Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

GTD and other tools

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • GTD and other tools

    I'm new to GTD, having discovered it via TiddlyWiki and the GTD derivatives.

    Presumably many on this board have a vested interest in GTD, or find that it works for them. Are there any other systems which also work?

    For a long while I used spreadsheets with the following types of information:

    Task, start date, end date, priority, type, hours (minutes) required,
    hours required per day and a few other fields.

    Each time a task was done it was struck off - not deleted - as this kept a record of everything done. By using a simple time accumulation formula, it was possible to estimate the total time required for all the tasks in the given priority order. This enabled me to decide how many tasks could be dealt with each day, by re-ordering the priorities. It also enabled me to decide on the overall feasibility of getting things done on a daily basis.

    It seems to me that simple GTD does not quite do this.

  • #2
    Originally posted by dave2002 View Post

    Presumably many on this board have a vested interest in GTD, or find that it works for them. Are there any other systems which also work?
    ..
    By using a simple time accumulation formula, it was possible to estimate the total time required for all the tasks in the given priority order. This enabled me to decide how many tasks could be dealt with each day, by re-ordering the priorities. It also enabled me to decide on the overall feasibility of getting things done on a daily basis.

    It seems to me that simple GTD does not quite do this.
    GTD is tool-agnostic, and there are many ways to track next actions, et cetera. My overall impression is that relatively few people stick with wiki-based lists, and probably even fewer stay with spreadsheets. The main issues in choosing a tool are speed and ease of use, expressed as elegance and a bias towards action.

    Your comments remind me how GTD alters traditional time management. Tasks, which are usually mini-projects or components of large projects, are not emphasized, nor is prioritization or time-tracking. The GTD book is a good guide.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by dave2002 View Post
      It seems to me that simple GTD does not quite do this.
      And that is the beauty of GTD, IMHO.

      I used to maintain a similarly complex system. The key for me is to keep it simple. I enter a task description and a context. Done. If it absolutely has to be done today, it gets dated. Looking at your spreadsheet fields, you have 9-10 things (depending on what "a few other fields" means) to think about and enter for every task. With simple GTD you have two!

      If you calculate the amount of time you spend on:
      • filling in those extra fields
      • estimating total time
      • deciding how many tasks could be dealt with each day
      • re-ordering priorities
      • deciding on the overall feasibility of getting things done
      • etc.

      What have you accomplished? Instead use that saved time to pick a context list and actually get things done. Simplicity can be liberating.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by notmuch View Post
        And that is the beauty of GTD, IMHO.

        I used to maintain a similarly complex system. The key for me is to keep it simple. I enter a task description and a context. Done. If it absolutely has to be done today, it gets dated. Looking at your spreadsheet fields, you have 9-10 things (depending on what "a few other fields" means) to think about and enter for every task. With simple GTD you have two!

        If you calculate the amount of time you spend on:
        • filling in those extra fields
        • estimating total time
        • deciding how many tasks could be dealt with each day
        • re-ordering priorities
        • deciding on the overall feasibility of getting things done
        • etc.

        What have you accomplished? Instead use that saved time to pick a context list and actually get things done. Simplicity can be liberating.
        Simplicity is fine sometimes, but there are situations where that just doesn't work. Perhaps GTD can help, but in situations where there may be a very limited time window for action, and action is required in multiple locations, then careful planning is required. There are doubtless many who have or have had more complicated situations than mine, but some of mine have been complicated enough. One of the most tricky was arranging for tiling to be done in the bathroom in my house in the UK. I was living in Sweden at the time. I worked out that I had about 3 hours to get some tiles so that a tiler could do the work before I flew to the US for a conference. The consequence was that I went to buy the tiles as soon as the store opened at 8am, then I drove them home, unloaded them, and went for my flight. If I had not done this, then the result would have been that the tiling would have been set back at least 4 weeks, possibly longer.

