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  • BFO-Decentralized Lists?

    It occurred to me today that there is no reason to assume that all of my lists need to be in the same place at all times. For example, if I'm out and about, I don't need to have my projects or someday/maybe list with me, but I do need to have my @Errands. If I'm at my computer, I don't need to have my @Errands list handy, but I'd better have my @computer list.

    This means that I can maintain my next actions in media and formats that are appropriate to the context. I can keep my @Errands list in my Ubiquitous Capture Device (a moleskine notebook) and keep my @computer list in Outlook and not feel like I'm violating the integrity of my GTD implementation.

    Boy, does this make sense now (after 4 years of using and abusing GTD)

  • #2
    Interesting idea, but doesn't this add an additional layer of thinking (i.e. needing to anticipate where and what you might be doing?) and hinders spontaneous activities?

    For example, suppose you are going to meet a client and the meeting ends early. And as you are going back to your car, you realize the supermarket is next door and you remembered that you had some stuff that you needed to get the next time you were at the supermarket. However, because you didn't anticipate going to the supermarket, you don't have your @Supermarket list?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dansch
      ...


      This means that I can maintain my next actions in media and formats that are appropriate to the context. I can keep my @Errands list in my Ubiquitous Capture Device (a moleskine notebook) and keep my @computer list in Outlook and not feel like I'm violating the integrity of my GTD implementation.
      Originally posted by remyc88
      Interesting idea, but doesn't this add an additional layer of thinking (i.e. needing to anticipate where and what you might be doing?) and hinders spontaneous activities?
      I'd like to second remyc88s remark. Decentralized lists have IMO only one advantage: there is little to carry.

      But they have disadvantages:
      -You cant react to unforeseen opportunities. (supermarket and time)
      -You can capture your ideas only on your UCT
      --- If you have ideas concerning to a project or other larger object you dont have the possibilty to write it down where it finally belongs. I often have such ideas and want to write them down in their context.
      -UCTs without backup (Moleskines) can be lost and with them all the information.


      My solution is to carry a PDA with me with all lists and additional material I like. It is easy to carry (as small as a moleskine), backuped at least everyday, independant of context, confidential data encrypted and additionally: those applications which I am used to, are always handy.

      Yours
      Alexander

      Comment


      • #4
        Your points are well taken however
        -capturing ideas (collecting) can be done irrespective of context (organizing)
        -I have been using a pda for years and have found that it's not as bulletproof as I would like--also, I'm finding that low tech is actually more enjoyable for me
        --I assume that I would carry my @supermarket list with me, but not my @home or @computer or projects, since those contexts will not be available while on the go

        -If DA's idea of context is analogous to "putting the file by the door," the "door" of my computer is on my desk, not in my car.

        I suppose that the only criteria is whether or not it works.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by dansch
          Your points are well taken however
          -capturing ideas (collecting) can be done irrespective of context (organizing)
          -I have been using a pda for years and have found that it's not as bulletproof as I would like--also, I'm finding that low tech is actually more enjoyable for me
          One remark regarding low tech: I do Mindmaps, Brainstormings etc. normally first on paper and add them afterwards to my eletronic system. I have the impression my brain works better while I draw images, especially with a nice pen

          Originally posted by dansch
          --I assume that I would carry my @supermarket list with me, but not my @home or @computer or projects, since those contexts will not be available while on the go
          Yes, the @supermarket list will be normally in the UCT. But sometimes it occures to me that I have a chunk of free time and an idea belonging to one of my "projects" (Not necessary GTD-projects). I like the possibility to be able to work with my whole plans everytime and everywhere. In the way my system is organized my project-plans are available while on the go.

          Originally posted by dansch
          -If DA's idea of context is analogous to "putting the file by the door," the "door" of my computer is on my desk, not in my car.
          I'm sorry for my use of the word "context". I live in Germany and read GTD in German, so when I expressed my thoughts in English I meant "context" not in the sense DA uses this word.

          Originally posted by dansch
          I suppose that the only criteria is whether or not it works.
          Of course

          I dont want to discredit your way of doing GTD. I think we all read this forum and discuss here to improve our own systems.

          Yours
          Alexander

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by dansch
            Your points are well taken however
            -capturing ideas (collecting) can be done irrespective of context (organizing)
            -I have been using a pda for years and have found that it's not as bulletproof as I would like--also, I'm finding that low tech is actually more enjoyable for me
            I've found recently that using a paper-based UCT for collection and a PDA for organization is the best practice for me. I use a digital voice recorder when I'm driving. During the capture phase, I just have to get down the idea as it occurs to me. It can be a next action, a project, a focus area, a quote, or what-have-you. I've learned not to combine collection and organization phases into one step.

