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  • Off the GTwagon, and under it.

    I've posted similar "concerns" in the past, but this is my last ditch cry for enlightenment before I just accept defeat.

    I can't do GTD anymore. I've never been a black belt, but I've completely lost control. In the early 90's, when I used a single paper-based organizer, and only had my self to track, it was easy. In the late 90's I moved to a Palm III, I could type things into my PC but still had a single, portable system. Now I have my families schedule's to track, we use Google Calendar. Work uses Outlook. I still have a Palm (E2), but the desktop is essentially the same as it was in 96, completely out of date. I was good with Graffiti, yet after 4 years, I can't get the hang of Graffiti 2; the whole Palm platform is obsolete and clunky. It's such a shame that the brand has sunk into oblivion.

    Anyway, I have a laptop, work PC, PDA, Palm Desktop(or anything else), Google Calendars, some lists in Google Docs and a Verizon phone to coordinate. I've spent lots of money on syncing software which, when it works, tends to proliferate entries in my system or resurrect deleted items, unless I delete manually on all systems.

    I really don't like the Blackberry platform, it's a rough PDA relying on Outlook. Verizon disables most functionality and sells some of it back to you anyway. AT&T has abysmal coverage in my area (West of Boston and South of Route 9), so an iPhone is out.

    I really want a system that I can keep in sync with my multiple sources. I'd prefer a portable system, but could survive with an online solution - as long as I can download\print\transport data off line with ease. I've accepted the fact that I have to separate work and personal tasks and calendars. I'll just double enter overlapping schedules when absolutely necessary.

    So far, I've found nothing. I hate to give up. GTD was great for me, even before it was called GTD.

    HELP!

  • #2
    Paper?

    Frustration with electronic tools is part of what drove me back to paper, and I've been quite happy there.

    Remember, also, that GTD is really a set of habits for managing your "stuff." It's completely tool agnostic. Describing your system in terms of tools suggests that maybe you are missing the forest for the trees...

    Good luck!

    Katherine

    Comment


    • #3
      Sorry you've been having such problems! It can be very frustrating, as reality bashes away at our systems.

      However, I may be wrong, but I don't see GTD problems in your email; I see problems with technology. So, let's see where the cracks are by getting back to the fundamentals and tracing up from there.

      Are you doing your Weekly Review?

      Where do you keep your list of Projects?

      Where are your Next Action lists?
      Last edited by Brent; 02-25-2008, 12:33 PM. Reason: Added sympathy

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Off the GTwagon

        I am very interested in hearing stories like this. I read GTD last year, but never implemented it. I am trying to get a GTD support group started in the San Francisco Bay Area (anyone know anyone interested in joining or helping us)?

        But, I have been reluctant to start the system myself yet because it seems very involved, and I really want to see it work in practice. I guess my question is, if you abandon GTD, what is the alternative? Just keep it all in your head (like I do now)? I feel very stressed, and I am hoping GTD will help me be less stressed.

        -Jeff

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree with KEWMS

          Originally posted by kewms View Post
          Paper?

          Frustration with electronic tools is part of what drove me back to paper, and I've been quite happy there.

          Remember, also, that GTD is really a set of habits for managing your "stuff." It's completely tool agnostic. Describing your system in terms of tools suggests that maybe you are missing the forest for the trees...

          Good luck!

          Katherine
          I don't currently use a paper-based system, but I sure wouldn't hesitate going back to paper if I were having the problems you mention (technology). Get back on track with paper, then add the technology piece back in little by little. The main thing is to get back on track.

          Comment


          • #6
            Frustration with Palm platform.

            Originally posted by kewms View Post
            Frustration with electronic tools is part of what drove me back to paper, and I've been quite happy there.
            I think some Palm shareholders bought the paper organizer industry or Apple shares so they killed the Palm organizer platform by:
            - ruining the basic functionality;
            - adding not needed functionality.

            I loved my Palm V organizer. It was reliable and simple to use. They should not try to compete with Windows multimedia PDAs. They should implement a basic GTD software solution.

            We could have PalmPhone and PalmTouch instead of iPhone and iPod Touch.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
              We could have PalmPhone and PalmTouch instead of iPhone and iPod Touch.
              I couldn't agree more. A brilliant, industry-spawning company fell asleep at the wheel. The iPhone appears to be the best option, but Apple is such a closed and expensive platform.

              I loved my Palm III, and I have never been more successful than when I was on paper - I still capture nearly everything on paper - it's just better. I would go back to paper except much of my data is electronic, and backed up.

