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  • Routines--When?

    If you use a checklist for routines separate from your calendar and action list. When do you check it? How do you integrate it?

    DA says he checks his calendar first, then action lists. It seems like routines sort of fall in between.

    So you'd go calendar-->routines-->action list

    Of course, some routine or recurring items could go on your calendar.

    I've said before but I'll say it again, it seems like DA is not very clear about integrating routines/structure with projects/actions. Not everything is a project or needs to be done at specific time. Seems like we need a couple more categories (and some ideas on how to integrate).

    EO

  • #2
    Originally posted by ero213 View Post
    I've said before but I'll say it again, it seems like DA is not very clear about integrating routines/structure with projects/actions. Not everything is a project or needs to be done at specific time. Seems like we need a couple more categories (and some ideas on how to integrate).
    Yep, that's an interesting thought. I would have to say that routines are still projects, or one-step actions. My routines are mostly just habits, though. For example, I have a routine for invoicing clients, but it's second nature now, so nothing is written down. For more complex routines, I'll write out the steps involved - but then that's what I do for projects, too.

    So, to your point about integration: In my system, everything is a project or action. These are the basic building blocks of any routine. Repetitive projects and actions (routines) still go on my lists. And even if I don't have a hard deadline, GTD allows me to see what actions I can do given my location and resources.

    As you mentioned, you've said it before and are now saying it again... So, can you give me an example of a routine you have that doesn't work in your GTD system? Maybe that will help the other GTDers and I answer your question better.

    Thanks for posting, EO!

    Dena

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    • #3
      A routine is a project in maintenance mode. Getting to that routine probably took a lot of envisioning and planning, choices and sacrifices. It's your vision realized.

      There are probably higher levels of focus involved that got you to that routine. Those higher levels deserve periodic review to make sure the routine is still a relevant activity.

      My point being that I wouldn't think of a routine in terms of tasks or specially scheduled events but rather as the hardscape area of your life around which you schedule other projects and tasks.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by artsinaction View Post
        Yep, that's an interesting thought. I would have to say that routines are still projects, or one-step actions. My routines are mostly just habits, though. For example, I have a routine for invoicing clients, but it's second nature now, so nothing is written down. For more complex routines, I'll write out the steps involved - but then that's what I do for projects, too.
        Hmm, I guess I wouldn't think of a routine as a project because its not something that is ever "completed" (even though actions related to it might be) and I wouldn't want to put it on a list with things that do have a state of completion.

        As you mentioned, you've said it before and are now saying it again... So, can you give me an example of a routine you have that doesn't work in your GTD system? Maybe that will help the other GTDers and I answer your question better.
        So for example, every Sunday I need to do a big grocery shop. It doesn't need to be done at a specific time and could theoretically could be done on Friday or Sat, but Sun is usually the best day. Where to track that? A checklist might make sense, but let's say someone invites me to do something on Sunday that takes up most of my day. I look at my calendar and say, sure let's do it but then forget that I need to my shopping. This is a little bit of a silly example but you get the idea.

        So this gets back to my question about routines and checklists, when do you check them (whether scheduling or deciding on what to do next)?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ero213 View Post
          So for example, every Sunday I need to do a big grocery shop. It doesn't need to be done at a specific time and could theoretically could be done on Friday or Sat, but Sun is usually the best day. Where to track that? A checklist might make sense, but let's say someone invites me to do something on Sunday that takes up most of my day. I look at my calendar and say, sure let's do it but then forget that I need to my shopping. This is a little bit of a silly example but you get the idea.
          Your routine might not make it to the project checklist but you would track and review specific information in an @grocery store list. If you put off going to the store until 10 pm on a Sunday night (hardly the ideal brain peak time), you'll be glad you kept your @grocery store list current.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ero213 View Post
            Hmm, I guess I wouldn't think of a routine as a project because its not something that is ever "completed" (even though actions related to it might be).....

            Where to track that? A checklist might make sense, but let's say someone invites me to do something on Sunday that takes up most of my day. I look at my calendar and say, sure let's do it but then forget that I need to my shopping. This is a little bit of a silly example but you get the idea.

