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Context List As A Someday Maybe

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  • Context List As A Someday Maybe

    Does anyone use their context lists as a master holding area for next actions, kind of a large someday maybe list or more like a someday gotta do list arranged by context. Then they are there and I don't have to move them back and forth from a someday maybe list.

    I've got a lot of things on my plate and parked everything in the contexts even though I might not get to them right away at least I don't have to remember them. Then during my weekly review I pull out what I have to get done this week and make a must do list.

    Does anyone else do this? And if you do, any advice..?

  • #2
    Opinion

    I did what you are doing for several years, in fact. I use Outlook and actually dated my tasks. Changing that behavior was one of the two GTD-recommended behaviors that I resisted. The other was using a Tickler file.

    A few weeks ago I went through and cleaned up my lists AND initiated a tickler file. I took dated items and put them on the calendar where they are supposed to be. The problem I had with doing it your way was that I was numb to the lists...even though they were dated. I filled up someday/maybe lists (I separated into 3) and got my lists down to just what I can/need to do before the next weekly review. I actually look forward to my weekly review and never miss one so that part is easy.

    Like I said, I've only had these changes in place for a few weeks, but I will say that I think both of those changes are finally going to put me over the top of the GTD struggle! But it's a process and I think everyone has to tweak the system to fit what works best for them...and that probably won't be the first thing you try!

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    • #3
      How long are the lists, and what is the time frame for likely completion?

      If these are items that you expect to do within, say, the next month or so, then keeping them in the context lists may actually be the canonical GTD approach. (Reasonable people disagree on whether such near term items belong with "someday.")

      If these are items you are unlikely to even think about for six months or more, and if the reason why you are creating a weekly must do list is because your master lists are so overwhelming, then you might want to think about a more formal separation.

      Katherine

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      • #4
        I had things that I "could do" mixed in my context lists with the things that I "had to do".

        I realized that "could do" items belonged in one of the following places:
        a) with projects that belong on the someday/maybe list and therefore aren't ready to be on a NA list.
        b) on checklists or other separate lists (what to do if you have 5 minutes in your office for example, list of spots where papers accumulate that I'd like to clear up. Don't need the whole list of places on the NA list.)
        3) didn't need to be on a list at all because they were things I will do instead of things I "have to do" if I don't keep focused on the NA lists (for example, surf the web, read for pleasure, watch a favorite tv show)

        Keeping my lists strictly to "have to do" makes them much more "doable" for me.

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