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  • Lists and Organizing Inbox in GTD?

    I often find myself wanting to make lists of a lot of stuff, but I also wonder how it can fit into my GTD system as well. In particular, how can I fit a list of daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, and yearly lists into my GTD system Using a daily list is simple as you go through this list everyday and mentally check off what you've done and then mentally erase it for the next day. But how do you use a weekly or monthly list You can't really mentally check off stuff to do, because the chances are you probably won't remember if it has been a month on your check list and if it is time to wash your car again. I've heard about 'sciral consistency' but how can I do this paper-based Any ideas Also how can I incorporate these lists into my system Should I just throw them into my inbox and leave them there so I process them everyday I need your help to figure out a good solution. Here is my GTD system that I want this to fit into. Sorry for writing so much!

    My GTD System
    • Hipster PDA I use a several index cards bound by a binder clip (also referred to as a Hipster PDA) for my ubiquitous capture tool or device. I have this accessible to me at all times throughout the day and write down any thoughts or ideas I might have. I usually write one thought or idea per card and I throw the cards I have used into my inbox when I get the opportunity.
    • Processing the Inbox I then take a look at my inbox which consists of my planner, checkbook, my index cards stripped from my Hipster PDA, and receipts. I process my inbox after school (and sometimes work) and the items I need to keep STAY in the inbox. I throw away the index cards after I have completed that thought or task.
    • The important dates I write down on the index cards (test dates, job interviews, rental return dates, etc.) get put into my 30Boxes calendar. I then throw these processed cards into the trash bin I have sitting beside my computer.
    • My projects and ideas that are written down on to the index cards are kept in my inbox.
    • When I get to the receipts kept in my inbox, I quickly pull my checkbook out from the inbox and balance it. I throw away the receipts afterwards. Simple and easy.
    ---

    As you can see, I have no clue what to do with my projects and ideas. I have items in my inbox right now such as:
    • Apply for JSU (college)
    • Get grandma's 18$ that she owes me
    • Apply for Selective Service ( I just turned 18 )
    • Get better at typing (Goal 100 words per minute)
    • Minimize my room
    • Get new tires for car
    • Straighten up car
    • Call work about longer shifts
    • Install CD player in Car
    • Organize Backpack & School stuff
    • Need more bank deposit slips ( i ran out )

    I haven't the slightest idea of how to organize these. I can tell you right now, I don't like the Next Actions folder idea. It seems so undefined yet demanding. Like it defines something as your NEXT ACTION but I know that isn't the case because you can't set something as your next action because life throws you twist and curves. I want something more general like Things To Do or Goals. Something more simple yet effective in its words would be nice. But I don't know where to start. I want to set up a filing system for my inbox into things like 'Goals' and 'Things To Do' and such but I want labels that can pretty much cover anything I put into my inbox. I don't want to be stuck saying stuff like Well.... this is kind of like an idea but kind of like a goal but also a project at the same time.

    Happy Holidays,
    Dustin
    Last edited by dropdeaddustin; 11-29-2007, 04:31 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by dropdeaddustin View Post
    I often find myself wanting to make lists of a lot of stuff, but I also wonder how it can fit into my GTD system as well. In particular, how can I fit a list of daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, and yearly lists into my GTD system Using a daily list is simple as you go through this list everyday and mentally check off what you've done and then mentally erase it for the next day. But how do you use a weekly or monthly list You can't really mentally check off stuff to do, because the chances are you probably won't remember if it has been a month on your check list and if it is time to wash your car again. I've heard about 'sciral consistency' but how can I do this paper-based Any ideas Also how can I incorporate these lists into my system Should I just throw them into my inbox and leave them there so I process them everyday I need your help to figure out a good solution. Here is my GTD system that I want this to fit into. Sorry for writing so much (
    One idea: Print the checklist on graph paper. When you do an item, write the date next to it. Use the grid to keep this week's (or month's) actions more or less lined up. When you complete the checklist, put it in your tickler file for the date of the next due item. (So if you finish the list on Thursday, but the next item is due Monday, put it in Monday's tickler.) This is essentially a paper implementation of what Sciral Consistency does.

