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  • Specific context question

    I am in a manufacturing environment that has many plants. These plants are all located throughout a small town not more than 3 miles apart from each other. Currently, I have each plant as a context eg. @Plant1, @Plant2, etc. However, I consistently skip over these and am wondering why. I have made sure that the actions are broken down to the very next physical action, but I simply dumb them down. Should they be all in one context?

    Here's my example for this week. I have to go around to each plant and perform the same simple maintenance on their network switches at each plant. I have "Retrieve IP and set up SNMP on switch" under each plant's context, but yet, it has been stalled because I am always trying to find something else to do. I don't know what it's going to dumb these actions down.

    Any suggestions?

  • #2
    Making Contexts Meaningful

    Couple ideas.

    You could try @ Errands context. I use this context by stating where I'm going and what I'll do when I get there. For example:

    ATM - get cash
    Gas station - fill tank & check tire pressure

    You might try that.

    Plant 1 - perform update
    Plant 2 - perform update

    Another suggestion if contexts give you trouble is try doing away with them (easier to try with a digital system) and look at all your next actions in one category (@ Next Actions).

    You might see groups of Next Actions that are more natural to you which is all that contexts are for. Contexts are useful to help break a high volume of Next Actions into smaller, more manageable chunks.

    Good luck!
    Mark

    Comment


    • #3
      a few ideas

      I have a hunch that you are annoyed by the mechanics of looking at your list and searching out info. Maybe you could print out a wekkly or monthly spread sheet or chart and keep it on a clipboard or a note book or put similar in a PDA or something or develop a system that you can look at in two views, one plant at a time or all 3 plants together side-by-side. I haven't got the slightest idea how you would set this up but I really think it would help. I also am wondering if you have not broken these tasks down to the next action level. Maybe before you go to a given plant you need to do something else, like to have called ahead so that an on-site person is available or some data is available. I know that sometimes an implicit task that I have not made explicit holds me back. Maybe you would like to just shedule these visits and not make it a "while I am there....". I would try to get my hands on the "aversion" factor and then take it head on or work around it.

      Comment


      • #4
        It isn't clear whether you find yourself physically at the locations of the Plants and unwilling to do the work, or whether you are resisting travelling to the locations to do the work.

        Do you have to retrieve the IP for Plant1 while you are at Plant1 or do you have to have it with you when you get there?

        Is it that the context is not each of the three locations, but all three locations together?

        Perhaps the true next action is to schedule a time based on what else in on your calendar when you can retrieve the IPs and travel to all three locations. While lurking as next actions, perhaps these must be scheduled on the calendar.

        Perhaps you can stop at Starbucks or Coldstones when the jobs are complete.

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree with WebR0ver that you'd need to look at why you're skipping those items. If too complex, then break down into tinier next actions. If you need more information to do them, then make *that* the NA. If you don't want to do them, then think about that.

          That said, if it's a mechanical issue - the single context list blurs for you - then maybe you could consider making an agenda item for each plant, i.e., each with its own page. If you find you're performing regular actions, consider making a checklist for each kind of activity/visit, putting that in the agenda...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mark Jantzen View Post
            Couple ideas.

            You could try @ Errands context. I use this context by stating where I'm going and what I'll do when I get there. For example:

            ATM - get cash
            Gas station - fill tank & check tire pressure

            You might try that.

            Plant 1 - perform update
            Plant 2 - perform update

            Another suggestion if contexts give you trouble is try doing away with them (easier to try with a digital system) and look at all your next actions in one category (@ Next Actions).

            You might see groups of Next Actions that are more natural to you which is all that contexts are for. Contexts are useful to help break a high volume of Next Actions into smaller, more manageable chunks.

