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clear concise steps for day one, start and on..

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  • clear concise steps for day one, start and on..

    Today was to be my GTD day..questions on steps
    *how do you categorize?
    *does one file folder per thought really make a difference?
    **after you take a piece of paper/something and decide that it is reference. do you immediately name and label a folder in the alphabetical file.
    *or do you just put it in that basket and come back and process it later?
    *how do papers fit in you don't know how to label?
    *when you do label/organize, and have several parts of a particular topic...am i correct in understanding:
    Widget company-marketing ideas, widget company-directions, widget company-old programs ,
    *I have my own small business (actually 2)paper there,
    * I have a home office downstairs where all my books, file cabinets, and other catalogues, reference stuff is.
    *I have work daily from an area on another floor, where i use a narrow 6 shelf bookcase. One filing drawer and stuff on the desk.
    In other words i am in three places.
    4) How important is it to bring everything in same place?
    Are there clear concise steps?
    Any help would be appreciated.

    many thanks*
    Last edited by lvelaughlearn; 03-25-2006, 11:24 PM.

  • #2
    Be brave to get rid of stuff.

    My advice:

    Be brave to get rid of stuff.

    I think that at least 50% of this stuff in three places is outdated or ready to be archived (forever ).

    Comment


    • #3
      How cool! I thought there would be someone who would respond right away>
      Should i go downstairs or start in the upstairs office?
      At what point do i involve the other filing cabinet and misc.?
      How many filing drawers do you have?
      what has been your experience with this?
      thanks for answering.

      Comment


      • #4
        Police tape hack.

        Try to limit your current files to 4 drawers. Anything more is not manageable. Archive or purge everything else. For example one day I packed many books from my library (I'm a book shopping addict). After two years I found that I haven't needed to unpack them (no time, no energy, no motivation etc.)

        You may use the police tape hack to deal with the dormant stuff:

        http://www.davidco.com/forum/showpos...17&postcount=8

        See also:

        http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3168

        http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4630

        Comment


        • #5
          I know how you are feeling, it can be quite overwhelming to try and take everything to one spot to work on. I would say find a timer, and give yourself a set amount of time, then take a break. This didn't accumulate in a day, and you won't get it sorted out in a day either. That first step is Collection, but until you weed out all the trash, you may have several collection points to work on. Just keep at it. You can do it! Let us know how it's going.

          Elena

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by lvelaughlearn
            *how do you categorize? ....... *I have my own small business (actually 2)paper there,
            Would you please give us more information on your business? Knowing what it is that you are doing actually would make it easier to help you.

            Rainer

            Comment


            • #7
              My thoughts, for what they're worth:

              Originally posted by lvelaughlearn
              how do you categorize?
              That's really a personal decision. Different people categorize things differently.

              does one file folder per thought really make a difference?
              Yes.

              after you take a piece of paper/something and decide that it is reference. do you immediately name and label a folder in the alphabetical file?
              Yes.

              how do papers fit in you don't know how to label?
              Stop. Think hard. Label it now.

              Yes, this is hard. It's an important discipline. I doubt that anyone here is perfect at it. That's okay.

              when you do label/organize, and have several parts of a particular topic...am i correct in understanding:
              Widget company-marketing ideas, widget company-directions, widget company-old programs ,
              That's one good way to organize, yes.

              In other words i am in three places.
              4) How important is it to bring everything in same place?
              Yes and no.

              You don't need to keep absolutely everything in the exact same place -- e.g., your books can be in a different room than your inbox. But you will spend less time organizing if you have as much as possible in the same place.

              My inbox, tickler, and filing cabinets are all in the same place. It's really easy and quick for me to toss something into a file. If they weren't co-located, it'd take me a lot longer to process my inbox, then carry the appropriate stuff to another place and figure out where to file them.

              Comment


              • #8
                a few comments

                *how do you categorize?

                I'm not sure what you mean here - categorizing files or actions?

                *does one file folder per thought really make a difference?

                I use one folder per *project*, not per thought. Or do you mean one piece of paper per thought in the mind sweep?

                **after you take a piece of paper/something and decide that it is reference. do you immediately name and label a folder in the alphabetical file.

                Yes!

                *or do you just put it in that basket and come back and process it later?

                Well, if it's reference then it should need additional processing - processing is the decision-making about whether something is actionable. If you've already decided it's reference, then label and file it right away.

                *how do papers fit in you don't know how to label?