        Sometimes time does have to be taken into account, and also location. The time taken to work things out is sometimes a lot less than the possible delays which arise if proper planning is not done - even if it does take time.

        I enjoy counter-examples!

        Comment


        • #5
          GTD is not one system amongst many

          Originally posted by dave2002 View Post
          I'm new to GTD, having discovered it via TiddlyWiki and the GTD derivatives.

          Presumably many on this board have a vested interest in GTD, or find that it works for them. Are there any other systems which also work?
          It is a misunderstanding of what GTD is to think of it as one type of system to choose from amongst other systems. Fundamentally, GTD is a set of principles which hold true to any part of any system which proves true in practice.

          I think this is the most common mistake that people make in trying to understand what GTD is. Until this fundamental point is grasped, one does not understand what GTD is.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by dave2002 View Post
            Simplicity is fine sometimes, but there are situations where that just doesn't work. Perhaps GTD can help, but in situations where there may be a very limited time window for action, and action is required in multiple locations, then careful planning is required. There are doubtless many who have or have had more complicated situations than mine, but some of mine have been complicated enough. One of the most tricky was arranging for tiling to be done in the bathroom in my house in the UK. I was living in Sweden at the time. I worked out that I had about 3 hours to get some tiles so that a tiler could do the work before I flew to the US for a conference. The consequence was that I went to buy the tiles as soon as the store opened at 8am, then I drove them home, unloaded them, and went for my flight. If I had not done this, then the result would have been that the tiling would have been set back at least 4 weeks, possibly longer.

            Sometimes time does have to be taken into account, and also location. The time taken to work things out is sometimes a lot less than the possible delays which arise if proper planning is not done - even if it does take time.

            I enjoy counter-examples!
            Thanks for the examples!

            Unfortunately, I'm afraid I'm confused. How does the example you describe not fit into GTD?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by dave2002 View Post
              Simplicity is fine sometimes, but there are situations where that just doesn't work. Perhaps GTD can help, but in situations where there may be a very limited time window for action, and action is required in multiple locations, then careful planning is required. There are doubtless many who have or have had more complicated situations than mine, but some of mine have been complicated enough. One of the most tricky was arranging for tiling to be done in the bathroom in my house in the UK. I was living in Sweden at the time. I worked out that I had about 3 hours to get some tiles so that a tiler could do the work before I flew to the US for a conference. The consequence was that I went to buy the tiles as soon as the store opened at 8am, then I drove them home, unloaded them, and went for my flight. If I had not done this, then the result would have been that the tiling would have been set back at least 4 weeks, possibly longer.

              Sometimes time does have to be taken into account, and also location. The time taken to work things out is sometimes a lot less than the possible delays which arise if proper planning is not done - even if it does take time.

              I enjoy counter-examples!
              Planning is an important part of GTD. The book has a lot of really interesting things to say about planning, which can be as simple or complex as the situation demands.

              For the situation you're describing, GTD principles would lead one to schedule the tile pick-up on a calendar. Any time an action needs to be completed on a certain date, it goes on the calendar.

              GTD context lists would also be helpful here. If you're living in Sweden, you could then create a list of things that can only be done when you're at your home in the UK. Then, when you're in the UK, you scan that list for stuff to do (e.g., pick up tiles).

              "Natural" project brainstorming (which it sounds like you did) would draw attention to the window of opportunity for picking up the tiles. Indeed, the fact that you were going on a trip probably triggered you to think of what needed to be done before you left.
              Last edited by madalu; 04-12-2007, 11:25 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by madalu View Post
                Planning is an important part of GTD. The book has a lot of really interesting things to say about planning, which can be as simple or complex as the situation demands.....
                Precisely. Nothing in a "simple" GTD system prevents you from complex planning, and then scheduling specific actions for specific times. If you need to identify the critical path of a project go for it. My ultimate point was most projects (at least for me) don't require this complexity, and so this added complexity becomes a waste of time and energy with no benefit from the time spent.

                Comment

                Working...
                X