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I love the "Advanced GTD Workflow"

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  • I love the "Advanced GTD Workflow"

    Scott Moehring --- thank you, thank you, thank you for this brilliant pdf. It is just so rich with just the right info presented just the right way. I have one hanging near my computer in my office and one I carry with me in my notebook. I refer to it often --- especially considering I am a GTD newbie and having some difficulty engraining these new habits.

    I do have some things I'd like to have clarified for me. Some things just need to be confirmed for me.

    COLLECT
    1. "Move Closer" simply means "Keep a collection tool close by at all times".
    2. "One Per" means one page per thought or problem or whatever. I understand this and use it 90% of the time. Question: What do people use for voicemail? Does each message get one page? Or do people use phone logs???

    PROCESS
    1. "300-400 times/day" Is this a typo? I don't get it.
    2. "Describe it in past tense" This is such GREAT advice!
    3. "If this was the ONLY thing you had to get done..." Again, I think this is great advice. However, would that not mean that an collected item like "Buy a Porche", which I know goes straight to the "someday/maybe list" now get a NA like "Errands: check out new models at dealership". Because that's what I would do if that's the ONLY thing I had to get done. ???
    4. Why is the "Tickler" file between action YES and action NO?
    5. What does writing on the folder under "Support Materials" say?

    I think that's it.

    I figure that I have about 6 more months of reading DA's book (again), reading GTD blogs, asking questions (and posting the odd answer?) in this forum and just trying to set up the "perfect system that can handle ANYTHING I throw at it" --- and then I'll get around to actually doing stuff. But hey, rearanging deck chairs on the titanic is a blast!

    Cheers,

    Ryan

  • #2
    Originally posted by roakleyca View Post
    3. "If this was the ONLY thing you had to get done..." Again, I think this is great advice. However, would that not mean that an collected item like "Buy a Porche", which I know goes straight to the "someday/maybe list" now get a NA like "Errands: check out new models at dealership". Because that's what I would do if that's the ONLY thing I had to get done. ???
    Next Actions only apply to current projects, not Someday/Maybe's. Sometimes, though, you may have a next action (or even a project) that helps to prepare for that Someday/Maybe (eg., Save for Porsche, Get a new job that pays better, Talk to attorney about getting those tickets off my record).

    Originally posted by roakleyca View Post
    4. Why is the "Tickler" file between action YES and action NO?
    I'm not sure I have the same version of the workflow that you're looking at (mine is rev. 2/27/04) , but I venture a guess that this is saying, "it isn't actionable now, but it might be later; so send it to the tickler".

    Originally posted by roakleyca View Post
    5. What does writing on the folder under "Support Materials" say?
    Again, not sure if we're looking at the same version... my copy has a "support" folder, a filing cabinet, a text block that says "computer hard drive", "plans", something that looks like an outline, and a graphic of a mind-map.

    Originally posted by roakleyca View Post
    rearanging deck chairs on the titanic is a blast!
    I hear ya! Good luck rearranging!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Advanced Workflow Questions

      Ryan,
      Good post and welcome to GTD! Here's my take on a couple of your as of yet unanswered questions:

      Collect
      1. Yes, I believe this is what "Move Closer" means. The less resistance/distance between you and your tools, the more likely you are to use them.
      2. Technically, I think DA advises against phone logs. I believe this is primarily because people then tend to store some of their phone related next actions in the phone log, and others in their regular next action lists. You want to try to have all your NA's stored in one repository. When it comes time for actually Doing stuff, you shouldn't have to think about all the places you might have NA's lurking. Your only thought s/b "which of these items on this list do I want to do next?". That being said, for initial capture I have a notepad next to the phone that I record any notes/info from my voice mails to. I then throw that sheet into my Inbox, add the appropriate next action to my @Telephone list, or make the call right away, depending on my available time/energy.

      HTH,
      Bob O'Malley

      Comment


      • #4
        > COLLECT
        > 1. "Move Closer" simply means "Keep a collection tool close by at all times".

        That's how I now understand it (I asked the same question a while back).

        > 2. "One Per" ... What do people use for voicemail?

        I just use my legal pad, jotting the info (name, #, time/date, message), and toss it into IN. There's some information on call logs at How to adapt GTD for sales? and Some thoughts on the book "The Instant Productivity Toolkit", FYI.

        > PROCESS
        > 1. "300-400 times/day" Is this a typo? I don't get it.

        Hmm. Good question. I can imagine checking my calendar and actions that many times (maybe), or possibly processing that many items a day (maybe)...

        > 3. "If this was the ONLY thing you had to get done..."

