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  • Daily actions

    My biggest issue is the action of getting things off of my notes or out of my inbox and into my lists. I seem to procratinate on this more then anything and by the time Friday roles around for my weekly review, the data entry list is huge, besides the fact that it has been out of date since about 8:30 Monday morning.

    My question to the group is how often or frequently do you process things into your lists or system, outside of the Friday weekly review? If you do this on a daily basis, how is this different from the process you use for your weekly review?

    Thanks,

    Alan

  • #2
    processing daily notes

    Meeting notes, phone notes --any notes should be put into your in basket as soon as you can for processing. You might not get to it that day --but chances are good you'll handle it the next.

    Follow the work-flow diagram , pick up the paper (note) ask what is this ? uh oh it's notes from the last meeting with the boss--capture all the next actions etc into your system , file any that are needed as reference in the future etc.

    Hope that helps

    Paul

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    • #3
      Re: Daily Actions

      My question to the group is how often or frequently do you process things into your lists or system, outside of the Friday weekly review? If you do this on a daily basis, how is this different from the process you use for your weekly review?
      Alan,

      In a word, constantly. As I complete every action, I decide what the next action is and add it to either an action list or my tickler file. I'm still trying to train myself to do that immediately. I'm not always successful, usually because I allow myself to get rushed into the next action, but I'm improving.

      If I do get rushed, I may catch next actions when I'm journalling the day. I add them as they arise during journalling. As a matter of fact, that is the key benefit of journalling. Reflecting on the day prompts me to remember and capture new projects and next actions. It really improves my follow-through and follow-up.

      Also, I try to process my email and regular mail on a daily basis, although sometimes it can be two or three days between processing email and as much as a week on regular mail.

      Finally, the weekly review acts as a catch-all for anything that I didn't process or journal. The key difference between daily updating and weekly review is that daily updating is driven by actions performed and newly arriving work. The weekly review is driven by a methodical review of my project lists (first) and action lists (second).

      Unlike a lot of people, I don't think of the processing done just before the weekly review as part of the weekly review. It is just processing. The fact that it is being done just to tidy things up before the weekly review is beside the point.

      You might find David's most recent Productivity Principles newsletter as right on point with your procrastinating. I heartily recommend it.

      One way to break your procrastination problem is to use the "Five Minute Task" approach. Make a deal with yourself that once or twice per day you will process your notes, mail, etc. for at least five minutes. You will probably find that you will go well beyond five minutes once you get started, but if you really detest it, you are allowed to stop after five minutes. The worst case scenario is that you will have at least done a half-hour to an hour of processing during the week before the big processing push before your weekly review.

      In addition to that, I would recommend that you start forming the habit of updating project or action lists immediately upon recognizing new work. You seem to be capturing new work in notes and then transferring them it to action and project lists. Update action and project lists first. Then add them to your notes. Better to procrastinate the latter than the former.

      Hope this helps.

      Comment


      • #4
        Accuentuate the Positive/Natural

        Alan:

        My answer to your question is, as usual, more emotional, than logical. There are triggers that spur me me to be a good GtD practitioner and some other methods don't work as well. I keep all of my history and reference in electronic form and carry a Palm, but it's usually a good day for me if I don't refer to the Palm at all while I am working. During the day, I use a notepad, with which I create iterative, tentative schedules and keep notes of all my activities. My notepad represents who I am for that day, but once the day is done, I Process everything that is relevant into my Palm. There are two things that make this work for me: 1. My notepad is my life for that day - I am emotionally attached to it, and 2. When the day is done, it's history, and I want to record what's important and then throw away these pages, so that I can start with a brand new notepad tomorrow. This works for me better than everything else - some of my paper mail and email might sit for a few days without being Processed, but my notepad gets Processed every night, and then I review everything that I have in order to get ready to start tomorrow with a plan.

        Andrew

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        • #5
          I Second Andrews Method

          I concur with Andrew about the notepad. I find that I am just not inclined to start pecking on the palm during the day. First, I want all that pecking to be done on the keyboard / desktop palm (much quicker) and, second, I only use palm for storage. I collect as quick as I can and palm is just too slow for me.
          I dont find palm helpful for processing either. Its great and cant be beat for fast access to relevant data though.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Daily Actions

            [quote="Scott_L_Lewis"]

            If I do get rushed, I may catch next actions when I'm journalling the day. I add them as they arise during journalling. As a matter of fact, that is the key benefit of journalling. Reflecting on the day prompts me to remember and capture new projects and next actions. It really improves my follow-through and follow-up.
            Scott, could you describe Journalling in a little more detail? It sounds like it might be a very productive activity, but I haven't heard alot about it before. Thanks! Susan

            Comment


            • #7
              Journaling

              Susan wrote:
              Scott, could you describe Journaling in a little more detail? It sounds like it might be a very productive activity, but I haven't heard alot about it before. Thanks! Susan
              Susan,

              I (try to) keep a journal as I work. Basically, I write down information about what I am doing as I am doing it, or as soon afterward as is practical. The main reason you don't hear about it here is that it is not part of GTD, per se. I have just found it to be tremendously supportive of it. David Allen does talk about taking notes and processing them. This is just that process taken a bit further.