                Do your best. I suggest that clients use the first phrase that comes to them - chances are it will be the one that comes when it's time to retrieve, too. Unlike Winston, I suggest pretty specific labels, rather than broad. But it's up to you - you're the person who will have to find it. Note that you can always re-label a folder if it needs it.

                * Widget company-marketing ideas, widget company-directions, widget company-old programs ,

                "Sub-labels" or sub categories like this are typical, e.g., Insurance - Me, Insurance - Spouse, etc.

                4) How important is it to bring everything in same place?

                I strongly suggest having active files within swivel distance of your workstation. My setup (there's a picture here, from this post.) I have secondary storage close by. Basically, you want to make it easy for yourself to file, and that means having it close by.

                * Are there clear concise steps? Any help would be appreciated.

                Read the book, read this forum, and check out other GTD resources on the net.

                Stick with it - I've found the long-term payoff very much outweighs the short-term pain in getting up to speed.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Circular File & March Madness

                  Originally posted by Brent

                  Quote:
                  Originally posted by lvelaughlearn
                  how do papers fit in you don't know how to label?
                  Stop. Think hard. Label it now.

                  Yes, this is hard. It's an important discipline. I doubt that anyone here is perfect at it. That's okay.
                  Lots of good stuff from others here. If you can't figure out how to label something throw it away. The thought of throwing it away will either bother you enough that you'll figure out how to label it, or it won't bother you and you'll know you are safe pitching it.

                  I forget which time management advocate I heard this from, it may have been Hyrum Smith of Franklin Covey, who said you should be able to hit your waste basket 90% of the time with a wadded up piece of paper from 15 feet.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Training makes a master.

                    Originally posted by jpm
                    you should be able to hit your waste basket 90% of the time with a wadded up piece of paper from 15 feet.
                    Training makes a master.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The Hefty Filing System

                      Originally posted by jpm
                      I forget which time management advocate I heard this from, it may have been Hyrum Smith of Franklin Covey, who said you should be able to hit your waste basket 90% of the time with a wadded up piece of paper from 15 feet.
                      Indeed. Today was the day for me to make a big dent in my home office (the office office is fine) which I've neglected for too long. The second full 45-gallon trashbag is ready to be carried to the curb now and it really makes a big difference.

                      I took the same approach to my e-mail (which I have an easier time organizing than paper) and found that deleting and archiving stuff en masse has made me so much more effective.

                      -B-

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lvelaughlearn
                        4) How important is it to bring everything in same place?
                        Others have written many good aspects. Off course everything in same place would work best. But if this is impossible, you should at least have anywhere the same structure. At any place _one_ inbox....

                        Yours
                        Alexander

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Having got through the first few stages of GTD, and one day of actually living it, I am not an expert, but I have a very keen and recent memory of the steps that you are asking about.

                          *does one file folder per thought really make a difference?

                          - yes! I think the idea is that if you have a file that is too general, it becomes huge and you can't find what you want quickly, and as a result you start to mistrust your filing system as a helpful tool in your life, so you stop filing and voila, you are disorganized again. For example, a file called "health" is pretty general so break it down into "health: healthy recipes", "health: list of personal trainers", "health: insurance forms", "health: cancer prevention" etc. If you really need a certain piece of information it will be easy to find in this system. It sounds chaotic so have sooooo many folders, but I think that it will actually control the chaos.

                          **after you take a piece of paper/something and decide that it is reference. do you immediately name and label a folder in the alphabetical file.

                          - I did. I really didn't trust myself to get around to it later. I went through all my stuff the first time, anything that was trash was trashed immediately, and anything that wasn't trash went into my inbox (i put supplies in there too, maybe that was a bad idea, but it all worked out in the end). Once I went through everything I then processed what was in my inbox, starting at the top of the (massive) pile. Resist the temptation to just put something aside. The worst case: you have a folder with a label that you have to relabel for something else...big deal.

                          *or do you just put it in that basket and come back and process it later?

                          -no, not in my opinion....see above.

                          *how do papers fit in you don't know how to label?

                          - someone else advised you to throw things like this away...I agree, but you could also create a folder called "thing I want to keep but don't know where it goes" and then re-evaluate it when you purge your files in year.

                          *when you do label/organize, and have several parts of a particular topic...am i correct in understanding:
                          Widget company-marketing ideas, widget company-directions, widget company-old programs ,

                          - yes, this is how I did it. I think you could even get into more detail like "widget company-marketing ideas-print ads", "widget company-marketing ideas-promotion products" etc.

