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  • #31
    Originally posted by kewms View Post
    Yes, that sounds fine.

    Writing down future action steps (other than the Next Action) is optional. If that level of planning helps, do it, if not don't bother.

    Katherine
    Cool, thanks for the encouragement, katherine! You've provided a lot of relevant and helpful insight from you own GTDing that illuminated possible methods to organize my own life.

    For me, personally, writing out future action steps helps me see the entire scope of the project which enables me to gauge (based on energy, time, and context -- DA's characteristics) how long it would take to do the entire project, but alternative I could just look at the top, next action, and do that.

    On that note, I realize that GTD is about encouraging one to develop their own system that works for them. There's no right/wrong way to GTD as long as it works for you. That said, I'm having a little trouble figuring out the best "Zen" method for dealing with projects, project support files, and next action steps directly associated with those projects.

    If I had to define this problem, I think it would be "Wanting to create a surefire flow from satellite "gathering lists" (@Phone, Waiting On, maybe @Outside) that plug into specific projects and KNOW when I've gathered all the materials needed to complete a project.

    Here's two examples: 1. a form I have to fill out that requires me to make a few calls to get account information from people. Untill I make those calls and get the necessary info, I can't complete the form. Would I put the form in "reference" a "General project support" folder or it's own sepcific "The Form Project" folder and then make @Phone call person xyz to get info abc" a next actions list?

    Again, I know there's no right/wrong answer to this, but I have a lot of these "semi-completed awaiting more information" projects and want to know how to best deal with them via support materials, as smoothly as possible.

    Alternatively, with the mailing list project.
    Originally Posted by validatelife View Post
    The one thing that still confuses me a bit -- and the original topic of this thread -- is should you take a project like "send mailing list to friends" and then write down all the action steps,
    1. Select material I'd want to share.
    2. Research HTML-formatted emails.
    3. Design a framework for the email.
    4. Add in all the links and information. And confirm that all links are active, relevant, and work.
    5. Throw in a personalized greeting message.
    6. Attach "group contacts" to recipient.
    7. Send it.
    1. I've designed the email framework and have that stored in an electronic folder.
    I am "Waiting On" someone from the school admissions to get back to me on 2 friends' contact info.
    3. I've selected out what I want to share and have that jotted down in a computer file (that eventually needs to go into the email framework).
    4. I have 2 @Phone Next actions to call people to get some other friends' emails.

    Okay, so it suddenly seems like the "Mailing List Project" is scatterd into a "Waiting On" list, some @Phone next actions, and a bunch of @computer next actions. I guess I'm trying to find out the best way to have a solid, as DA puts it, "stake in the ground" for the mailing list project complete with support materials. I guess I could just make a "support materials" file and put in the same folder as the "email framework html", and fill in the blanks, like write the four friends' contact info that I need and when those are completed, I can just eliminate those actions from the "waiting on" list and everything I need will be in that project folder.

    It's just that to acocmplish some (most actually) projects, a huge part in completing the project is filling up @Computer Next actions, @Waiting On Lists, and @Phone next actions to gather necessary information that all eventually go into the project folder for that specific project. See what I mean? The bulk the NA work goes into GATHERING. Once I have all the contacts, email construct, everything in the proejct folder, then it's just like a fun puzzle to piece together.

    I may be making this too complex, and if so, I appreciate your patience.

    So my question is, my @Phone list contains, say 15 calls (2 on apartments, 2 for friends, contacts, "the Mailing List project", 5 casual non-project chats, etc.) how do I plug in and create flow from those "satellite gathering lists" (the "Waiting On"s and the "@Phone"s, for example) that plug-in to my all the necessary project gathering material into the relevant project folder? When I'm in phone-mode, I don't just take care of the project calls, I'll call a few friends for "chats" and then maybe take care of something else. I guess the best thing to do would be to jot down the information I acquired in the specified "project support folder" for a specific project after getting that information (like the friend's contact email or the account numbers needed).

