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Out of Control Maybe-Someday Folder

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  • Out of Control Maybe-Someday Folder

    I have 2 Maybe someday folders -- one physical (a plastic folder) and one electronic (just a M/S folder aliased on my desktop (the source folder is in the tickler file folder).

    Both are out of control
    There's 62 items in the Electronic M/S folder and the physical folder has odd hodge podge of shoes I might by, a restaurant to go to that I can't afford, trinkets I thought would be cool in an advertisement....

    I've done a good job of finding to emerging categories "material to acquire" and "experiences to do" (skydiving, visit aquarium, etc.).

    But it's devolved into my "junk bin", holding a bunch of random stuff. It's stuck when I can't afford or probabl don't even NEED many of the items in it. I guess I should chuck most the stuff, but don't want to risk wantign it or having it reclutter my mind having deleted it from M/S list

    Technically I also have a 3rd M/S list, my amazon.com wishlist/account. I throw in thousands of dollars worth of merhandise into into my wishlist account and use it for M/S . This is actually a great idea and works b/c
    it's free
    shows best price
    shows pic and description
    you can actually buy it right from the amazon "M/S" list.

    However the lists are just out of control because I rarely purchase or can afford to purchase some of the items on the lists.

    Main issues:
    Distinguishing junk from possible "to buy" or "to do" from definite "to buy" to do.

    Plus, hows the workflow work? Say I find a camp I want to do from my M/S, a watch I want to get, and an aquarium to visit.

    Would that go
    @Events
    visit aquarium

    @Phone
    Call camp re info

    @Material to buy
    Watch

    Just feel snagged with M/S and don't want to use it as a junk holder.

    One solution is having a higher threshold and scrutinizing entries to the folder(s) more carefully, but then they might be on my mind... which is a nono.

    I'm very intelligent and have a high IQ, but sometimes I'm not the most "skilled thinker". One pattern I've noticed I have is I often throw out something right when I need it or am about to act on it the next day!! GREAT!! So it's difficult for me to determine is something is really junk or if I'm just fed up with not being able to move forward on it (a purchase, a project, a task, etc.) Oh boy!
    Last edited by validatelife; 06-10-2008, 11:43 AM.

  • #2
    I think the main gist of this productivity concern is

    Will my mind be more cluttered with

    XYZ item OFF (deleted) M/S list
    or
    XYZ ON (uncomplete but archived) the M/S list.


    I think that's truly the KEY question you should ask yourself and it's even more elucidating than "what is it?" or "what's final outcome" because those two questions don't assess the value of the project or task! I'm "what is it?" "what's outcome"ing everything and half the stuff is worthless!

    I guess one could categorize this as a "Is it actionable?" --> ref, delete, incubate, but there's not emotional VALUE connected with actionable!

    Again, GTD is a fantastic system but this is a crucial point where it's massively flawed.

    You could take "actionable" stance and archive a bag of rubbish, but it won't help you.

    It sounds like I'm getting snagged on the decision-tree branching from "Ist it actionable" No TO Trash, M/S, or Ref. That's a big one.

    Comment


    • #3
      17 Containers for the 8 workflow output Bins. Yikes

      I also think it's incredibly important to visualize where EVERYTHING you think of will end up in the 8 categories. For me its
      • Projects (2) -- Project folder on mac desktop and project plastic folder
      • Project plans (2) -- ???? Need to figure this one out. 1 folder for "quick reference of mind maps" (this is really proejct and electronic planning with each project.
      • W/F (2) -- one e-folder on desktop one plastic compartment in my N/A folder
      • Calendar (1)-- ical or google calendar, all accessed via ical, though. I need to get this one to stick.
      • N/A (4) -- plastic compartment folder, spiral notebook, transitioning to putting these on my iPhone, and then Computer e-NA contains various @-categories
      • Reference (2) -- single computer reference e-folder, 1 crate for archived reference of documents. Reference is pretty "clean".
      • M/S (2)-- one e-folder, one plastic folder
      • Trash (2)-- various trashbins around workspace and e-desktop trash


      Is this "normal"?? Do other people have these 8 "bins"?

      Depending on electronic or physical data, I have a total of 17 "containers" for all my stuff. That seems like a hell of a lot. What's up with this?

      Comment


      • #4
        validatelife: Why worry about "normal"? Who cares if it's "normal" if it works for you?

        You may be confused about Someday/Maybe. It's a place for things that you are consciously not worrying about yet. During your weekly review, you can look at it and decide if you want to start worrying about it now. If not, it stays in Someday/Maybe.

        Say I find a camp I want to do from my M/S, a watch I want to get, and an aquarium to visit.