            So this gets back to my question about routines and checklists, when do you check them (whether scheduling or deciding on what to do next)?
            Probably 75% of my projects are recurring projects that once done will happen again at some future date. Most of my work is routines of one sort or another. That doesn't mean i don't track them as projects though. Examples for me include sheep vaccinations, Horse hoof trims, even things like schedule my doctor and dentist yearly exams. Sure that particular instance is completed but I'll just spawn a new one for the next time I have to do that.

            For the grocery routine specifically. I keep a shopping list in a special app. We only do major shopping once a month so I keep track of everything we need on a list in my iPhone. When we are thinking about going shopping my husband and I look at the calendar, major shopping is a 150 mile round trip for us so it has to be scheduled . I'll block out a whole day for shopping when it fits within other things. During the trip I can look at my special shopping list app for what is needed by store. I have in my errands list all the stores I need to go to as single actions. During the month before a shopping trip as we add things to the shopping list, esp. that need to be purchased at a store that is not on the regular route, I add Go to store X on my errands list with a context of the town we go do major shopping in. That way I see it when I am in that town and can check the shipping list app for what it was that we needed there.

            So in the case you mentioned the "routine or checklist" is the list of items to buy but I schedule time in my calendar for a major shopping trip because it takes a full day. The specific places I need to go are one off actions on an errands list.

            For things I need in the local town, I just add all those stops as separate items on errands and next time we head in to town I check and see what else I need to do there. For example, right now my @Paonia & Hotchkiss list includes Stop at Post Office, Stop at Ditch bank deposit checks, Stop at our bank deposit checks, Go to Homestead pick up ear tag and receipt, Talk to S about gym and so on.

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            • #7
              Routines can also support Areas of Focus?

              I believe that routines can exist / be developed to support Areas of Focus as well as projects. For instance, I may have an Area of Focus for "Home Care." In support of that, I may have several checklists - daily tasks (perhaps broken into AM and PM), weekly tasks, monthly tasks, etc.

              Until the routine becomes a habit (some routines naturally evolve into habits and their checklists are no longer necessary; others don't exhibit this behaviour), I might make myself a reminder on my calendar to check the relevant checklist... Still other routines I may keep in one or several reference files, so that when I'm working on "that kind of project," I pull out that routine for support.

              The borrom line for me is that routines are tools to aid in more productive, effortless activity by removing the need to re-think and re-invent the wheel every time you tackle a particular aspect of your life.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ero213 View Post
                So for example, every Sunday I need to do a big grocery shop. It doesn't need to be done at a specific time and could theoretically could be done on Friday or Sat, but Sun is usually the best day. Where to track that? A checklist might make sense, but let's say someone invites me to do something on Sunday that takes up most of my day. I look at my calendar and say, sure let's do it but then forget that I need to my shopping. This is a little bit of a silly example but you get the idea.

                So this gets back to my question about routines and checklists, when do you check them (whether scheduling or deciding on what to do next)?
                What's the problem with using the calendar to remind yourself to do your routines? I'm assuming that are using checklists as a list of instructions or things to remember to do during that routine. Presumably you also have some go-do routines that don't even need a checklist in order to do them.

                So you would look at your calendar at the start of your day, be reminded of the routine you have to do and look at the checklist (if necessary) on how to do it.

                This is how I do it anyway, although it helps that I use an electronic calendar that can be set up to repeat reminders weekly, monthly, every last monday in the month, etc. Some routines don't go into my diary because they have become, well, routine. I've got a good setup for the weekly ironing- it gets done when my favourite radio programme comes on, making an otherwise mundane activity more enjoyable.

                Comment


                • #9
                  thanks for the follow up!

                  Thanks for clarifying your question, EO! That's really helpful... and it's helped me, too, to read all of the responses you've received.

                  The only thing I'll add is that I dump the contents of my tickler file onto my desk each day and the notes for routines like "grocery shopping" or "buy dog food" stay on my desk until I finish them so they don't get buried. It doesn't matter when I do them as long as they're done that day.

                  That's it... again, I really appreciate you're giving us more detail. I completely understand where you're coming from now!

