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Will GTD work for 2 separate "lives'?

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  • Will GTD work for 2 separate "lives'?

    I have read the book, configured my Outlook, and have scheduled Wed-Fri to start gathering and processing my "stuff".

    But now I realize that I have a roadblock. Can anyone give me suggestions/recommendations/ideas, or tell me if it just won't work?

    I have a corporate job but work from a home office via a laptop -- I also travel to client sites (fixed base of 20 clients whom I see a few times a year).
    I also have my own company (not affiliated with my 'real' job) at which I spend 10-15 hours per week, plus my personal/family life.

    Here's the kicker: I cannot combine my lists/emails for these separate lives electronically. I cannot put any personal software on my company's laptop, which runs on WinXP. My home computer is Win98, and does not have Outlook. I can't access "day job" things from my home computer because of corporate firewall. As such, it seems that I must have 2 "systems" running in parallel.

    I have a Palm, but can only sycnh it with one computer because of the different programs used.
    I have a Blackberry where I can get both work and personal emails.

    Any ideas?? I can probably go to totally paper based except for emails -- there would then be 2 separate parallel email setups. What do you think?

    Help! Thanks

  • #2
    Re: Will GTD work for 2 separate "lives'?

    Originally posted by MayBeHopeless
    Here's the kicker: I cannot combine my lists/emails for these separate lives electronically. I cannot put any personal software on my company's laptop, which runs on WinXP. My home computer is Win98, and does not have Outlook. I can't access "day job" things from my home computer because of corporate firewall. As such, it seems that I must have 2 "systems" running in parallel.
    If you cannot combine these two areas of responsibility you must keep them separate and maintain two separate GTD systems. I think your life setup is rather complicated so GTD must be complicated too.
    I suggest two GTDs for two "lives"! Possibly two-GTD setup may be less complicated than one in your case.
    TesTeq

    Comment


    • #3
      Wow.I'm impressed! as someone who can relate yet doesn't have all the answers...is sounds you might want to give contacting Gordon Bell a shot!

      here is his presentation and it's interesting to see how he integrates parallel lives:

      http://accelerating.org/ac2004/slides/AC2004(Bell).ppt

      not exactly GTD but hey..this world is all connected right?!?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Will GTD work for 2 separate "lives'?

        Originally posted by MayBeHopeless
        Here's the kicker: I cannot combine my lists/emails for these separate lives electronically. I cannot put any personal software on my company's laptop, which runs on WinXP. My home computer is Win98, and does not have Outlook. I can't access "day job" things from my home computer because of corporate firewall. As such, it seems that I must have 2 "systems" running in parallel.

        I have a Palm, but can only sycnh it with one computer because of the different programs used.
        I have a Blackberry where I can get both work and personal emails.

        Any ideas?? I can probably go to totally paper based except for emails -- there would then be 2 separate parallel email setups. What do you think?
        Hi,
        I second TesTeq in assuming that 2 seperate setups will be easier to handle. Nevertheless i suggest you take notes and informations always on your palm (or blackberry [I dont know enough about its features]). This one machine has to be always with you to minimize searches. Here you can also store encrypted information which you always need.

        Yours
        Alexander

        Comment


        • #5
          Keep Excel or Word files with your personal info on a portable USB drive, so you can view them on both computers and update as necessary.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by guest
            Keep Excel or Word files with your personal info on a portable USB drive, so you can view them on both computers and update as necessary.
            If this is allowed in your office you could build a GTD-System in one or more word or Excel-Files and you can have one System. But keep in mind that you have to backup your USB-Stick; otherwise you will have a major problem if you lose it.

            Yours
            Alexander

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by guest
              Keep Excel or Word files with your personal info on a portable USB drive, so you can view them on both computers and update as necessary.
              I think it is not safe to use any personal data files on company's laptop. Privacy is not guaranteed because of temporary files and disk cache created and managed by the operating system. Even if you erase the files some remains of data may be left. The Murphy Law would say that it would be the most sensitive data in your life .
              TesTeq

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for the ideas ...

                Originally posted by hth
                Originally posted by guest
                Keep Excel or Word files with your personal info on a portable USB drive, so you can view them on both computers and update as necessary.
                If this is allowed in your office you could build a GTD-System in one or more word or Excel-Files and you can have one System. But keep in mind that you have to backup your USB-Stick; otherwise you will have a major problem if you lose it.

                Yours
                Alexander
                This is indeed allowed, and in fact, the company laptop and my home computer are both on my home network -- so it would be able to reside on either/both computers. This may be the answer.

                Question: has anyone seen Word or Excel templates for GTD, or do I need to build it from scratch? Since I'm just beginning, I'm still wrapping my mind around the concept, so I don't know if I could do justice to creating the system from scratch in Word or Excel.

