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What will I have when I'm "done" implementing this

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  • What will I have when I'm "done" implementing this

    I just finished the GTD book and am confused about what I will physically have when the program is fully implemented. Can anyone tell me if this is correct?

    * An area with all reference papers/catalogs etc. filed alphabetically in folders according to topic.

    * An area with someday/maybe stuff filed/stacked to review weekly or every once in a while

    * An area with file folders for each current project, filed alphabetically

    * An inbox where all new items go first thing. And keeping this inbox cleaned out is my first priority.

    * A calendar file with folders for the days of the month and months of the year for me to file things that need to be taken care of at a certain time. I can take things out of my inbox, write the next action item on them and put them in this file under the date when the should be done.

    * A pile of "pending" items or "next action" items. Is this the stack of action items I'm supposed to be working through? Is this where I put all the stuff I grabbed out of today's file folder along with anything from the inbox that should/could be done today? I'm afraid this pile is going to get HUGE!!

    * A stack of things i'm waiting on from someone else

    * Duplicates of all these files/systems at home for my personal stuff

    * Duplicates of all these files/systems in my email

    * Duplicates of all these files/systems in my home/personal email


    This just seems so confusing. Should I be putting all of my paper stuff into my email system or printing everything out of email to put in my folders? Or am I supposed to use my electronic calendar and my paper calendar together? Is that tough to do, having two separate calendars (one electronic and the other made up of manila folders) and the same two calendar systems at home as well?

    Auuuuuuugh!! So confused.

  • #2
    I'm very far from an expert - just a new GTD user and mainly a lurker on this board - but I think it's the second part of your list where things get overly complex.

    Board veterans: please correct me at will...

    *a "pile of next action items" -- i don't have one of these; stuff comes out of the inbox, and then, if it generates a next action, the next action goes on the list, and the stuff itself goes into the current project file folder

    *likewise the stack of waiting-fors -- not sure why that would exist; when you do a next action and it generates a waiting-for, just stick the waiting-for on your waiting-for list, and put any related stuff back in the current project file folder

    *duplicates... personally I don't have two systems for home and work but I know some people do. Even if you do, though, you should only need one set of lists -- then if you choose to store some of the physical stuff in two different places for convenience, that's up to you...

    I hope this helps rather than confusing things further...

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks northj, that makes sense. I guess what confused me was how the book said to write the next action item right on the paper item. I was wondering when or how I'd actually get a LIST of action items rather than a pile of pieces of paper, each with an idea or project and then the next action item written on them.

      Comment


      • #4
        yeah - in my opinion, that piece of advice (about actually writing things on the things themselves) is a bit confusing and unnecessary. As I recall, it's presented in the book as something that might help you out during your first big collection/processing session, so that you can "see" the GTD procedure in front of you. If it's only adding to the confusion, I personally don't think you'll lose anything by just abandoning it...

        Comment


        • #5
          ...in some cases

          Originally posted by smarty pants
          Thanks northj, that makes sense. I guess what confused me was how the book said to write the next action item right on the paper item. I was wondering when or how I'd actually get a LIST of action items rather than a pile of pieces of paper, each with an idea or project and then the next action item written on them.
          In some cases, we've worked with clients who either:
          1) have incredible amounts of backlog;
          2) are in an environment where security is a high priority;
          3) want to get up and running as things are still coming in

          ...or, of course, have all three going on simultaneously!

          So, in no particular order...

          if 1: start where you are. In some cases putting "police tape" (physical or psychic) around your space helps. Unplug the ISDN/Ethernet line, put the phone on DND, somehow create a block of time.

          if 2: sometimes clients can NOT put things on computers/PDA's or even lists. Other times, clients do not WANT to make lists/inventories. Over the past few years, I've found creative ways to ensure the Next Action Decision (the turnkey to productivity).

          if 3: if the volume increases with each passing hour, take a strong look at your own personal productivity. In each of the many books I've read by Peter Drucker, there has always been a section in there on "knowledge workers" and "discretionary time." It is paramount that we create blocks of time while we're working when we are NOT going to be distracted. 10 minutes here, an hour and a half there...whatever it takes.


          The fundamentals remain the same, the implementation is what varies person to person...

          collect those things you have attention on,
          make front end decisions on what those things mean to you,
          leave reminders where you'll see them of what you want to get done,
          review all of those reminders as often as necessary to keep it all current,
          and...
          choose the best action to take "next."

          * What will you do after reading this post? And...is that the BEST thing you could be doing?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: What will I have when I'm "done" implementing

            This just seems so confusing.

            Should I be putting all of my paper stuff into my email system or printing everything out of email to put in my folders?

            Or am I supposed to use my electronic calendar and my paper calendar together?

            Is that tough to do, having two separate calendars (one electronic and the other made up of manila folders) and the same two calendar systems at home as well?

            Auuuuuuugh!! So confused.

            Hi there,

            I read your post with interest...good job! You've hit every major question I've ever heard in a seminar!

