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Multiple desk locations & decision whether to use GTD software

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  • Multiple desk locations & decision whether to use GTD software

    I'm a practicing clinical psychologist who is also a psychology professor, so I work from multiple locations:
    • my office at home - my primary desk - where I use my computer to prepare statements and correspondence for my practice, prepare teaching materials, grade papers, read/write most emails, return calls.
    • my office at my practice, where I have no computer. Hey, clinical practice is pretty low-tech, and besides, as it's just a part-time practice, I'm only at that location for 8-10 hours/week.
    • my office on campus, where I meet with students, read/write emails, receive and return calls. I have a second computer there.
    • Various impromptu, temporary work sites - my classrooms on campus, meeting sites on campus, etc. No computer or other electronic device at these locations, just paper.

    An additional piece of information that is relevant: I don't have electronics other than these two computers (both Macs), a basic PDA that I use to track appointments and keep contact information, and a cellphone. Thus if I do implement GTD software, I will only have access to the software from my home office (and perhaps campus office, if there's a way to synch the two), and I will be relying on printouts everywhere else.

    So here are my questions...

    Does it make sense to use GTD software when I work from so many different locations, not all of which have a computer? Are items going to fall through the cracks? Is it going to slow me down to have to enter into my home office computer all of the items I've accumulated during the day in my paper-based UCD? Does my situation cry out for an all-paper implementation or are there ways to get the benefits of software without getting a laptop to make the software completely portable?

    I know that I could just "try out" GTD software and see how it goes, but if that doesn't work, I'm afraid I'll end up making a bigger mess than what I contend with at present.

    Thank you in advance for your thoughts and suggestions.

  • #2
    Use paper.

    Use paper if most of your input is not e-mail based and you do not have to use any particular software. Paper is cheap (even Moleskine), light and reliable.

    Comment


    • #3
      Have you thought about investing in a laptop?

      I'm a Mac guy too - I use VoodooPad (a 'personal wiki') to run my GTD projects and lists. I use my iPod Touch to make notes to myself about what to put on my lists when I'm away from my computer - an iPhone would probably work even better as you could just email yourself notes.

      Comment


      • #4
        The Mobile Office

        Nondual beat me to the punch. I would * seriously * consider a laptop.

        I too am very mobile. I have a home office and an office-office. In addition, I travel a lot. It used to drive me nuts that I would be at the office and not have what I need. Or, at home and not have what I need. Or, in the Atlanta airport with a cancelled flight and with NOTHING I needed. So, I am completely mobile. I:
        • Have my McKlein Roller Laptop Bag, which is a great bag and easily rolls with me eveywhere to carry my work and work-horse:
        • Use an HP dv9000 laptop. It's a big 17" screen with numeric keypad. However, it's not bad weight wise and profile wise (MUCH better than my old brick zd8000). It is just as powerful as any desktop -- it is my only machine. I GTD on this if it is setup, or.........
        • Use my Palm Treo 700p (stay away from the 700w - windows version!). This is my PDA and cellphone all in one small package. If I need to jot down a note or Next Action, I do this in DayNotez (a journal app for the Palm) or use its Voice Memo option and have a daily processing step to check for these items.

        I've been doing this for three years now, and I'm very happy with it.

        As a side note -- at my main work areas (that changes between home and office) I have a docking station for the dv9000 and dedicated work area.

        Hope this all helps.

        Comment


        • #5
          My 2 cents:

          If you deal with a lot of email processing - then hi-tech is the way to go. Otherwise, paper.

          If you don't go the laptop route, you could try:

          1. Pick a main spot to do all your processing.
          2. Use a blackberry or palm to be "portable" as well as keeping "To Office" "To Home" type file folders for while you're on the move.

          That's what I do and it works well for me.

          Good luck

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Janezo View Post
            Does it make sense to use GTD software when I work from so many different locations, not all of which have a computer? Are items going to fall through the cracks? Is it going to slow me down to have to enter into my home office computer all of the items I've accumulated during the day in my paper-based UCD? Does my situation cry out for an all-paper implementation or are there ways to get the benefits of software without getting a laptop to make the software completely portable?

            I know that I could just "try out" GTD software and see how it goes, but if that doesn't work, I'm afraid I'll end up making a bigger mess than what I contend with at present.

            Thank you in advance for your thoughts and suggestions.
            You don't say what you are doing now, how it works for you, and how you want things to work. You have 2 macs. With internet access on both machines, you could use iCal and .mac, or use Remember the Milk or a similar web app. Do you currently sync your PDA to both machines? Depending on what it is, you probably have options.

