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  • Separating Personal from Work Stuff?

    When I collect and process, I find that I tend to want to "collect personal stuff" while I'm sitting at home on my computer, and "collect work stuff" when I'm at work. It might be because I can think of open loops more easily when I'm in the relevant context, but it might also be because I know I'll find the sheer number of open loops in EITHER dimension overwhelming.

    Does anyone else do this? Is this "acceptable" or does it indicate that I'm trying to sneak around the principles that make GTD work? For some reason, a mixed list of personal and work ideas (especially the someday list) actually makes me want to physically cringe.

    Jeff

  • #2
    As far as possible I try to keep the two completely separate. However if I have an @home thought at work, I put it in my capture device with a label of @home (either a notebook or a PDA) and bung it in the home in-tray when I'm about to do my home processing. Likewise if I have an @work thought at home, it goes in my PDA, from where it will be uploaded into my work Outlook on the next Sync, and can be treated like any other new entry.

    My actual home and work NA and project lists are completely separate - at work I use Outlook, with Contacts-as-projects; at home I'm just trying out Thinking Rock. But then I rarely do home tasks at work, except @errands on the way home, or the odd phone call, and only bring specific items of work to do at home in emergencies.

    Ruth

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    • #3
      Do what works for you!

      Set your GTD system up to reflect your work style. So have a work and personal context, it's your system and you need to make it work. David only provides the outline it's your responsibility to fill in the details.

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      • #4
        I keep everything in Outlook, work and personal, and just set the "Private" flag for the personal items. Then I have a custom formatting set to make the non-private items in Bold. So work is Bold and personal is normal font. It works great for me.

        As many others have stated, you have to find the system that works for you.

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        • #5
          For me, work is work and everything else goes into my home Outlook task list, which I sync with my Palm. At work, I run through my @Anywhere, @Calls, @Computer, and @Errands list--there's always something I can do at lunch.

          Capture of personal items at work is done on paper and gets processed at home that evening.

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          • #6
            I keep one separate GTD system at work, and another at home.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by blaster151 View Post
              When I collect and process, I find that I tend to want to "collect personal stuff" while I'm sitting at home on my computer, and "collect work stuff" when I'm at work. It might be because I can think of open loops more easily when I'm in the relevant context, but it might also be because I know I'll find the sheer number of open loops in EITHER dimension overwhelming.
              First thing I would like to ask is
              Is this during the weekly review part of emptying your head?
              If is then I would suggest that you download the two templates on personal and professional triggers and work your way through both of them. I would recommend that you do this anyway as they are good prompts for clearing out the open loops out of your brain.

              If this is during other times then

              WHEN AT HOME:

              If nothing occurs to you about work during the weekend, then fine ... it obviously is not troubling you. However, if you think about xx during the weekend and this is troubling you then you can do one of two things:
              1. Follow the rabbit trail. Brainstorm what is troubling you and note down the appropriate actions in a trusted collection device then process it on monday if you feel you can delay it until then.
              2. Write yourself a note in your trusted collection device to e.g. Brainstorm new proposal on monday and then relax

              WHEN AT WORK

              Again if nothing occurs to you during the working day then fine.

              If something occurs to you, write it down and toss it into your physical Intray.

              I have bought the DAVIDCO GTD FIle Folders which have a To Home and To Office. I often toss a note about a personal item into the To-Home folder for me to process at home ... this saves me losing it in my inbox if I have had a busy day and things have arrived since I last cleared it. It also gives me permission for personal things to pop into my mind and be captured rather than taking up psychic ram.

              Comment


              • #8
                Interesting

                I don't recall there being mention of this work/home dichotomy in David Allen's writings, but it seems like a lot of you keep completely separate systems. (Thanks for the responses!)

                Doesn't this imply TWO weekly reviews instead of one? The weekly review seems to me like it takes at least two hours to do properly, so with two separate ones, I'm wondering how people structure this--doing both reviews on the same weekday, one at work and one at home? Doing them on completely different days? Thanks in advance . . .

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                • #9
                  I'm thinking of separating them

                  I keep everything together using the same system at home and work (notebook for capture, online system for lists), but I'm thinking of changing this, simply because I work differently at home. At work, I'm in work mode, and I use my computer differently. At home, I try not to do work, so I don't open up the same programs and documents. I think I need a separate system for home, and an easy way to sync them.

                  @Ruth: how do you like Thinking Rock? It looks interesting.

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                  • #10
                    My combined system

                    I think we should maintain only one reliable system. Synchronizing 2 or more calendars could make troubles.