    • Processing the Inbox I then take a look at my inbox which consists of my planner, checkbook, my index cards stripped from my Hipster PDA, and receipts. I process my inbox after school (and sometimes work) and the items I need to keep STAY in the inbox. I throw away the index cards after I have completed that thought or task.
    One of GTD's key ideas is that once you process an item it comes *out* of the inbox. It goes in the trash, to reference materials, or on one of your lists. Leave it in the inbox, and you have to process it over and over again.

    As you can see, I have no clue what to do with my projects and ideas. I have items in my inbox right now such as
    What's the next action? That's the key GTD question. Until you have decided what something is and what to do with it, you have not finished processing it. For example:

    Apply for JSU (college)--Download application form? Ask favorite teacher for reference letter? Ask office to send transcript? This is a project: it goes on your project list, with the next action on your action list.

    Get grandma's 18$ that she owes me--call grandma? Visit grandma? Write off the $18 because her brownies are wicked awesome?

    Apply for Selective Service ( I just turned 18 )--go to Post Office, get form.

    Get better at typing (Goal 100 words per minute)--get typing practice software?

    Minimize my room--What does this even mean? What are you trying to accomplish?

    Get new tires for car--Call or visit tire shop?

    Straighten up car--Take trash bag to car? Visit auto supply store for organizers?

    Call work about longer shifts--An easy one. Pick up phone.

    Install CD player in Car--Visit electronics store to buy components? Decide budget? Read installation manual?

    Organize Backpack & School stuff--Again, what are you trying to do? Go through backpack and decide what to keep? Buy new backpack?

    Need more bank deposit slips ( i ran out )--Another easy one. Fill out form and/or call bank.

    I haven't the slightest idea of how to organize these. I can tell you right now, I don't like the Next Actions folder idea. It seems so undefined yet demanding. Like it defines something as your NEXT ACTION but I know that isn't the case because you can't set something as your next action because life throws you twist and curves. I want something more general like Things To Do or Goals. Something more simple yet effective in its words would be nice. But I don't know where to start. I want to set up a filing system for my inbox into things like 'Goals' and 'Things To Do' and such but I want labels that can pretty much cover anything I put into my inbox. I don't want to be stuck saying stuff like Well.... this is kind of like an idea but kind of like a goal but also a project at the same time.
    The whole point of a Next Action list is that it defines precisely what you need to do to move that particular project forward. When life throws you a curveball, you may not know which way is up, but you still know that in order to apply for JSU the *very next action* is to download the application form (or whatever). So you can just do that. Then pick another action and do that. And eventually order re-emerges.

    Good luck!

    Katherine

    Comment


    • #3
      The whole point of a Next Action list is that it defines precisely what you need to do to move that particular project forward. When life throws you a curveball, you may not know which way is up, but you still know that in order to apply for JSU the *very next action* is to download the application form (or whatever). So you can just do that. Then pick another action and do that. And eventually order re-emerges.

      Good luck!

      Katherine
      Next Action doesn't work for me. It may for some, but it just doesn't for me. As I stated above in my original post, I would like to organize my index cards into folders with labels that can cover everything to the extent where I do not have to create new ones on the fly except for folders for big stand-a-lone projects like building a house or starting a blog.

      Thanks for your input and for trying to help

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by dropdeaddustin View Post
        Next Action doesn't work for me. It may for some, but it just doesn't for me.
        Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying, but it sounds to me like you think that there is only one next action which defines the very next thing you should do. Period.

        You have about a dozen projects listed; you should have at least a dozen next actions.

        A next action defines the very next thing you should do for each project; it does not mean that you need to define only one next action, then put everything else in your life on-hold until you get that one thing done. Also, there is nothing that says you can't have more than one next action written down for a particular project (as long as those things aren't dependent on other things getting done first).
        Last edited by jknecht; 11-29-2007, 08:08 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by dropdeaddustin View Post
          I can tell you right now, I don't like the Next Actions folder idea. It seems so undefined yet demanding. Like it defines something as your NEXT ACTION but I know that isn't the case because you can't set something as your next action because life throws you twist and curves. I want something more general like Things To Do or Goals. Something more simple yet effective in its words would be nice. But I don't know where to start. I want to set up a filing system for my inbox into things like 'Goals' and 'Things To Do' and such but I want labels that can pretty much cover anything I put into my inbox. I don't want to be stuck saying stuff like Well.... this is kind of like an idea but kind of like a goal but also a project at the same time.
          Good luck on all that. I recommend you accumulate some credits in what used to be called the "school of hard knocks" and then try GTD again. I'm not sure I would have appreciated GTD half so much if I had not spent so much time trying to get the rather amorphous Franklin "system" to work for me.