              To answer the "where" question - My project and TD lists are in Outlook (for work), used to be in Palm Desktop at home, but I gave up since I hate Graffiti 2 and the Palm Desktop is anachronistic. My contacts are still in Palm, and Gmail - and partly in my mobile phone.

              I've attended David's seminar twice, once in the early 90's (DA was on Time Design) once in the late 90's (DA was on Palm III). One big thing stuck with me, David does not use all the extensions and PM add-ons. He uses Contacts, Lists, Notes and Calendar. Simple. Projects were manged externally - project place holders were in the system as were action items. But that was it. Paper kept it simple, my Palm III was just electronic paper.

              GTD works, it has worked for me in the past, I want it to work for me again.
              What I believe I need is

              I) a way to consolidate may disparate sources, onto a single maintainable platform. Work will always be Outlook, I'll always have personal email with contact information. I'm open to any personal list manager.

              II)A portable usable interface. After 12 years I can't deal with Palm anymore.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for continuing the discussion! This is very interesting.

                Originally posted by jrdouce View Post
                What I believe I need is

                I) a way to consolidate may disparate sources, onto a single maintainable platform.
                Why do you think you need one single platform? I currently have ten different inboxes, and GTD works fine.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Brent View Post
                  I currently have ten different inboxes, and GTD works fine.
                  Brent, it's not so much the in boxes as the contacts and action lists that are at issue. Do you track everything in one system, or maintain 2 or more? I'm interested in hearing how you coordinate. Thanks.

                  The need for me is to have everything collected and accessible and reliable - (meaning in sync) in a convenient format. If I'm at my desk at work, I only need access to Outlook at work for my work NA's, but if I have a dentist appointment I need to mark the time I'll be out of the office on Outlook, put it on my personal (Google) calendar so I have access at home, then I have to update my Palm Desktop to have access on the road. I find I spend too much time replicating and debugging the data and the Palm sync process. It was a slow death, but I just don't find my Palm (E2) usable anymore.

                  I'm thinking of swallowing my pride and going back to Outlook at home, then I can email tasks and contacts between work and home, but I don't use Outlook for mail, so I'll still have to maintain Gmail contacts. I really do only need the basic 4 functions, I just need to maintain multiple interfaces.
                  Last edited by jrdouce; 02-27-2008, 12:42 PM. Reason: spelling error

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jrdouce View Post
                    If I'm at my desk at work, I only need access to Outlook at work for my work NA's, but if I have a dentist appointment I need to mark the time I'll be out of the office on Outlook, put it on my personal (Google) calendar so I have access at home, then I have to update my Palm Desktop to have access on the road.
                    The obvious answer is paper. You can carry it out of the office, to the dentist, to home, while you're on the road, wherever. No synching, no debugging, no mess, no fuss. There will never be compatability issues, or battery failures, or anything else. You won't need to email calendar items from one system to another, or do any triple entry to make sure you've got all your systems covered.

                    It sounds like you really want to stick with electronica, but it also sounds like you're having a lot of bother with it, and having more than one (and even more than two!) calendars is just setting yourself up for failure. Make it as simple as possible: have one calendar and one set of lists, if you possibly can. As your system proliferates, you're introducing unnecessary complexity and multiplying the possibility of something slipping through the cracks.

                    The problems that you're describing aren't problems with GTD, they're problems with the over-complex system you're using to run GTD. More software merely adds more complexity, which means that you're spending all your time maintaining the system and no time on GTD.

                    I'd say one of your better options would be to see if you can make others change around to fit you: convince work to use Google Calendar, or your family to use Outlook, and things would improve somewhat.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The key is Simplicity

                      This is a fun thread.

                      I love the notes about Palm and how they are not moving forward.....
                      Yes, this is a company that is resting on its laurels and has lost its momentum. They really needed to continue to innovate, but instead lost their way and keep milking their Golden Goose, which still works. I love my Treo as the apps (Calendar, Tasks) are quick and very usable for a mobile user.
                      About how, in an attempt to move forward, they have failed....
                      I tried the 700w --- and it is terrible for GTDer's like us. It took it 15+ seconds to display my task list and is not mobile friendly!
                      About how going backward is moving forward..........
                      "The obvious answer is paper." NOT! Now, I write such to somewhat be funny and keep with my theme, but, somewhat serious. The world today * is * electronic --- as jrdouce is finding. Though I really sometimes admire people with their paper planners in that they can whip them open and have an immediate tool to jot down what they need -- later on, when they can't find the note or carry it forward to a next action, I have to chuckle. I love my Palm / Outlook -- it keeps all, including the electronic, moving forward.
                      So, thanks to everyone for their time and contributions.

