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  • Processing okay, but how do you work from the lists?

    I can do the initial aspects of processing very well, although I find that it takes a lot of time to do the thinking up front. And, I can do a weekly review very well, although it takes a long time and never feels really complete. But, after I have all the information set out on my lists, I just don't have an automatic sequence for working from my context lists and the Palm Date book. I feel lost without having that weekly calander to glance at and make notes on. Prior to learning about GTD, I used a paper planner that showed me a week at a time and I would fill in the hard landscape and the write into the times I thought I would work on a project either the project's name (e.g., write program evaluation) or some key action that was needed to move the project along, usually in conjunction with a context I was expecting to be in (e.g, while downtown, pick up statistics from health dept.) . I would only analyze a project action by action if I feared getting stuck or if the time deadline was really rigid. I would pencil in time frames for components of projects, often working backward from the due date. I would begin each day by looking at the week and throughout the day make adjustments. So, why did I switch to GTD and Palm? First, I found had more and more projects that lacked externally imposed due dates. Second, I was putting things on the calendar that were not really absolutes and then I would grow immune to responding to them. Third, my projects had gotten more complex and it became more important to my efficacy to define them by desired outcome. Finally, as I have aged, I have gotten to the point where I cannot physically carry a great big old planner around (and besides, it makes me look like an aging control freak). So what is the problem? I look at the day's appointments on the Palm and I don't know what to do nex, I don't have all the little cues that make me feel that something is urgent or possible or necessary. I am used to a system that was rich in redundant cues and which I could keep a lot of information in my view allat the same time. So to make the transistion I need an algorithym or at least a recipe for how to do the workfrom lists, afte I have done so much of the thinking up front. I would consider any suggestions or models that I could "try on for size".

  • #2
    I'm having the same issue. Within the past few months I decided that my Next Action and Project lists on my Palm / Outlook weren't working for me so I went to paper lists. Just the action of transferring and organizing everything helped to clear my head and refocused me on what I should be working on. That lasted for a few weeks and then I switched back to keeping the lists in electronic form again because I'd grown numb to the lists. Now I find that, once again, I don't feel like I'm working on the right thing at the right time.

    I was brainstorming yesterday about how to fix this. I don't want anything too complicated because I'll end up not keeping up with it. I decided I needed some way to be able to look at all my tasks quickly and determine what to do based on the importance (which may have changed since the task or project first went on my list) and when it needs to be completed.

    I've decided to try Life Balance (http://www.llamagraphics.com/) again. I've resisted trying to use it because it appears complex at first glance. However, I've decided I need to know the importance and due date of a task anyway, so why not use a program that will let me record that information and then calculate what I should be doing based on where and when I'm at?

    We'll see how it goes, complexity wise. I'm a little hesitant about the price tag, too - $70 for Windows & Palm - but if it works, it just may be worth it.

    My 2 cents.

    Comment


    • #3
      Take a look at the GTD is The Best thread. I posted on page 2 and it might help with your situation.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you, Gretchen

        I really appreciate your taking the time and sharing so graciously your method. It seems that the basic steps are:

        1.After the "hard landscape" items are on the calendar, look at the lists of n/as. If they are "big chunk of time" items (more than 15 minutes), locate times for them. If these are important enough, as determined by deadlines, impact or personal values or whatever, schedule them. Also, mark on the schedule time any that is committed implicitly or habitually so that you recognize and work around it (e.g., overseeing homework).
        2. If there are "little chunk" items and there are several of them, schedule them as a group.
        3. Do not schedule more than 70% of available time.
        4. Look at and review the day's calendar after each action, after each interuption, when ever the in box is empty or anything else that might impact when your work will be done.

        Did I miss anything?

        And, I just love your approach to learning to type!

        Jamie

        Comment


        • #5
          taskline

          I had the same issue, until I started using taskline. www.taskline.com
          This tool forces you to prioiritize each task and assign an amount of time estimated to complete it.
          Based on the priorities and the hard lanscpae (meetings in your calendar) it schedules the tasks on the calendar for the estimated times, in priority order.

          The tool works with outlook and, though not required, with GTD add-in.

          The only caveat is that is is not sensitive to your contexts, for me that is not a problem, because most of the time @calls, @computer, @office are all in the same place.

          There is a trial version, which allows you to test the product

          Take a look

          Xoff

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Lifebalance

            I've used LB and like it. A few thoughts:

            1. I find LB very helpful because it is a way to see my stuff either

            A. In outline form by project with each project broken down into steps

            OR by then clicking on a tab

            B. In a to do list form by place...context I guess it is called. This to do list is in order by priority. I don't treat the order as absolute but I do find it helpful. Hey your to do list items have to be listed in some order, why not an order with the more important ones near the top?

            I ignore the pie chart, credit and importance (which I leave at 100% for all items).

            LB is worth it (for me) but has a steep learning curve and takes some getting used to. A few thoughts to help you get started (this is just one way--there are other options--check out Bob Pankratz sp? posts on their forum.):

            1. Treat the order of items in the to do list as a rough guide and don't get hung up over the exact order

            2. Keep the import/export settings turned off

            3. Set importance for everything to 100%

            4. Start small e.g. by putting a few items into LB and play with it. Putting your whole life in LB will be a little overwelming at first.