            If, on the other hand, you are interested in using Mac apps that are rather specifically tailored to the GTD project-next action list model, my advice is to use caution. The most prominent programs of this type are difficult to use on more than one computer, and are also, in my humble opinion, somewhat overbuilt. Most programs have free trials, so try them.

            Comment


            • #7
              How much email is a lot of email?

              Originally posted by roakleyca View Post
              If you deal with a lot of email processing - then hi-tech is the way to go. Otherwise, paper.
              I hope I'm not splitting hairs but how much email processing constitutes "a lot"? I probably receive and need to respond to approx. 30 emails each day, sometimes a bit more, sometimes less.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Janezo View Post
                I hope I'm not splitting hairs but how much email processing constitutes "a lot"? I probably receive and need to respond to approx. 30 emails each day, sometimes a bit more, sometimes less.
                Good question. I may be new-fashioned here, but I think most knowledge workers should go digital for a few reasons:

                1. Email is THE business communication medium.
                2. If you don't get a lot of email now, you will sooner than later (as your responsibilities increase.)
                3. Digital info is so nice and searchable with tools like Google Desktop.
                4. I'm sure I have more reasons, I just can't think of them...

                But don't get me wrong. Paper and pen are still the way to go when you want to get creative and when you are taking notes in front of people (I still find blackberry's and cell phones and the like incredible rude in public). A pen and notepad is much more sophisticated. (c:

                (But I know there are going to be people in here that would argue with me about the digital/analogue debate).

                Hope that helps.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have three offices and four work sites I move between. I finally accepted the counsel that I need to use just one laptop for it all. So as I go from office to office, I set up my HP laptop/tablet and work on it wherever I am. Even though I have computers in two of the four locations, all GTD stuff goes into the laptop and is then synced with my Palm Treo 700p.

                  It certainly is helping me maintain "Mind Like Water" as I work.

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                  • #10
                    This is a vote for paper.

                    That said, I think you should just try one way, and see if it works.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by roakleyca View Post
                      Good question. I may be new-fashioned here, but I think most knowledge workers should go digital for a few reasons:

                      1. Email is THE business communication medium.
                      2. If you don't get a lot of email now, you will sooner than later (as your responsibilities increase.)
                      3. Digital info is so nice and searchable with tools like Google Desktop.
                      4. I'm sure I have more reasons, I just can't think of them...
                      All of these are true, but I'm not sure why they are relevant.

                      I get plenty of email. Much of it I can toss or file for reference. Very few mails can become Next Actions as is. Rather, the action item is buried among several paragraphs of general discussion, future plans, and so forth. More processing is required to extract the NA, so adding it to a paper system is just as easy.

                      Similarly, I search reference information all the time, but not my NA lists. In fact, if my NA lists are long enough to need a search tool, that's a sign that it's time to prune the lists.

                      Paper, in contrast, is cheap, almost infinitely flexible, and readily available. It needs no batteries, software, or proprietary data formats, and therefore never becomes obsolete. Any literate human can use paper; the learning curve is non-existent. You'll never be asked to turn your paper notebook off because your plane is landing, and you'll never have to wait for your index cards to boot before jotting a phone number.

                      I've written much more on the subject (search the forum for "triumph of paper"), but suffice to say that I'm a knowledge worker and I wouldn't dream of going back to a digital system.

                      Katherine

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by kewms View Post
                        All of these are true, but I'm not sure why they are relevant.
                        I knew I wasn't going to be let off the hook!

                        Your points are very valid Katherine - and in fact, I secretly envy the person who is able to contain their entire system by paper. I just think, from what I have seen with "office" work and the digital trends (software, hardware, ect.) that it is in my best interest to stick to the digital solution. But I'm always willing to try different things.....

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by roakleyca View Post
                          I just think, from what I have seen with "office" work and the digital trends (software, hardware, ect.) that it is in my best interest to stick to the digital solution.
                          I humbly submit that basing one's personal productivity system on current trends may not be the wisest course....

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                          • #14
                            The choice isn't just between pure paper and GTD software. My setup uses Word files for all my lists (you could do this at your home computer), printouts of those Word files when I'm elsewhere, and moleskine and digital recorder as UCTs. That way I can keep my lists in the computer so I don't have to keep rewriting them, but don't have to use special software or have a computer with me everywhere.

                            Good luck!

                            Do Mi

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                            • #15
                              Excellent point, DStaub11!

                              I, also, have a few electronic GTD lists (Someday/Maybe and Waiting For), while the rest is paper.

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