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Too many lists?

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  • Too many lists?

    I am the office manager for a very small CPA firm (4 employees). I began using GTD in October this year. My boss noticed an increase in productivity almost immediately. But, I feel like I have too many projects, too many next actions, too many lists . . . There are a lot of things I still can't get done:

    I broke my contexts down like this:
    clerical
    research
    typing
    reports
    info tech
    phone calls/e-mail
    office supply orders
    filing

    That doesn't include any of my home contexts, which I have given up on implementing for the time being.

    I feel like I spend more time scanning my lists, mentally telling myself, "That's still not a priority", and looking for what I can do with my energy, time available, etc. than I actually spend getting stuff done.

    Any suggestions?

  • #2
    Try this...just pick the first thing on your list to do, and do it. Doesn't matter what it is, just sit down and do it. Do whatever you have to do to enable yourself to complete the task. Now, when you've done it, stop and reflect on the sense of achievement. Now do the next thing...

    Hope this helps

    Adrian

    Comment


    • #3
      This separates the women from the girls

      I think your problem is probably something that marks the difference between "functional GTD" and possibly giving up entirely. I've had similar problems, and here's what helped me:

      Pare down the number of lists that you have. I think jumping around on too many lists just adds to your stress.

      Have ONLY the next actions that you plan to complete in a period of time before your next weekly review on the list. Dump EVERYTHING else into Someday/Maybe or perhaps create a list called "pending". Don't even look at that list until your next weekly review. KEY to this is that you DO a weekly review, or stuff will get lost.

      Make a list at the end of each day or the very beginning of your workday that contains ONLY the items you plan to work on that day. This works for some people, and not for others. Don't add to this list, though....just make sure you are taking items from your Next Actions lists.

      Get busy on implementing GTD at home. If you have any life at all, this is a LIFESAVER. You are a whole person, not just an employee! This will greatly reduce your feeling of stress...and that carries over into work.

      Good luck...and keep us posted!

      Comment


      • #4
        Consolidating context lists

        One thing that has helped me is doing away with so many contexts. I also was scanning all of the standard context lists -- @computer, @Anywhere, @Office, etc. and it was always difficult to choose. I since realized that I almost always have all of these tools in my office and laptop, and so I have pared down my contexts to @Actions-Work, @Calls, @Errands, and @Home. This makes it simpler, at least for me, to scan through my main list -- @Actions-Work than going across several contexts. I also use the Someday/Maybe list very strongly and only have next actions that I want to consider doing or must do this week on my lists -- everything else goes on SOmeday/Maybe and I revisit this during my weekly review.

        Comments on this approach?

        Best regards,
        -Longstreet

        Comment


        • #5
          A context is a physical location, not a type of work. So I, too, recommend paring down your contexts.

          In fact, I recommend you pare your contexts down to one.

          Comment


          • #6
            @Computer

            Originally posted by hmatherly@jmartonecpa.com View Post
            I broke my contexts down like this:
            clerical
            research
            typing
            reports
            info tech
            phone calls/e-mail
            office supply orders
            filing
            What's the difference between typing, reports, e-mail contexts? If you do the related Next Actions using computer it is one @Computer context.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you

              Thank you to everyone. This sounds like it will simplify my system quite a bit and I'm looking forward to implementing it. [QUOTE=Barb;54242]Pare down the number of lists that you have. I think jumping around on too many lists just adds to your stress.

              Have ONLY the next actions that you plan to complete in a period of time before your next weekly review on the list. Dump EVERYTHING else into Someday/Maybe or perhaps create a list called "pending". Don't even look at that list until your next weekly review. KEY to this is that you DO a weekly review, or stuff will get lost.

              QUOTE]

              My weekly review is a discipline that I look forward to each week. I am finding that there is some peace of mind that comes not only from finding all the next actions and projects that I forgot to check off, but also from remembering, "Oh, yeah, I need to add this . . . "

              Thanks so much for your help. I'll post back in a few days and let you know how the shorter next actions list and longer someday/maybe list works.

              -hdm

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