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How do you subdivide your @Office lists?

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  • How do you subdivide your @Office lists?

    I rely on my @Office list because that's where I am most of the time. But I'm struggling with how to organise that list. If I have, say, 20 items, that's too many to review constantly during the day - I get numb to it. So I want important or urgent things to be obvious. In terms of lists and task prefixes I've tried:

    @Office client + @Office admin lists
    @Office, 1 = client, 2 = admin
    @Office, 1 = next day or two, 2 = not time-bound

    But none of these are quite doing it for me. That means I end up using all day appointments for things I 'want' to do that day. So I get through all of the all-days, but then don't look at my @Office.

    Any inspiration?

    thanks!

  • #2
    Wouldn't you be better off subdividing by task?

    i.e

    @Office-telephone
    @Office-email
    @Office-at my desk

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    • #3
      I assume that each next action on the @Office list is important or could become important so I don't prioritize the list. What I did I made each next action 15 minutes long. So I go through all the list one by one till the end of the day. For longer next actions I put some sign (*) that I was there today.

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      • #4
        This may not be good GTD, but I handle this by roughly prioritizing my lists. My list is in a form that can be easily re-ordered and I shuffle the most important/urgent items to the top of the list. This ordering can be quickly rearranged as the environment changes throughout the day and I may in fact select an item that is not right at the top of the list, but having the list roughtly ordered by priority shortens my scan.

        I also have a monthly cycle to my workflow and some stuff needs to get done asap while other stuff just needs to get done any time before month end. I have two different lists to reflect these categories and I tend to work the second list late in the month after the first list is knocked out.

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        • #5
          One other thing you might think of is to split the lists either by how much time they'll take, or how much brain they'll take.

          I know that GTD implies that all tasks are basically short and mindless ('cranking widgets'), but this ain't necessarily so. If you've already rigorously defined your next actions to be as purely next-actiony as you can, so they're as short as possible, you still might have some things that will take 10 minutes or so, and some things you'll need to spend an hour on. So you may have Short and Long lists.

          You might also have some things that you can crank through when you don't have much brain left at the end of the day, and some things that require you to be more than vertical and breathing. So split the lists into Brain Required and Homer Simpson lists, for example.

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          • #6
            On the 10,000 ft level we split the work into projects and someday/maybe. Why not repeat this? @office-sooner, @office-later. This is prioritizing but on a very natural level.

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            • #7
              Some great thoughts there, thanks. Sooner and Later lists could work well. I aslo like the idea of Brain and Little Brain. My work trypically divides into thinking/writing and admin. The thinking/writing I've started putting in my diary rather than action lists. But I almost never still to the time I've set! That's another issue I guess.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by wordsman View Post
                Some great thoughts there, thanks. Sooner and Later lists could work well. I aslo like the idea of Brain and Little Brain. My work trypically divides into thinking/writing and admin. The thinking/writing I've started putting in my diary rather than action lists. But I almost never still to the time I've set! That's another issue I guess.
                I use Now and Soon, and find that works well: I collect a few things in my Now folder, work through them, and then look at the Soon tray again. Kind of like a mini-review mid-week (or every couple of days, really). I do it this way because I procrastinate a lot, so paring the lists down to the minimum, and never adding anything to a list I'm working on, helps a lot. Otherwise, it feels a lot like an overwhelming workload with constantly moving goalposts.

                And with respect to the Brain/LittleBrain idea, set yourself a regular time when you're at your Brainiest, and always use that for Brain stuff: routines help a lot, because after a while you're doing it without having to make a conscious effort.

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                • #9
                  Since my job is 94% on the computer and 5% in meetings, I do the following:

                  @Work
                  @Work--People
                  @Work--Waiting
                  @Work--Low Energy

                  I'll also keep project-specific task lists-- but only the very-next-action from each of these goes on the NA list (I consider the other items "brainstorming", not NAs). If after doing the NA I want to continue working on that project for a while, then I pull out the project list, if neccesray.

                  "@Work--People" is an aggregated @agenda list-- for me, breaking agenda's down by individual person is overkill.

                  "@Work--Low Energy" contains lower-priority but easy-to-do tasks for when I'm too brain-fried to face doing any of the things on my @Work list. Sometimes knocking off a few of these will give me enough of an energy boost to switch back to my @Work list for a little while.

                  Since most of the tasks on my plate end up in the project lists, my NA lists stay a manageable size, containing only the most important next-action for each project.

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