              Why I Journal

              Journaling takes advantage of something David talks about in the GTD book, and that is the power of writing to support sustained, focused thinking over a long period of time. For me it also supports sustained, focused action over a long period of time. When I'm not "working from my journal," I have noticed that I am much more susceptible to wandering attention and aimless effort.

              The downside to journaling is the amount of time and mental effort it takes. Because of this, I tend to let go of it when I am in a hurry (or just being lazy). However, while it does slow down the pace of action, it greatly improves the quality of action.

              1. Taking the time to write allows me to remember and/or capture key information. It also allows me to think through and capture next actions.
              2. Writing forces me to think more clearly about what is going on and what I am doing.
              3. Journaling allows me to capture "mental interruptions" for later processing. This enables me to resist being side-tracked and stay focused on the current action. Mental interruptions can include questions that need to be answered or ideas that pop into my head.
              4. If I am journaling as I work, digressions become excruciatingly obvious. Therefore, I am prone to make fewer of them.

              In other words, I get improved clarity, improved focus, improved follow-through, and and improved follow-up.


              How I Journal

              Like every other part of my planner (except my calendar), the journal is paper-based. Normally, I just use an indent-outline format. What I try to capture in the journal are:
              - Actions: Things I do
              - Events: Things that happen, e.g. things other people do
              - Information: Facts I need to capture.
              - Thinking: Observations, analysis, decisions, designs, etc.

              One thing I do not capture in the journal are next actions and projects. I put them straight into action and project lists.

              If I am journaling as I work, I start off by picking an action from the calendar or an action list, which I write in the journal. I'll often put a start time next to it in the left margin (which helps me do daily time reporting). As I work on the task, I capture the information mentioned above. Ideally, I'll work on the action until it is done, but in reality I frequently have to stop for appointments or interruptions. When that happens, I just write down the next action and start capturing information about that. When I get back to the unfinished task, I'll again write it down with a "(Continued)" next to it and just keep going.

              As I mentioned before, when I get rushed (or lazy) I don't journal as I work. When I journal after, I don't try to recreate a chronological journal. I just list all of the actions I worked on in that block of time with the information that I need to capture about them. This tends to be a bit more efficient in that I write less, but it can lead to forgetting things.

              One word to the wise: If you stop journaling as you work, don't wait to catch up the journal before you start journaling as you work again. Just start a new page and fill in the missing section as you have time.


              Is Journaling Right For You?

              I am convinced that journaling like this is not right for everyone. I read one person on the board saying that excessive self-reporting was "water torture." If you have a job where once something is done, you never have to worry about it again, then you shouldn't waste your time with this. On the other hand, if you have a job that is more ambiguous and information intensive, or you have to keep track of what you are doing for time and status reporting, you might want to do something like this.

              Hope this is useful.
              Last edited by Scott_L_Lewis; 07-06-2006, 02:05 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Journaling

                Hi Scott. Thanks for the very informative post about journaling. It looks like something I should consider trying, since I find myself losing my train of thought every time there is an introduction. Thanks you for introducing me to a new tool!
                Susan

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Journalling

                  Scott

                  I'm new to GTD and I am getting there. Like you I am into journalling, particularly in the office. I use an excellent software program called, strangely enough, The Journal. If you are interested in trying it out you can find it at http://www.davidrm.com/thejournal/

                  Regards

                  Michael Williams

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The Journal

                    Michael Williams wrote:
                    I use an excellent software program called, strangely enough, The Journal. If you are interested in trying it out you can find it at http://www.davidrm.com/thejournal/
                    Michael,

                    Thanks for the tip. I took a look at the web site, and it looks like there is a lot interesting material there. The MemoryGrabber add-on looks particularly interesting. I have been using Parsons Technology's Daily Journal 3.0 for years, mainly for the kind of introspective writing most people associate with journalling. I've found it to be a functional, easy to use, and inexpensive journalling tool, but I think I'm going to give The Journal a try. It looks like it has a lot more to offer for not a lot of money.

                    All that being said, I made a deliberate decision to keep the planner journal paper-based. The reason is that I have yet to find an automated tool that is as flexible and easy to use as paper and pens. I normally use an indent-outline format in the journal, but I occasionally put in tabular data, mind maps, pictures and diagrams. With a paper and pen, I can do this easily without having to fiddle around with different kinds of editors.

                    With paper, the journal is messier, and I do lose the ability to search on the journal, which is sometimes a major league pain. But for me, the planner journal is not so much a recording tool as a tool for supporting mindfulness, focus, extended thought, and action. So far, I'm willing to give up a few things to get that.

                    Thanks again.

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