Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.
Announcement Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.
@Think About? Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • @Think About?

    What about those things you need to do where there is no physical next action that you want to take right now except for thinking about it? I find that I have many of these types of projects. It's projects that are in the planning stage where I simply want to be aware that I am looking for ideas but then give them time to come to me. It's like I'm brainstorming but I know that if I leave the item on the backburner of my mind (not in the pantry - on the backburner where it is being cooked, though very slowly), I will get good ideas and when the time comes to make a decision and take the next action, I will know what to do.

    For instance, when I was in college and an instructor told us at the beginning of the quarter that we would have to write a research paper, I would come up with my topic within 24 hours of receiving the assignment. But then I would do absolutely nothing - at least physically - until the week before the paper was due. However, during that time, I would constantly be watching for ideas and information that I could use in my paper. In fact, the class lectures were a great source of material and inspiration for me, but if I did not know what my topic was, I would have missed that inspiration. Then at the end of the quarter, I would write the paper in one day. I was able to do that because I had thought about the paper while I was in class, I had thought about it when I was walking to and from class, while cleaning my room, etc.

    I could easily come up with at least a dozen projects that are in this status currently. I am definitely doing them, but there is nothing that I want to do at the moment because I am thinking about them and watching for ideas. They aren't even at a stage where I would sit down and brainstorm on the back of an envelope. I am literally just thinking about them, and when the right idea pops into my head, I will start working on them.

    So where do these things fit into GTD? The next action would be to think about it. I could start a project file where I write down my principles, ideal outcome and brainstorm ideas, but then it would go in with the projects which I don't review as often as my next ations, and I'd like to be reminded of such projects more often (like as often as my next actions). Sometimes I want to do some more active brainstorming - aka braindump - so that I can free my mind for more ideas to surface, so that would be a next action; but in the mean time, while I am simply waiting for ideas to come and I want to be reminded that I am looking for those ideas, what do I do? How do I track these projects that are simply in the planning stages so they don't get lost?

  • #2
    Two thoughts:

    First, somewhere DA says that when you think your next action is to think about something, very often the real next action is to get more information somewhere or somehow. So the NA might be "web search for ideas on ___" or "talk to so-and-so to get ideas about ___." Take 2 minutes with each one and figure out if you're really ready to brainstorm or plan, or if you need more info first.

    Second, if the NA is really to sit with pencil and paper and brainstorm, have an NA of "Brainstorm ____" I currently have about 10 of those on my lists. If it is context-specific, like it has to be done at work, in the library, at home, etc., then put it on that list. If it can literally be done anywhere, and you always have your tools (paper and pencil) with you everywhere you go, then on an Anywhere NA list is probably appropriate. This only works if you are looking at your Anywhere list all the time; otherwise, you'll likely not look at it.

    Comment


    • #3
      How About @Gathering?

      pageta,

      Interesting question.

      From your description, even "thinking" may be too strong a term. If I understand you correctly, you are deciding on what you want to do and then going into a protracted period of watchful waiting for ideas, resources, etc. to cross your path and then simply taking note of them when they do. When you are ready to actually start, you take all of that stuff and do the job.

      A straightforward way to handle this would be to put entries in your @Waiting-For list. It makes sense since you are waiting for ideas, resources, etc. to show up. You could add a note to the @Waiting-For items that you will wait until a certain date, at which time you are going to start working on the project, e.g., writing the term paper. Alternatively, you could use calendar or tickler file entries to indicate when work should start.

      If you wanted to specially highlight these items, you could put them into a separate context like @Think or @Gathering.

      Comment


      • #4
        @Think About

        I like the idea. I think I'd call mine @Stew - to differentiate from the things I actually want to dedicate time/effort to Thinking About.

        Janice

        Comment


        • #5
          [Contexts] @Journal

          Originally posted by ADD GTDer
          I like the idea. I think I'd call mine @Stew - to differentiate from the things I actually want to dedicate time/effort to Thinking About.
          Janice,

          my suggestion: keep a diary or a journal to write down your thoughts.
          Context: @Journal, @Journalizing, or @Diary.