        I think that just means focus for the moment on that one thing, ignoring context, resources, etc.

        > 4. Why is the "Tickler" file between action YES and action NO?

        The tickler is funny; in one sense it holds NON-actionable work because you're not going to check daily something that's been tickled and take action on it (other than the current day, of course). However, you *have* done some decision-making on it, possibly determining action (putting a blank thank-you card with a post-it of your anniversary, for example).

        > 5. What does writing on the folder under "Support Materials" say?

        I think it's "Support," and means "Action Support." There's more in Someday/Maybe or At Home?

        Best of luck with your process!

        Comment


        • #5
          You're welcome, you're welcome

          Ryan,
          I made this diagram for myself after about a year of working with the GTD methods, and then sent it to David in hopes that others might benefit from it. I found the standard diagram too sparse in detail for where I was in the process of learning, and the book was too cumbersome for all the great nuggets I wanted to have in front of me. I am truly pleased and inspired that others like yourselves have found value in it.

          I too have a notebook. I manage my lists on a computer, print them out once a week, and then carry them with me on paper until my next Weekly Review. Everyone has done a great job of answering your questions, and here's a few comments of my own.

          COLLECT
          1. "Move closer". Bob nailed it. Keeping a collection tool as close as possible with a fresh clean sheet on top helps lower the resistance. It is amazing to me how little resistance is needed to make me hesitate to write something down. Anything I can do to make it literally a no-brainer is a good thing. One subtle resistance I had to overcome was the idea that a full sheet was a waste. I now use half sheets. I cut a stack of letter paper in half and keep it on my desk. I no longer feel like I am wasting anything by writing on a full sheet.

          2. Bob nailed the voicemail issue as well.

          PROCESS
          1. "300-400 times daily". This is a reminder that you will be deciding Outcomes and Next Actions hundreds of times every day. Every e-mail you delete, every meeting, every piece of mail, every conversation, every call, the ad on the bus driving by. Is there something you need or want to do about this thing that has caught your attention? It is about applying the process so often and naturally that it becomes something that is no longer conscious. Who wants to be thinking about GTD all day long? I'd rather be working within it. Many/most of these things you won't even write down. You will simply do them or decide there is nothing you want to do about them. The mental process of deciding is the same, and probably subtly better because of your awareness of why and how you're doing what you're are doing. GTD is not just about the "important stuff". It's about all of it, big or small, because it all all fights for mental attention when it isn't handled outside of your head. Decide right away if you can, and dispatch quickly and cleanly. 300-400? It's just a guess. I just know it's a lot.

          2. "Past tense" This forces you to see beyond successful completion, and I believe it gives a stronger, clearer Outcome Vision, which is a very good thing. The difference is between "Print the binders" and "Assembled binders arrive at conference". It also really helps with the Weekly Review. Simply add a mental question mark after each Project/Outcome, and you will immediately have the answer as to whether it needs a Next Action or can be crossed off.

          3. "If this was the only thing" My intent here was to help identify the REAL Next Action. By focusing on the idea that if I really had nothing else to do but this, and I was going to get started right now, this very second, what would I have to do first before I could do anything else? Do I have everything I need? That is where the real Next Action lurks. It goes back to resistance. When I don't have a real Next Action, I will resist but not know why. Eventually I will discover that I can't "Call Bill" because I don't have Bill's number. "Lookup Bill's number in in the yellow pages" is the real Next Action. Things will often sit for weeks undone because of some simple thing like that.

          4. The Tickler file can hold things that have no action now, but might later (technically an incubating Someday/Maybe until it pops up again and you decide to act). That's the "NO" side. The "YES" side is for things that do have a Next Action, but for which that action won't occur until the Tickler reminder shows up. So the Tickler straddles the NO and YES area because it serves both purposes simultaneously.

          5. The folder just says "SUPPORT". The only other semi-weird thing in that section are the parentheses to indicate location. I got this from the old Franklin Planner training. It just means that anything in parentheses means "go hear to look for the support materials". For example, a calendar entry "Swan Lake 7:00 (top dresser drawer)" would send me there for the tickets. "Binders are delivered (PF-B)" means a Project Folder under B. Use whatever code you like, but I find it very useful in helping me to keep my support materials out of the way, but easily found with no nagging "I hope I remember where I put those tickets".

          Sorry for the long post. I hope my comments and those of the capable others who responded first help clear this up for you.

          Best,
          Scott

          Comment


          • #6
            Advanced Workflow Diagram - Spanish version

            I had a request to forward on the Spanish version of my diagram, and I tried to post it here, but it is too large for the 256K limit. No worries. I just checked the tips and tools section, and it has been posted there.

            http://www.davidco.com/store/home.ph...ction=0&page=3

            I am currently working with another person to produce a German version.