                  Dena

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    When I get up in the morning I immediately start following my morning checklist. On that list, it has an item to check today's calendar. If the calendar activities/action need something doing in the morning (like packing a folder in my bag), I'll do it then before moving back to my checklist. When I'm at work I have a quick checklist that usually only takes 10 mins to work through, then I go to my calendar and action lists. When I get home I have an evening checklist, and somewhere on that I have an action to check my action lists/calendar.
                    I have one checklist for the weekend, and it is prioritised in order, so highest importance goes first. My home weekly review is on the weekend checklist, so I'll know if there's tasks I need to do this weekend, and I'll put them on my calendar. Usually through the weekend I'll alternate between working off my checklist and my calendar. Ideally if possible I like to get the regular stuff done Fri night and Sat, leaving Sunday free to do other stuff, but as you say if there is a calendar activity all day Sat then automatically it means I'll do a lot of my checklist items on Sunday.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      my daily checklist routine

                      i have 3 checklists,

                      daily checklist
                      weekend checklist
                      monthend checklist.

                      ill talk about the daily checklist now.

                      its made of 3 sections.
                      the first 2 sections of the checklist get checked out before i get to work on any project.

                      the last section gets done when i am winding up for the day.

                      you should see how my workdesk looks before and after the evening windup.
                      before is like a battlefield ...........and after is like a calm lake with birds chirping.

                      lets talk about the first section of my daily checklist.

                      item 1 on my checklist.................

                      i begin with scanning my calendar , its my nokia phone calendar..and i scan todays date for tasks/projects to be looked at today..........if i find any, i make a note on a a7 paper and dump it in my todays inbox, on top - the more a paper is on top in my inbox, the higher priority it gets.

                      item2 on my checklist is ............review yesterdays actions.............

                      at the end of the day , before i packup all issues ive handled today .....ie windup..i make a short 2 min video with my nokia phone.......that i use to review the next day before i begin work.that item 2.

                      item 3 on my checklist is..........scan my action lists .

                      some actions my be done yeserday and thus may need to be deleted and some may need to be transfered to other action lists......... if i cannot decide right away what to do with a particular action .......i dump it into my inbox for later processing.

                      item 4 on my checklist is......load in todays inbox with

                      a.reminders from my tickler box.
                      b.a pointer to my video inbox ( my nokia phone )

                      item 5 on checklist is ......process my computer inbox........

                      stuff like gmail, screenshots of useful info took yesterday from various websites
                      etc.

                      item 6 on my checklist is .. backup

                      to my 8 gb flash drive any new information since day before yesterday.
                      ( since i have my computer swithced on........so ...)

                      end of section 1 of my checklist.
                      what i have achieved uptil now is .......

                      1.that all information that i have to deal with today is now made accessible and collected in one place........my inbox.
                      2.partial processing of yesterdays work , information is done.

                      NOW COMES SECTION 2 of my checklist.

                      the aim of this section is to make a a4 page(i call it the M.O.A.T-model of action for today) that holds all the information i need to go thru by end of today in the context of projects i am doing currently...its like drawing out a map ..........the talk that i have to walk down to( as in walk the talk )
                      ONLY FOR TODAY.

                      i stick this on a wall in front of my workdesk.......

                      item 1 on this section of my checklist is to check projects i decided to work on this week.....and sift thru the why and outcome of each project..so that my subconscious is looking out for ideas for these projects( special project catagory....i need ideas on how to go about doing the project rather than doing the project...example writing a short story and similar creative stuff.)

                      item 2 on this section of my checklist is to process yesterdays M.O.A.T and update it for today.........ie gorund i covered yesterday decides ground i shall be covering today.........

                      item 3 on this section of my checklist is to load and prioritize the projects i want to work on today to M.O.A.T.............

                      thats it...........now i can look at my moat map and get to work for the day.

                      at around 6 pm.....i begin to wind up.........and
                      i continue the rest of my daily checklist from here

                      section 3

                      item 1.i make a 2 min video of work done today with my nokia phone.....referring to the moat map..

                      item 2. pack up moat and get it down from the wall.

                      item 3. during work.....i take small breaks in between to process my inbox items..and
                      the processed items are kept in a pending stack......which i empty out now ..items either go to reference files, or action lists , or project files..or tickler file....wherever they ought to be.

                      this takes me to the end of my daily checklist.

                      i now clear my workdesk which looks like a battlefield and turn it into empty space again.

                      end of today.
                      tomorrow .....i begin again with my daily checklist.

                      i shall be happy to answer any questions.

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