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New Habits, Archives and Mindmaps

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  • New Habits, Archives and Mindmaps

    Hello all!

    I'm almost ready to use the "GTD" system, but have one small critical question, answer on which I didn't find in the book.

    1. Mr. Allen writes that to ensure 100% effectiveness of the system, one has to apply it to one's whole life - and the result will be the empty head. But what about the lowest level of activities, especially some minor things that must be done regularly and often (every day, every 2 days)? I don't forget to sleep, of course, and almost don't forget to eat and other physiological things. But if I want to add a new habit? Say "run 2 kms every morning". Have I to put this item into every day of my calendar? Or make a separate "Frequent Actions" list? This habit may not be taking very much time, but it must be practised constantly. And I don't want to remember about it when I don't need to.

    Other questions are not crucial, but interesting to me as well.

    2. How many people archive their actions? According to projects - mostly you have to archive stages of them. But elementary actions? How to implement a diary here?

    3. I saw that Mr. Allen referred to mindmaps by Tony Busan. Are there any mindmap for "GTD" itself? It will be very good to see one. I made one by myself, but for now it is in Russian only. If somebody'd like, I'll translate it "back" to English and give a link.

    With best regards.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Granite Golem
    But if I want to add a new habit? Say "run 2 kms every morning". Have I to put this item into every day of my calendar?
    In "classic" GTD, habits are typically established using Tickler files. You could put it on your calendar, if that works best, or use some other external reminder, such as a computer alert.

    The point is to get the habit reminder out of your head and into a trusted system that you know will remind you of the action to take.

    How many people archive their actions? According to projects - mostly you have to archive stages of them. But elementary actions? How to implement a diary here?
    I started keeping an archive of actions, but after a few days, couldn't see the point. It's just more clutter in my life.

    Are there any mindmap for "GTD" itself?
    I'm afraid I don't understand the question.

    Comment


    • #3
      1. I put regular habits I want to establish on my calendar (in this case, the Palm and Palm Desktop) for 30 days. After completing the action each time during those 30 days without fail, the calendar is no longer necessary to reinforce the habit, and it goes off the calendar. If I drop the ball at any time during those 30 days, the following day becomes Day 1, and I start over again. Another option is to put the action on your action lists, just like any other, but adding a due date to it. There's no reason to suppose that a next action can't be cyclical.

      2. I don't archive actions. I'm only interested in getting things done that aren't done yet. I have no interest in maintaining a system for the sake of that system.

      3. It might be interesting to look at someone else's mindmap of GTD, but since mindmaps are inherently subjective (being outpourings of individuals' cognition), it would probably be more useful to do your own mindmap of GTD, and expand on it over time.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re

        Brent,

        In "classic" GTD, habits are typically established using Tickler files. You could put it on your calendar, if that works best, or use some other external reminder, such as a computer alert.
        Tickler? Hmm... Then I didn't understand its purpose correctly. I thought that "tickler" is used to remind about something distant, and Allen gives an example about some concerto which will happen after some 4 months, so it'd be useful to put a notice into your calendar about it.

        I'm afraid I don't understand the question.
        Do you know what are mindmaps?

        (BTW, sorry for my not very good English, I composed a question incorrectly.)

        ==========

        Gameboy70,

        I put regular habits I want to establish on my calendar (in this case, the Palm and Palm Desktop) for 30 days. After completing the action each time during those 30 days without fail, the calendar is no longer necessary to reinforce the habit, and it goes off the calendar. If I drop the ball at any time during those 30 days, the following day becomes Day 1, and I start over again. Another option is to put the action on your action lists, just like any other, but adding a due date to it. There's no reason to suppose that a next action can't be cyclical.
        Thanks for this technology, I thought about something alike.

        It might be interesting to look at someone else's mindmap of GTD, but since mindmaps are inherently subjective (being outpourings of individuals' cognition), it would probably be more useful to do your own mindmap of GTD, and expand on it over time.
        Well, I suppose that David Allen himself made some mindmap. Did he really? It will be very interesting to see author's vision. I mean just general thing, some reflection of what was written in the book, not personal extensions.

        ==================

        I asked about archiving because I have to return to some previous experience and re-estimate it, study on it. But this action can be surely listed among all other actions in the system. Like a project, for example.

        Comment


        • #5
          The tickler file is for anything you want to do that is date specific but that you don't need to think about until that date - whether it is tomorrow or four months from now.

          I like the suggestion about scheduling something for thirty days and once it becomes a habit, no longer scheduling it.

          The level of granularity (how many details you track) is completely up to you. My first goal in the morning is to get out of bed - my second goal is to stay out of bed; however, neither of those items is a part of my GDT tracking.

          Comment


          • #6
            track everything?