            Then, whenever I have a few minutes of discretionary time, I take all the items from my notetaker wallet and voice recorder and enter them into the Treo, in their appropriate contexts. Once the paper notes and voice memos have been transferred into the system, they get tossed. Any leftover items go into my in-basket when I can home where I can finish processing and organizing the rest.

            Comment


            • #7
              It's an interesting idea, and I would be interested in seeing how well it works for you long term. For me, I use a PDA and that works well for me, and so I have all of my lists with me wherever I go. But I can understand the benefit.

              The only thing I'm wondering - does it make it difficult when, during your weekly review or when processing inboxes (paper or otherwise), you have to organize next actions into buckets in different locations? For example, when processing notes, @Errand tasks go into your notebook, and @Computer tasks go into Outlook. Does this add another layer of thinking, or is it pretty intuitive?

              Comment


              • #8
                I'll have to see how it works in practice, but it has an intuitive appeal.
                For instance: 90% of my @waiting for are emails that I've sent and am tracking. Those don't need to be in my paper notebook. It seems to make more sense to keep the reminders in the context in which they will be acted upon rather then forcing them into another medium for the sake of portability. It seems very GTD-ish to say that the purpose of the organizing the reminders is so that they stay off of my mind in any context in which they cannot be performed--if the actions can't happen in the "other" context, why feel obligated to take the reminders into that context either?

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                • #9
                  UCT

                  I seem to loose track on the acronyms being used

                  UCT ...?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Universal Capture Tool.

                    While the capture tool can be seperated from the to-do list, it is preferrable to be able to add it directly to the list. A "captured" thought seperate from a to-do list or inbox is a loose end.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MarkTAW
                      Universal Capture Tool.

                      While the capture tool can be seperated from the to-do list, it is preferrable to be able to add it directly to the list. A "captured" thought seperate from a to-do list or inbox is a loose end.
                      Not sure I agree with that. Capturing is a different activity than organizing. The whole idea of a UCT is to enable you to immediately capture ideas, then toss them into your In-Box for processing and (if appropriate) organizing at a later time.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MarkTAW
                        Universal Capture Tool.

                        While the capture tool can be seperated from the to-do list, it is preferrable to be able to add it directly to the list. A "captured" thought seperate from a to-do list or inbox is a loose end.
                        I agree with dansch that I'm not sure that I agree with you on this one. I used to enter "everything" directly into the Treo, in its appropriate context, the first time it occurred to me. But after switching to using a notetaker wallet exclusively for capture, I realized the extent to which I was unconciously failing to truly capture everything because some part of me found it laborious to determine the appropriate context and enter it electronically. It was a sluggish and relatively self-conscious process playing writer and editor with each capture, especially if the thought was complex or verbose.

                        With the UCT/notetaker wallet, raw capture is a clean, spontaneous process. I get the thought out of my head without worrying about if I've set it down in the "right" list. I probably capture about 3 to 4 times as many thoughts now compared to when I was using a PDA for initial capture. To some extent, it may not even be an issue of paper vs. electronic per se. If I were still using a PDA for capture, I would proabably put everything down in a single Memo, then process everything in that Memo file into its appropriate context whenever I had discretionary time.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Gameboy70
                          .... To some extent, it may not even be an issue of paper vs. electronic per se. If I were still using a PDA for capture, I would proabably put everything down in a single Memo, then process everything in that Memo file into its appropriate context whenever I had discretionary time.
                          I for myself like using my PDA this way.
                          Additional feature of the PDA is having the possibility to enter thoughts in their context if I have enough time at this moment.

                          Yours
                          Alexander

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: UCT

                            Originally posted by Marten Gaans
                            I seem to loose track on the acronyms being used

                            UCT ...?
                            If you haven't listened to the (highly recommended) GTD Fast CDs, the UCT reference will probably be lost on you. I don't think it's mentioned in the book.

                            There's a passage where David talks shop on the collection phase of workflow, and mentions one of his favorite collection tools, the Ubiquitous Capture Tool, a.k.a. the Evening Module. On the David Allen Co.'s product page it's referred to as the NoteTaker Wallet -- basically a wallet with a retractable pen and a notepad small enough to avoid making the whole thing a brick. It fits in any pocket large enough to hold a regular wallet.

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                            • #15
                              Another reason for decentralizing the NA lists is that the context might not allow the use of your main list-holder.

                              For example, I frequently work in construction sites where the use of battery-powered devices are not allowed. I can't bring my TH55 there, so I print out my @Site next actions list so I can bring it with me.

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