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  • Binary GTD

    Binary GTD

    I had been lately experiencing some coach to coach with some GTDer. One of the interesting things one of this people put in the table was a confrontation on my Definition of project, in a short story, he make it in Binary terms for me, IT IS A PROJECT OR IS NOT

    We had discussed about Sales, and how many projects I will add to my system if I consider any opportunity as a project, my first mistake was to think about any non qualified opportunity is a Project, and that was part of my resistance, but going to the point it is a project or it is not…

    In my case, a non qualified opportunity is not a project itself, it is part of a project but it is not a project itself. This has been making a difference in my system; I only have real projects now, anything else it is not a project.

    Based on this I start evaluating my list, and have been updating my system to what we have called GTD 2.0… For me GTD 2.0 is a definition of GTD in Binary terms, but what I mean by that.

    There is no gray area in my projects, it is a project or not, it is a next action that need to be done this week or not, will die if goes to my calendar or not… there is not space for maybe, and the reason I say this is because in certain things you can do gray in order to accomplish colors.

    TVs did not improve in Gray colors; they went to Colors, same thing, in order to do Colors I need to understand Black and White.

    I have read GTD many times, but have never struck me the great black and white or Binary of the concept, when you see the Workflow Diagram, there is no Maybe, you got Stuff, so you need to define if it is actionable or not. (Binary) then if it is actionable you need to define if it is a project or not. There is no maybe on those decisions, they are or they are not.

    GTD is not design, in my honest opinion, to manage runway or 10k, that is needed so you can visualize and work on 30k-50k but in order to understand 30k to 50k you need to control that.

    In the example of the tires, “you need tires or you don’t” there is not a maybe I need tires, it is a project or it is not, in the weekly review it is a project that I need to do or not, and if it not yet important enough need to go the Someday Maybe, not keep the action in the lists in case I have a chance, it is a Binary concept, you need tires or you don’t.

    Since this migration to GTD 2.0, I have been working each project in a Binary way, I either need to move a project or not. If comes to my mind that maybe if I have time, it is a NO.

    The effect in my projects and my lists is been huge, they have grow, more and more, but they are more defined, in my list now are only things that I know I need to move, so I do not mix, Buy food for the dog with R&D Goals for 2007. Goals for 2007 I do not need to do this week, it is a maybe, but since I am using a Binary Approach a Maybe is not strong enough to be a yes, then it is a NO, so I only see Buy food for the dog.

    I understand this will sound a little to the extreme, but try by yourself, I think the people with more success in GTD are the people who had a Binary approach than the people who is trying to get grays in theirs Black and White decision, it is black and white in order to see the colors, if you spend the time looking for gray you will never see the colors.

    So my GTD 2.0 is defined in a Binary way, it is one or cero. I read a funny shirt one day in the street that define my approach to GTD 2.0: “There is 10 kind of people; the ones that understand Binary and the ones who don’t.

  • #2
    I agree.

    I think you've nailed the source of much of the angst we see on this board, where people have huge NA or project lists and complain that GTD doesn't help them prioritize those lists.

    If I do not intend to act on it in the next week or two, it does not belong on my NA list or my (active) project list and I don't need to look at it until a future weekly review.

    Nice post.

    Katherine

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by kewms
      I agree.

      I think you've nailed the source of much of the angst we see on this board, where people have huge NA or project lists and complain that GTD doesn't help them prioritize those lists.

      If I do not intend to act on it in the next week or two, it does not belong on my NA list or my (active) project list and I don't need to look at it until a future weekly review.

      Nice post.

      Katherine
      w_i_t_n_a posted the following on January 10, 2006

      Here are a couple of tips that were given to me by Meg Edwards during some tele coaching.

      Projects lists should only contain those things that you need to deliever on in the next 9 months.
      Deliverables beyond that belong on your 'Someday / Maybe' list and can be turned into Projects when they fall into the 9 month window.
      If you make sure you include a review of your Someday / Maybes in your weekly review you wont miss the projects and you can get them off your mind.

      Next Actions Lists should only contain NA's that you plan to complete in the next 2-3 weeks. Other actions that I think of during my weekly review are written and stored with Project Support Material and I can turn them into NA's when I need to.

      These two simple things have helped keep my NA's and Project lists under control
      I dumped a ton of NAs into someday/maybe last Friday during my Weekly Review. I still have a lot of winnowing to do during this week's review. This is forcing me to shift radically how I use GTD. I think it will be a positive change. I've been putting weekly goals on my calendar as part of my weekly review. But if my NA lists were shorter, I might not need those weekly goals.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by moises
        w_i_t_n_a posted the following on January 10, 2006

        I've been putting weekly goals on my calendar as part of my weekly review. But if my NA lists were shorter, I might not need those weekly goals.
        I find my NA lists too long as well. I realized a few months ago that the task list I thought contained NAs was not a NA list, but a collection bucket. I started over in my weekly reviews, instead of reviewing my task list that contained all manner of information, I started with a list of the projects on my plate that week. Especially during the holidays, this was very helpful to keep me focused on just the upcoming and critical projects. I would then generate the NA list from just those critical projects. During the week, anything that was not connected to the critical projects for that week gets put on the original (still messy) task list, which is now a "Someday/ Maybe" list.

        Comment


        • #5
          I can see the benefits to this, but my question is more related to the Someday/Maybe list. How large is too large? I have been dumping ideas (actions or place holders for future projects, such as research x) and find that my list quickly grows to 100, 200, 300 items as I brainstorm across each of my major life areas, personal and professional. I am reluctant to put anything in there that is more mission critical, or likely to be needed say in the next week or month. Its a trust issue that I may miss it during the weekly review (which I don't do as frequent as I should). Is there any benefit in splitting out a true someday/maybe list from a more intermediate list.

