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  • How many of you have "hacked" GTD?

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    Last edited by bcmyers2112; 11-06-2013, 07:28 AM.

  • #2
    I think most people who have been using it for long enough have used the GTD principles and adapted them to their own lives. That's the benefits of principles rather than rules. For example, someone who works from home on their own doesn't need the standard set on contexts, but contexts of some description can still be useful. If you join Connect, even for a trial, you'll see a wide gamut of different systems in use.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by bcmyers2112 View Post
      I'm curious: how many of you feel you are doing GTD "out of the box" like me, and how many of you have combined GTD with other methods or have in some way "hacked" GTD? In either case, what does that look like for you?
      I guess it depends on what you mean by hacked. GTD is a series of principles and thought patterns and not a system. I think everyone has to find their own implementation and that it is always adapted to their work, how they think and the tools they like to use.

      So if you change the contexts to suit yourself is that hacked? Or just natural adaptation of GTD principles?

      My closest to hacked would be the fact that projects for me can span a much longer timeframe than a single year. Many cases single projects have actions that can only be completed in sequence and at certain times of the year so the entire project may take several years, or decades to complete. But that is the nature of farming. So does that make it hacked or again, using GTD principles in a different field?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by bcmyers2112
        There's no such thing as a lazy farmer!
        I've been taught the best farmers are the lazy ones. We are always looking for a way to make the job easier

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        • #5
          Originally posted by bcmyers2112
          Maybe "hacked" wasn't the right word. Or at least it's too imprecise.

          I'm interested in knowing how many people have:
          a) Incorporated other methodologies with GTD, like Franklin-Covey, Pomodoro, Don't Break The Chain, etc.
          b) Have come up with their own "innovations." Adding priority codes to next actions, dispensing with contexts, things like that.
          My use of GTD doesn't include contexts, as I'm typically either on my laptop or desktop.

          While I have been consistent with my weekly review for 2-3 months, my day-to-day work has been much more sporadic. I have been recently (i.e., 7-10 days) tweaking my system to ensure more consistency, and your mention of Don't Break the Chain has given me an idea: use that to ensure I don't fail to start the day out right.

          My ideal morning routine: upon waking, recite my primary motivations (phrased as suggested by The Sedona Method) and a few quotes that reinforce them; upon logging in, access my GTD system (in Emacs) and mark three bigger items that will move their respective projects closer to completion with a priority of A; begin tackling Next Actions.

          When I follow that routine, I do pretty well; I feel like I have made good progress at the end of the day.

          I sometimes also mark items in my agenda with a B or C if I want to get them done that day, then I consider my available time and energy to help choose what to do next. Sometimes I choose a priority task and sometimes I don't.

          I'm going to start using the Don't Break the Chain method to help me stay on track in the morning. Thank you for suggesting it!

          Best,

          Steven

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          • #6
            My primary "hack"

            While I use GTD-style contexts per the "GTD Outlook Setup Guide" in my home system, I find this is less useful at work since I am essentially always in a single "context," or can be at a moment's notice if needed. As of late I've found it much more useful and intuitive to group my work tasks by urgency as recommended by Michael Linenberger in his 1MTD and MYN systems.

            1MTD vs. MYN

            Completely compatible with a GTD-style workflow, the MYN system basically makes up my Next Action lists, with urgency zones rather than contexts.

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            • #7
              I use "6 hats" by Edvard de Bono

              I use "6 hats" by Edvard de Bono in planning process. And I was reading his book "Teach Yourself How to Think", this book has clarified a lot about thinking.

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              • #8
                My use of GTD is pretty much by the book, but with contexts that suit my particular job. However, I do find the pomodoro technique very useful when I get stuck and can't get going with something. I have a timer on my desk that I use for those situations to break through the procrastination and just start something, if only for 30mins (or whatever I set for myself). The forums are a brilliant place to pick up tips and tricks for adapting GTD to suit how you work and how you think.

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                • #9
                  GTD thinking vs GTD process

                  Originally posted by bcmyers2112
                  I'm interested in knowing how many people have:
                  a) Incorporated other methodologies with GTD, like Franklin-Covey, Pomodoro, Don't Break The Chain, etc.
                  b) Have come up with their own "innovations." Adding priority codes to next actions, dispensing with contexts, things like that.
                  BCMYERS2112,
                  Thanks for the interesting thread.
                  I believe each great author shows us some shortcuts for our thinking, that get us to see things in a different way. Shortcuts which, once you know them, you can no longer ignore (even if you don't practice any rule about them).

                  GTD got us for instance to re-think commitments, stress, and their management. Got us to re-think the "atomic structure" of activity based upon projects, desired outcomes and purpose. Got us to re-think action-oriented, decisions vs actions. And much more... New stuff! Great stuff!
                  In this way, DA is a hell of an author, and made a clear breakthrough in the arena.

                  But GTD has a particularly weak point: the implementation is a bit shalow, underestimating effort vs results. De-railing with GTD is just so common with so many people... I feel GTD's process is a bit too much towards the "evangelism-side": you have to go to church every sunday, or it won't work. I know everybody keeps saying GTD sticks, but I think that what sticks is the GTD thinking, not the process, not the mechanism. It's just too un-natural.

                  Conceptually strong, no elegance in the implementation. Clearly needs a GTD 2.0 version, more "user friendly", more "mac" .

