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  • Checklists

    Being new to GTD I am getting my head around the various aspects of the system implementation. I have a couple of questions:

    1. I find that although I have dumped all of my stuff in the GTD system (Moleskine) I find that some days (more than I would like) I tend to skip the morning review of my GTD system and jump straight into a particular action (generally one on my list, but sometimes not and if it is on the list it may not be the highest priority item - bad!!). Any suggestions as to how I can force/trick myself into reviewing my GTD system as the first thing I do in the day. How do others "start their day" using GTD?

    2. David mentions in his book using checklists. What do people have checklists for? and how do you remind yourself to look at your checklists? Where do you keep them?

    Thanks for the help.

    Kim

  • #2
    re: Checklists

    1) I had a lot of problems with this when I first started, too. The way I solved it was to put a calendar entry for "Daily Review" into my hard landscape every day for a month. By about the 3rd week, I didn't need the reminder anymore--it just became part of my daily routine. I've used this same technique to create other habits, too (like remembering to take my vitamins every day or to check my blood pressure every week).

    2) I use checklists mainly for things that I don't do very often; and I keep them near where they will be used, so I don't have to hunt for them. A good example is a vacation I recently took... I don't travel very often (4 or 5 times a year), and I always forget to pack something important. So the last time I took a trip, I wrote down everything that I packed. While on the trip, I added all the stuff I forgot to bring. Then, when I got back, I typed it all up, printed it out, and stuck the list in my suitcase. When I packed for my trip last month, the list was right there, staring at me, daring me to ignore it. For the first time in years, I didn't have to buy--or do without--something while on vacation. When I got home, I printed out a new copy of the list and stuck it in my suitcase for next time.

    For the things I do on a regular basis, I don't think there is a need for a checklist. I know some people have a "morning routine" checklist, but this is too extreme for me--I already know what needs to be done, so consulting a list like that wouldn't add much value, in my opinion.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by jknecht; 03-14-2007, 07:45 PM. Reason: Added title

    Comment


    • #3
      re: Getting into Review & Checklists

      On Getting Into the Daily Review:
      I think what you are doing -- jumping into doing the first thing on your actions list, maybe not the highest priority item -- is actually a good habit to develop. As long as you are able to review your entire list of actions before the end of your day then nothing will slip through the cracks. The key is this: Review enough of your active inventory of actionables and projects to ensure that when you *do* one of them you don't have any mental drag on your energies (e.g. a gnawing feeling that you shouldn't be doing this particular action versus another one). As long as you've scanned and reviewed your lists enough to give you that confidence, then what you are doing is fine. Plus it keeps you from scanning your list to just choose things you want to do rather than just doing the things on your list.

      On Checklists:
      I keep a folder in Home/Reference/Checklists on my Mac running OS X and within that Checklists folder I have the following categories...

      Academic
      Automobile
      Baby
      Church-Related
      Cleaning & Chores
      Entertaining & Hosting
      GTD Checklists
      House & Home
      Interpersonal
      Miscellaneous
      Personal
      Presenting & Speaking
      Productivity
      Professional
      Purchase Lists (e.g. Someday-Maybe purchases)
      Shopping Checklists
      Supplies
      Traveling & Packing

      I search the internet for as many checklists as I can find and download them and put them into these sub-categories. There is also a book _Checklists for Life_ with a lot of great lists you can use. I try to scan those relevant to my circumstances each week when I do my Weekly Review.

      Todd V

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by akr95 View Post
        I find that some days (more than I would like) I tend to skip the morning review of my GTD system and jump straight into a particular action (generally one on my list, but sometimes not and if it is on the list it may not be the highest priority item - bad!!). Any suggestions as to how I can force/trick myself into reviewing my GTD system as the first thing I do in the day. How do others "start their day" using GTD?
        Answer: Do your daily review at night. Seriously, I find it's more useful to me to 'close off' the day by quickly going through what I've done, updating my NA lists, and going through my In Tray and processing at night. I'm tired at night, and the processing isn't really demanding, so it's a good use of time, and it means that I'll be ready to leap straight in the next morning. It also reduces the amount of worrying I do at night: if you're a worrier, you may find this helps. It's a way of finishing up the day rather than leaving it (in your mind) halfway through.

        Originally posted by akr95 View Post
        2. David mentions in his book using checklists. What do people have checklists for? and how do you remind yourself to look at your checklists? Where do you keep them?
        I use checklists for things I don't do very often, and for new habits I'm trying to acquire. The 'not very often' checklists go in the appropriate folder, or if it's a repeating task (like the BAS, say) it goes in the Tickler file as its own reminder.

        For the 'new habits' checklists, I tend to have them on my whiteboard behind my desk. It's got to be somewhere that I'll see them all the time, but not on my workspace.

        Comment


        • #5
          Time-interval-based and activity-based checklists.

          Originally posted by akr95 View Post
          2. David mentions in his book using checklists. What do people have checklists for?
          For me checklists are for collecting wisdom about recurring activities:
          • Daily Checklist
          • Weekly Checklist
          • Weekend Checklist
          • Monthly Checklist
          • Quarterly Checklist
          • Yearly Checklist
          • Spring Checklist
          • Easter Checklist
          • Fall Checklist
          • Christmas Checklist
          • Business Travel Checklist
          • Vacation Checklist

          Comment


          • #6
            Lists of lists

            Originally posted by akr95 View Post
            2. David mentions in his book using checklists. What do people have checklists for?
            I also have a checklist for what are my current objectives on my annual performance appraisal/review with my manager.

            Originally posted by akr95 View Post
            how do you remind yourself to look at your checklists?
            I have a checklist what to do in my daily mini-review, weekly review, monthly review, qrtly and yearly review.

            Originally posted by akr95 View Post
            Where do you keep them?
            In Outlook in the Notes section or on my Palm in Memos.

            Hope that helps - J.

            Comment


            • #7
              I use Outlook to manage all of my projects and NAs, and most of my checklist items. As part of my standard task view, I use a field called "Complete." It's an icon field that's a checkbox--click it, and if you've set your list up right, the task disappears. This works great for all of my recurring tasks, as I don't see the task until it's due again.

              (I have to be careful how I use this field with projects, as I don't want to mark a project task off unless the project is actually complete. In this case, I simply change the NA.)

              My checklist includes items I want to do every day (some are morning- or evening-oriented), as well as household things I do on the weekends (sometimes every weekend, sometimes not). Using the right filter means I never see a task until I'm supposed to.

              While I don't start the day by looking at my checklists, I will have always started processing items on it at least an hour before I leave for work. I check it again at lunch, when I get home, and about an hour before I plan to start winding down for bed.

              At work, I have a routine that forces me to look at and process items on my list periodically, or I'm bound to forget something.

              I use checklists in several (sometimes idiosyncratic) ways. Because I have a bad habit of not buying clothes until it's past time, I have specific tasks that pop up periodically to remind me to start looking for a particular item.

              I have tasks that show up when I want to be reminded to call someone (my sister, every day; my father, every week; some other relatives, every month; certain friends, every three months).

              I'm about to re-institute my home deep-cleaning checklist, the one that gets me to deep-clean my entire house in three months.

              Outside of Outlook, I have checklists for checking the contents of our travel bags; emergency items; holiday planning; and vacation planning. Most of these checklists are in a spreadsheet format.

              Checklists are a lifesaver for me. Now if only I could get my husband to use them.

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