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Using GTD with "forced" tools

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  • Using GTD with "forced" tools

    Hey GTD'ers,

    I'm a GTD'er for around 2 years now, and have a question.

    I've implemented GTD in my private life, using Things2, Evernote, mail.app and iCal. Works just fine, and i'm on track! No questions here.

    At work though, it's a different story. I work as a graphic designer at a big international company. They have decided to use a web-application called workbook.net - This is where the managers delegate the tasks that needs to be completede. Each entry contains a reference number and a name + a deadline. If you click that entry you are brought to a new page, where a small description is ready for you.

    My list typically consists of 20-50 items.

    Besides this "workbook thing", i've got emails, which (sometimes)relates to the task in the workbook. This is usually just rounds of proofs, which contains a task (pdf with markings of what needs to be corrected). When the file in question is given an OK from the client, I set the task in "workbook" to "DONE".

    Beside emails and workbook I also have my calender (mail/calender is outlook ofcourse).

    So! My question is:
    How would a GTD'er manage this workflow, without having to retype the lists (from Workbook) or making alot of double work, into a GTD app (list manager)..?


    Right now, I do something like this:

    Sort "workbook" application so it shows me what deadlines are next.

    I have 4 main folders in Outlook. Inbox (all mails that contain an action is moved), Next Action (all emails with an action), Reference (emails with no action, but reference), Done (when an email from Next Action has been taken care of, it is moved here)

    I also have Evernote installed, but havent found a proper way to utilize it completely (even though I am totally dependant on it, in my private life)

    Calender is no big deal, since I only have a handfull of meetings every week. I got it.

    I hope someone has any nice input, or relevant info to share

    Sorry for my bad english.

    Thanks

  • #2
    It is always hard to give advice to others, and I do not know how relevant this is to you, but:

    It sounds as if your "workbook" has sufficient functionality for your needs related to that particular type of work. Then I cannot see any reason to move things from there into another app. Just leave it there. You can think of it as a GTD context list - you need to be sitting at a special workstation, with PhotoShop etc installed, and have access to the company intranet and the "workbook" system - all of that can be seen as a particular context.

    If you have a "main" GTD app in addition to that, you probably don't even need to enter "do a day's quota from the workbook" as a task, because I am sure you will remember it anyway, but if you like to you could set up a daily repeating task for that (major) part of your work and check it off every day. What you would definitely want to enter into your own "main" GTD app is stuff that perhaps cannot be managed by the workbook system (whatever that might be), perhaps "call client X re their weird choice of color" or "remind boss about my upcoming absence/vacation" etc.

    About email: Many people do like you do, and David Allen mentions it, too. So if you are comfortable with it, just go ahead. Personally I do not like it. I always rephrase and manually enter tasks into my "main" GTD app; my tasks seldom have a 1-1 relationship with my emails. And I do not like to have "email tasks" in a different place than the other tasks, because the context in which I need to do the real work referred to in those emails is not necessary "email/computer" at all, even if a response by email is perhaps expected, too.

    Calendar: I carry today's events into my list to avoid flicking back and forth during the day.

    Comment


    • #3
      Don't retype the Workbook lists!

      Originally posted by Folke View Post
      It sounds as if your "workbook" has sufficient functionality for your needs related to that particular type of work. Then I cannot see any reason to move things from there into another app. Just leave it there. You can think of it as a GTD context list - you need to be sitting at a special workstation, with PhotoShop etc installed, and have access to the company intranet and the "workbook" system - all of that can be seen as a particular context.
      Totally agree! There's no rule in GTD that you have to use one tool only for your lists! Your work context is perfectly defined so you can detach your @work list from your personal system. Don't retype the Workbook lists!

      Comment


      • #4
        I like Folke's idea, of considering the workbook list to be a context.

        RasmusWP, I didn't notice anything wrong with your English, and even if there were, in my opinion no
        apology would be necessary. if people make grammatical mistakes on a forum like this I think nobody should
        point it out unless they need to ask because they don't understand what the person means, (or unless the
        person has asked for that kind of feedback).

        I'm not sure whether you're regularly emptying your email Inbox (i.e. practicing inbox-zero). If not, I'd
        suggest creating one more folder called "Seen". Then at least once a day (or usually every time you
        look at your email), move every single email into one of your folders. If you've already read it and don't
        need it for an action or reference, then you don't really need it, right? I suggest moving it into "Seen" and having that
        folder set on autoarchive to automatically delete emails which are more then one month old (or whatever
        length of time you choose). Maybe you're already handling those with the delete button -- that's fine then.

        I might consider printing all the brief descriptions from workbook onto paper, one per page, with
        apologies to the trees. You can then annotate the pages with handwriting, e.g. "easy", "big task"
        or a list of actions or just a next action or some information or whatever
        you feel like writing, and shuffle them around to make it easy to find what you want to do next.
        The order might depend not only on the deadline, but on whether you want to do easier or harder
        tasks at certain times of day as your energy level varies, or whether, for example, if you have half
        an hour left before lunch break you want to look for a task that will take about half an hour.

        Or maybe you're comfortable using workbook as your list for that context, without printing them out
        or recopying them anywhere. I don't think you can use your email box as the list for that context
        because some tasks in workbook might not have any emails associated with them.

        Hmm. Suppose some workbook items have no email, but there are also some emails that require
        action but don't have any workbook item (e.g. "fill out this form to renew your id card").
        Then I'd suggest either (A) Have 3 lists: your GTD app lists that you already have; workbook;
        and your email Action folder; or else (B) Have 2 lists: your GTD app lists; and workbook.
        Whenever an email requires an action, enter it into your GTD app lists. I would tend to go
        for (A) and have 3 lists.

        You could consider dividing your Next-Action email folder into two folders: one
        for actions that you'll do in response to seeing the email, and the other one as Project-Support
        which you'll use usually in response to seeing that item mentioned in workbook.

        Actually, maybe it's more complicated than that. By the way, it's possible to edit subject lines
        of incoming emails in Outlook. When you see an email, is it obvious what the Next Action is?
        If not, maybe editing the subject line would help; but sometimes as pointed out by Folke, some
        emails might imply actions that you'll need to do in another context. Or one email might require
        several actions. That may be OK if you find you can just glance at the email and jump right into
        doing the action, but if some things are stagnating you might need to record specific, explicit next
        actions somewhere.

        I move emails into action folders (for different levels of urgency) and for a fraction of these
        I also put a next action into a list in another system (which for me is on paper).
        Having it in the other list can make me aware that there's something that will take a significant
        length of time waiting to be done, (so that I don't take on too much other work,)
        or can remind me of actions more urgent than the most
        urgent email action folder, or can provide more motivation for getting something done --
        I already intend to do it when opening the email folder.

        Comment

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