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  • Need a structure in my setup

    I run my own small company (30 people). I read GTD book. Spent one day putting everything into the system - OmniFocus. Have 150 active projects with more then 15 next actions in any given context. Delegated and not Delegated, Someday and Personal projects are all mixed together. Some delegated projects require daily attention, some weekly and some just require the result. Feel overwhelmed and need your input how to structure all of that?

  • #2
    I think part of your overwhelm is in reading the book and spending one day trying to implement! This is not a quick fix methodology, and as such it will take some trial and error on your part to set up a system that is most appropriate to your needs.

    I would focus on making sure you have a physical, doable next action on each of your current projects, and review your lists as often as you need to in order to feel you're in control.

    Keep the book close to hand, and I would also suggest buying the "GTD Implementation Guide" if it is available on the DavidCo Web site (it may be a GTD Connect-only offering; I'm not sure). That's a really valuable resource...

    This is a very cursory reply to your question, but really there are so many layers to this onion that it can be overwhelming to set it all up at once. Slow & steady wins the race!

    Comment


    • #3
      Each my project has a next action.

      Delegated don't - I don't care about the next action here but the result.

      Bought the guide, will read through (if I have time with those 150 actions waiting for me).

      Comment


      • #4
        just my thoughts

        Originally posted by Moka View Post
        Each my project has a next action.

        (if I have time with those 150 actions waiting for me).
        If you feel overwhelmed, it's important not to forget that:
        1. those actions were there the day before you started gtd, they all represent some form of engagement you allready had. The only difference is that now they are in one place together.

        2. you don't have to do those 150 next actions right now, not even this week. I'm a self employed consultant and typically, I have around 300 next actions on my list at any moment. It just means I have a lot of projects going on at the same time. A lot of them are small, some are bigger. At the weekly review I tag about 70 of them to work on the next week.

        Some would then put those 230 other ones on their some day/maybe list (bacause not planning on working on them the coming week). I don't, because I like having them around, in case I can do something to make them move forward (depending on context, if I have to print something out, I might have a look at the list to see whether there is some other printing job there, even if it's not tagged for this week, this allows me to move forward on some projects way before the deadline is there). But that's up to you. If your actions stress you out, make sure you only see those that you want to work on during the upcoming week.

        3. go back and re-read number 1

        Myriam

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Moka View Post
          I run my own small company (30 people). Some delegated projects require daily attention, some weekly and some just require the result.
          You need to periodically check status on these projects as you are ultimately responsible for the results. The solution: set up touchpoint meetings on your calendar at regular intervals. Ask the questions:

          What have you accomplished since our last meeting?
          What do you intend to accomplish by the next meeting?
          What obstacles are in your path?

          On average this discussion should not take more than 15 minutes.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Moka View Post
            I run my own small company (30 people). I read GTD book. Spent one day putting everything into the system - OmniFocus. Have 150 active projects with more then 15 next actions in any given context. Delegated and not Delegated, Someday and Personal projects are all mixed together. Some delegated projects require daily attention, some weekly and some just require the result. Feel overwhelmed and need your input how to structure all of that?
            You can try using OmniFocus flags to create a Daily really-want-to-do-today list. My advice is not to put too much on the list. You can also set up periodic next actions as well. However, it is possible that you have already internalized a routine of talking to your direct reports routinely and this is superfluous.

            It's also pretty likely that some of your next actions are repelling you. This can happen when next actions are too big or not clear enough. "Plan wedding" is not a good next action and neither is "Fix problems with orders." The solutions is generally to ask of each one "Why am I not doing this?" or "What would I be doing if I were doing this right now?" Another reason people don't do next actions is that the actions do not much value if done and not much penalty if undone. No clear upside or downside often leads to no motivation.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Myriam View Post
              If you feel overwhelmed, it's important not to forget that:
              1. those actions were there the day before you started gtd, they all represent some form of engagement you allready had. The only difference is that now they are in one place together.

              2. you don't have to do those 150 next actions right now, not even this week. I'm a self employed consultant and typically, I have around 300 next actions on my list at any moment. It just means I have a lot of projects going on at the same time. A lot of them are small, some are bigger. At the weekly review I tag about 70 of them to work on the next week.

              Some would then put those 230 other ones on their some day/maybe list (bacause not planning on working on them the coming week). I don't, because I like having them around, in case I can do something to make them move forward (depending on context, if I have to print something out, I might have a look at the list to see whether there is some other printing job there, even if it's not tagged for this week, this allows me to move forward on some projects way before the deadline is there). But that's up to you. If your actions stress you out, make sure you only see those that you want to work on during the upcoming week.

              3. go back and re-read number 1

              Myriam
              Great! Do you use Omni?

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks everyone for great suggestions: limit projects, meetings with staff!

