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  • Help! I've been away and am returning to GTD.

    Somewhere along the line, I lost my way with GTD. I think I never properly set up my "system". While I always believed GTD was the right approach, it just never worked for me. After trying too many methods to mention, I've made the decision to come back to GTD.

    My challenge is that I want to set up the proper system. At work, we use Outlook for all email and calendars. I also use Toodledo. I also use paper. A problem for me is that I feel as if my organization is too spread out. Away from the office, I use an ipad that has DGT to link to Toodledo.

    I think I have failed to stay dedicated because my basic setup was never complete. I have done a decent job of weekly reviews but find I always focus on the newer stuff and lose sight of older, ongoing projects.

    When I do my capturing, I try to think of every step in a project to start. Perhaps, because of my set up, I don't label these properly. I tend to list Next Action for multiple steps in the same project.

    I've been reading the forums and scanning my David Allen books for tips.

    Pardon my rambling but I'm really seeking advice on how to setup a system and properly capture my Next Actions.

  • #2
    Welcome back!

    You have come to the right place for ideas! I won't focus on systems...mine is Nirvana. Honestly, it works so great for me I can't understand why everyone isn't using it. That being said, you need to find the system that works for YOU...not me.

    It may be helpful to think of your time back to GTD as just an adventure. Explore, walk around, see what works for you and what doesn't' work. I stumbled on Nirvana once and didn't think it was helpful. Played around with Evernote, looked at many other system and then through a friends help looked at Nirvana again. The lights went on and all was clear.

    So, play, investigate, don't get too attached. Each step will bring you closer.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by TMac View Post
      I think I have failed to stay dedicated because my basic setup was never complete. I have done a decent job of weekly reviews but find I always focus on the newer stuff and lose sight of older, ongoing projects.

      When I do my capturing, I try to think of every step in a project to start. Perhaps, because of my set up, I don't label these properly. I tend to list Next Action for multiple steps in the same project.

      I've been reading the forums and scanning my David Allen books for tips.

      Pardon my rambling but I'm really seeking advice on how to setup a system and properly capture my Next Actions.
      I think you're best off refreshing and focusing on the thought process vs. the system. By that, I mean, if you really understand the 5 phases (Collect, Process, Organise, Review, Do), then it will be easier for you to figure out just what kind of "system" will work for you.

      It's quite alright to list multiple next actions (on your action lists) for a Project as long as they're truly doable, independent next actions. Of course if you're thinking out every project at the beginning, then you will want to keep the results of that thinking in project support materials (paper files, notebooks, Evernote, whatever works for you...). But the only actions that you will want to capture on your context-based lists will be discrete next actions you can accomplish without waiting for anything else to happen.

      In short, I find when I'm floundering about my system it's because I need to shore up my foundation - go back to the basics!

      Comment


      • #4
        Use David Allen's GTD® Implementation Guide and one of the Setup Guides.

        Originally posted by TMac View Post
        I've been reading the forums and scanning my David Allen books for tips.

        Pardon my rambling but I'm really seeking advice on how to setup a system and properly capture my Next Actions.
        Use David Allen's GTD® Implementation Guide and one of the Setup Guides.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thank you for the great replies, it is very helpful.

          I've spent a fair bit of time over the weekend trying to focus on my collection process and feel like I have made some progress.

          Heeding the advice, I'm not too worried about my "system" yet. By starting over, I think the system will become more clear to me as I make progress.

          This is a great forum with a tremendous amoutn of good advice.

          Terry

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TMac View Post
            I have done a decent job of weekly reviews but find I always focus on the newer stuff and lose sight of older, ongoing projects.

            When I do my capturing, I try to think of every step in a project to start. Perhaps, because of my set up, I don't label these properly. I tend to list Next Action for multiple steps in the same project.
            Make sure you have a complete projects list - a central list that lists all of the projects and the open loops or subprojects associated with it.
            Capturing every step in the project is great, and all of these plus ideas for future steps should go into the project support. Having many next actions for each project is fine, and will help all of the project steps move along at the same time. However if you are finding the project is not moving along very well, maybe too many next actions is overwhelming and feel free to put some steps on hold for a while to focus on the higher priority steps, and as long as they are kept on the complete projects list you'll still come back to them in the weekly review.

            Comment


            • #7
              I had to completely reboot my system a couple of years ago and used paper as my starting point... and am still using it now! I have found that keeping things simple works well, particularly when you are rekindling the GTD basics:
              - 2 minute rule
              - What is it? What's the next action?
              I also found that labelling my old stuff as backlog and working from a clean sheet really helped me to get back on top of things. I then tried to make time to deal with the backlog items systematically.
              Good luck and let us know how you get on!

              Comment


              • #8
                Back and forth with GTD

                I am similar position, realized I had implemented some but not all. This site and forums are definitely providing inspiration and motivation. Recommend "Digging out of Backlog" webinar for help.

                I was doing capture but not going back and collecting then processing (which makes a review impossible!). Been doing a re-boot this weekend and realized for home I was using multiple places for list manager which caused me to resist reviewing it. My job requires separating personal/work, so for work I have Outlook which I am good about using, it was home that was challenge and easiest to ignore. Realized I always have iPhone with me which has Evernote app and cleaned that up.

                So just go with what's easiest for you, what attracts you. What will make it easier for you to do a weekly review?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Starting back up, my experience

                  I'm experienced at starting back up!

                  A while ago Meg and Kelli did a podcast where they suggested getting your organization scheme roughed out before collecting everything. Paper is really nice for this.

                  for me it is intimidating to do a big collect and mindsweep and realize I've got hours of processing...what is it? Is it actionable? Yes? Where do I put it??? but if I've already roughed out blank sheets of paper called "@Home, @office, @computer" etc then it's pretty easy.

                  Have some blank paper for Projects too. I number mine from 1 to whatever, and retire the number when project is done. Project #23 might be "GTD to black belt." Then I write a brief vision at the top, outline project support areas (like Outlook folder, Windows folder, paper folder, etc.) I'll brainstorm/dump very briefly and then move on. (Next Actions on the list get the project number added on. Example: Listen to Black Belt webinar on iPod (23). Makes it ever so much easier to do weekly review.

                  someday/maybe is KEY. Otherwise you can end up, like me, with 285 "next actions" on the @computer list! A big advantage of paper is that you can literally see the next actions piling up and even an overachieving perfectionist time-pressured physician (but I repeat myself...) like me can notice that I've bitten off WAY too much. Inserting a new task into Outlook is too easy and quick. An analogy: if all you have to do is swipe a credit card, spending money is very quick and painless, but if you have to pull out a 50 dollar bill there is a moment of thought!

                  Another thought--there is no perfect system...just get started and work your way along. I'll remember you during my own frequent struggles.

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