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Findings must be captured as next action or be lost?

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  • Findings must be captured as next action or be lost?

    Sometimes I discover things that really resonate.

    For example, today I was listening to David's talk with Arianna Huffington, a prodigious writer. She dictates all her first drafts, then edits them later. Furthermore, she dictates them to a person, allowing the reactions of that person to influence whether she goes deeper, explains more, moves on, whatever. What a great methodology for any writer!

    Must I translate that accidental incidental resonance into an action item? Or is there something in the GTD system that allows me to just capture and 'compost' an idea until a later more appropriate time to convert it into something actionable?

  • #2
    The latter. Note it on a tickler and throw it in for a month from now.

    I do this often with my notes from nonfiction books.

    You can also create a checklist and put it in your project support materials.


    • #3
      I think this is what DA is referring to when he talks about 'incubating'.

      My suggestion... Create a folder named 'incubating', throw this kind of stuff into it, and review it quarterly-ish. Eventually, you'll either (a) figure out what to do with it, or (b) decide it no longer resonates.


      • #4
        What jknecht said. Lots of creative people keep some kind of idea file for odd bits of things that resonate but haven't attached themselves to a particular project yet. My filing for this kind of stuff treats it more like reference material than like a GTD-style Action or Project. The important thing is that you review the file at some semi-regular interval, rather than having it be a black hole from which nothing ever escapes.



        • #5
          The regular review is the key

          I agree with all of the thoughts above and would only add tha committing to a regular (not necessarily frequent, just regular) review of these incubator notes is the key. Quarterly is too infrequent for me. I tend to review the Ideas category in my junk drawer app and paper notebook no less frequently than once a month and more often (every other week) if time permits.

          My reasoning is that the work I do evolves quickly and that I tend to collect with relative abandon. So I try to be pretty ruthless in my pruning if something I've tossed into one of the capture points is no longer relevant.

          As I don't have someone to dictate to, I tend to work in reverse mode to what Ms. Huffington describes. I dictate into my Tablet PC and then listen (w/o looking at the screen) to what I've written by having the computer read back to me after I've taken an appropriate (to the project time line) break. For a weighty blog post, that might be an hour later. For an essay or book chapter or white paper with a longer time line, I'll usually wait at least a day or two.



          • #6
            Great tips! Marc's is esp. important - have a scheme to review.

            I use a plain text file with macros to separate "items," grab URLs and titles, and tag items (e.g., BlackberryClientToolIdea).

            For review, I don't have anything regular yet and tend to do it opportunistically. If I run across a need, I search for a tag or keyword and notice other hits. I also use the "blog to recall" approach - I tag ideas to blog about (1500 at last count), and when considering my (mostly weekly) post I review them (not all, alas) searching for one that resonates. While writing it, I search for relevant info elsewhere in the big file, which also motivates a review.

            Great topic! Hope that helps.


            • #7
              Great replies -- thanks.

              Marc, sounds like you are using some kind of speech recognition software. Care to comment on how accurate and usable such things are?