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calendars, hard landscape & breakfast

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  • calendars, hard landscape & breakfast

    From a more or less philosophical point of view one could argue things like breakfast, lunch, sleeping etc. should be on the hard landscape of a calendar - maybe even before anything else is written on it.

    How does this work out with the 'hard landscape' idea of GTD?
    Do you put breakfast, sleeping etc. on your calendar?

  • #2
    what???

    ehh... do you put breathing and being alive in your calender to???

    what if you are hungry and the calender of yours says no, it´s time to do the big laundry and ironing... ???

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    • #3
      Hard Landscape

      I think seriously that is a highly personal choice. There are many discussions around depression, OCD & such in these forums. I could see that such 'granular' appointments showing up on a list like the calendar could be used as an aid to focus. However, I can see such regular tasks possibly being part of a daily checklist. When I started running 4 miles a day every Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday I placed this on my calendar as a daily event. I don't anymore because it's habit. If I miss a workout there is a reason. This GTD stuff is mastering lists. Calendar for days & dates, Next Action lists to keep this stuff out of our heads. We determine what goes on our list. Areas of Focus may determine why they go on our list. I go through changing phases of discipline that require more detail sometimes.

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      • #4
        I put routine activities on my time map (*), but not on my calendar.

        *Time mapping is a concept from Julia Morgenstern's book, Time Management from the Inside Out. The idea is to figure out a framework for your week by blocking out *everything* that you have to do: food, sleep, pick the kids up at school, Monday staff meeting, etc. Then you know how much time, and which chunks of time, you have for what kinds of work. For example, if you never have more than 30 minutes of uninterrupted time on Monday mornings, that's probably not a good time for heavy thinking that requires at least a full hour of focus, but it might be great for checking messages, answering email, etc. So do that, rather than setting yourself up for failure with unrealistic plans.

        Katherine

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        • #5
          Breakfast Lunch Dinner on List?

          I don't think habitual survival components need be put on a list.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by George Balt
            I don't think habitual survival components need be put on a list.
            In order to remember them, probably not. Eventually, your body will remind you to eat, sleep, and so forth.

            However, I spent most of 4Q04 inadvertently planning as if there were 27 hours in a day. The reason was that I had forgotten that I routinely spend about three hours a day on exactly this kind of "overhead" task.

            Having a list of routine tasks and the amount of time they take can be *extremely* helpful when you're trying to figure out why things always take longer than you expect.

            Katherine

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            • #7
              I put W/O on my hard landscape (work out-gym).

              It is a 'habit' but it needs to go on that particular day (Monday-Wed-Friday) for me so I can include it on my day plans AND it keeps me from trying to weasel out of the commitment.

              Do what works for you. Too much granularity (for me) slows down the system. I definitely don't need sleep reminders!

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              • #8
                I do not hesitate to schedule anything. Right now I have a scheduled break to check email and a few forums that I find relevant. I work from home and as of today my two kids are home on summer break. In order to preserve our sanity, we have a schedule that includes our morning and evening routines, lunch breaks, play time (they are 5 & 8 and still need my attention regularly) and computer time, etc. This eliminates them coming into my home office every 5 minutes and asking me if they can play on the computer or go swimming, etc. Two other areas we are working on are making lists of snacks and lunches to choose from so we can plan our meals and grocery shopping. Also, we are making a list of fun actvities that they can refer to when they are 'bored.' They can both read so this list will be printed and posted on the refrigerator. We also made a list of places to visit this summer like the zoo, the park and the children's museum. I will schedule all of this in my calendar and plan my work tasks around it. Even though I schedule a lot of things, I feel incredibly flexible. If it rains on the day we plan to go to the zoo, rescheduling is a snap. I do not plan every second of the day, but usually I fill in the gaps at night during a mini-review of the day so I can see how much work I am getting done and how much time I am spending with the kids, hubby and in other activities. This way my kids don't feel neglected and I can be productive while working at home. For more details about my GTD system which includes scheduling, see this thread: GTD is the best

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                • #9
                  The need to schedule everything?

                  I think that 1drummergirl's response is a very good illustration of the principle that was questioned by the original question of should we even be scheduling lunch breaks?

                  The objective for each individual using GTD is essentially to achieve "a mind like water", and to do whatever it takes to get yourself there, but to do only what it takes, and no more...

                  1drummergirl has illustrated what works for her, and the question to the original poster is what do you need to do to make your system work for you?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jeff K
                    1drummergirl has illustrated what works for her, and the question to the original poster is what do you need to do to make your system work for you?
                    Well, I've only recently (compared to many other posters) started to introduce GTD to my life, so I'm not quite sure to what extent it's already implemented. I've done a bit of every phase - with the problem that I'm not entirely sure when each phase is completed (this refers especially to collecting and processing - I'm never quite sure the Inbox is holding _everything_ - and when I'm done processing I usually find something else to collect; it's a bit like brainstorming).

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                    • #11
                      There's definitely one strain of personality type -- I'm not necessarily saying this includes you, feantur, but I think it does include me -- that wants to implement systems like GTD completely comprehensively, extending the logic of the system to its absolute limits, in a way that I would call perfectionistic and that can become pretty obsessive.

