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I'm into it for about two months

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  • I'm into it for about two months

    So I have been loving this system and my work production has just about doubled. I have a tickler file, but haven't used it at all.

    A few things that I see slipping:

    I'm using my calandar to schedule tasks on certain days...is this alright?

    I missed a few weekly reviews which put me back into past thinking modes.

    I also have yet to understand the 10,000, 20,000, 50,000+ feet and will be gearing my business up for 2008 and the future soon - can someone explain this a bit more? What pages run through this in the book?

    Thanks.

  • #2
    It is my understanding that using the calendar to schedule tasks which require large blocks of time is consistent with GTD principles.

    Putting lots of small tasks on a given day, which would need to be rolled over to another day if not completed would not be very GTD-ish.

    Originally posted by css View Post
    I also have yet to understand the 10,000, 20,000, 50,000+ feet and will be gearing my business up for 2008 and the future soon - can someone explain this a bit more? What pages run through this in the book?
    The horizons of focus concept is not discussed in much detail in GTD or RFA.

    There are links to a handout and teleseminar which discuss the topic here: http://www.davidco.com/connect/white-papers.php

    Comment


    • #3
      Congratulations on making the jump! Questions like this are normal.

      > I'm using my calandar to schedule tasks on certain days...is this alright?

      Scheduling blocks of time for certain *types* of activities is a great practice. Julie Morgenstern calls this "time mapping," and writes about it here (scroll to "Taking Control of Your Days with a Time Map"). The key is using it for types, not for specific actions. I do know people who do the latter *occasionally*, but it's dangerous because it might lead to getting back into older habits that aren't as productive (e.g., having to "carry forward" items that don't get done, being too static for agile workplaces, etc.)

      > I missed a few weekly reviews which put me back into past thinking modes.

      Many people have trouble with this, but do try to make it a habit. Maybe schedule recurring time for this kind of activity? I'm looking at some Kaizen "small steps" ideas for making it a habit - I'll try to write them up soon.

      > I also have yet to understand the 10,000, 20,000, 50,000+ feet...

      This is often mentioned as a GTD weakness - some contrast it as doing things right vs. doing the right thing. The following essay made some relevant points, I think: The Essential Missing Half of Getting Things Done. However, I still believe strongly that an initial "bottom up" approach like Allen's is necessary to free up space for the higher-level strategic thinking.

      Related post: TimeMaps and GTD.

      Comment


      • #4
        Apropos of the last comment...

        Matt, I'm looking forward to reading your ideas on a Kaizen path to building the review habit. I've found quite a few interesting items on your site from time to time, and the Kaizen approach appeals to me for a number of reasons (not least that I'm a fan of Asian cinema, and Kaizen always reminds me of a cool kabuki film I've got ).

        So be sure to mention it here when it's done, pretty please!

        Comment


        • #5
          GTD method is applicable at ALL horizons

          Originally posted by cornell View Post

          > I also have yet to understand the 10,000, 20,000, 50,000+ feet...

          This is often mentioned as a GTD weakness - some contrast it as doing things right vs. doing the right thing. The following essay made some relevant points, I think: The Essential Missing Half of Getting Things Done. However, I still believe strongly that an initial "bottom up" approach like Allen's is necessary to free up space for the higher-level strategic thinking.
          I'm not sure why this kind of comment comes up so often about GTD being good only at the low levels, other than the fact that DA's books do not explicitly spend a lot of time on the higher levels or give examples about what a successful GTD system looks like at the higher levels.

          But I don't think it is a stretch to see that the basics of GTD, including the workflow process and habits, and especially the 2-pronged "What's the successful outcome?" and "What's the next action?" are very powerful tools to create and manage your system successfully all the way up and down the horizons of focus. At the higher levels, the second question may be substituted by a "What's the Next Project?" or "What's the next productive time frame to Review this horizon?", "What stage of the Natural Planning model do I need to engage with here?" or something along these lines. If a Weekly Review seems to be good for the 10,000 level, then perhaps a monthly or quarterely review for 20,000? At any rate, it should be done at a time frame to keep stuff from "crawling back into your head", and STUFF is not just the low level "Call Mary about setting the PTA meeting", but can be anything up and down the horizons that may grab your attention if it is left un-clarified or un-reviewed for too long (or un-captured, un-processed, un-organized, etc.). Whether this is your list of roles and responsibilities, your 1 to 3 to 5 year plan, or your life purpose, "If its on your mind, its probably not getting done" - ie, there is still a GTD-process that you need to apply at that level.

          DA does talk about this in terms of the axis of Control Vs. Perspective - but the same tools, in principle, can be applied at all levels. For every GTD user, it does take some creativity and elbow grease to construct whatever review habits and processes that are needed to "get it all out of your head" at these horizons, too. But the higher that anyone goes into these levels, the higher into your own individuality and uniqueness you are climbing, and the more varied the details of implementation will be from one person to the next.

          GTD is a system based on the premise or principle that "the head is a great place for having ideas, but not for holding them", or that maximum focus, engangement, enjoyment, and productive action are achieved with a clear head. Clear of anything at any horizon of focus, not just clear of anything at the runway level.

          If the fundamental GTD principle is correct at one level, then it is correct at all levels.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by css View Post
            A few things that I see slipping:

            I'm using my calandar to schedule tasks on certain days...is this alright?
            It's all right, in the sense that the GTD Police won't break down your door, but this is often better handled with the tickler.

            I missed a few weekly reviews which put me back into past thinking modes.
            As others have noted, this is common. Just gently pull yourself back into the habit.

            Missing several reviews in a row often signals a need to change the time and/or place that you do your weekly review.

            I also have yet to understand the 10,000, 20,000, 50,000+ feet and will be gearing my business up for 2008 and the future soon - can someone explain this a bit more?
            OK, I currently have an Action: "Change 'The Boy up the Tree' short story based on Scott's critique."

            The Project is: "Publish 'The Boy up the Tree'."

            But that's part of my larger life goal to become a regularly published author. So, the higher-level goal to the Project is "Publish a bunch of short stories," which is part of an even higher-level goal, "Be a regularly published author."

            The key question is: What are your Projects trying to accomplish?

            (Side note: the answers are often messy. I expected a neat hierarchy, and there wasn't one.)

            Comment


            • #7
              Another way of approaching the higher-level views is with a 3-month plan. This involves charting out on a piece of paper some larger-scale projects that you plan to complete over the next three months. You can review this during your Weekly Review.

              For me, items on my 3-month plan paper might include "Submit three different stories for publication," "Take all online training courses in OASIS," and "Complete all version 1.0 features in RTS game."

              Of course, at the end of three months you'll trash or archive it, and write a new plan for the next three months.

              Comment

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