Farm Sustainably and additional focus areas for Sheep Flock, Horses, Orchard, Poultry but contexts of @Outside with Help, @Red Barn, @Outside by Myself and so on.

                  Does that help?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well done - great to hear you are 'getting' it! I'd certainly agree with the second reply - it takes time to fully implement GTD. I'm still certainly refining it for myself, and on my journey I've gone down paths that have been dead ends in terms of applying it effectively. I'd say most of these are where I've tried a new tool or modification of a tool, which has invariably overcomplicated my process. The most important thing once you have the 'a ha' moment on the methodology is to have a system that is as simple as you can make it, but as detailed as it needs to be to properly manage yourself. The more complexity you build, the more risk it will fall over.

                    Good luck!

                    Comment

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