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Help with Lists!!!!!!

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  • Help with Lists!!!!!!

    David in the book, and in the GTD Cds mention about lists. I love the idea and I have been creating list for 2 years now, and I love the idea, but I noticed that they are out of control...

    I have 91 lists, some for travel, things that I do daily at work or home, excercise, books to read, things to do when toast, and many more...

    The problem is somewhere in the road I lost the ability to recall I have the list and therefore give to the list a better use...

    I use Outlook with the new Add in, my list are in notes, in 6 category:
    1.- Unfiled (9) (thigs I am referencing temporarily and a lot is kind of a quick access list.
    2.- Focus ( (images, 20k, 30k, 40k, 50k)
    3.- Lists (25) (from @weekly review to travel)
    4.- Next Time in (12) (No problem on this list the only one in control)
    5.- Reference (20) (from model of printer at home to anything I need to reference)
    6.- Work (17) (things about work mainly, templates, addreses, access codes)

    I love my lists, I am not complaining, those lists give the control I need.

    I am just looking a way to manage my list better so I can use them better too... sometimes i forgot I have the list...

    HOw people in the forum do with this issue, or maybe somebody from DavidCo can help us? I imagine any person close to blackbelt has more list than me....


  • #2
    I review mine in my Weekly Review and this is the reminder I need.


    • #3
      What do these lists contain?

      From what I understand of GTD, a GTD list contains a list of Next Actions. You'll certainly have a standard NA list. You may have short NA lists for certain projects, but many projects don't need or benefit from a lot of planning, so you'll only have a few NAs in each of those.

      If you're creating lists just for reference, then the data you're recording can just go in your reference files, on a list or not.


      • #4
        Let me try to explain myself better. My next actions list works like a charm, but I have many reference lists as for example.

        20k List of all my roles and areas of responsability
        30k 1-2 year goals
        @Weekly Review (this one of course I have no problem using)
        Inboxes to check
        Good Morning List
        Daily routine @ Work
        Toast at work
        Leaving Work

        And so on....

        As I said before some of them are fine, Next Time in NY... no problem, Travel List, no problem...

        My problem is that many of those are daly use, and honestly I have quite a few, but I forgot I have those, then I do not use it when need it (when I am toast)

        Did I am missing something here? I love this list because at the begining of GTD give me a lot of control when I was in autopilot, but now I have so many that I do not know how to use them anymore....

        any ideas?


        • #5
          :edit: Sorry for doublepost, it's late..
          Last edited by elf; 08-25-2005, 10:56 PM.


          • #6
            It looks like you have a lot of static procedures there. You could make up a nice printout of the procedures and place it wherever that procedure is performed. Then, setup daily repeating actions in those contexts which are simply "Complete xxx procedure." If you've forgotten what your procedure entails, you've a printed list to review.

            I use a daily action review sheet to make sure my daily routine is completed (separate from my Next Actions and projects). I print a stack at a time and put them on a clipboard, using one per day. Paper is just easier than checking them off on my PDA/Computer daily.


            • #7
              If you aren't using one of your lists, maybe you haven't written it in such a way that it actually suits you - you're trying to force something on yourself that doesn't fit. I have reference lists, a sort of policies and procedures for myself. Generally I don't refer to them much, but having them lets me quit thinking about how I do things and then just do them. I'll make a list, try it a couple times, and then tweak it if I need to. But my lists are based on what I actually do, not what I think I should do. What I think I should do needs to be in terms of what I actually do.

              For instance, I keep thinking I should get up earlier than my family so I can get a head start on my day. I've done that off and on for a while, trying different things to do at that hour. I've read interesting books (something that's hard to do when everyone else is awake), but that wasn't always important enough to get me out of bed. I've thought I would get work done in my office, but that too didn't motivate me to get out of bed. Just two days ago I started getting up a half hour earlier than my family to do a quick daily review and braindump to capture ideas about what I can do as well as plan my day and make sure everything is in working order. So far this has been very effective and I am looking forward to my morning quiet time because it has such a big impact on my day. So now I actually have a "early morning routine" that I think I may actually stick to.

              I don't know if that helps.


              • #8
                I have some lists very similar for my work 'procedures'. What to do and steps to follow (travelling - epipen, contact info, maps etc)

                Placed them in my 'Book of Wisdom' that is sectioned off by category. Look there first to follow the checklist if exists. If it does not then one is created if not a one off.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by apinaud
                  My problem is that many of those are daly use, and honestly I have quite a few, but I forgot I have those, then I do not use it when need it (when I am toast)

                  Did I am missing something here? I love this list because at the begining of GTD give me a lot of control when I was in autopilot, but now I have so many that I do not know how to use them anymore....

                  any ideas?
                  I think that the problem is too general for a good solution. It sounds like you have 91 lists you want to remember to use more often, particularly the ones with some sort of daily routine (?). So what is the successful outcome? to live your life by lists? To follow lists of routines all day long? The assumption seems to be that following a list you made previously is always better than what you could think of at the moment, and I would suggest that that's not true. Do you really want to remember to consult 91 different lists at appropriate times? Do you want to consult a dozen lists during the day?

                  So my suggestion is to stop thinking of this situation as being a problem. Instead, look for one specific problem you are currently experiencing that could be solved by using a list you already have. Review all your lists and pick what appears to be the most useful one. For example, let's say when you leave work, you tend to forget to do important things or gather important things to bring home. So you have a list for that situation. Instead of agonizing about using all your lists appropriately, focus on using that one list. To help yourself remember to use the list, use all the classic prospective memory tricks: 1) visualize yourself getting ready to leave work, checking your list; 2) write the list on a post-it and stick it to a surface that you cannot fail to see when you are leaving work; etc. Those 2 strategies never fail me.

                  And remember that whenever you follow pre-planned lists, you are also rejecting spontaneous opportunities. And spontaneity can sometimes be a good thing.


                  • #10
                    By "toast at work" do you mean a list of things to do in a low-energy state?

                    If that's what you mean and one problem is you don't see the list when you need to, you could incorporate it into your routines somehow. Is there a particular time of day that you tend to be "toast" or a place you find yourself?

                    --If you're often toast after filing the monthly report, you could make "toast" the last item of the procedure for that report. (Or meeting, or whatever tends to "toast" you.)

                    --If you're sometimes toast mid-afternoon, the question could go on your daily list: Q: "Am I toast yet?" A: "Yes, I'll look at my toast list," or "No, I want to work on X."

                    --If you find yourself doing something in particular when you have little energy, you could somehow put a reminder in that place. (requires figuring out your habits)

                    Interesting topic. I think I could stand mind dumping into a few more lists myself.