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Daily task List

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  • #16
    It all depends on your work

    When I started GTD I marvelled at the abilities of people who say they work predominantly from action lists and I tried hard to do so myself. I became frustrated by how easy it was to lose track of what I had to do next and felt a sense of insecurity because I didn't really know, at any time, what my day would consist of. Added to this there was the problem of having to go into decision mode every time I chose my next action; this interrupted the flow of my work. Some practitioners say that, if you do a proper weekly review, the problem won't exist. I disagree with this because a week is usually too long to wait to reconfigure my actions after daily work has had its impact on them.

    I started to put a shortish list of time-critical (but not vital) actions in the calendar - and debated the practice on these pages with those are against this - reviewing daily as well as weekly. That is now how I do my GTD, not strictly by the book, but the way it works best for me.

    I firmly believe that the need for a daily list depends upon how pressured and reactive your work is. If, daily, you have time to think, collect your thoughts and move instinctively from one task to the next then, by all means, stick to action lists, just using the calendar for items which you absolutely must do. But, if your work tends to toss you around and throw you off course you need a specific daily plan - just like a car rally team need a clear itinerary.
    Last edited by Howard; 02-17-2008, 09:28 AM.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Borisoff View Post
      What's a Daily Tasks list?
      Borisoff, I have 2 answers for you, I hope it isn't too confusing, perhaps I need to name one of them something different.
      1. The tasks I do every day. I have a routine at the start and end of the day where I do things like clear my email inbox, tidy away papers.
      2. Those tasks I want to complete that day. I identify tasks from the Next action list that fit into the available time I have that day.

      I usually work on each tasks until it is complete, but I am currently rotating between tasks after a set time period.

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      • #18
        As I said in a separate thread, I'm a GTD newbie, and still coming up to speed (read: still getting it working). Still, I'll share my thoughts regarding Daily Task List because I got some very specific thoughts from the DA GTD book.

        I think his opposition to the Daily Task List is that it should be meaningful, realistic, and reliable. Putting something onto the list means you believe you can get it done today and are committed to doing so. This is especially challenging for me because my hopes and desires usually outstrip my true capacity. Separate topic....

        My take on GTD is not that there isn't a Daily Task List, but rather that the Calendar is the list. GTD's thrust is instead of putting everything onto a list with the mindset of "Somehow, someway I've got to [or hope to] get this done today" that you actually schedule it in. GTD allows for day-specific actions (ie. not scheduled to a particular time), but I sense that we have to be cautious about using those. It would be very easy for those to accumulate to the huge, unrealistic DTL that puts us back where we were before. I think the final step is what GTD calls "getting down to the runway". When you're down on the runway, you know what you're doing when, you're comfortable with it, and so you don't worry about the things you're not doing. A day-specific action is, for me at least, an action at the 50-foot level rather than on the runway. It may not be required always to get everything down onto the runway, though in very busy times one may want to. It may be ok to enter into the day with a handful of things at the 50-foot level. If you have enough slack in your schedule, you can get them done with only that level of planning.

        Again, the daily calendar really is the daily task list: It is what you're doing today: not just tasks, but meetings, calls, commuting, etc.

        Anyway, that's what I'm striving for. This is how I understand it, and I try each week to do a little more.

        Best wishes and be well.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by aprochaska View Post
          Again, the daily calendar really is the daily task list: It is what you're doing today: not just tasks, but meetings, calls, commuting, etc.
          .
          In my system the calendar is not the daily task list. I have my meetings, etc., but I do not schedule out when I will be doing what outside of my hard landscape. I use the daily talk list, or focus list as I call it, as a guide to what should have my attention today. I also do not keep adding to that list over time. Rather I throw it out at the end of the day and start anew the next day. My daily focus list is generated from my NAs, contexts, and project lists.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by sdann View Post
            In my system the calendar is not the daily task list. I have my meetings, etc., but I do not schedule out when I will be doing what outside of my hard landscape. I use the daily talk list, or focus list as I call it, as a guide to what should have my attention today. I also do not keep adding to that list over time. Rather I throw it out at the end of the day and start anew the next day. My daily focus list is generated from my NAs, contexts, and project lists.
            That's basically what I often do. I can usually make an assessment of the day ahead of me. If there will be lots of incoming stuff to the inbox, to process and modify the action list drastically then a "to do today" list won't work. But if I am reasonably sure that I can systematically plough through a day list without it quickly coming obsolete then I will make one up and find that in this circumstance I get a lot more done faster than when I have to keep going back to my long action list.

            It's really very simple in Outlook: Put a priority tag on all actions I want to do today. Put up a View only showing the priority actions. Copy and paste to a Note. Edit to trim if necessary and away...

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