                          *I have my own small business (actually 2)paper there,
                          * I have a home office downstairs where all my books, file cabinets, and other catalogues, reference stuff is.
                          *I have work daily from an area on another floor, where i use a narrow 6 shelf bookcase. One filing drawer and stuff on the desk.
                          In other words i am in three places.
                          4) How important is it to bring everything in same place?

                          - you can probably make it work, but as someone else said, it works best if you have your files and NA lists etc. together.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ask yourself what is working.

                            Look at your "system", and using the categories in GTD ask yourself what is the corresponding activity that you are doing in your current system. Evaluate how your present practices are working for you by asking yourself what you like, what you don't like, and what's frustrates or discourages you or sends you crying to your pillow.

                            Then focus on that part of the GTD workflow chart that most approximately maps to your biggest probelm area. Ask yourself, how will this make my work go better for me if I do it the GTD way? Don't assume you need to implement the whole method. You will probably need a system that has working parts for each of the GTD elements and they will need to fit together. It will need to meet your needs, to support your roles, areas of focus within them and your responsibilities. If you don't have a clear sense of them, you might try to find a time to start making an assessment of these (keep it simple). No two people really do GTD the same way and to aspire to do it exactly as described might bog you down more than help you. But, also guard against trying to refine GTD just because you see the possibility. Keep asking yourself, can I meet my needs and still make this simpler or easier? GTD might be the default mode for maximizing simplicity but that might not meet your needs.

                            The most useful part of GTD for me has been distinguishing between projects and next actions, keeping track of both, and using these lists (and others) rather than the objects themselves to cue my focus. The least helpful has been the A to Z file system, but it has taught me that my original file system was way too complicated.

                            I would like to relate the practices of two people whose productivity I have long admired and you will see that each has some GTD elements in it.

                            One very organized and productive man I knew had
                            an at home and an at office system. At home, he had a big comfy chair, a TV table, a little stand with paper and envelopes next to the chair, and about 10 plastic file boxes that he kept lined up behind a couch (these were labelled friends, family, financial, his name (personal records), interests and hobbies, houses and cars) and a brief case. "In box " was the TV tray, which doubled as his desk. "In" was brought to empty as quickly as a paper was dropped on it se (unless he was physically not present). He had an address book, a datebook, scissors, stapler, stamps, pens and pencils and scotch tape in the brief case. At the office he had a real "in box" for messages and mail, a desk, and cabinets labeled by year and then subjects within each year. His secretary was mainly a typist, a researcher and file returner/file puller. Every so many years he culled the earliest year or two and what he decided to keep he just added to the earliest year that he had not yet culled. At all times he had two lists on the back of an envelope, his projects and his specific tasks (including the grocery list, memos to draft, stuff to tell people, if ti was a lot of stuff he noted a reference to a file). He crossed off and added as he went through the mail, talked on the phone or met with people in his office (he was a CEO for a medium-sized newspaper). When the envelope was too full, he re-wrote what remained on the list on the back of another envelope and threw out the old one. When he finished an important project he noted it on his calandar and filed the support materials by subject in the current year.

                            Another of the most organized and productive people I know, has four desks. One is for his intellectual work and it has book shelves and files surrounding it on the topics in his field. He is an art historian, so this is massive. Current projects have vertical file boxes on the desk. Some projects have more than one box. He has his computer here because he only uses it for that kind of writing and research. Another desk is for personal correspondence and it has address books, stationary and a file of folders with names of friends and family at hand's reach, and a little typewriter. What needs to be answered or is in process resides in an active vertical file on that little desk. The other is a big desk and it is for financial matters and has bills, investment, credit files, etc. right at hand. In the financial area he has a cabinet for house stuff. He owns two houses, and has helped to manage others. Each house has a drawer or part of a drawer with things like instructions for the lawn mower or the diagram for the circuits in that house. I would not like tha fact that he has in with this reference material on lawn mowers in general and circuit breakers in general, but it is his file, not mine. The last desk is currently the dining room table and next to it is a mobile file for health matters (he sees a lot of specialists), the calendar is on the wall along with social and business phone lists, and fliers for events that he may attend are in a vertical box by topic or place (lectures, shows, Palo Alto ). Each desk generates its own list and he carries these around. This gentleman is 86 years old and has used this system (except the health desk) for at least 50 years.

                            I will spare you a description of my own adaptation of GTD because I am still not working it systematically (or systematically working it), but next action by next action I am making progress. The beauty of the GTD paradigm is that you can fix your implementation problems by using the paradigm.
                            Good luck.

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