        Would that go
        @Events
        visit aquarium

        @Phone
        Call camp re info

        @Material to buy
        Watch
        Yes, precisely, in addition to removing them from your Someday/Maybe list and adding them to your active Projects list.

        Does that make sense? Does it help?

        Comment


        • #5
          From my perspective, your physical implementation of GTD system requires some consolidation and adjustment, and you may be improperly processing the inputs from your inbasket.

          Originally posted by validatelife View Post
          I have 2 Maybe someday folders -- one physical (a plastic folder) and one electronic (just a M/S folder aliased on my desktop (the source folder is in the tickler file folder).

          Both are out of control
          There's 62 items in the Electronic M/S folder and the physical folder has odd hodge podge of shoes I might by, a restaurant to go to that I can't afford, trinkets I thought would be cool in an advertisement....
          One of the keys to trusting your system is the ability to see all of your commitments in one place. You should have ONE Someday/Maybe list, ONE Projects list, and ONE set of action lists by context. Don't use your piles, files, and reference materials to remind you of your commitments. Add the reminders to the appropriate lists or your calendar and file the support material as reference in a simple A-Z filing system.

          Originally posted by validatelife View Post
          I've done a good job of finding to emerging categories "material to acquire" and "experiences to do" (skydiving, visit aquarium, etc.).

          But it's devolved into my "junk bin", holding a bunch of random stuff. It's stuck when I can't afford or probabl don't even NEED many of the items in it. I guess I should chuck most the stuff, but don't want to risk wantign it or having it reclutter my mind having deleted it from M/S list
          This sounds like faulty processing or a lack of a good general reference filing system to me. You should not have "stuff" once you've put collected items in your inbasket and processed it. Put that junk bin into your inbasket and process it again. This time REALLY make conscious decisions about what they mean and what you intend to do about them (whether in the near or distant future), park the reminders in the appropriate places on your calendar or lists, and file the original articles as reference if you may need them.

          Originally posted by validatelife View Post
          Technically I also have a 3rd M/S list, my amazon.com wishlist/account. I throw in thousands of dollars worth of merhandise into into my wishlist account and use it for M/S . This is actually a great idea and works b/c
          it's free
          shows best price
          shows pic and description
          you can actually buy it right from the amazon "M/S" list.
          In addition to a Someday/Maybe list, I have a series of other useful lists that I keep in my Notes application in Outlook. Things like "Might Buy", "Next Time In...", "Checklists", "Lists", etc exist in my system. I also have a list category called "Ideas" to park strange ideas that I don't know what to do with but I can relax that I won't lose them. I have an Amazon.com wishlist, too. But these are support material or incubation placeholders that I review once a week. It's fine, even essential, to have these lists. Review them as often as you need, but make sure you only have as many as you really need.

          Good luck!

          Comment


          • #6
            GTD is all about hard edges: either you are committed to something or you are not.

            It sounds to me like you are resisting that yes/no decision, and so you're accumulating unprocessed "stuff" that you don't know what to do with.

            That is not a flaw in GTD. Rather, GTD is doing exactly what it is supposed to by making you aware of the leak in your system.

            What you do about it is up to you.

            Katherine

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by validatelife View Post
              There's 62 items in the Electronic M/S folder and the physical folder has odd hodge podge of shoes I might by, a restaurant to go to that I can't afford, trinkets I thought would be cool in an advertisement....
              Do you consider it out of control because of the number of items on those lists or because some of the items are not obtainable at all right now?

              I've never particularly worried about how many things are on my long term or possibles lists, I don't even have an accurate count. I also don't particularly worry that some are not going to happen any time soon if ever. I still thought of them, felt they might be something I want or wanted to do and they will sit there until I either decide to trash them, only when I am fully ready to give up that dream, or start actively working on them.

              I just don't worry about them much but I do try to review them frequently to see if any have changed status. I have a few things on that list that have been there for about 20 years, I'm not willing to drop them but then again I am also not at this time in a position to take the next actions they need to move forward. That's ok, they will either eventually get deleted or I will be in a position to make them happen.

              Maybe the difference is I don't worry about very long term things, probably because some of my active projects are going to take years or decades to do so I am already used to dealing in long timeframe stuff.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                Do you consider it out of control because of the number of items on those lists or because some of the items are not obtainable at all right now?
                Out of control really has nothing to do with the number of items on your list. I have over 100 items on my Someday/Maybe list right now, and it's not out of control to me because each item on that list represents a defined project or next action that I've decided not to move on right now. I shuffle things back and forth between my Projects and Someday/Maybe lists on a weekly basis.

                I find that the systems themselves don't get out of control, the users do. That happens to everyone at some point, so don't beat yourself up over it. The key is to recognize when it happens and take action to regain control.

