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"Process" phase flowchart (for feedback)

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  • "Process" phase flowchart (for feedback)

    I'm just starting out with GTD, just finished the book this week, but while reviewing it at Starbucks I found myself piecing together an informal flowchart for the Process phase, just for my own comprehension.

    When I got home I put this together in OmniGraffle, and wanted to see what people thought. About how accurate is this as it stands? Am I missing any important pieces, or getting something wrong?

    Thanks!

    Pres


  • #2
    Very nice diagram, but I'm not sure what purpose it serves that the workflow diagram in the book does not.

    Comment


    • #3
      I guess since GTD encourages you to customize it to suit your needs there is no way I ought to criticize. However, since you invited comments...

      I think you are missing somthing in the defer thread, namely, putting the item into a dated calendar of some sort not just a pending box. Similarly, for the incubate thread there should be a dated tickler.

      I think the pending box ought to be split into @calls, @work, @home, @waiting for, etc., not just be one mixed pile. David Allen is clear that one big mixed stack leads to feelings of overwhelm and numbness, and distrust of the reminder portion of what should be a "trusted" system.

      The "add new project stake" may mean something to you, but not to me. Where are project stakes stored?

      One tip: in the book version of the flowchart the bold outling boxes are meant to represent buckets to hold similar items. Your flowchart has a different (in my mind, flawed) number of buckets. Start by creating the buckets just as shown in the book, try the system for while, then see if anything needs adjusting.

      Please feel free to disregard any or all of the above.

      Regards,
      Ken

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the comments!

        but I'm not sure what purpose it serves that the workflow diagram in the book does not.
        The book's flowchart seems (to me, anyhow) to get sorta fuzzy when it comes to what you're actually supposed to when you run across an in-box action that you then realize is part of a yet-undefined project. The book talks about it in some detail, but I wanted to make sure I understood it clearly so I drew a picture. I focused on what the text said, and my flowchart wound up a little different than the book's.

        I think you are missing somthing in the defer thread, namely, putting the item into a dated calendar of some sort not just a pending box. Similarly, for the incubate thread there should be a dated tickler.
        That's what the book's flowchart seems to show, but then that makes the Process step blur into the Organize step, and did I want to keep those separate, as he seems to say that's a good idea near the front of the book. And twice in chapter 6 he mentions a generic Pending stack (p127 & 136 of the Penguin paperback), so I was explicitly putting that into my flowchart. Don't know if that's necessarily best, but it helps keep Organize from encroaching into Process territory...

        I guess my reason for making my own flowchart is to resolve (or at least make explicit) the apparent differences between what the book's flowchart shows, vs. what the text is telling you to do. GTD certainly seems flexible enough to work either way, but I just wanted to make it clear to myself what to do. And it seemed useful to post it here to make sure I wasn't totally misunderstanding something obvious. Newbie that I am!

        The "add new project stake" may mean something to you, but not to me. Where are project stakes stored?
        Oh, right, that. The "project stake" is just intended as an extension of the author's use of the metaphor of keeping a "stake in the ground" somewhere to remind you that there's some multi-step project involved. I thought that was kinda neat so I used it. Translate as, "Add entry to projects list." The flowchart is just for my own use so I was free to shorthand it into incomprehensibility.

        Comment


        • #5
          (oops, I wonder why I wasn't logged in for that reply...anyway that was me! )

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by kglade
            I think you are missing somthing in the defer thread, namely, putting the item into a dated calendar of some sort not just a pending box. Similarly, for the incubate thread there should be a dated tickler.

            I think the pending box ought to be split into @calls, @work, @home, @waiting for, etc., not just be one mixed pile. David Allen is clear that one big mixed stack leads to feelings of overwhelm and numbness, and distrust of the reminder portion of what should be a "trusted" system.
            I also had a problem with incubate and defer both going to a pending bucket. Have you actually moved forward or just moved a heap of stuff from one basket to another? In my mind, processing should remove things from your desk and your mind. Not just into the garbage or onto somebody else's desk, but you should be able to move things to project files after you have added the appropriate "stake" or "next action" to your list. Just putting an action on your list and dumping it back into another basket doesn't do it for me. My pending pile would be as much a problem as my in basket.

            I don't really know what David Allen is referring to when he refers to "pending". I do not have the book in front of me. But for me, everything goes somewhere. General files, project files, next action list, tickler, calendar - it shouldn't just stay on my desk.

            Pam

            Comment


            • #7
              Pres,

              I think your pending box is mixed up. If you have delegated, you have processed the item, and it's not pending anymore. You can create a folder "waiting for", and put those papers there. If you have defined a new project, and deferred the next action, this is not a pending item anymore. Create immediately a folder for the project and put the paper there.
              The "pending box" is for those items that, for some reason, have not been processed yet. In an example in the book, DA uses the 2 minutes rule : if processing a new item will take more then 2 minutes, put it in the pending box and go for it after you have emptied your inbox.
              Of course a pending box can easily become "stuff" again.

              Hope this helps.

              Comment


              • #8
                Here's a new version that I hope is a bit more complete - thanks for the input! I basically decided to abandon the idea of splitting the Processing and Organizing sections (via the phantom "Pending" bucket) so now it all flows together a bit more smoothly.

                Is this looking better?

                Pres

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sheesh, I was logged-out again! How often does this forum reset its cookies? I'll have to keep an eye on that...

                  Pres

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Purpose of Chart

                    I didn't comment on the first chart because kglade put my thoughts very well. I think that your second chart captures all of the elements but the overall feel of the chart is not as focussed as the Workflow Diagram. I think that that the process is incidental to the outcome. The outcome is the buckets and that's where the Workflow Diagram is very clear. Starting with the desired buckets and using them as a spur to action is the way I would go - then refining the thinking of the Process stage will lead to better utilization of the buckets. If I were to try to remodel the Workflow Diagram I would start at the end and work towards the beginning.

                    Andrew

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