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  • Handholding thread for GTD 101?

    Brand new. I have scanned through topics, and many look very valuable. But I'm not at that level. Does this forum have a thread or subforum or something else that might be of use specifically to people just getting started?

    I have read GTD three times and have envisioned putting it into practice. I have read many self-help books having to do with organization and avoiding procrastination. I actually got David Allen's book about four or five years ago, but through a series of events I managed to misplace it and forget about it. This may not have been all bad; it allowed me to read and try other books, systems, and so forth, and get some ideas about why they weren't working and what was wrong with me. When I rediscovered and then read Allen's book, I felt like I had finally found someone who understood how my brain works. I also enjoyed his straightforward, no-nonsense style -- not exactly terse, but generally using as many words as needed to describe the ideas, and not many more.

    So clearly, the book itself serves as the inital introduction/handholding tool. But as I tentatively experiment, I'm getting ready to dive in and commit myself to this new way of processing choices and life events. Having a checklist or a friend or an idea of what I'm going to encounter and how things look as I start the journey seems like it would be very helpful. If you can point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it.

  • #2
    I'm new to the forums but have been using GTD on and off for over 5 years. I would say, there isn't really a need for a beginners thread - as you say, the book itself is a great step-by-step walk through of building the entire system.

    The only thing the book doesn't really cover (and it's intentional) is the specific tools that will work best for your personal implementation. Some people love paper lists, personally I like to write handwritten notes but it would drive me crazy if I had to walk around with a paper system all the time.

    I would say, pick the tools you want to use and just get started, asking questions in the forum as you need specific help.

    Oh, and you didn't ask but I think I've developed a pretty good portable, cloud-based, mostly free digital system as follows:

    Remember the Milk - Projects, Someday/Maybe and NA lists. I upgraded to pro ($25/yr) so I can stay synced with the Android app for my phone
    Evernote - Reference materials, project support, and any lists not related to projects/actions. Also synced to my phone via mobile App.
    Dropbox - cloud storage for whatever files I need access to on the go, also syncs to phone with mobile app
    Google Calendar - synced to my Outlook calendars on my work and home PC's so I can see an up to date schedule from any computer or my phone

    Other than that I do have a physical inbox and filing cabinet both at home and work to cover paper storage.

    Hope that helps!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Stephen View Post
      Brand new. I have scanned through topics, and many look very valuable. But I'm not at that level. Does this forum have a thread or subforum or something else that might be of use specifically to people just getting started?

      I have read GTD three times and have envisioned putting it into practice. I have read many self-help books having to do with organization and avoiding procrastination. I actually got David Allen's book about four or five years ago, but through a series of events I managed to misplace it and forget about it. This may not have been all bad; it allowed me to read and try other books, systems, and so forth, and get some ideas about why they weren't working and what was wrong with me. When I rediscovered and then read Allen's book, I felt like I had finally found someone who understood how my brain works. I also enjoyed his straightforward, no-nonsense style -- not exactly terse, but generally using as many words as needed to describe the ideas, and not many more.

      So clearly, the book itself serves as the inital introduction/handholding tool. But as I tentatively experiment, I'm getting ready to dive in and commit myself to this new way of processing choices and life events. Having a checklist or a friend or an idea of what I'm going to encounter and how things look as I start the journey seems like it would be very helpful. If you can point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it.
      Hi Stephen,

      The forums don't really have a getting started focus in particular. You'll find tons of value in so many of the thread though, particularly those on GTD Connect (many more subforums than the Public forums). What I would recommend is doing the free two-week trial to GTD Connect or sign up for a month (and cancel if you got what you need) and go through the Getting Started series, the "I'm Just Getting Started with GTD and Need the Basics" curriculum path, download the Implementation Guide from the Document Library, and participate in the forums. There is a specific forum on GTD Connect about building your Weekly Review habit. Those should all be a great support to you. The GTD Connect members are awesome and will put out there hand to help you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for both responses.