          Rainer
          Last edited by Rainer Burmeister; 08-18-2005, 10:21 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by pageta
            What about those things you need to do where there is no physical next action that you want to take right now except for thinking about it?
            I'm guessing that when you say this, you mean let it incubate in your mind for awhile until you decide what (physical) action to take?

            I have this happen every once in awhile. Because there isn't an action in the sense that you just sit down and do it right away, I nearly always put a date on these things and file them away as a ticklers. That way they occasionally pop up. Not too often. Just enough to keep them in my mind. Eventually a resolution usually presents itself, either because things have become more clear after sleeping on it a while or because there's a deadline associated with the item and a decision just has to be made whether its the best one or not.

            Some people would call this procrastination but I genuinely do better after my mind has chewed on things in the background for a while sometimes. A re-organization takes place and often things just fall into line a little better if I give them a chance ot do it.

            Anyway the tickler becomes a stake in the ground that assures me that I won't forget it until something happens with it.

            Tom S.
            Last edited by Tom Shannon; 08-18-2005, 11:55 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              It originally sounded to me like you were talking about something perfectly suited to the "Someday/Maybe" list, but that would only get a weekly review and you then said that you would like to be reminded of these things as often as your next actions. The simplest way that I can think of to remind yourself of these as often as your next actions, is to create a next action which will be listed at the top of each of your context lists that says something like "review projects to think about." Then you would need to have a simple and handy list of these projects somewhere to scan. Either on a card in your wallet or a note in your PDA or whatever makes sense with your system.

              That N/A would never get checked off because you always want it to be there the next time you look back at your lists.

              I agree that there are certain projects that benefit from passive or even unconscious thought. Whenever I get really stuck on something, I find that "sleeping on it" can really help. Your brain processes things differently during sleep and that can help you discover things. I recommend reviewing your think-about list before falling asleep to take advantage of your brain power during sleep.

              Comment


              • #8
                Is there a particular time that you tend to get these sorts of ideas?

                If it's while commuting or walking or exercising, for instance, perhaps you could keep a list of these things on an index card and leave it in your car or athletic shoes, or wherever you will see it as you begin the activity. Then, of course, you have to make it easy to collect your ideas and hang onto them for later evaluation or action.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Brainstorming

                  One strategy that I use to handle situations like these with a next action of "brainstorm about ...." on my "anywhere" list - so when I'm in transit, or in limbo, or perhaps waiting in line, or on hold, I can glance at these and add a thought or two to the palm notes.

                  At some point, these notes reach "critial mass", and I'm able to define the next phase of whatever this particular project is about.

                  For example, at the moment I've been noticing that I'm not 100% happy with the setup of my work environment, so I've developed a project to define what it is that I need in my ideal work environment, and the current action is a "brainstorm" such as I've described above.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ActionGirl
                    Is there a particular time that you tend to get these sorts of ideas?

                    If it's while commuting or walking or exercising, for instance, perhaps you could keep a list of these things on an index card and leave it in your car or athletic shoes, or wherever you will see it as you begin the activity. Then, of course, you have to make it easy to collect your ideas and hang onto them for later evaluation or action.
                    The athletic shoes are a particularly good idea. I like the idea of looking the list over before bed, too. There are both quality thinking times for me.

                    Nice.

                    Tom S.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm a writer (among other things). I'm working on two novels ideas, and I can't simply sit down and start writing them; I need to flesh out the characters, figure out the backstory I've set up, etc.

                      As such, I have an Next Action titled, "Brainstorm Modern Fantasy". When I perform that NA, I pull out my notes, and flesh out my ideas.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        One of the more useful contexts is @.MindManager which is where many of my "thinking" actions are parked.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I am in agreement with Barry on this one.

                          I think what you are looking for, for the most part, captures the essence of the "Someday/Maybe" context. You may choose to call it @Think About. Actually for the meaning, I tend to like that term better.

                          *Runs off to Outlook to change name of folder*

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X