            5. In the beginning (I still do this) review the outline form regularly. There are a number of...things that might happen which might cause an important to do not to show up on your to do list and you don't want to get burned. These happen not because of defects in the program, but because you don't yet understand fully how the program works.

            6. Read their ....guess it is called walkthrogh...and the other documentation provided on the site. Read their FAQ. Re-read them after using it for awhile. Read their forum for ideas or to get questions answered.

            7. Be patient with yourself as you learn.


            If you are using LB on a palm (as am I) LB is the only option like it. If you work mainly off of a desktop then you should check out the LB...clone:

            http://www.mylifeorganized.net/

            Which really is still in the infant stage but looks very promising although mainly for desktop and PPC users. It sounds like there will be a workaround for palm people....at some point.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jamie Elis
              Did I miss anything?
              Jamie - I think you nailed it! The only thing I might add is that my approach takes patience, especially on wild days were things just seem to fall apart. I have had days where my whole schedule became a wash by 10am and I had to totally renegotiate the rest of the day. I have learned to accept that these days happen and they are exceptional and not the norm.

              A lot of my routine tasks like 'homework' and 'evening routine' are incredibly valuable at preventing future crisis. For example, 'evening routine' includes the time it takes to bathe the kids, lay out their clothes, pick up toys, brush teeth, load the washer (for the next day) and start the dishwasher, etc. This prevents major a crisis in the morning like no clean spoons, no matching socks, tripping over toys, etc.

              Some nights we skimp on the routine and we usually end up 'paying for it' the next day. I work mostly from home and there is nothing more distracting than a disorganized house - even if I lock myself in my office to work it is still there on the other side of the door screaming "clean me!" I used to think that writing these 'little things' on my calendar was ridiculous, but the little things really do add up.

              Being realistic about my time has been the biggest time management achievement for me. Most of the tips I got on scheduling came from Julie Morgenstern's "Time Management from the Inside Out" and Mark McCormack's "Getting Results for Dummies." Also, It's About Time is a great read and is a free PDF download. They are all excellent books and I use them as a refresher from time to time.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jamie Elis
                I can do the initial aspects of processing very well, although I find that it takes a lot of time to do the thinking up front.
                Over time you will get faster in that kind of thinking because your intuition grows. And: thinking afterward does not go faster...


                Originally posted by Jamie Elis
                And, I can do a weekly review very well, although it takes a long time and never feels really complete.
                I had that problem too, until i dealed with the upper levels seriously. 50,000: what's your job on this planet? Make this clear to you, go down the levels right to 10,000, work it out dude, and ya will feel better, clear and relaxed


                Originally posted by Jamie Elis
                But, after I have all the information set out on my lists, I just don't have an automatic sequence for working from my context lists and the Palm Date book. I feel lost without having that weekly calander to glance at and make notes on. Prior to learning about GTD, I used a paper planner that showed me a week at a time and I would fill in the hard landscape and the write into the times I thought I would work on a project either the project's name (e.g., write program evaluation) or some key action that was needed to move the project along, usually in conjunction with a context I was expecting to be in (e.g, while downtown, pick up statistics from health dept.) .
                But you can continue to do this. Look, the cool part about GTD here is, if you don't finish some 'work on project xyz', or something unforeseeable happens, anything, and you could not fullfill your daily plan, nothing is lost. It's not like in the old days when your whole organization had to be rebuild or something. Just continue to work on your lists and you will succeed. Read the book carefully.


                Originally posted by Jamie Elis
                I would only analyze a project action by action if I feared getting stuck or if the time deadline was really rigid.
                Did you read the book? What does it say about the 'natural planning model'? It says, you are doing it anyway, analyzing a project action by action. It's just now you do it consciously.


                Originally posted by Jamie Elis
                I would pencil in time frames for components of projects, often working backward from the due date. I would begin each day by looking at the week and throughout the day make adjustments. So, why did I switch to GTD and Palm? First, I found had more and more projects that lacked externally imposed due dates. Second, I was putting things on the calendar that were not really absolutes and then I would grow immune to responding to them. Third, my projects had gotten more complex and it became more important to my efficacy to define them by desired outcome. Finally, as I have aged, I have gotten to the point where I cannot physically carry a great big old planner around (and besides, it makes me look like an aging control freak). So what is the problem? I look at the day's appointments on the Palm and I don't know what to do nex, I don't have all the little cues that make me feel that something is urgent or possible or necessary. I am used to a system that was
                Just do what you like. Pure amusement. Lust.


                Originally posted by Jamie Elis
                rich in redundant cues and which I could keep a lot of information in my view allat the same time. So to make the transistion I need an algorithym or at least a recipe for how to do the workfrom lists, afte I have done so much of the thinking up front. I would consider any suggestions or models that I could "try on for size".
                OK, here is mine: After I did my weekly review, I go through the projects-list and think about each project to get to an answer to the following question: "How far do I want to push this particular project in the following week?" I then write down the answer. Note: 'I don't care' is a valid answer because i just don't want to force myself or other involved people to anything. And I want to stay honest. Normally I get a list of around 10-20 weekly goals that way. Second step: prioritize. 3 categories here: a)wildly important. This is gonna be the fight in my upcoming week. b)mildly important. I really want to archive this. c)you know, life is tuff sometimes. That's why this little weekly goal fell off the list completely.

                I hope I could help you with this, fellow

                Comment

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