          Paul

          Comment


          • #6
            In my lists, I have roughly four priority levels:

            * Current. Projects and actions that I intend to act on within the next two weeks or so.

            * Committed. Projects and actions that I am committed to doing, but don't need to act on within the current horizon. These go into my regular NA and project lists, but are hidden by a date filter. Once they become current, they magically reappear.

            * Maybe. Potential projects that I would like to do, but am not yet prepared to commit the time and other resources. These are dated with the soonest day that I might want to reconsider them, and hidden by a date filter until then. They are also hidden by a "maybe" flag so that they don't ever appear in my main action list, but only in the lists I use for my weekly review. If I commit to them, I change the flag and they drop seamlessly into my "current" and "committed" lists.

            * Ideas. Exactly that. Things that I haven't even put enough effort in to decide whether they are worth pursuing or not. These go in an idea file outside my main GTD system, sorted roughly by topic. (These ideas are *not* actionable at this stage.) When I'm stuck or need inspiration, I go through the file. When I finish a major project and have some free time, I go through the file. When I find myself circling around the same cluster of ideas, I go through the appropriate file and decide whether there's a "maybe" project in there somewhere.

            YMMV, of course, but I find this approach keeps my working lists from getting cluttered, while keeping other ideas within reach.

            Katherine

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Paul@Pittsburgh
              How large is too large?

              Paul

              I also has as Kevin Different kinds of Someday Maybe.
              In my case if a project need to be move in the next 6 months will go to the SM list in Outlook. Otherwise it is out of the project list and part of a note in Outlook, where I put Someday Maybes, I have no less than 500 in different categories, like Books to read, Things to Buy, Places to Visit, Places to travel, Projects at home, Projects at Work, Projects Personal, etc...

              I do not read all my SM every week, but often enough to see everything, for example if I am reading a book and have to more in the Reading Basket (in my nightstand) I will not see books to read, but usually when I pick the last one I drop a note in my tickler, Buy Books, so I check the list.

              I hope this help...

              Comment


              • #8
                not so sure about the 9 month criteria

                I wish I had clear cut criteria that applied to the projects my life. So many things are projects that repeat around the year, annual reports, tax returns, Christmas, and they are executed less stressfully if I start the next actions for the project that is "deliverable" a year later when one is completed (e.g., order address stickers, enough for next Christmas) Also, many projects are on-going but don't have a real end date, for example, making sure that an elderly relative is well-cared for, making sure that one's career path is going in the right direction, getting physically fit.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jamie Elis
                  I wish I had clear cut criteria that applied to the projects my life. So many things are projects that repeat around the year, annual reports, tax returns, Christmas, and they are executed less stressfully if I start the next actions for the project that is "deliverable" a year later when one is completed (e.g., order address stickers, enough for next Christmas)
                  Well, so why don't you? I started my Tax Year 2006 project on January 1.

                  The way I do it is with date filters. Write the action down when I think of it, with the date set for when I want to actually do it. Use date filters to make it invisible until it becomes current. I don't think of it this way, but I guess this works as an electronic tickler file for me.

                  Also, many projects are on-going but don't have a real end date, for example, making sure that an elderly relative is well-cared for, making sure that one's career path is going in the right direction, getting physically fit.
                  Are those really projects? What is the desired outcome of your physical fitness regime? What is the next physical action toward that outcome? When do you want to do that action?

                  Katherine

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Is it possible to explore this Forum using synonym keywords ?

                    I Can't realize that Is it possible to explore this Forum using synonym keywords instead of exact words.
                    I searched for synonym keywords in http://www.google.com and
                    http://www.boardexplorer.com and I found this Forum.
                    but inside the web site I could not find any intelligent search. you ought to know exact words to find related topics
                    any one who knows something?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jamie Elis
                      I wish I had clear cut criteria that applied to the projects my life. So many things are projects that repeat around the year, annual reports, tax returns, Christmas
                      With this kind of things what I do is that I keep the reference from last year, list of people I sent xmas cards last year, even I have a set of next actions and it is in my tickler for October, at that time it is added in my lists. My taxes for example was added to my list in January, and goes in this lines:
                      FILE TAXES 200?
                      When I create the project this particular one start with n/a that are WF W2 and other tax info (each one separate)
                      This project comes naturally in the system by my tickler file.

                      Originally posted by Jamie Elis
                      Also, many projects are on-going but don't have a real end date, for example, making sure that an elderly relative is well-cared for, making sure that one's career path is going in the right direction, getting physically fit.
                      Again, and sorry to be AR but it is a project or it is not. "one's career path is going in the right direction" it is not a project, "getting physically fit" is not either. My project will be for the second case, lose 30 pounds by December 2006 for example.

                      You have there projects and not projects in the same list, there is a big chance you are getting numb out of your list. Make sure define projects so they are clear projects and not ambiguos things, remember to define the sucessful outcome, that is one of the most important keys...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        How can I find something inside this Board by similar keywords ?

                        I Can't figure out that How can I find something inside this Board by similar keywords instead of exact words.
                        I searched for similar keywords in http://www.google.com and
                        http://www.boardexplorer.com and I found this Board.
                        but inside the web site I could not find any intelligent search. you must know exact words to find related topics
                        any recommendation?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          your points are excellent

                          I think I am suffering from muddy thinking about my projects and this has given rise to my creating a list of too many project. I don't look forward to this weekly review because it will require a lot of mental effort!

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