    I've done a LOT of recordings for books and think I may try to employ a "audio mental note" system for things I remember out the day (on my phone recording or via a pocket mini recorder). Then at the end of the day, I'l just empty that "audio inbox" of any todos or new gathered information and filter them down into the corresponding GTD tree.

    Again, it's Getting there! My process is becoming more defined and efficient. At least I'm not putting @Computer things on my @outside lists and have context-defined tasks,and a MUCH better grasp of my current projects and goals.

    Again, I probably should be able to create a fluid system for this on my own, but this has been an ongoing problem, and I'd really appreciate anyone's feedback. Muchas gracias.


    -- John

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by validatelife View Post
      If I had to define this problem, I think it would be "Wanting to create a surefire flow from satellite "gathering lists" (@Phone, Waiting On, maybe @Outside) that plug into specific projects and KNOW when I've gathered all the materials needed to complete a project.
      Next Action lists are outputs, not inputs. That is, you look at the project support materials to decide what the Next Action is. You don't use the NA lists to evaluate the status of the project.

      Here's two examples: 1. a form I have to fill out that requires me to make a few calls to get account information from people. Untill I make those calls and get the necessary info, I can't complete the form. Would I put the form in "reference" a "General project support" folder or it's own sepcific "The Form Project" folder and then make @Phone call person xyz to get info abc" a next actions list?
      It's not reference. Whether it goes in a general project support folder or one specific to this project is really up to you. Big complicated forms (taxes, real estate transactions) probably get their own folder. Short simple forms (driver's license renewal) probably don't need one.

      Okay, so it suddenly seems like the "Mailing List Project" is scatterd into a "Waiting On" list, some @Phone next actions, and a bunch of @computer next actions. I guess I'm trying to find out the best way to have a solid, as DA puts it, "stake in the ground" for the mailing list project complete with support materials. I guess I could just make a "support materials" file and put in the same folder as the "email framework html", and fill in the blanks, like write the four friends' contact info that I need and when those are completed, I can just eliminate those actions from the "waiting on" list and everything I need will be in that project folder.
      Yes. Exactly.

      Katherine

      Comment


      • #33
        GTD System works for me!

        In nlp, "identifying the one thing that was so helpful about the book" would be an example of "chunking up". Understanding the higher category of why something is helpful. Like, "Eating that orange was so helpful!" Chunking up wold reveal that "nourishing physiology was so helpful!" chunking up even more, "taking care of my body is so helpful!"

        So about GTD. I thought of the two biggest things:

        1. So if I had to summarize this in a sentence: "putting all-level projects and actions (life-goals to shopping lists) in my scope.
        I've done a tremendous amount of work -- lifetimes worth of work -- in writing 1.4 million words in 4 polished books, multiple blogs, and have designed 7 websites. All of those were in "my free time" believe it or not. It's been up to me to publish and market that stuff and get paid for it or, at the very least, utilize ALL of that incredibly wise, beautiful, intelligent writing (of which I know NO ONE whose my age who has done so much qualitative, prolific work) as leverage for success in acting, performance, and/or motivation for which I'll get paid. HOWEVER....I get swept up in friends' bands to see, my brother's games, dinners with parents, arranging apartment moving, getting exercise, all of that "low-level" life stuff and forget about a book I wrote and need to emerge to the world!! David Allen talks about different elevations of actions and projects. Most ALL of my writing is at 50,000 feet -- life-goals, spirituality, beliefs. Then there'se 40,000 feet, consisting of 3-5-year goals, then so on, 20,000 is responsibility, 10,000 is projects and actions and then there's runway, which is always the NEXT action to take (like make a phone call, write an email, get this grocerty item, etc.) Because my writing caused me to operate in the 50,000 level (Which is GREAT and unique and RARE for someone my age, which is why I'm truly wired and on track for massive success), the GTD system allowed me to put ALL levels in my scope. So I could be out grocery shopping for vegetables, but still know that if I checked my projects, reference, and maybe/someday files back at home, I'd "remember" all these other HUGE projects I have going on!
        2. The second reason why it's so helpful (and this is really a subcategory of the first reason) is that if someone gave me a business card or a free "gym" class coupon or ANY piece of paper throughout the day, I'd flip out. I wouldn't know what to do with it. I remember one time at this yoga studio in LA and these yoga instructors gave me a free class coupon and I shirked away and they laughed because they said I looked so afraid. They thought I was afraid of "yoga people", which wasn't the case. I was afraid of another piece of paper that was "time-specific" (could only be used on a certain day) that I wouldn't know what to do with. I felt like I had to KEEP in my mental RAM all these books to publish, motivational speaking to do, acting to do and make a career out of FOR CERTAIN, and then I felt like I'd "lose that" by doing simple daily tasks. But you don't lose that! Acting is my passion. it's what I CHOSE to do my junior year in high school. I already made that decision!!! I knew that's what I wanted to do. I've just doubted my decision, or eclipsed myself that I've made it because of lower level (10,000 to runway) to dos. So GTD keeps in check, my decision to do acting, while having things smoothly be added, editted, deleted, adn organized into my life.
        3. The bottom line: I'm more aware of EVERYTHING that's an active project in my life and am trying to do versus stuff that's just reference or stuff that's not even in my system and shouldn't be!

