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  • When to process what I collect? (newbie)

    dear all,

    I'm new, and haven't started full implementation yet, I set the time aside for next week. However, I'm using some of the tips&tricks.

    One of them is collecting - I write everytihng on my palm's to do list, and since I do long car journeys I started taping myself with my cell while I drive.

    The question is: some of the ideas I collect need to be done before my weekly review. I know I've written or taped something, and I need to do something about it before friday afternoon. Do you people process this stuff every day? What do you recommend?

    thanks!

  • #2
    PS: I'm also worried about the future use of my to do list on the palm. Right now it is a typical gathering of stuff (call to make appointment, end world hunger) but I got pretty used to using it as a collection tool, I write everything in there. It will soon evolve into a next actions list. Where do people with palms collect their ideas?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by guiyoforward View Post
      PS: I'm also worried about the future use of my to do list on the palm. Right now it is a typical gathering of stuff (call to make appointment, end world hunger) but I got pretty used to using it as a collection tool, I write everything in there. It will soon evolve into a next actions list. Where do people with palms collect their ideas?
      You can still collect on a palm if you want, and can enter data fast enough. I think it is better to put collected items into unfiled, and process later. Otherwise, you tend to get undoable stuff on lists, which then makes your lists repelling, and bad things happen. If you have a lot of information items, you can put everything through the memo/notes app, and extract projects and next actions onto the appropriate lists when you process. There's no one right way to do things.

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      • #4
        At the moment your palm seems to be one big inbox.

        You need to set up the appropriate context lists and begin to move the actionable items into them. As mcogilvie's suggested can this be done by categories or later you can use a more specialized application. If you have no time at the moment to define your contexts you could define actionable and somaday/maybe.

        Because you know that you have some urgent items in your inbox it's important to make a quick review. You identify them, put them in actionable and finally process them.

        Yours
        Alexander

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        • #5
          Empty inbox every day

          Originally posted by guiyoforward View Post

          The question is: some of the ideas I collect need to be done before my weekly review. I know I've written or taped something, and I need to do something about it before friday afternoon. Do you people process this stuff every day? What do you recommend?
          I use my palms voice memo when I can't write things down, like when I'm driving my car. I also have a memo category named INBOX, which I use when I can write. These are both inboxes, and should be processed and emtpied as often as possible, preferably every day.

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          • #6
            collection points emptied regularly

            The purpose of GTD is to maximize "stress-free productivity" by keeping "stuff out of your head". If you collect important actionable "stuff", then you have only temporarily relieved your head of the job of remembering if you then wait until the next weekly review to process it. You'll have no choice but to reclaim space in a part of your head to remind you that you have something to do.

            Ideally, I aim to process all my newly collected stuff at least once every 24 hours, but if things are super busy, then it can stretch out a little longer sometimes to 36 or even 48 hours (this is rare). As an example, my personal work situation seems to generate about 30-60 minutes of processing time required daily to get every collection point emptied. When I stay on top of this, it means that I can focus mostly on "review" during the weekly review, rather than catching up on processing.

            As far as collection tools, I mostly use a Palm Zire72, either the notepad function (like writing on a sticky note pad), or the voice memo function which is great when driving. Of course there's all the stuff that collects in the usual places like email, voicmail, snailmail, etc.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by guiyoforward View Post
              The question is: some of the ideas I collect need to be done before my weekly review. I know I've written or taped something, and I need to do something about it before friday afternoon. Do you people process this stuff every day? What do you recommend?
              I process all of my inboxes everyday. I have 30 minutes in the morning for processing stuff. I use a check list of inboxes (emails, paper inbox, electronic inbox, notes, missed calls).

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              • #8
                more on collecting, processing and reviewing

                hey, this is an active forum. thanks for the great replies. strating from the minutiae: I will still use the to do list for collecting, but as suggested, will put them on unfiled (I have beyond contacts in my palm and I will probably use the Jello dashboard application for outlook, which looks great).

                now to 10.000 feet: it's great to hear actual experiences. I thought, from the book, that you were supposed to process your inbox only during your weekly review. from what you people told me, there is a constant process of collection, and the processing (converting this to a project and figuring out next actions - am I right?) can be done on a daily basis, or as needed.

                the problem is: I have bank statements on my inbox, and some notes I scribbled about the email I need to send tomorrow. I will naturally tend to take care of the email, and leave the bank statements for the weekly review, but DA states quite strongly that you shouldn´t be cherry-picking in your inbox.

