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  • Separation Best Practices...

    hello folks, totally new here (and to GTD). looks like a great resource and meeting place! i have been blessed with two weeks of vacation till the new year, perfect timing to implement GTD as i am exiting one small business venture i had with a partner and am now building a new one with only myself involved. as i am stepping through the process i keep resurrecting this one "open loop" that's eating away at me a bit. i'll explain what i do briefly as that will best put it into words more naturally.

    so, i am a computer consultant (mac, specifically) handling a small but growing number of commercial and residential clients for everything from training to database design. i use DayLite software for managing my contacts, projects, "next actions" and general day-to-day business goings on. wonderful piece of software btw which plays very nicely with the GTD method. anyway, my concern is with the handling of my "main" client, who has me on a recurring monthly 1099 salary.

    i am dedicated and on-call for them for a designated period of time each day, and also take their emergency calls when i am available. i am fairly tightly integrated into their system with an office extension VoIP phone on my desk and complete remote control access to all of their computers from 60 miles away. most of my day consists of handling their tech support, for which they have a very nice web-based Help Desk Ticket system in place. the users file a help ticket and it sends me an alert email and i do what needs doing to fix their issue. sometimes a ticket will be for an equipment request, in that case i'll schedule "next actions" which could include going to the store or other times an issue will require a site visit from me, another "next action".

    my problem with this is that i've got this wonderful software that i use to handle everything else; all of my other clients, projects, leads, etc and then this separate Help Desk System that i use just for them. in the begining i had each and every staff member of this company listed in DayLite as a contact and handled their incoming stuff just as i would any other client. but that got farily out of control and seemed to really be getting in my way when i wasn't doing work for them and trying to grow the rest of my business. i'd also have to basically log everything twice, once in DayLite and then duplicate it all in the Help Desk System, not ideal when it gets very busy. also, i really don't have any need to keep all that info. what is important is that it is all logged in thier ticket system. so i removed them all from DayLite and told began using only the ticket system for any and all interaction with that organization and told them all of the new way. immediately my days were going smoother. the users were filing tickets instead of calling me for everything and we were really able to keep solid track of their activity, info i couldn't care less about outside of my scheduled two hours a day. doing everything in their system also relieved a huge amount of stress subconciously for me. it's all in their system. if something goes wrong it is not my computer that did it and i am not to blame. very nice.

    but now i am seeing that GTD requires a more streamlined approach and everything to be coming into and processed through one place, THE inbox. i am considering trying this again using the new tools i have picked up from GTD but i'm a bit hesitant to rock the boat again. i guess i'm just looking for some opinions from anyone in a similar situation, or just anyone at all. how can i either keep these things separate or together smoothly? how can i mentally separate them when i have things coming in from both sides? ideally i'd just say for these 2 hours every day i deal with them and only them and i have a mini GTD system going inside that ticket system. but this company is growing daily and that 2 hours often becomes 8, which is not always a bad thing. they are my only real steady income and when i don't have other things on the table i welcome the work and its nice hourly rate. going further, how are people handling the separation of home stuff and work stuff? i work for myself and from home so the lines can get pretty blurry. any info, comments, anything are very welcome. thanks so much and sorry for the ridiculously long post. happy holidays!

  • #2
    sounds like your current system is working

    Thanks for your story, Muad'Dib. I feel the same pressure to have a single collection point, if possible. I think your situation is similar to how David Allen describes email:
    E-mails are best left where they are, because of their volume and the efficiency factor of dealing with them within their own minisystem.
    It sounds like you've found a small number of collection points that work well, after some thorough experimentation. Good show!

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