                  Finally, to answer, my personal productivity system is a mix with some GTD thinking bases, with some "hackings" and "must-have add-ons" that make the whole system more complete, like:
                  - more graphical representation of items with rich visual emotional day to day guidance (no "linear GTD lists")
                  - mental ergonomics practices (focus, productive mental states, etc)
                  - a lot of decision-making concepts and motivational concepts (including good exploration of procrastination and unblocking tricks, frequently much more important than the organizing of your lists)
                  - highest horizons perspectives are much more towards "feelings" rather than "goals" or "areas" and include value alignment guidance / mission investigation and updating (which I know is kind of included in GTD and MIAW but in a quite superficial way in my understanding)

                  Hope to have added some value do the intended discussion. (felt detailing hacks would make too long an answer, glad to share if anyone interested)

                  Goncalo Gil Mata
                  www.WhatsTheTrick.com

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                  • #10
                    GTD is about thinking.

                    Originally posted by goncalomata View Post
                    But GTD has a particularly weak point: the implementation is a bit shalow, underestimating effort vs results. De-railing with GTD is just so common with so many people... I feel GTD's process is a bit too much towards the "evangelism-side": you have to go to church every sunday, or it won't work. I know everybody keeps saying GTD sticks, but I think that what sticks is the GTD thinking, not the process, not the mechanism. It's just too un-natural.
                    GTD is about thinking. De-railing is an effect of the lack of thinking. People don't like to see a truth and to make decisions. But GTD is about seeing a truth and making decisions.

                    Originally posted by goncalomata View Post
                    Conceptually strong, no elegance in the implementation. Clearly needs a GTD 2.0 version, more "user friendly", more "mac" .
                    No elegance in implementation? Because GTD is not about implementation. Did anybody ask Albert Einstein about an elegance of the implementation of his famous E=mc2 equatation?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                      No elegance in implementation? Because GTD is not about implementation.
                      Sure. Agreed. Totally. That's why it needs a good system to implement it. GTD process, is a good try at trying to implement GTD thinking into a kind of sistematic approach, but a fairly basic try. It's not does it doesn't work perfectly if you follow it religiously. It's just that there's so many better ways to do it without such need for discipline...

                      Don't get me wrong: GTD changed my life for the last 10 years. Big fan! Of the thinking. The process... hummm... not so much.

                      Gonçalo Gil Mata
                      www.WHATSTHETRICK.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bcmyers2112
                        May I ask what those are?

                        I'm curious because I've had to change the way I think about contexts to suit my lifestyle. So many of the activities that would have fallen under @Computer can now be accomplished via multiple devices (PC, laptop, iPhone, Kindle Fire). So rather than use contexts that are tied to a particular device, I use ones like @Email and @Web. @PC and @Laptop are reserved for tasks which require software which resides solely on one of those devices.
                        My current ones are:
                        @Office
                        @Websites
                        @Minutes
                        @NBIROS (in house database)
                        My office list is by far the longest, and is my catch-all list for the items that don't fit into the other categories. I have found that the other contexts work well due to my needing to have a bit more time for the items that are in them, or to be in the right frame of mind. The minutes context is for writing up the minutes of meetings for which I am the secretary (I am secretary for 9 committees so there's lots of them to do!) I have to have both enough time and energy to be able to work on these so it makes sense to put them on a separate list. Most of my website work is done in Dreamweaver or directly in the html so it's good to go at these in batches when I can get my head into the coding. The database context is data entry, so again batching the tasks makes sense.
                        Hope this is helpful!

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                        • #13
                          Good questions, thks for that.

                          1. about discipline:

                          Originally posted by bcmyers2112
                          I've not found GTD to require an excessive amount of discipline. In fact I've found that *not* doing GTD is actually harder in the long run.
                          sure. I consider "discipline" is just that. you discipline yourself to go against your natural way in the hope that it will pay off. just like going to the gym, if you don't love it. in the same analogy, if you have a super favourite team sport probably you want to go to the game and the discipline to exercise will be less. you will do it naturally. or, for example if you go to the gym, and you have a personal coach pushing leading you and pushing you, the discipline required to exercise the same will be less than by yourself. the more you use natural motivation schemes, the simpler it is to keep an habit in the long run.


                          Gonçalo Gil Mata
                          www.WHATSTHETRICK.com

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                          • #14
                            about good systems

                            Originally posted by bcmyers2112
                            I'm not sure what you mean by a "really good system."
                            this one is hard. let me try a definition: a personal system would be something like: a set of behaviours/practices that can lead to a productive use of your mental resources towards your happiness. as possible success criteria, I would suggest:

                            - focus management: how trustful is your system with enabling you to make the right choice for your focus / how well does the system protect you from non-paced new inputs if you need deeper concentration? / how well does it allow for a more playful and light but yet productive atmosphere if that's what you feel like / how pertinent is your visual representation of tasks (i.e. you don't see tasks that you don't need to see)

                            - control: how well does it address your need for the safety of knowing how everything is going / how well does it enable easy status reporting with minimal review effort / how well does the system make clear that you are procrastinating when you are doing so, enabling you to detect and unblock valuable tasks

                            - direction: how well is the system moving you towards what you want to achieve, avoiding energy spending in tasks that are less critical for your desired outcome / how well does your system keep present that your outcome is more about what you want to be feeling all the time than what you want to accomplish (which we do in order to feel something)

                            A good personal system would achieve this with minimal use of discipline, favouring naturally appealing procedures.

                            Gonçalo Gil Mata
                            www.WHATSTHETRICK.com

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                              No elegance in implementation? Because GTD is not about implementation. Did anybody ask Albert Einstein about an elegance of the implementation of his famous E=mc2 equatation?
                              This is tangential, Tes, but actually physicists do discuss elegance, and the equivalence of matter and energy was re-derived in many ways.

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