                Also, is there some way to automatically sync the file between the 2 computers (i.e., I add a Next Action Item to the document on the laptop, and also add one on the home PC -- any way to reconcile those 2 documents so those 2 items appear on both lists at the end of the day?

                Thanks .. maybe I should move this over to the other 'tech' forum...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here are two links that might help. I think I might have the excel files in a hard drive somewhere if you cannot find them on the sight.

                  http://www.bellc.com/downloads/edashboard.pdf

                  http://www.bellc.com/downloads/9-6-02.pdf


                  HTH,
                  Gordon

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I recommend what you already suspect you have to do: run two separate systems in parallel. For weeks I staggered through a very kludgy implementation of GTD before reaching the same conclusion. I realized that I don't need to synch the Palm to the office desktop. Since I'm largely desktop at work, I just use Outlook. I do have an @office list to add things as they occur to me outside of work, but I just retype them into Outlook when I get to the office. Everything that's not office related is managed in my Palm, home desktop or home laptop.

                    In practice, keeping your day job's system separate from devices mainting another system is much simpler than it is in theory (as long as you keep one tickler file, since you work from home). It makes a nice, hard edge that keeps you from having to wade through a bunch of unrelated lists.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      system that works for me

                      I have a very similar situation with a home based business and a full time job (employer's policy prohibits using computer, etc. on outside work). I use Outlook at home for all my GTD (bought the plug-in for ease of use), and sync to my personal Palm, which goes with me to work. I also use a flash drive to carry electronic files with me. All of my to-do lists are actually paper and pencil (Levenger circa notebook, 5 by 7 size), so as long as I have them and my Palm, I'm fine (the flash drive is an added plus). And, I don't violate company policy. The mix of paper and electronics is actually working quite well for me.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Email yourself

                        I discovered that I could email myself from the home computer to my work computer, and on the work computer I set up a filter to dump all of those emails into a !Process folder. From that point, I can quickly drag the message to the Task or Projects folder (I'm using Bill Kratz's method for project management).

                        Since I don't have too many emails coming into my home account that require Next Actions, this has worked for me. I still keep all reference materials for my home-based business and personal info on my home computer -- it's just the emails that get turned into Next Actions or Projects that migrate.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          2 separate systems

                          This was an issue that I also had to settle for myself. I am amazed that it is not addressed well (at all) in the organizing systems and books I have seen.

                          I work in a secure government facility so personal use of the computer systems is a definite no-no. But I am allowed to carry a palm. (if not I would do it on paper). So I keep all of my work material in Outlook on my work computer and I keep all of my personal life outside of work (which would include any other self-employement) in the Palm/Personal PC system.

                          After struggling with this I finally realized the key is to make sure there are no leaks in the system, that everything is captured in the right system. So I created a cross-link between the two systems. If I am at work and I think of something related to my home system I pick up the palm or my personal notebook if the palm is misbehaving.

                          If I am at home and need to make a work related entry I put it in the @Work category on my palm. Then in my morning collection check list at work I have an entry "Check Palm for work related items." This way I make sure that everything is captured and placed in the proper context at least once a day.

                          I struggled for a time with not wanting to have duplicate information. But then I realized it was irrelavant. If I have duplicate information it is because I need it in both contexts. Since I can't carry my work PC with me if I need a work contact ( my boss's cell phone) I just enter it in both systems. If it changes I make a note to modify it in my cross-links.

                          This works well for me since my work is mostly separate from what I do when I walk out the door each day. For those of you in more integrated careers I can see that this would be an issue. It would be nice to see professional organizers address this more clearly.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I am also struggling with this. I've been reading GTD on and off for a few months now, trying to figure out the best way to get started, and this dual-life issue is such a sticking point that it's actually preventing me from starting.

                            I've always blurred my professional (fulltime job as a programmer/manager) and personal life, which includes similar tasks as my job (board of directors for a non-profit, starting a side business, writing a book, etc). I often do work-work at home, and personal work at work, but actually integrating them into the same organizational system scares the heck out of me, since I might find myself neglecting one or the other. At least the chaotic disorganization that my current lack of system now has some kind of balance, even if it is in balance only by luck and law of averages.

                            I like the idea of doing two separate GTD systems. Maybe it's about time I truely break my work and non-work lives apart. *sigh*

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Do the first step.

                              Do not think how to implement GTD but do the first step (your first Next Action) without the clear and perfect vision of your system. Stop for a while and do a mind-sweep (write down anything you have attention on). This always helps in finding the right balance between your Areas of Responsibility. Maybe there are some obvious projects with easy to define outcomes and Next Actions.
                              TesTeq

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