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Rapidly creating a paper storm

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  • Rapidly creating a paper storm

    I'm a newbie to GTD, but have been running complex projects a long time. It's been great implementing GTD beginning with the San Jose seminar and continuing with 123 teleseminar. I've also just started using Outlook and the GTD plug in (v2.1). So lot's of learning new systems.

    My job is developing very complex joint solutions (read sales programs) between 2 very large companies. These are many months long with dozens of people. And I have to remember to buy bread when I'm in the grocery store.

    Question:
    How can I reduce the "paper storm" that GTD is producing? Moving to legal pads, manila folders, labels, and filing has produced:
    - much more paper I'm moving around
    - manila folders (and notes) not where I need them
    - scores of NAs (Tasks) in Outlook

    Background:
    Most folks at my company use a "Composition Book" to take notes. I, formerly, highlighted my actions with a "circle" (boxes take too long to draw) and made an "x" thru them when done. My actions for each week and day were written in the book and either completed or carried over to the next day. The big projects are managed in Excel with a weekly review to determine NAs.

    Also, I work both in a home office, company office, and 20% traveling.

    Thanks,
    Dave

  • #2
    Originally posted by DaveBartell
    Question:
    How can I reduce the "paper storm" that GTD is producing? Moving to legal pads, manila folders, labels, and filing has produced:
    - much more paper I'm moving around
    - manila folders (and notes) not where I need them
    - scores of NAs (Tasks) in Outlook
    What's on the legal pads and in the manila folders? The same meeting notes with actions you used to take in the composition books?

    Comment


    • #3
      More importantly, what's your filing system like? Most of that paper should be out of sight in a filing system.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes the same meeting notes that used to be in my journal/notebook are on the paper in the manila folders.

        All actions are (now) entered as "Tasks" in Outlook with the GTD addin. I haven't tackled how to tie Outlook to the Excel worksheet for each part (Marketing, Sales, Suport, etc.) of a project. The Excel rows tend to be "outcomes" that have any number of next actions.

        The older pages in the note book are usually never looked at, but there are times, say when I'm sitting in London, when I need to flip back in my notebook for a particular note. Old notebooks are placed on a shelf at my work office. In 7 years, I've had to go back into the stack less than 5 times.

        Using the paper and labeled manila folder system sounds great if I'm always at THE desk with the filing system. The notebook is compact and moves with me at all times.

        (I'm trying to get what I'm not getting with GTD on the notes and filing. The one idea per sheet --> IN BOX is working fabulously. This morning on a hike, I SMS'd myself 5 times with ideas.)

        Dave

        Comment


        • #5
          If a notebook works, why not keep using it? You can transcribe tasks from a notebook into Outlook just as easily as you can transcribe from sheets of paper.

          GTD insists that you should have a trusted capture device. It is agnostic about exactly what that capture device should be.

          Katherine

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree with Katherine. If the notebooks were working for you before, stick with them. Transfer the tasks to Outlook as often as needed. The key there, is to use your categories. Yes, at first you'll have what seems like millions of NAs. Just think how your brain felt when all those were rumbling around in it! The categories will help you prioritize.

            Learn how to customize the "View" in Outlook so you only see what needs to be done right then. Then trust that the rest of it is in there. I'm still struggling with that a bit. I uselessly spend time worrying that what I've put into Outlook is not showing up somehow.

            Would it help to save one page at the beginning of each notebook for an index? List what's in the notebook, then when it's full, you can just copy that first page, and keep those sheets in a folder nearby. The notebooks can go into long term storage, ie, not cluttering up your day to day space.

            Is the Excel sheet working for you as well? Keep it!

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks on notebook (capture) & Outlook advice

              Originally posted by kewms
              If a notebook works, why not keep using it? You can transcribe tasks from a notebook into Outlook just as easily as you can transcribe from sheets of paper.

              GTD insists that you should have a trusted capture device. It is agnostic about exactly what that capture device should be.

              Katherine
              Originally posted by Elena
              Learn how to customize the "View" in Outlook so you only see what needs to be done right then. Then trust that the rest of it is in there.
              Thanks Katherine & Elena on your capture ideas (since the system has been working for me). Using Outlook GTD is brilliant tho. Now my NAs are in one place for multiple stuff. I'm trusting it more. It comes and goes (lose balance, regain, lose again, regain faster).

              Customizing views in Outlook is moving along since I'm learning GTD, Outlook (former Eudora), GTD 2.1 Add-in, and working all at the same time. Generally, I'm looking at NAs (Tasks) by Category and flipping view to by Project/Subproject. This shifts the context perspective from Runway (?) to 10K feet.

              I've also emailed the original paper storm question to the GTD 123 teleseminar. Rick forwarded on to David, so those of you listening in might hear. Tho, I'm sure, David has answered this one a squillion times.

              Thanks,
              Dave

              Comment


              • #8
                Excel ? response

                Originally posted by Elena
                Is the Excel sheet working for you as well? Keep it!
                Yes. It's status only. All actions are elsewhere. (This is where GTD/Outlook is really helping me.) There are no formulas, just columns with Action (or Outcome), Due, Who, and Notes. Rows are added for new stuff. Completed Actions are struckthrough, left on for a couple weeks, and then deleted.

                There are multiple worksheets to help with organizing. These tend to be: Development, Marketing, Sales, Support, etc. along with contact sheets and peering. This way sales guys keep focused on getting pilot accounts and not get befuddled by all the development goop (and engineers can do the real work ). The spreadsheet is updated weekly after solution status calls.

                It's a self contained bundle on a solution project that is easily emailed to the entire team. The whole thing can be printed (usually monthly) and spread out on a table for a comprehensive review. Is our current progress gonna get us there? What has changed? Etc.?

                On a very large/lengthy solution project, a first page (worksheet) is created as an executive summary.

                Dave

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DaveBartell
                  I've also emailed the original paper storm question to the GTD 123 teleseminar. Rick forwarded on to David, so those of you listening in might hear. Tho, I'm sure, David has answered this one a squillion times.

                  Thanks,
                  Dave
                  Hi Dave,

                  Indeed, if you have time before the next call GTD 123 call (I know, not much time), you might want to listen to the Q&A section from last week, as David answered a question that seems somewhat similar to what you are asking here.

                  "See you" on the call!

                  ~Cindy

                  Comment

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