            Good luck!
            Mark
            I have started doing this and I think it is helping a bit. I think the reason that it helps is because I don't have 21 separate contexts of how many plants we have. It's nice to have a concise view of all of them.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
              I have a hunch that you are annoyed by the mechanics of looking at your list and searching out info. Maybe you could print out a wekkly or monthly spread sheet or chart and keep it on a clipboard or a note book or put similar in a PDA or something or develop a system that you can look at in two views, one plant at a time or all 3 plants together side-by-side. I haven't got the slightest idea how you would set this up but I really think it would help. I also am wondering if you have not broken these tasks down to the next action level. Maybe before you go to a given plant you need to do something else, like to have called ahead so that an on-site person is available or some data is available. I know that sometimes an implicit task that I have not made explicit holds me back. Maybe you would like to just shedule these visits and not make it a "while I am there....". I would try to get my hands on the "aversion" factor and then take it head on or work around it.
              I don't know about printing things about because I hate paper. It's a killer of the rain forest! I've always had an issue with breaking things down to the next action level. It's such a gray area, I have a really hard time deciding what is too mundane vs. what is too broad.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by WebR0ver View Post
                It isn't clear whether you find yourself physically at the locations of the Plants and unwilling to do the work, or whether you are resisting travelling to the locations to do the work.

                Do you have to retrieve the IP for Plant1 while you are at Plant1 or do you have to have it with you when you get there?

                Is it that the context is not each of the three locations, but all three locations together?

                Perhaps the true next action is to schedule a time based on what else in on your calendar when you can retrieve the IPs and travel to all three locations. While lurking as next actions, perhaps these must be scheduled on the calendar.

                Perhaps you can stop at Starbucks or Coldstones when the jobs are complete.
                The majority of the work I have to do when I get there. I seem to resist actually getting up and traveling somewhere to get something done. Maybe that is a completely different problem, maybe not, but I feel pretty lazy when all I can do is get things done at my desk.

                Each plants are varying mileages apart. For the most part, I only have to do 1 thing at each plant, but sometimes it may be a few. I suppose I could just do some running in the morning or afternoon and get a lot of it done all at once.

                I hate to put things like this on the calendar because as David says, "It's the hard landscape." These issues aren't "hard landscape", so I generally tend to not put them on the calendar. I really don't see how else I could refer to them other than "retrieve the IP address".

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ride a bicycle?

                  Originally posted by AdamB View Post
                  Each plants are varying mileages apart. For the most part, I only have to do 1 thing at each plant, but sometimes it may be a few. I suppose I could just do some running in the morning or afternoon and get a lot of it done all at once.
                  Maybe running is too extreme but the morning or afternoon routine to ride a bicycle to visit all the plants is a perfect fitness idea.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    @Agenda?

                    If you regard your visit to the plant like a "meeting with the plant" and find the need to put ad-hoc requests into a particular plant (as well as the normal run-of-the-mill checks) - you could keep an @Agenda item on a per plant basis and just enter onto that @Agenda list when you need to be reminded to do something specific at a given plant.

                    HTH - J.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think "Retrieve IP address" is not a next action. Real next action is to go there. So I'd put "Take the car and fo to Plant 1" to my @Office context. If that's due then block out time on the Calendar for that.

                      Regards,
                      Eugene.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Here's my solution:

                        1. I would schedule my visits on my calendar on the date and time a visit is required.

                        2. I'd create a @Agenda for each plant and, when I arrive, go to that plant agenda and do the required work.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          OK since you resist getting up out of your chair and travelling, it does sound like you need to specifically schedule trips to the other plants. I would recommend, as some others have, putting the trips on your calendar. You may want to consider either travelling to the other locations first thing in the morning - on your way into your regular office, or heading out early with enough time to travel to all three locations on the way home. Or doing this around lunch. You could travel to one or two before lunch and the remaining one(s) after lunch. You could go to lunch, then travel to the other plants on your way back. These are all times when you are presumably going to be out of your office anyway so that could reduce your resistance. It does sound like you do need to think through when you will go, then specifically schedule it. Go for it!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by AdamB View Post
                            I don't know about printing things about because I hate paper. It's a killer of the rain forest!
                            Paper is made from renewable conifer forests of temperate regions of the world. The more paper that is used, the more trees that will need to be planted to replace the paper. Use more paper! Stop recycling! Save the planet!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              These visits are not necessarily HAVE TO visits. They are just visits that I NEED TO get done, so I have always shyed away from putting them on my calendar. However, I definitely see the advantage of scheduling these sorts of things. Even though it's technically not "hard landscape" items, this may be a time where I bend the GTD rules.

                              Thanks for all the great advice. You guys are great!

                              Comment

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