                I am clearly confused about the collection / processing / reviewing steps... any help will be greatly appreciated!!

                thanks again, g.

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                • #9
                  PS: google led me to: http://gtd.marvelz.com/blog/2007/08/...ur-gtd-system/

                  15. Perform daily mini-reviews.
                  I have found that doing a weekly review can seem less of a burden if you are strict about doing mini-reviews every single day, preferably at the end of the day. If you empty your in-basket daily and keep your lists up to date on a daily basis, you will have less things to do in your weekly review and what’s more, you can focus on the bigger, more important things in your weekly review.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by guiyoforward View Post
                    now to 10.000 feet: it's great to hear actual experiences. I thought, from the book, that you were supposed to process your inbox only during your weekly review. from what you people told me, there is a constant process of collection, and the processing (converting this to a project and figuring out next actions - am I right?) can be done on a daily basis, or as needed.
                    Yes. Ideally, your inbox should be empty at the end of every day.

                    the problem is: I have bank statements on my inbox, and some notes I scribbled about the email I need to send tomorrow. I will naturally tend to take care of the email, and leave the bank statements for the weekly review, but DA states quite strongly that you shouldn´t be cherry-picking in your inbox.
                    Neither of these is really an inbox item. You already know what you're going to do with both of them. The email goes on the appropriate Next Action list. Likewise, assuming all you need to do is balance the bank statement (as opposed to following up on a charge), the statement itself is action support and the reminder to balance it goes either in a Next Action list or your tickler file. (Personally, I throw all financial stuff in a pile and handle it as a batch once a week or so.)

                    It looks to me like your key difficulty is in processing. All processing is, is identifying the next action (if any), writing it down, and filing the materials (if necessary). To get something out of your inbox, you don't have to (and usually shouldn't) do anything else with it.

                    Hope this helps,

                    Katherine

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                    • #11
                      Well said, Katherine!

                      Katherine has really captured the essence of GTD. I think we often try to make it more complicated than it is.

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                      • #12
                        thanks K!

                        thanks for your excellent reply. with this quality of responses I won't stop bugging you people!

                        so more clarifications, if possible with real life examples. a capture tool helps you capture stuff (my phone's voice memo when I'm driving, my palm when I'm out and about). does the captured stuff go into my inbox? which inbox, by the way - I have a physical one, plus my email... I'm confused between the ideas of capture and inboxing...

                        thanks again, and stop replying when you get too bored!

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                        • #13
                          1). You capture (collect) into your inboxes all day long. You should have as minimum inboxes as you can for all your sources of information. I have work email, home email, portable inbox in my bag and my Palm. Those allow me to capture in any place and any time. All captured (collected) ideas, emails, notes etc. stay in my inboxes till processing.

                          2). I process daily in the morning. Processing means defining what to do with each peace of smth in any of your inboxes (do, defer, delete, etc). First I take all papers collected in my portable inbox out on my work desk. Then I process each going through David's Flowchart. Then I open email and do the same for each email in there. And the last thing I process Notes from Palm that were collected in the meetings, on the run and while driving. The trick is to touch all the items in all your inboxes and define what you need to do with stuff there. You don't do when processing!

                          If you collected something important. For example a call from your boss. He asks you to buy flowers for his wife now. NOW!! Then you can process on the fly because that's very urgent and important Your outcome would be "Do it quick or fired!" and Next Action "Get out of the office in the direction of flowers shop...".

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                          • #14
                            Difference between processing & weekly review

                            I think one other thing that is missing from this discussion is the difference between processing the inbox and the weekly review. These are different things. You should be processing your inbox(es) as often as you need to and at least daily. I have enough coming at me every day that I have to process at least twice a day and some times three times a day. (Somedays I feel like all I do is process!) It's best to keep as few inboxes as you can. (As many as you really need but no more. I have two physical inboxes (1 work, 1 home, 3 voicemail inboxes (work, work-cell, personal-cell); and 2 email (1 work, 1 personal). (I use a moleskin for my UCT).

                            You should process all of your inboxes to empty before you start your weekly review. The weekly review process is there to help you track what you completed, remember stuff you failed to process, and most importantly, think creatively about your projects and what you can do this week to move them forward.

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                            • #15
                              thanks, this type of hands on advice is really helpful. it clarified a lot of issues for me. I really appreciat it.

                              If I understand correctly, then, having a bank statement in my inbox that I need to revise and file and leaving it for a few days later is not cherry picking in my in basket, but deciding to defer the next actions (revise; file).

                              thanks again!

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