            Best,
            Scott

            Comment


            • #7
              Scott

              Thanks for your interesting comments on your workflow diagram. One comment in particular reminded me of a helpful hack:

              "...anything in parentheses means "go here to look for the support materials". For example, a calendar entry "Swan Lake 7:00 (top dresser drawer)" would send me there for the tickets."

              I know that using your dresser drawer for storing the tickets is hardly the relevant point in your post, but it reminded me of a good practice for these kinds of things. A possibly smart location to store the tickets would be in the glove box of the car. That way, assuming you take your car to Swan Lake, you can't possibly show up there having forgotten to bring the tickets. I actually did that once, on a first date no less, so I know how easy and frustrating that can be. If the car is a bad idea, then my wallet or tickler file would be other possible "smart" locations. Things like that can also be stored in general reference files to avoid loss. In any case, referencing the place in a parenthetical note is a good idea, as you mentioned.

              I also use this principle when I have to return a purchase. Instead of storing the return in a closet until I get around to making a special trip, I store the item in the trunk of my car so that I actually have it with me when I have an unforseen opportunity to make the return. Same thing for coupons for auto maintenance. In the car so they will be handy when needed. Airline tickets go in the suitcase pocket so I have only one thing to grab in the last-minute rush to the airport.

              Sorry if this is kind of off topic for this thread.

              Comment


              • #8
                Smart locations

                Originally posted by Barry View Post
                A possibly smart location to store the tickets would be in the glove box of the car. That way, assuming you take your car to Swan Lake, you can't possibly show up there having forgotten to bring the tickets.
                This is perfectly in harmony with David's "put it in front of the door" technique. I like the concept of "smart locations" a lot. It forces me to focus on filing to retrieve, not to save. It's just enough of a gentle push to consider a better location than the first one that appears in my head. Where will I be or what will I have with me when I need to retrieve this? It would change my Next Action to "put tickets in glovebox" or "put tickets in tuxedo pocket". In combination with the parentheses on the calendar, this would completely remove any nagging in my head to remember the tickets!

                Scott

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Scott Moehring View Post
                  [...]
                  5. The folder just says "SUPPORT". The only other semi-weird thing in that section are the parentheses to indicate location. I got this from the old Franklin Planner training. It just means that [...]

                  Sorry for the long post. I hope my comments and those of the capable others who responded first help clear this up for you.
                  Scott,

                  keep the long posts coming if they are this informative!

                  The other thing in the "support materials" section is the intriguing box that says "5 travel folders". Now, of course, I have to ask ...

                  Cheers,
                  DrJoe

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The traveling folders

                    The traveling folders is an idea I got from David (see attached). He recommends (and I agree) that the Oxford Ironhide folders are the best - bright colors which you will come to know, and they're almost indestructible. They provide a great temporary place for things when you are on the road or even just commuting. Keep them next to you, and load them up in preparation for being on the move.

                    How I use my colors:
                    Red: traveling inbox for all the stuff that flies your way.
                    Blue: Project Support (this is where you look for folders and papers to support the to-do items you will be doing while you are out and about - on a business trip or just running errands)
                    Green: These things need to go home (if you are at the office), or go to the office (if you are at home). Toss all in your inbox when you get there.
                    Black: Read and Review for those odd moments when you can read this stuff instead of old magazines or something
                    Orange: Trash (useful for holding things until you can get to a trash, like if you happen to be processing on a plane)
                    Yellow: I haven't found another category yet, so this one I don't use.

                    The key is that they need to be temporary. They should be emptied into your inbox when you reach your office at work or at home, or at least every couple days. They cannot become a black hole, or they cease to work.

                    The basic idea is related to the core GTD premise that your stuff is more complicated than a single bucket. One big mass of papers and folders in a briefcase is not as effective as having them in a couple simple categories. Try it with some labeled manilla folders for a week, and you will probably find yourself buying the Ironhides. After a couple weeks, you won't even see the labels anymore. You will just know the content category by color. Very fast, and easier than not using the system. A classic GTD tool.

                    Scott
                    Attached Files

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Excellent!

                      I already use the Marbig vinyl polypick document wallets for much the same thing, although I hadn't thought of all the categories.

                      We don't get 1/3 cut folders in Australia (see the GTD tools, toys, etc forum for my tale of woe ), and the groovy Oxford IronHides also seem to be unavailable... However, the Marbigs are good and strong, with a flap and velcro closer, to stop nasty little drop-outs...

                      Thanks again,
                      DrJoe

                      Comment

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