                      Moving on; my two cents to help jrdouce - looking at some of your own posts, I think you already know this, but, maybe you need a boost:

                      > As other's have mentioned here, you have to take GTD with a grain of salt; relax about it, choose what parts you are going to use and focus on those.

                      > Part of it needs to be doing the Weekly Reviews as Brent suggests.

                      > It appears you need to be electronic, so, consolidate into one central system and use that as your base.
                      As a side note, I'd suggest you consolidate back into Outlook with your Palm, and stop using Gmail (or have those forward to a POP account you check with Outlook).
                      > After you have these items in place, commit to using it for 21 days so they'll become a habit.

                      > I bet at the end of 21 days, you will be doing (and feeling) better.


                      You yourself really do know the answer - you need to take your own statement in your October 2005 post, "The key is Simplicity" to heart and get back to that.

                      I hope this helps.

                      Best,

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This has become a fascinating thread.

                        I think that if there were actually a "silver bullet" it would be some kind of Personal Information Server (unfortunate acronym). All platforms would sync to the PIS and only to the PIS. Conflicts and precedence would be managed there. All other interfaces (Outlook, Gmail, etc.) would only sync with the PIS, taking into account certain restrictions - anything with a personal\private flag (update resume) would not be written to an interface coded as work, or non-private. personal\public (dentist appointment) data could be maintained everywhere. The whole thing is just simple transaction processing.

                        I still use paper for capture. I've been trying to maintain a GTD binder this week, but it's been a pain, since I still have multiple interfaces that can only be sync'd by printing or rewriting.

                        Thanks for all the comments.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Now * That's * Funny!

                          "P.I.S." -------- LOL -------- That was a great chukle to start the day off with!

                          As another side note, I too sometimes will capture to paper when I'm out and about. What I do is everyday (well, okay, every other day) is have a check list item during my processing time that says "Clear notebook." I go through those paper notes and put them into ....... my......... hehehehehe...... P.I.S.! It works well for me.

                          Hang in there; it's a busy world, but, you can make it through it!

                          -- Jeffrey

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jrdouce View Post
                            Brent, it's not so much the in boxes as the contacts and action lists that are at issue. Do you track everything in one system, or maintain 2 or more? I'm interested in hearing how you coordinate.
                            Funny, I wrote up a bunch of notes a while back that completely capture my current GTD implementation, but haven't posted it yet as I wondered if it would have any value. Perhaps I'll do that.

                            To answer your question: I have two systems, one at home and one at work. So:

                            At Home

                            Inboxes - snailmail, email, celphone, this forum, Accidental Creative forum, Amazon Kindle forum, LibraryThing forum
                            Next Actions list - I have one for pretty much everything, which I keep on a whiteboard. @Errands go on an index card in my Hipster PDA.
                            Projects list - A piece of paper on my door, which I rewrite every week.

                            At Work

                            Inboxes - snailmail, email (personal), email (group mailbox), work phone
                            Next Actions list - Just one, on a whiteboard at my desk
                            Projects list - A digital file on my computer

                            My Waiting For and Someday/Maybe lists are digital computer files (at home, on my laptop; at work, on my work desktop computer).

                            I record notes to myself - from meetings, reading books, etc. - on blank index cards in my Hipster PDA. Those get dropped into my physical inbox, at home or work. Every day or so, I go through those cards, and write up appropriate actions and projects on my lists (or execute the 2-Minute Rule).

                            During my Weekly Review (one at work, one at home), I review my Projects and NAs. I consciously keep my active Projects at each location to under 15, ideally 10 or so. I often move existing Projects to Someday/Maybe. It usually grows over the course of the week anyway, and I honestly don't get to the 29th or 30th project in a given week.

                            Of course, I don't do all this perfectly, but this is what I do most of the time.

                            Does that answer your question?

                            Side note: someone on this thread wrote:

                            The world today * is * electronic
                            Odd, that. My house isn't electronic. My task list isn't electronic. The meals I cook aren't electronic. My garden isn't electronic. My calendar isn't electronic. My magazines aren't electronic. My cup of tea isn't electronic.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Really? Not electronic?

                              Originally posted by Brent View Post
                              The meals I cook aren't electronic.
                              Really? Not electronic? Don't you eat electronic pizza - thick solid state disk with memory chips on it plus LCD (liquid crystal drink).

                              Comment

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