            If you tried to accomplish the absurd task of tracking "everything", you would spend your entire waking life trying to run and maintain your GTD system.

            The point of your system is, yes, to keep your head empty, which means that you only need to track that which is not going to happen on autopilot. The creation of a new habit (and destruction of an old) is a perfect example of this.

            People have a tendency to get caught up in the details and mechanics of GTD, under which they bury its original purpose: to keep your headspace clear, un-stressed and able to focus as needed. Your best system will be the one that accomplishes this with the minimum amount of effort within the unique context of your life.

            It reminds me of David Allen's definition of what a Weekly Review consists of, which is, to paraphrase, "...everything that you need to do keep your head empty, and all parts of your system in fluid motion." Whether you do this with a paper agenda, a tickler file, and a fountain pen, or on a top-of-the-line computer is not the point.

            One other thought, is that the best way to determine the ideal implentation for YOU, is to simply begin, and to adjust as you experience and learn from it. But BEWARE the tweaker-bug, which has infected many great minds!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jeff K
              If you tried to accomplish the absurd task of tracking "everything", you would spend your entire waking life trying to run and maintain your GTD system.

              The point of your system is, yes, to keep your head empty, which means that you only need to track that which is not going to happen on autopilot. The creation of a new habit (and destruction of an old) is a perfect example of this.

              People have a tendency to get caught up in the details and mechanics of GTD, under which they bury its original purpose: to keep your headspace clear, un-stressed and able to focus as needed. Your best system will be the one that accomplishes this with the minimum amount of effort within the unique context of your life.

              It reminds me of David Allen's definition of what a Weekly Review consists of, which is, to paraphrase, "...everything that you need to do keep your head empty, and all parts of your system in fluid motion." Whether you do this with a paper agenda, a tickler file, and a fountain pen, or on a top-of-the-line computer is not the point.

              One other thought, is that the best way to determine the ideal implentation for YOU, is to simply begin, and to adjust as you experience and learn from it. But BEWARE the tweaker-bug, which has infected many great minds!
              Jeff, you hit it right on the nose. I started implementing GTD several years ago, and it's made a vast difference of how I now do my work, both at home and in the office.

              I started with a simple Palm OS PDA (personal digital assitant) device and Life Balance (www.llamagraphics.com). At first, it started going well: placing every next-action and project ideas into a single unified place. But then I began to explore and implement other applications such as outliners (Bonsai, www.natara.com; and Shadowplan, www.codejedi.com) in order to corral every bit of information of every waking moment of my life. In time, the amount of collected information just became too unwieldy. For example, suppose I wanted to clear off my bookshelf at home of the old magazines and textbooks I've amassed over the years. At first, this may be a project with the following list of actions: (1) get trash bin, maybe two; (2) establish piles for donation or trash; (3) sort books and magazines according to step (2); (4) throwout unwanted pile; (5) give donation pile to local library. For sometime, this was exactly how I was thinking about almost everything in my life. One can see that in a short time that noting this amount of detail can quickly consume a half-hour just thinking about it. Then there's the 'what-if.' What if my friend Mike wanted some of the books as references for himself? What if Susie could be interested in one of the magazines from three years ago that I was about to throw away? Perhaps I could insert a step in the original project list such as: (3a) call Mike re books for reference, and (3b) email Susie about article in magazine. Soon, noting this project just became a project in itself. And while I've successfully envisioned my outcome, I've run out of energy in performing other tasks that needed to be done. So I asked myself, "Must everything I do really need have this level of detail?" After many months of looking for the perfect PDA and software combination, and spending countless amounts of money to accomplish my GTD goal, I came to the inevitable conclusion that I was really working too hard at this and not keeping with the method of KISS (keep it stupidly simple).

              How do I apply GTD now? I have a T-Mobile Sidekick which has an email client, text- and instant-messaging capabilities, and a web browser. It also has a basic complement of PDA functions such as a calendar, to-do list and a simple notepad. I've revamped how I implement GTD and went back to keeping my next-actions in their proper context list (@Home, @Office, etc.) in the Sidekick's notepad section, and referring to those when the need arose. It really couldn't be simpler. I still use my Palm OS PDA, but only to synchronize documents and review my personal finances. Otherwise, it's taken a backseat.

              To answer the previous question of how much detail I really need, of course the answer was 'no.' Now, I simply note in the @Home section, 'Deal with bookshelf' and everything about it instantly comes to mind. I can finally move on.

              -Rod

              Comment


              • #8
                For projects such as cleaning out a bookshelf this may be the case. For other projects, however, such as developing a web site, programming an application, etc. these things need to be defined in advance in order to efficiently perform these actions. The reason being is that if I just create a task entitled "Develop ABC Database Application" as a Next Action I will have to think what the Next Action is everytime I decide I want to perform that Next Action, which totally defeats the purpose of GTD as I understand it. It's my understanding that we need to plan the actions ahead of time as much as we can so when it comes time to actually DO we know exactly what needs to be done, and no thinking is necessary.