                      And of course, if you were to be ABSOLUTELY rigorous in applying the underlying principles of GTD, you probably would schedule breakfast. And breathing, for that matter.

                      If you do have that obsessive/perfectionist streak, I think this is a direction it's worth trying to resist. (I found Albert Ellis's writing on "imperfectionism" really useful in this regard.)

                      David Allen sometimes inadvertently encourages freaks like me in this unhelpful line of thinking when he talks about the importance of lists being comprehensive. What he really means, I think, is that you shouldn't have things buzzing around in your mind when you could write them down on paper. If something isn't buzzing around in your mind in the first place -- like breakfast and sleeping -- you really don't need to worry about putting it in your system.

                      Unless it's a working breakfast with your new boss. You should probably put that on your schedule.

                      ludlow

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                      • #12
                        Excellently put, ludlow!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Since "breakfast" keeps popping up... I think it depends on what you're trying to achieve by putting it on your calendar. Are you reminding yourself to eat or are you merely noting that it will require time to complete this life necessity?

                          In my case, I do not schedule 'breakfast', but I have one event on my calendar called 'morning routine' that encompasses getting dressed, fixing and eating breakfast and about a half dozen small morning chores I take care of like emptying the dishwasher, feeding the dog and tossing a load of laundry in the washer. If these tasks are not completed, my household will 'die' so to speak - or at least the dog will. I do have a list of these 'morning routine' chores for reference as needed though I haven't used it in months.

                          The point of putting this appointment on my calendar is so that I can block out time for this necessity. If I know it takes me an hour and a half to complete this morning ritual, then I know how to adjust my shcedule for an early meeting or on a day when I want to sleep in. As I said in my linked post, I find it so much less stressful to make commitments now that I have a clear picture of how much time I really have in a day or for the remainder of the week. You would be amazed at how much time is actually spent working vs. doing everything else - work outs, lunches, family time, routine stuff, etc. I have been doing this for about a year and a half now and I am able to pare down my commitments into manageable pieces and I am very clear on when I need to delegate or even sacrifice a workout to squeeze in a suprise proposal.

                          I am not rigid with my scheduling and I really only schedule maybe 70% of the day and most of it is predictable. I adjust things as needed and fill in the blanks as I go (mainly for tracking work hours). I try to keep weekends as free as possible and 'go with the flow' of next actions or just 'do nothing' all day depending on my mood.

                          In summary...I don't need to be reminded to eat breakfast, but I do need to be reminded that I have committed to taking care of my family and that commitment requires an hour and a half of my morning on a daily basis.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A new motto?

                            Originally posted by ludlow
                            There's definitely one strain of personality type -- I'm not necessarily saying this includes you, feantur, but I think it does include me -- that wants to implement systems like GTD completely comprehensively, extending the logic of the system to its absolute limits, in a way that I would call perfectionistic and that can become pretty obsessive....

                            If you do have that obsessive/perfectionist streak, I think this is a direction it's worth trying to resist.
                            David Allen sometimes inadvertently encourages freaks like me in this unhelpful line of thinking when he talks about the importance of lists being comprehensive.
                            A number of points here resonate for me:

                            1) Re. obsessive/perfectionistic streaks: I consider myself a "recovering perfectionist." I've stopped beating myself up for being human, and I know the exact (ha ha) date and occasion when this happened. On Saturday, October 16, 2004, at the Regional Conference of NAPO-SFBA, I heard Done is better than perfect.

                            Talk about a productivity enhancer!!!

                            2) A personality type that wants to implement GTD comprehensively should remind him/herself that "comprehensively" and "exhaustively" are different.

                            Talk about a productivity reducer!!!

                            3) I've read GTD, Ready for Anything, and listened to GTD Fast. My understanding of David Allen's reference to "comprehensive" is to be sure your areas of responsibility are captured in your trusted collection device (for me, a pad of paper). Now, for most of us, it may be the case that "brush teeth" doesn't need to be on a list--it's an ingrained behavior. But--and this varies by individual--the "areas of responsibility" which are ingrained vs. those which will niggle at the mind unless they are written down are the ones to capture; not every exhaustive action which you will undertake every day.

                            Only you will know when you've crossed the line from productive responsibility-capturing to a diminishing-returns quest for perfection.

                            (I hope this helps someone as much as Done is better than perfect helped me. God, was that a freeing thing to hear!)

                            Cynthia

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                            • #15
                              Create a checklist or a triggerlist

                              Originally posted by feantur
                              From a more or less philosophical point of view one could argue things like breakfast, lunch, sleeping etc. should be on the hard landscape of a calendar - maybe even before anything else is written on it.

                              How does this work out with the 'hard landscape' idea of GTD?
                              Do you put breakfast, sleeping etc. on your calendar?
                              You can have a checklist of your ideal daily routine. The time you wake up, have breakfast, leave for daily commute, etc. You get the idea. Or you can have it on a trigger list or you can have it as a menu planning check list; one that shows what your breakfast will look like for a whole week. This is especially helpful if you're on diet or exercise regime that requires a special diet. I don't think that it should go on the calendar not unless you are going to have breakfast at that specific time every time you schedule it in your calendar. In which case, you are committed and bound to having breakfast day-in and day-out.

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