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How do you implement GtD on a day to day basis?

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  • How do you implement GtD on a day to day basis?

    I've been using GtD at work for about a month and am very impresseed with how it's helped me to work more effectively. I feel like I have a handle on what needs to be done. I'm interested in how others set up the GtD procedures in their daily activities.

    For example - I have a list that I call "Daily" that basically is an agenda for a typical day - that is, the general things that I want to do in the order I want to do them in. I look at the list periodically during the day to keep on track. If the agenda doesn't work for a particular day due to meetings, etc., that's okay, because it's just intended to give me a general framework for the day.

    For the past month, it's been:

    1. Start up - check voicemail, check email, set up backup tape
    2. Preparation - Process Inbox, review Next Action list and support folder and calls list, and decide priorities for the day.
    3. Handle quick correspondence
    4. Make calls
    5. Work on projects
    6. Filing

    I wanted to get the inbox processing done early so I would get that out of the way. However, I'm finding that the inbox processing and taking care of the 2-5 minute items ends up taking up a fair amount of time, and getting to my Project Work (really the most important thing) then gets squeezed at the end of theday. I'm thinking of rearranging things to start right off with Project Work, then do the inbox processing either right after lunch, or at the end of the day. How do others set up their day so that GtD works most effectively (and everything that needs to get done, gets done!) Thanks!

  • #2
    My routine is flexible but tends to follow some set habits.

    If my kids have school paperwork for me to look over and/or sign, that gets first attention. Other than that, most days go in this order:

    1. Inbox sweep. This is my email inbox, which is priority for me. I clear out all spam, answer anything pressing (i.e. new project leads, client communications, etc.) and usually read my morning newsletters. I usually take anywhere from 15 -60 minutes for this, with the average being less than 30.
    2. Review calendar for committed actions and appointments.
    3. Review goals/objectives
    4. If calendar isn't too booked, I'll drop into action lists and choose additional things to make progress with and/or accomplish for the day. These get moved to my calendar.
    5. Tackle projects
    6. Noon routines -- this includes forcing myself to take a break and eat, plus doing another inbox sweep (usually ~5 minutes this time of day)
    7. Back to projects
    8. Update project logs and journal, review completions for the day.
    9. Usually another short inbox sweep, plus misc browsing/low-level reading, etc.

    I work from home so the initial steps in my day happen around 7/7:30am and I'm not interupted for commute time. If I have calls, those tend to go into my morning project timeslot. Paper inbox and desk sweep get tackled on Saturday or Sunday, but not usually every week.

    If your inbox processing takes too much time/energy at the beginning of the day, I'd say try doing it after lunch or at the close of the day. I personally can't concentrate and feel like I'm prepared for the day's work without processing my email inbox.

    Kathy

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    • #3
      GTD and your Working Style

      I think that routines should fit your personal style. For example, I am CPA and have a typical CPA's working style. When I start on a Project I tend to get lost in it and keep working through it for as long as I can, so I can lose sight of other things that need to be done. Therefore, it's important for me to work through my inbox and planning, make calls and do general administration early in the day, before embarking on a major task that will consume my attention exclusively.

      Other people are more capable of compartmentalizing their day, Winston-style, setting fixed durations for various themes - administration, correspondence, Project work, etc. Still others, have a meetings-driven agenda, where GTD really shines, with its ad-hoc context-related Next Actions system.

      I don't let GTD change my working style, but it focuses on giving you effective data management and decision inputs as you go along.

      Andrew

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      • #4
        Re: GTD and your Working Style

        Originally posted by andmor
        Other people are more capable of compartmentalizing their day, Winston-style, setting fixed durations for various themes - administration, correspondence, Project work, etc.
        Andrew,

        Can you tell me which Stephanie Winston book(s?) talks about this style of compartmentalizing your day. This sounds similar to my preferred working style and I'd like to check into her take on that subject specifically.

        TIA,
        Frieda

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        • #5
          Day-to-Day with GTD....

          Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you continue processing the incoming "stuff" as it collects around you.

          1) First and foremost: capture all your paper-based notes into your in-basket. If you can get closure with less-than-2-minute actions as soon as you're off the phone or out of the meeting, great. But many times you won't have the time, so get your notes onto tear-off sheets, tear them off, and get them into IN. Again, we need to be able to collect, without having to think about processing.

          2) Process your IN baskets (paper based, paper based, etc), sooner than later. Resist putting your notes into "Hmppph" stacks. As soon as you have some bandwidth to think, process, make decisions, and get closure on your conversations and your activities, go back to your notes in IN and decide next actions.

          3) Keep your "hard landscape" for your day clear and in front of you, and keep reviewing and renegotiating what needs to be done, given the real time you have, given your other hard commitments. For this, your watch and calendar will be very important to have at hand.


          I suggest just keeping to the top 3 behaviors as best you can, and whatever of the next set of things you might have time or interest to pursue, great. If not, no sweat, you're in this for the long haul so we'll keep moving along inch by inch, deciding and capturing each action into your systems.

          Please feel, free to e-mail or call with any questions you have!

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          • #6
            Re: GTD and your Working Style

            [quote="frieki"]
            Andrew,

            Can you tell me which Stephanie Winston book(s?) talks about this style of compartmentalizing your day. This sounds similar to my preferred working style and I'd like to check into her take on that subject specifically.

            Frieda: Starting with "The Organized Executive", the emphasis is to create some kind of weekly routine (SW calls it a "Time Program") (e.g., Monday and Thursday mornings are set aside for staff meetings), with some reference to the difficulty/stress of tasks opposite the typical energy/alertness level at different times during the day. In the example weekly schedules in "The Organized Executive", mornings and afternoons tend to be allocated to 1 or 2 contexts of activities (there's the occasional 3 contexts). When I don't have a meeting-driven Calendar, I will sometimes block out time for a theme (e.g., Administration) and look for the Next Actions that fit that theme.

            Andrew

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            • #7
              Re: GTD and your Working Style

              Thanks Andrew. I'll check it out.

              Frieda

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