                    I have a Treo 600 which is always synchronized Outlook in my home and in my office laptop. I have standard categories: @Home, @Office, @Calls, @Waiting for because I set the correct context where I could really do that next action, independently it is according to private or business project.
                    But project and Someday/Maybe lists are separated: PrivatePrj, PrivateSDMB, BusinessPrj, BusinessSDMB. It is easier to overview my running projects when my boss asks me about what I have got done, and checking my family/private related projects.

                    And last, sorry for my bad English, I hope you understand my opinions.

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                    • #11
                      Weekly review with two separate systems

                      I keep two separate MS Outlook-based systems for GTD, one for home (tower PC with my own personal Palm) and one for work (laptop with no PDA). I'm not able to synchronize my work and my home data. I used to perform two separate reviews, but I have trouble getting into that type of executive processing mode when I'm at home on my own time. Too often I either skipped the home review or rushed through it and lost the value of it. So I came up with a better solution. It's not as elegant as having one system for everything, but it works pretty well.

                      Whenever possible, I work from home on Friday afternoons so I have both computers in the same location. I go through the weekly review checklist and perform each step on both computers.

                      When I cannot work from home on Friday afternoon, I print relevant home Outlook data to on Thursday night. I print the previous and next week of my calendar in weekly format and my tasks in a table format with all categories expanded. Then I go back and select all projects and someday/maybes and print them memo style to a PDF file so that I have all of the detailed notes that I keep for each at hand. I bring these files to work on my USB drive.

                      As I conduct the weekly review I follow each step on the checklist first with my Outlook data at work and then with the relevant paper or PDF file. If I need to make any updates or changes to anything in the PDF files during the review, I print the relevant pages onto paper and make the updates on the printouts. When I capture actions or projects that I want to enter into my home system, I either write them down on a notepad, mark them on my printouts, or put the information into an e-mail message. At the end of the review I put my paper notes in my "in" folder (I have the GTD file folders) and I send the e-mail to my home e-mail address. When I get home I process these artifacts like any other daily inputs into my life and make the required updates in Outlook. It requires extra typing, but absolutely no extra thinking. So far this method has worked pretty well for me.

                      Oh, by the way, a free (yes, free) PDF printer utility is available at http://www.cutepdf.com.

                      I hope that this information proves useful to you. Have a great day!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by blaster151 View Post
                        The weekly review seems to me like it takes at least two hours to do properly, so with two separate ones, I'm wondering how people structure this--doing both reviews on the same weekday, one at work and one at home? Doing them on completely different days? Thanks in advance . . .
                        I do a personal Weekly Review on Sundays, and a business Weekly Review on Mondays.

                        Note that doing two Weekly Reviews of twenty projects each, or one Weekly Review of forty projects, will probably take about the same amount of time.

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                        • #13
                          Work/Personal

                          I have to seperate them. There is something depressing about looking at a work list at the weekend! Its also more practical for me to seperate the lists. I still do a joint weekly review though.

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                          • #14
                            My results with maintaining separate systems were negative. I keep an @Office list on the Palm Desktop for anything that needs to be done at work. Work related calendar entries are designated under the Business category, and therefore are highlighted in green, so it's easy to see my work related hard landscape. Non-work calendar entries are left in the default Unfiled categories, and are assigned no color (i.e. grey).

                            Keep separate systems if necessary, but avoid separating the collection process. Capture items immediately when they show up, or they'll distract you from your present context of focus. Use "To Home" and "To Work" folders to move collected items to their appropriate processing station.

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                            • #15
                              Very interesting to me that the vast majority of people (at least those following THIS thread) keep separate systems. I'm not sure why, but it never even occurred to me to do this, and i'm not sure why I would. Maybe the Hard Edges around the sectors of my life aren't Hard enough, but i find myself coming up with some of my best work ideas in the shower or lying in bed or watching TV at home, and I do a lot of thinking about my home and my family when I'm in the office or on a business trip, etc.

                              I really enjoy seeing my whole world in one trusted system and being able to scan it all at once whenever I want. I can't fathom the additional overhead of maintaining two systems, syncrhonizing etc.

                              I do maintain separate projects that are naturally more business and home related (i.e. "Grow Retail Segment" vs "Personal Home Management") so at any given time, 10 or so of my 30 or so projects are home related, and I can see all the next actions there by project. I use the netcentrics addin as my nerve center; I guess one hack which you could do would be via project naming (i.e. "W-Grow Retail Segment" vs "H-Personal Home Management") which would keep the project and subproject next action lists at least segregated into two domains in your list. (I don't do this by the way).

                              As always, whatever works best for YOU is what YOU should do!!!

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