        Part of the brilliance of Mr. Allen's book is that it is not system-dependent. Rather, it provides principles of management and a concrete ubersystem that you can adapt to whatever you are using. Some systems probably work better than others, but his principles should be useful under most systems. For example, he advises against using hanging folders, but gives guidelines if you are going to use them anyway. This is one of the aspects of Allen's book that attracted me: He was selling a set of principles, not an expensive system to lock you in.

        I do not currently have a bias toward one system over another. I can see how some systems would work better than others, and I have little doubt that the system sold by DavidCo.com fits like a glove to Allen's principles. At the moment, I have neither the experience nor the money to invest in a specific system*. Rather, I guess I will use Allen's book as a field guide to getting my life organized, and after some months or years of implementation, go looking for a good system that makes implementation easier.

        *Not to suggest that Mr. Allen's system sold here is expensive. I have no idea how much is costs, and it doesn't matter. Even if it costs only $25 per month, I can't afford it, at least until I understand how to apply his principles in real-world situations. Once I can apply his principles in my life, it makes sense to start spending money on a system that makes such application easier or more intuitive.

        Any other feedback or suggestions welcome. Again, thanks for the two responses.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Stephen View Post
          Thanks for both responses.

          Part of the brilliance of Mr. Allen's book is that it is not system-dependent. Rather, it provides principles of management and a concrete ubersystem that you can adapt to whatever you are using. Some systems probably work better than others, but his principles should be useful under most systems. For example, he advises against using hanging folders, but gives guidelines if you are going to use them anyway. This is one of the aspects of Allen's book that attracted me: He was selling a set of principles, not an expensive system to lock you in.

          I do not currently have a bias toward one system over another. I can see how some systems would work better than others, and I have little doubt that the system sold by DavidCo.com fits like a glove to Allen's principles. At the moment, I have neither the experience nor the money to invest in a specific system*. Rather, I guess I will use Allen's book as a field guide to getting my life organized, and after some months or years of implementation, go looking for a good system that makes implementation easier.

          *Not to suggest that Mr. Allen's system sold here is expensive. I have no idea how much is costs, and it doesn't matter. Even if it costs only $25 per month, I can't afford it, at least until I understand how to apply his principles in real-world situations. Once I can apply his principles in my life, it makes sense to start spending money on a system that makes such application easier or more intuitive.

          Any other feedback or suggestions welcome. Again, thanks for the two responses.
          Hi Stephen,

          Sounds smart to spend time exploring the methodology from the book and really seeing how it applies in your life. The nice thing about GTD is that you don't need to buy anything to make it work. We don't even sell a "system"--we share (abundantly for free) tips and tools about the methodology, and sell things like GTD Connect to give people a way to expand their learning beyond the book. And the products we offer give people some implementation support if they need it. All just different choices for people to play.

          Sounds like you're on the right path based on what you know works for you. This free forum is a fantastic resource too to ask questions and gain deeper understanding.

          Kelly

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks, Kelly. Forgive me if I sounded critical; I didn't mean to.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hello Stephen,

              I have asked plenty of questions in the past about setting up and implementing gtd. the forum is full of great members who will help you out. Also have a look at my previous threads as they may help you out.

              Comment


              • #8
                The first steps are always the most difficult. GTD is about the habits, not the tools. Many people stumble by putting too much focus on the system instead of the habits. For example, instead of getting into the habit of always having a collection tool nearby and never filing things in psychic RAM some people focus on what software they need to be using or what smartphone app is best for GTD. That's a surefire way to set yourself up for failure right from the start. You can't master the "organizing" part of your workflow until you've mastered the "collect" and "process" parts of it because without those two you won't know what to organize.

                However, you do need some place to organize reminders that come from collecting and processing. Start by doing the simplest thing that could possibly work. Not sure what to use as a list manager from the beginning? Start with paper. Already comfortable with your current calendar app on your phone? Go ahead and use it.

                Above all, don't try to master everything all at once. Start with getting the runway under control. Then move to projects (10,000 ft). Once you're comfortable with these things the horizons of focus will become more clear.

                Good luck.

                Comment

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