                I totally agree with your point about cleaning the bookshelf, and I think you have summed it up very well, but there are just some projects that this type of system will not work for as I have described above. We somehow need to figure out where to draw the line as to what projects we outline and plan next actions for, and what projects we just list as a next action assuming we'll know what the next action is.

                Comment


                • #9
                  A while ago, there was a thread about the difference between project planning in the GTD sense, and planning in the large-scale dedicated planning tools sense. I think it's important to remember that the two are not the same, especially for big projects.

                  For example, big projects generally have a separate planning phase, often with a formal process around collecting requirements, developing a budget, planning a schedule, setting milestones, and so forth. Yet on any given day, the next action to move the project forward might be "@phone: followup with Bob. Do we really need XJ Widget compatibility?"

                  And then when you call Bob, you discover that he needs more information about XJ Widget's market share, which you get by calling Alice, and about the costs of compatibility, which you get by calling Carla. All of those calls might or might not appear on your NA list, depending on whether Alice had the information handy, whether Carla answered her phone, and when you need to nudge them next.

                  So, while lots of projects require some preplanning, it usually isn't necessary (or possible!) to track or plan every single action related to the project.

                  My feeling is that more granularity is usually better than less, because granularity takes away my "okay, now what?" procrastination excuse. But overplanning is a good way to procrastinate, too, and those so inclined might want to put the planner away and just get to work.

                  Katherine

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Mindmaps

                    Its costly, but there is a mindmap implementation system out there - very comprehensive and highly recommended if you have a lot of projects and actions. It is called ResultsManager (www.gyronix.com), and it works as an add-on to Mindmanager, a great mindmapping program.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by iTISTIC
                      For projects such as cleaning out a bookshelf this may be the case. For other projects, however, such as developing a web site, programming an application, etc. these things need to be defined in advance in order to efficiently perform these actions. The reason being is that if I just create a task entitled "Develop ABC Database Application" as a Next Action I will have to think what the Next Action is everytime I decide I want to perform that Next Action, which totally defeats the purpose of GTD as I understand it. It's my understanding that we need to plan the actions ahead of time as much as we can so when it comes time to actually DO we know exactly what needs to be done, and no thinking is necessary.

                      I totally agree with your point about cleaning the bookshelf, and I think you have summed it up very well, but there are just some projects that this type of system will not work for as I have described above. We somehow need to figure out where to draw the line as to what projects we outline and plan next actions for, and what projects we just list as a next action assuming we'll know what the next action is.
                      I agree with your point as well. There are projects that need to be meticulously thought out as in the example you provide. However, as in my case of the bookshelf example, a limit on the 'threshold of pain' must be set before everything becomes so detailed that progress is miserably impeded. I've started to view the GTD method as a fundamental organizational framework rather than a catch-all solution. As with all frameworks, it needs to be tailored, and sometimes refined to the individual.

                      -Rod

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        archiving

                        Originally posted by Granite Golem
                        But what about the lowest level of activities, especially some minor things that must be done regularly and often (every day, every 2 days)? ... But if I want to add a new habit? Say "run 2 kms every morning". Have I to put this item into every day of my calendar? Or make a separate "Frequent Actions" list?
                        If I want to track a daily activity, "exercise" for example, I create a project for it incorporating a tracking method -- a checklist, chart, spreadsheet, etc. If I don't want to track my performance, I don't bother.

                        For monthly recurring activities, such as paying bills, I've found that a @monthly @action context works. Once a @monthly task is finished for a particular month, I reschedule it for the following month. This method has worked well for me.

                        (I maintain my GTD system in Outlook.)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          archiving completed actions

                          Originally posted by Granite Golem
                          How many people archive their actions? According to projects - mostly you have to archive stages of them. But elementary actions? How to implement a diary here?
                          I use Outlook to implement by GTD system so archiving happens more or less by default as I mark tasks complete. For me my task archive provides:

                          1. a template, checklist, or procedure if I ever need to execute a similar project in future
                          2. a documentary record of actions which may be highly advisable in certain situations -- e.g., disputes, extended encounters with customer service, etc.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            previous thread on daily tasks

                            Originally posted by Granite Golem
                            [W]hat about the lowest level of activities, especially some minor things that must be done regularly and often (every day, every 2 days)?
                            repetitive daily tasks at http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4224

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by iTISTIC
                              We somehow need to figure out where to draw the line as to what projects we outline and plan next actions for, and what projects we just list as a next action assuming we'll know what the next action is.
                              Plan as much detail as you need in order to get if off of your mind. Any more than that is overplanning.

                              Comment

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