        Does that make sense? It was just the PERFECT book for me at this time because I'm really NOT "just writing a book for 5 months" and am NOT "just doing a 9-5 web design job". I'm juggling multiple careers, multiple career venues and horizons, and using all of my inteligent and AWESOME writing as leverage and/or as a direct source of income. I was shocked how swept up I got into other MINOR projects that caused me to negelct ENTIRE books I had read!

        So this is moving towards the ONE thing and I think it's this: By always keeping fresh in my mind the scope of all my current projects, actions, someday/mabye ideas, and references for those things, I'm CRYSTAL CLEAR on how much I have going on and this gives me the energy and certainty to regain my time and say "No" when necessary. That's it. If someone asks if they want to help them with their project for a few days, and they won't pay me, and I wouldn't get much out if, "no way in hell would I do that"! I just look at my current projects and see something like

        1. Keeping old schools up to date of my accomplishments
        2. Recording, uploading, and editing Youtube videos.
        3. Working on 6 books to publish
        4. Look into motivational speaking/ life coachign certifications
        5. Create motivational seminar workshop
        6. Leadership adventure program -- look into design and lead it.
        7. Survivor application -- contact them for a response.
        8. Acting -- look into classes, and more auditions
        9. Audio Recordings -- upload some more
        10. Online Income -- add "checkout system" to my lifecoaching, audio recordings, and other info online.
        11. Keep 4 blogs updated
        12. Publish John Kooz site
        13. Refine VYL site (with blog)
        14. HEalth -- stay healthy
        15. Life long-term goals -- health, career, gf, freinds
        16. Relocat to a CA and/or ELE environment
        17. Refine "one and the same video" upload it.
        18. Keep in touch with GTD, psych, rottentomaties, song meanings forums.
        19. Keep in touch with friends through Facebook, Gmail, and Myspace.
        20. Possibly look into sales.
        21.

        And that VALIDATES MY TIME. I'm MUCH more focused on me and on my time. Before gTD, I'd forget that I wanted to publish my books, and forget that I'm working on a personal bio site, etc. for example, and I'd be like "sure, I could sacrifice a few random days" for some person out of selflessness. now, I'm like NO WAY IN HELL!!! Iv'e got so much going on. This is GREAT and seriously nourishing to my life because it means that the QUALITY of events I do decide to partake in, for me to even consider them, will have to have a HIGH quality in their nature and will have to genuinely further my career, sucess, health, friends, and/or happiness. That's a GREAT thing to know. To know that with this system, I'll say "no" to events that would have wasted my time or things that I've already tried like trying to do book publishing is something, in part, that I've tried a lot of , it's important to remember that, to move forward as much as possible.