            Essentially, I think of a "personal productivity system" as one that is as fast, as effecient, as mobile as the person using it. For many folks, two calendars will complicate planning. I've seen one or two where they had two and it was fine.

            re: printing e-mails...again, some folks are fine keeping digital copies (I even have clients who are downloading e-mail on a monthly basis to CD-ROM) while others need paper copies. Personally, I print a few e-mails (for example I often travel with printed confirmations of web-based reservations I make...)


            I've often heard David talk about "going through Chapters 4-8." Personally, I think chapter 4 is one of my favorites...it really sets the game plan.

            Good luck, and thanks for playing!

            Comment


            • #7
              If you are reaching for the book to find out what Chapter 4 is, you are still not black belt .

              Chapter 4 refers to Getting Started: Setting Up the Time, Space, and Tools

              AA

              Comment


              • #8
                Delegating

                Originally posted by northj
                yeah - in my opinion, that piece of advice (about actually writing things on the things themselves) is a bit confusing and unnecessary.
                Well, that "actually writing things on the things themselves" is often a part of the way that managers delegate work. E.g., a manager recieves a letter from outside of the company. He reads the letter, decides who inside the company has to work on it (the delegatee), writes an assignment on the letter, and hands the letter to his assistant. The assistant makes a copy of the letter and sends the letter to the delegatee, then he stores the copy in a follow-up system (e.g. a tickler file with a note on a "waiting for" list or "pending" list).

                Rainer

                Comment


                • #9
                  > what I will physically have when the program is fully implemented

                  If you walk around the outside "buckets" of the workflow diagram you end up with:

                  1) Lists/support for the four key action categories – Projects (the master list - one line/project), Calendar (computer, portable, etc), Next Actions (list), and Waiting For (list). People often split their Next Actions into separate "context" lists, e.g., @Calls, @Home, etc.

                  2) Folders for:
                  o project support materials (one per project)
                  o general reference material (one per topic, project, person, or company)
                  o Someday/Maybe (one)
                  o tickler (43 of them)

                  3) Filing cabinets - Folders get stored in filing cabinets, a minimum of one set (2-4 drawers) within swivel distance. Optional: Second set of drawers for secondary (longer-term) storage. Simplest is to mix project and general reference in one A-Z system. If you have secondary storage, that will be its own A-Z system.

                  4) An in-basket for collecting.


                  Note: You should not have any piles in your workspace. Everything goes into one of the above places. For example, when you're done with a project (at least for now), put its materials back into its folder, and file it. Some people like to use a stacking shelf for "current" projects, but this is only to make accessing them slightly easier. The key point is to use your action system (Projects, Calendar, Next Actions, and Waiting For) for reminding, *not* stacks.

                  Finally, the only "non-stuff" in my workspace is supplies, reference material, decoration, and equipment.


                  Additional notes:

                  > Duplicates of all these files/systems in my email

                  I use my action lists (paper-based, in my case) to also track email to-dos. The actual emails are either printed (and go into an "Action Support" folder) or go into an @action-support email folder. Again, the reminding is done via my lists.

                  > Duplicates of all these files/systems in my home/personal email

                  I strongly recommend mixing work and home reminding into one system. If you need to separate work and home projects/reference, so be it.

                  > email...

                  Your email inbox is another collecting point, which means you have to check it every 24-48 hours, just like your paper one. If you want to have an electronic reminding system, you can create two basic reminding folders: @action and @waiting-for. This is in addition to reference/project email folders, similar to your paper ones. This setup allows you to have a place to put processed email, which is crucial to getting email to zero regularly.

                  It can be very confusing, esp. getting started. Stick with it - I've found it's very much worthwhile. Hope this helps!

                  matt

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    One useful thing I've found about that "write on a piece of paper and drop into the in-box" is that I can get something quickly out of my head that way. An idea occurs to me or someone phones me, I scribble a sentence on a small scrap pad and drop the idea into the in-box. It gets processed when I have the mental energy to process it effectively and determine the right NA.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Anonymous
                      I
                      * A calendar file with folders for the days of the month and months of the year for me to file things that need to be taken care of at a certain time. I can take things out of my inbox, write the next action item on them and put them in this file under the date when the should be done.

                      Or am I supposed to use my electronic calendar and my paper calendar together? Is that tough to do, having two separate calendars (one electronic and the other made up of manila folders) and the same two calendar systems at home as well?

                      Auuuuuuugh!! So confused.
                      I don't think anyone addressed this. The paper calendar with the files for each day of the week is a tickler file. You use this for things that should be done on a certain date but don't really go on a calendar. On your calendar you would have an appointment from 3-4 pm, but there isn't really a place to schedule in "check for update of software X" or "make appoint for yearly colonscopy". For these you write a note and put it into the folder for the date when you want to be reminded to do this. Another example, the application for XYZ is due on Aug. 14th, but you want to fill it out, write the check and send it out on the 10th to make sure it gets there on time (you dont want to send it early maybe because money is tight and you can't afford to pay for it right now), so you put the application form in your tickler file for Aug. 10. When that date rolls around and you empty your folder for that day, the form is in there and you fill it out and send it.

                      It's not really two calendars. Does that make sense?

                      Comment

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