          Comment


          • #6
            How can you walk?

            Originally posted by dropdeaddustin View Post
            Next Action doesn't work for me. It may for some, but it just doesn't for me.
            How can you walk when you think that making the next step doesn't work for you?

            Comment


            • #7
              Dustin, I'm not sure that you really understand GTD. I'll go a bit at a time here:

              Originally posted by dropdeaddustin View Post
              [*]Processing the Inbox I then take a look at my inbox which consists of my planner, checkbook, my index cards stripped from my Hipster PDA, and receipts. I process my inbox after school (and sometimes work) and the items I need to keep STAY in the inbox. I throw away the index cards after I have completed that thought or task.
              The inbox is just an inbox, not a repository for everything. And once processed, you can file or bin the cards that carried the ideas.


              As you can see, I have no clue what to do with my projects and ideas.
              The projects go on a project list, with a corresponding NA on your Next Actions list/lists; ideas that you're not ready to act on yet go on a Someday/Maybe list.


              I haven't the slightest idea of how to organize these. I can tell you right now, I don't like the Next Actions folder idea. It seems so undefined yet demanding. Like it defines something as your NEXT ACTION but I know that isn't the case because you can't set something as your next action because life throws you twist and curves.
              I think you've misunderstood the concept of the Next Action: an NA is simply the very next physical step you can do on a particular project. You should have one or more lists of NAs so that you're able to move many projects forward in the course of a day (if you so choose).

              I want something more general like Things To Do or Goals. Something more simple yet effective in its words would be nice. But I don't know where to start. I want to set up a filing system for my inbox into things like 'Goals' and 'Things To Do' and such but I want labels that can pretty much cover anything I put into my inbox. I don't want to be stuck saying stuff like Well.... this is kind of like an idea but kind of like a goal but also a project at the same time.
              You can call them whatever you like, but according to GTD, projects (in the wider GTD sense) fall into two categories: stuff you're moving on now, and stuff you're not moving on now. It's that simple. They can be very mundane, like filling in a form and sending it off, or they can be quite grand, like getting a PhD, inventing and marketing a renewable energy generator, or becoming President. In the end, it all comes down to two categories: do you want to start working on it now, or not? That gives you your Projects list and your Someday/Maybe list.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by dropdeaddustin View Post
                Next Action doesn't work for me. It may for some, but it just doesn't for me. As I stated above in my original post, I would like to organize my index cards into folders with labels that can cover everything to the extent where I do not have to create new ones on the fly except for folders for big stand-a-lone projects like building a house or starting a blog.
                Here's an analogy that usually works: if you read books, then you use a bookmark to hold your place, so you can pick up where you left off without having to browse back and forth and try to remember where you were.

                That is exactly the principle of the Next Action: it marks the spot where you pick up a project that you've left unfinished. Not using them is like not using a bookmark in a book.

                Your idea of putting your index cards into folders makes me wonder why you don't keep your index cards in the Hipster PDA...? That's what it's for, after all. That way, wherever you are, you can refer to the cards and do something useful (assuming that your hPDA contains your NA lists). The hPDA is not just a capture tool: it can be a whole GTD system by itself.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wow, thanks for the enlightenment guys. I completely did misunderstand the concept of Next Actions. This will significantly help me out with my system and moving projects forward.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I also want to emphasize that you seem to be missing the idea of a projects list. That's where your sample list of "to dos" will go (as Katherine says, from the mundane to the exalted). Then you decide what you need to do next on each one, and that's your next action list. I would make your project list either on your computer (that's how I do it) or right on an index card on your PDA.

                    Good luck!

                    Do Mi

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