        "With GTD I keep my current projects, actions, desires, and references in check, in my scope -- fresh in my mind -- so that I control my time and and life more by, frankly, saying "no" to other things, people, conversations, and/or events that would be incredibly incongruent or not relevant to my time." I've spent SOOO many years just being around people and knowing that those relationships were ToTALLY incongruent and irrelevant to my life direction, goals, projects, and tasks. Now, with all my projects, tasks, actions, desires, and references in "view" like "emerged on my mental surface", the only thing that makes sense to me now is interacting with highly successful people, actors, performers, great motivational speakers and/or authors, and/or people just HIGHLY emotionally evolved!! Taking command of my personal projects and life, instantly transfers to being able to take command of whom and whom I don't interact with.

        Like at the bar the other night. I had a decent, good, cordial conversation with this 25 year-old woman and we talked about baseball teams and she was giving me a hard time about liking the cubs, and I just queued up in my mind like "current projects of " "publish books, get into acting, move to CA, focus on health, etc." and I was like. This woman is a moron. She's stuck in some chicago-view where one sports team is better than the other, I don't have time for this, and then was just like "okay, I have to go!". Arguing over which sports team is better is just WAY too myopic for me. I went on to have MUCH more meaningful and rewarding conversations. Without GTD I would have likely WASTED my time and continued that conversation for a few more hours, or who knows, longer!! yikes!

        So I guess the most succinct AWESOME effect of GTD is it gives me the incentive to more quickly, tactfully, and appropriately, "say no" to stupid things that get proposed to me throughout my daily life while engaging only the rewarding progressive experiences!!!


        That said, I've developed my 6 key context-specific categories for Next Actions.
        They're
        • @Phone
        • @Outside -- includes all errands
        • People-specific -- just a preferable name to all "agenda" information, things to say to person x, y, etc.
        • @Computer
        • @Apartment - I have a home based office, so @Home and @Office are synonyous for me.
        • Read/Review

        And the nifty acronym for that is POPCAR!! Cool.

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by kewms View Post
          Next Action lists are outputs, not inputs. That is, you look at the project support materials to decide what the Next Action is. You don't use the NA lists to evaluate the status of the project.
          Nice!! NA=outputs not inputs. THAT REALLY HELPS. I was kind of transforming NAs into a quasi-inbox of amorphorous next actions. Cool, so this is immensely clarifying. All the project planning should start in a preojct and support materials folder and any project-based NAs should be descendants of project plans and/or support materials? Okay, that makes a lot of sense.

          It's not reference. Whether it goes in a general project support folder or one specific to this project is really up to you. Big complicated forms (taxes, real estate transactions) probably get their own folder. Short simple forms (driver's license renewal) probably don't need one.
          Okay, yeah' you're right, that definitely would NOT be reference becaust it's still actionable! However, i like your idea of seperate folders but would, following the "complicated forms" idea, would i have -- possibly -- a Project folder and in that a "complicated financial forms" folder and possibly in that a "real estate transaction" and "taxes" folder or something of that? The main thing here is that I should have folders within the projects folder? That's easy peasy lemon squeazy with computer folders (electronic folders), but you'd have to get a larger mini-filing folder for projects, or maybe just a a cardboard box for projects.

          Right now, I am INSANELY sloppy. I used Google Notebooks for GTD (and have the main categories of processing in each of their seperate notebooks (Inbox, NA, Projects, Maybe/Someday, and REference)

          And then I have the same system (with different stuff) in 5 desktop folders (local).

          I also have a similar organizing thing in a program called My Mind with and addition 5 GTD processing folders (Inbox, NA, Projects, Maybe/Someday, and REference)

          And when I didn't have access ot the internet, I had to create a make shift word doc with those files in it.

          Additionally I have one set of hard copy (actual physical manilla folders and a whicker basket for the 5 GTD processing categories)

          Fortunately, I only have one calendar, which is convenient!

          In short, I have 4 seperate GTD systems running each with their individual (and often overlapping) projects, NAs, reference, and maybe somedays! It's the EPITOME of chaos from organization!! haha. I think the best remedy to that convoluted quagmire is to just consider 1 of those 4 electronic GTDs the MAIN system and then just dump all contents of the other 3 GTDs in the inbox of hte Main one.

