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  • What types of actionable information?

    Hi GTD ers,
    I am well aware of the GTD methodology to deal with information (is it actionable – and then the options of doing, deferring, delegating etc).

    I am however very interested in knowing if anyone has done any thinking on the types and characteristics of actionable information. Let me explain a little more in detail.

    When information comes at you, the first thing you have to do is to decide weather it is actionable of not. Then from a GTD perspective you have to decide what you want to do with it (do it, defer, delegate etc). What I am looking for: If it is actionable; what type of actionable information is it? Is it possible to categorize actionable information in various categories that are internally homogenous but heterogeneous between the categories?

    Let me give you an example: One type of actionable information that I receive a lot of is meeting invites and things I have to bring or prepare for a meeting. This is one category of actionable information. Are there others? How much of actionable information that is receive is falls within each of the categories? What are the characteristics of each category?

    Any help in this would be greatly appreciated also references to relevant literature – both academic and general.

    Yours sincerely,

    Per-Otto Wold

  • #2
    Everyone has their own set of discrete categories with which to organize reminders. I can think of two examples of categories that don't fit the location/tool context model: a Read and Review tray/folder and a Bills-To-Pay tray/folder. You don't need to write on a list a reminder to read this or pay that. Just put the article in the appropriate bucket and the bucket is enough of a reminder of the work. The catch of course is the more of these externalized buckets you have the easier it is to lose track of them. As long as you take these buckets into account in addition to your standardized list then you can feel good about deciding what to do at any given moment.

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    • #3
      Physical Stuff

      Originally posted by perottowold View Post
      I am however very interested in knowing if anyone has done any thinking on the types and characteristics of actionable information.
      I get unusual actionable items into my inbox. Examples just from the past week:

      And EID tag sample from a company that makes sheep ear tags.
      Scrotal circumference tape for ram measurements
      Box of purple top blood sample tubes

      So one big category for me is physical things that are actionable or are action support.

      Those items all are part and parcel of several current active projects:

      Develop an EID system for our sheep flock for official reporting and to collect management data

      Evaluate rams and ram lambs for breeding and sales

      Collect scrapie genotype samples from sheep with unknown genotypes.

      Depending on your world you might have similar physical things that are actionable information/stuff.

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      • #4
        Definitely varies from one user to another

        Oogie, your examples often make me laugh, but this one is really memorable. I'm trying to visualize you with those rams! So much more fun than my in-categories in the academic world (to grade; to read for lecture preparations; to file in student folders; etc.).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ProfessorSue View Post
          Oogie, your examples often make me laugh, but this one is really memorable. I'm trying to visualize you with those rams!
          Let's just say they do not like it. Hubby holds the rams by the horns and I check their equipment and a scribe records the numbers. We've had several folks come help us be scribe. It goes so much faster with a 3rd person. Otherwise I have to stop and write down the measurements and sometimes I forget tag number and measurements between measuring and getting back to the clipboard that is out of sheep reach.

          Large SC is strongly correlated genetically with increased fecundity and fertility of the ram's daughters so is a way to improve the female side of the flock by selecting better sires. If you are a ram (or a bull, initial research was done in cattle) bigger really is better.

          I managed 51 ram evaluations in about 2 hours including full scores for each animal on each of 10 other characteristics I care about.

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