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  • Using reminders & checklists

    Hello all

    Most PIM & time mgt systems include pop up reminder functionality to prod us about stuff that needs doing at at particular time. GTD appears to eschew this approach in favour of a user-controlled methodology based on the diary and next action lists etc.

    I am interested to know how people here use automated reminders? For appointments only? Not at all?

    Say you have six tasks that must be done on the next working day. How do remind yourself about this? Putting so many tasks in the diary (along with appointments already there) seems a bit clunky.

    Would you write a special must-do checklist/next action list for the day? Or some other approach? Any ideas gratefully received.

    TIA

    Jack

  • #2
    Specifically keep them out of your "diary" or calendar.

    Just a check - is there a reason why you can't put the actions into a "@Work" context? Often it's because "I don't check my contexts". If so, then that's the problem and building the context-checking habit is the way to go.

    For actions, I mainly use the contexts. If I need a reminder then I'll add one - not inside the calendar though, use something else. E.g. today I have a phone call that I can only make at 10am, so the context isn't good enough because when I get to the context I'll check the items and won't be able to do that particular one. But that's a special case - normally, contexts are perfect. And when there are other special cases, I'll temporarily add a tag to handle that - e.g. "weekend", where I don't need something firing at exactly 8:25.

    Comment


    • #3
      I put them in dated next actions in the appropriate context (I use tasks in Outlook and on my PDA). I can then also sort the NAs by date, so I can call up e.g. just today's NAs. If I'm really worried I won't remember a particularly important NA then I set the alarm for that task on the PDA for 8am which is just before I leave for work.

      Ruth

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JackC View Post
        I am interested to know how people here use automated reminders? For appointments only? Not at all?

        Say you have six tasks that must be done on the next working day. How do remind yourself about this?
        Jack, I struggle with this all the time. I use Outlook and a palm device, and use automated reminders for appointments. I think David Allen suggests using a "no time" appointment" (which appears at the top of the days schedule - for both Outlook and Palm) for items that are "must-do" on that day.

        Sometimes I slip and put "would like to do" items in the no-time appointment, and they then don't get done and need to be rolled over to the next day... so I try to keep those items in my to-do list manager, and out of my Outlook calendar.

        - Don

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        • #5
          I'd say do what works for you. The idea is that your system keeps your mind free so you can focus; the tool and method doesn't matter so much. I don't have a problem with reminders in the calendar. It's a well-known variation on the tickler file. Does it clog up your calendar with non-actionable tasks? That depends on you...

          Hope that helps!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by JackC View Post
            Say you have six tasks that must be done on the next working day. How do remind yourself about this? Putting so many tasks in the diary (along with appointments already there) seems a bit clunky.
            Hi Jack

            As others have already said it really comes down to what will work for you. In my case if there are things that I absolutely must do on a certain day but not at a certain time then they go into my calendar (outlook) as all day items. During a weekly review if I've got NAs on a context list that I haven't yet attended to and that will soon become critical I take them off the list and turn them into the above. For example I might have on my @computer list an NA "email client ABC draft proposal". It's been there for two weeks and I know from my projects list that the absolute latest the client will accept the proposal is next Wednesday. During the weekly review the Friday before when I see this I will likely take this off the context list and make it an all day task for, say, Tuesday.

            During the day when I'm working I focus on the fixed appts first, the must dos for that day and then, time permitting, I turn to my context lists to see what else I can crank through. As an aside I get a kick out of seeing the list of must dos for that day getting smaller as I crank through them. It motivates me to get them done.

            Hope this helps and good luck.

            Simon

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            • #7
              Thanks for the responses so far.

              I do use most of techniques suggested. A must-do on a particular day I usually drop onto my Outlook calendar (not diary as I mistakenly called it!).

              However, in setting myself up for next Mon, I noticed that I had 6 different must-dos for that day. Putting those onto the calendar (+ appointments already there) clogs the calendar up and makes it less useful for me.

              My Next Action List has over 50 items on it and I didn't want to lose any of the 6 must-dos inside that list. Filtering by context doesn't help either. Consequently, I've just done a must-do checklist on paper.

              I hadn't thought of dated Next Actions so I might try that as well.

              Thanks again

              Jack

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JackC View Post
                However, in setting myself up for next Mon, I noticed that I had 6 different must-dos for that day. Putting those onto the calendar (+ appointments already there) clogs the calendar up and makes it less useful for me.
                Hmm... This sounds like a scheduling problem, not a tools problem. Six must dos plus appointments is a pretty heavy load. For me, at least, it's likely that something wouldn't get done, and so my solution would be to start renegotiating commitments.

                Katherine

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