          Talk about "meta organizing" huh? Putting multiple organizing GTD systems in and inbox!!! Wow. That's almost trippy, it's so cognitively recursive!!! haha.

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by validatelife View Post
            Nice!! NA=outputs not inputs. THAT REALLY HELPS. I was kind of transforming NAs into a quasi-inbox of amorphorous next actions. Cool, so this is immensely clarifying. All the project planning should start in a preojct and support materials folder and any project-based NAs should be descendants of project plans and/or support materials? Okay, that makes a lot of sense.



            Okay, yeah' you're right, that definitely would NOT be reference becaust it's still actionable! However, i like your idea of seperate folders but would, following the "complicated forms" idea, would i have -- possibly -- a Project folder and in that a "complicated financial forms" folder and possibly in that a "real estate transaction" and "taxes" folder or something of that? The main thing here is that I should have folders within the projects folder? That's easy peasy lemon squeazy with computer folders (electronic folders), but you'd have to get a larger mini-filing folder for projects, or maybe just a a cardboard box for projects.

            Right now, I am INSANELY sloppy. I used Google Notebooks for GTD (and have the main categories of processing in each of their seperate notebooks (Inbox, NA, Projects, Maybe/Someday, and REference)

            And then I have the same system (with different stuff) in 5 desktop folders (local).

            I also have a similar organizing thing in a program called My Mind with and addition 5 GTD processing folders (Inbox, NA, Projects, Maybe/Someday, and REference)

            And when I didn't have access ot the internet, I had to create a make shift word doc with those files in it.

            Additionally I have one set of hard copy (actual physical manilla folders and a whicker basket for the 5 GTD processing categories)

            Fortunately, I only have one calendar, which is convenient!

            In short, I have 4 seperate GTD systems running each with their individual (and often overlapping) projects, NAs, reference, and maybe somedays! It's the EPITOME of chaos from organization!! haha. I think the best remedy to that convoluted quagmire is to just consider 1 of those 4 electronic GTDs the MAIN system and then just dump all contents of the other 3 GTDs in the inbox of hte Main one.

            Talk about "meta organizing" huh? Putting multiple organizing GTD systems in and inbox!!! Wow. That's almost trippy, it's so cognitively recursive!!! haha.
            This link drew me to the Google Notebooks approach to GTD, but I had already started a local electronic set of folders, and then during a few days without the interent, I started the single temporary sheet, and the whole thing got out of hand. Google notebooks is a bit cumbersome, but very awesome because it can be accessed from the phone and most computer-based inbox items are online anyway, but for more elaborate projects it gets complicated and without interent access, I'm screwed. The electronic desktop folders works okay, but it's pretty bland and not fancy. My Mind works well, but I think the bottom-line to all this is ANY ONE of those systems will work infinitely better than having multiple ones running. Just the idea that I've had to check like 4 (notebooks, my mind, dekstop, and physical whicker or manilla folder) inboxes and NA lists is like the complete OPPOSITE DA was trying to take people! haha! consolidating will improve all of this.

            Comment


            • #36
              I'm impressed!

              validatelife,

              I'm impressed that you use so much of your valuable time to test various GTD methodology implementations and implications and report to us the results of these tests. I even have no time to read everything you are writing!

              Comment


              • #37
                I think i'm going google for my electronic GTD

                There's a lot of great articles on setting an electronic GTD via google (notebooks, docs, and calendar)
                here

                and

                here

                and elswhere.

                That way, all I'd need is a browser for all electronic GTD processing. that's pretty "zen" lol.

                And then I'd just have my set of "physical" GTD buckets totalling only 2 (one physical and one electronic) inboxes, projects, reference, NA, and maybe/someday, and "waiting on" buckets, and 1 glcalendar.

                If I don't have interent, then I am screwed for electronic processing, but could just use the temporary folders and then transfer that to Notebooks. the only thing is I really like the "My Mind" program because I can do so much with hotkeys from the keyboard (google is a lot of clicking). blast. lol.