                Comment


                • #9
                  No omnifocus here

                  Originally posted by Moka View Post
                  Great! Do you use Omni?
                  Hi,

                  I have an adapted excel-sheet to do the follow up of my lists and projects. It allows me to filter easily for what I need/want to see at any given moment. It has one tab with work related actions, one tab with private related actions. So it's a seperated/not separated system. A third tab contains my project list. I have been using it and adapting it for almost 3 years now, and it works fine for me. I just went to check it and in those 3 years, I have had around 4000 next actions crossed off (they are still in the list, but permanently filtered away). Via dropbox, it is always accessible and updated on the different devices I use.

                  If you need specific advice on omnifocus, I think Oogiem might be the one to talk to.

                  greetings,
                  Myriam

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Moka
                    Some delegated projects require daily attention
                    Originally posted by Moka View Post
                    Each my project has a next action.

                    Delegated don't - I don't care about the next action here but the result.
                    Hmm -- they require attention from you, but no action? Maybe you could
                    put them in "Waiting for", then.

                    I never really understood the point of "Waiting for". If something requires
                    my attention, to me that means that there's an action I need to do.
                    The action could be "check status of ..." or "remind so-and-so about ...",
                    and could lead to creating another
                    next action depending on the result. I use my tickle file for these.

                    Here are some questions you can think about or answer
                    if you feel like it.
                    Why do some delegated projects require your attention daily?
                    Can you ask the people responsible to take on more of the
                    responsibility themselves? What kind of attention do they need --
                    that is, what do you actually do? E.g. glance at your email and
                    conclude that everything's OK, or that something is wrong because
                    there's no email about such-and-such, etc. Getting specific about
                    exactly what you need to do is part of GTD.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
                      I never really understood the point of "Waiting for". If something requires my attention, to me that means that there's an action I need to do.
                      The action could be "check status of ..." or "remind so-and-so about ...", and could lead to creating another next action depending on the result. I use my tickle file for these.
                      The @Waiting For list is a place to park reminders of things that you are waiting for other people to do for you. A regular review of that list may trigger active actions like following up for status or lighting a fire under someone. There's nothing wrong with using the tickler or calendar to remind you that it's time to take action on a @Waiting For item but the reminder of the delegated action itself belongs on @Waiting For.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ellobogrande View Post
                        There's nothing wrong with using the tickler or calendar to remind you that it's time to take action on a @Waiting For item but the reminder of the delegated action itself belongs on @Waiting For.
                        Not in my system. In my system, the reminder belongs in the tickle file.
                        What's the purpose of the separate Waiting For system?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          From the GTD book: "To manage actionable things, you will need a list of projects, storage or files for project plans and materials, a calendar, a list of reminders of next actions, and a list of reminders of things you're waiting for..."

                          Of course, the beauty of the system is that you can tweak it any old which way, and of coruse the tickler is a great place to put things you're waiting for that you don't need to see until a particular day.

                          I find the list allows me to check in and see if I've been waiting for too long, and then I can nudge as appropriate.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The Purpose of Waiting For

                            For me, the purpose of Waiting For is when I am waiting for something (from a person, the season to change, a new product to be released, etc, etc) and I do not know when it will be done.

                            If I put the reminder in my tickler for next month and it gets done next week, there is a potential disconnect with finding the original. I absolutely use the tickler where it makes sense. For example, if I want to be reminded of something on a certain date or I know I'll want to follow up with someone on a certain date if it isn't done.

                            As examples, my current Personal waiting for includes a list of books/movies that I've lent/borrowed, buy a new lamp when Ikea opens, call my Aunt to invite her for dinner to celebrate when we've sold our house, and several online purchases I've made for which I'm waiting for delivery.

                            At work, I've got drafts that I've sent up to my boss, specific training/experience I'm looking out for for my staff, meetings I've requested, etc. By having these in my list, I review them regularly and can identify if I need to follow up with something.

                            You could do the same with paper in a tickler file but I find having this list integrated with my system invaluable. I often frequently alternate from NA to Waiting_For and having it in my system makes this very easy.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
                              What's the purpose of the separate Waiting For system?
                              For me tickler is for when I know the day something should happen or when I know when I should do something. Waiting for is for things that are more open ended.

                              I am waiting for a response to my e-mail regarding USDA official ear tags. I have no clue when the government folks will get back to me so waiting for is more appropriate than a tickler. Reason is when they do get back to me I need my notes and info for that project to set my next action. If I tickle it and they get back to me sooner than I expected then I have find where I put the tickler notice and that's a PITA. if they are later than I tickle it for then I have to move the item forward day by day. I hate that and will tend to even avoid looking at my tickler when I have a lot of things that are oh not today maybe tomorrow items in it.

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