                David defines stuff as "anything that has landed in your world, physically or psychologically, that does not belong where it is or the way it is for all eternity but you haven't decided what to do with it yet". If you have nacent, unprocessed "stuff" in your life, you lose control. If you don't process incoming (your thoughts, your e-mails, your paper mail, etc) on a regular basis, you lose control. If you don't use, feed, and maintain your system regularly (process daily, review weekly), your brain won't trust it, then you're out of control.

                Ask yourself, "What do I need to do to get control?" Then do it!

                I hope that I might have given a couple of clues to the answer.

                Best of luck!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by validatelife View Post
                  Distinguishing junk from possible "to buy" or "to do" from definite "to buy" to do.
                  Sounds like you needs to subdivide your lists. I recently divided my someday/maybe list into someday/maybe and someday, but not this week.

                  I'm also in the process of integrating and reorganizing my books and music to buy lists.

                  - Don

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    you seem to be living in my world!

                    I was thinking that with as big and sloppy as my SDMB list is, and as ancient as some items are on it, it might be time to have a project whose focus is to review and ponder all the SDMB stuff, to think about what outcome I will aim for in processing and cleaning up the SDMB list and maybe some of the items will be jettisoned, other might turn into higher level ideas and others will stay as they are.

                    Now, I claim to be nothing but a bumbling novice and I get off track and run around my own rabbit trail, but I think that SDMB needs to be in list form. Listed items would make reference to reference material that you might be collecting or inculating , half-baked project plans, items in various places at home or at work, etc, that you might do at some unknown point. But these are in their own folders or boxes or whatever. So you don't hve a hodged podged folder that is too messy and diverse to review.

                    As to specific actions, I made a terrible mistake of putting SDMB actions on my context lists, for example, a website I might like to look at for ideas for something I might or might not do, things I wished to do. but to whihc I was not really committed. This was a minterpretation of the system. It is better to be putting these on a list unto themselves. I got my real action list so cluttered with the SDMBs that I didn't want to look at those lists.

                    If I had a few hours, and I felt that my active projects could be parked for a while, I might enjoy making an illustrated or annotated SDMB list. Just a way to maybe get a little closer to determining what form these SDMBs would take.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Someday/Maybe

                      I have a Someday/Maybe LIST, but do not have a Someday/Maybe file. I have this because I prefer to carry my Someday/Maybe list with me, in my paper-based planner. If I have a few moments to kill and nothing better to do, I can browse through the list and daydream--instant, free entertainment.

                      Instead of collecting clips of shoes, travel brochures, etc., why not eliminate that clutter and just make a list? You can fit hundreds of tasks/items onto a single page if you make a few columns in MS Word.

                      Here are some sample entries from my Someday/Maybe list:
                      Travel to Macchu Picchu
                      Buy an iPod video
                      Build yard swing for hill
                      Buy JLC Magazine subscription
                      Learn to make homemade bread/baguettes
                      Buy Nautilus Power Plus equipment
                      Learn Dvorak keyboard
                      Learn conversational German
                      Buy plants for house
                      Build couch out of PVC
                      Learn metal fabrication/welding

                      The only "Someday/Maybe support material" I keep is a list of Favorites on my Internet Explorer, which I consider completely disposable and utterly replaceable.

                      My feeling of overwhelm in Someday/Maybe is zero. Maybe this will help?

                      JohnV474

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        p.s.

                        As part of your annual dumpster day where you clean out your files, you could also include revising your Someday/Maybe files. I usually find going through it every month is enough to keep the edges honed.

                        JohnV474

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
                          If I had a few hours, and I felt that my active projects could be parked for a while, I might enjoy making an illustrated or annotated SDMB list. Just a way to maybe get a little closer to determining what form these SDMBs would take.
                          Regarding your post on GTD-related journaling on the other thread, this is what I've been doing for a while, too. I look at it as my 40k-level thinking and maintain a journal just for this process. I found this very helpful specially because many SdMb-items are poiters to deeper issues that wouldn't got solved by simple completion of the given project. (For me anyway.)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Move Someday/Maybe's to a mindmap

                            When my Someday/Maybe list got too long. I reviewed it and moved almost all the items to a mindmap (of course I deleted quite a few items too). I didn't move actions which I must do in the next few weeks.

                            Moving them to a mindmap helped me get a better perspective.

                            I could see where different items were:
                            • duplicated
                            • related
                            • steps towards the same goal
                            • actions in the same (potential) project
                            • ideas for the same (potential) project
                            • subsidiary to a higher level goal, project or idea

                            Then hiding some of this detail made it a lot easier to review this Someday/Maybe Mindmap.

                            I could choose to expand a section if I really wanted to. I could highlight nodes in bold if I really wanted to make progress on that item and move it to my project list as soon as possible.

                            Comment

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