                Comment


                • #38
                  What's the best way to handle this?

                  I have a NA "Print of headshots". I suddenly realize I'm out of ink. Now "Print of headshots" has become a project, when it would have been a simple NA if it werent' for the ink cartridge. Should put in my @Computer projects and then add "get ink cartridge" to @Outside? I guess that would ensure I have a "stake in teh ground" for the previously NA-now-project "print off photos".

                  --- John

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                    validatelife,

                    I'm impressed that you use so much of your valuable time to test various GTD methodology implementations and implications and report to us the results of these tests. I even have no time to read everything you are writing!
                    Haha! thanks for the compliment, but if you " even have no time to read everything you are writing" then maybe you should be GTDing better! haha. Just kidding. Thanks for the positive feedback, but really, In GTDing, i've realized that I need to shift the focus of my life to career and things relevant to the CORE of my life, instead of dilly-dallying with peripheral things.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Being away from California, I've been stuck in a place where the career things that I should ( and will ) be taking up my time are on hold. Being in somewhat of a temporal purgatory, I've found posting on these boards the best use of my time, to get primed up for when I get back to a resource-rich environment. Thanks for bearing with me.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by validatelife View Post
                        Okay, yeah' you're right, that definitely would NOT be reference becaust it's still actionable! However, i like your idea of seperate folders but would, following the "complicated forms" idea, would i have -- possibly -- a Project folder and in that a "complicated financial forms" folder and possibly in that a "real estate transaction" and "taxes" folder or something of that? The main thing here is that I should have folders within the projects folder? That's easy peasy lemon squeazy with computer folders (electronic folders), but you'd have to get a larger mini-filing folder for projects, or maybe just a a cardboard box for projects.
                        Devote as much space to filing as the project requires. For some projects, that might be a few sheets of paper. For others, it might be whole rooms full of files.

                        Personally, I like to keep my filing hierarchies as flat as possible. So I wouldn't have "complicated financial forms" as a category, I'd have "2007 taxes," "Boston house sale," or "January trip expenses."

                        In short, I have 4 seperate GTD systems running each with their individual (and often overlapping) projects, NAs, reference, and maybe somedays! It's the EPITOME of chaos from organization!! haha. I think the best remedy to that convoluted quagmire is to just consider 1 of those 4 electronic GTDs the MAIN system and then just dump all contents of the other 3 GTDs in the inbox of hte Main one.
                        That's what I would do. You might eventually decide that you need parallel systems--for instance if you work on some projects *exclusively* in particular physical or online environments--but in general consolidation reduces the chances that things will get lost.

                        Katherine

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                          validatelife,

                          I'm impressed that you use so much of your valuable time to test various GTD methodology implementations and implications and report to us the results of these tests.
                          Hey, what can I say, I had a LOT of open loops, projects, and next actions clouding my brain. GTD Works! I finally found a system that works. I exercise better, think more clearly, have a MUCH greater sense of mobility. I wanted to share my gratitude for the GTD system! It's awesome! Finally something that works for me and my needs instead of some structure that creates problems. i just put problems INTO gtd and it processes them to get successful results!!

                          But, yes, I DID go a little overkill on sharing my findings, experimentations, and evolution of getting to a good blend of a working system using GTD, and probably should have been using my time elsewhere (like actually doing some of the stuff I've now categorized and now have a handle on) from GTD, but I just wanted to 1)Share the excitement and gratitude and 2)work out any other kinks to the system that fits PERFECTLY with my personality. I have a lot of computer science and some cognitive background and the "loops" and thinking about thinking (cognition) was immensely congruent to my needs.
                          Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                          I even have no time to read everything you are writing!
                          Said, the person with over a 1000 posts on this board!!! haha.

                          Thanks.

                          You're right though. Gotta move forward now that my "stuff" is no longer a burdening amoprphorous mass, but a pristine, precise, and "mind like water" system (it's getting there at least )!

                          Comment

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