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Growing numb to list

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  • Growing numb to list

    Hi there,

    I'm new to GTD so please be gentle!

    I'm using Outlook 2000 to process all my actions which means everything ends up on one list, divided by context (phone, PC, office etc.) However, I'm finding that because I work across different projects and these projects are all now mixed up, that I am growing numb to what appears to be one long list.

    Can anyone give me any advise? I'm not sure if I should go back to basics and use paper lists because I find that, while this would keep everything separate, it might involve a lot of re-work following my weekly reviews with superiors.

    Thanks for any advise you can give.

  • #2
    Try the Add-In

    If you're saying that you have too many "next actions", try paring the list down to just what you plan to work on in the next week (before the next weekly review).

    If you need to identify each project-related action to its project, I really like the GTD outlook add in. You can get a free trial and it's not very expensive.

    If that isn't viable, you could start each next action with the name of the project its related to in the "task" field...i.e. Paint bedroom: buy paintbrushes where "paint bedroom" is the name of the project.

    This is something all of us struggle with somewhere along the line...so consider yourself NORMAL! :-}
    Last edited by Barb; 06-30-2008, 03:06 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by michaeljcooper View Post
      ...I am growing numb to what appears to be one long list.
      First Michael, congrats on realizing you are going numb. It took me a long time to realize that I was doing this on some on my lists... I still struggle with it.

      I think the key is to look at the lists by context. If you really group the next actions this way, you shouldn't have a numbing number. If you still do, as Barb says, pare it down further.

      - Don

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      • #4
        Try Pruning your GTD System

        Check out my Pruning Your System Checklist. It helps to get the big picture and start purging space and creating greater efficiency throughout your system. That, in combination with a Weekly Review, should get you back in the game.
        Last edited by Todd V; 08-08-2012, 01:21 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by michaeljcooper View Post
          I'm using Outlook 2000 to process all my actions which means everything ends up on one list, divided by context (phone, PC, office etc.) However, I'm finding that because I work across different projects and these projects are all now mixed up, that I am growing numb to what appears to be one long list.
          It sounds like you understand the problem, so fixing it may just be a simple matter of configuring Outlook to view one list at a time. I haven't used Outlook in years, but when I did I set it up according to Davidco's GTD and Outlook whitepaper, which has instructions for setting up the Outlook task pane to view one context at a time. The e-book was written for Outlook 2003, but I used to for Outlook 2000 with no problems. It used to be a free download, but it's a bargain at $10.

          By consensus, though, the Netcentrics Outlook add-in is the preferred method.

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          • #6
            Categories??

            Not sure exactly how you're using OUtlook, but if you're using Categories to define the context, you can also use categories to tag your items with one or more project names. That way you can look at your list in different dimensions.

            Good luck.

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            • #7
              please restate

              Originally posted by twljazz View Post
              Not sure exactly how you're using OUtlook, but if you're using Categories to define the context, you can also use categories to tag your items with one or more project names. That way you can look at your list in different dimensions.

              Good luck.
              I would really appreciate your stating that intriguing suggestion in a different way. How do you tag items with one or more project names? Thanks!

              Comment


              • #8
                Categories...

                If I understand your question, you are not categorizing your contexts. Go to Edit Menu and select categories, and then Master Categories...

                Create your Contexts, Project, WF, SDMB and you are good to go.

                If you want a FREE option for more info check TAKE BACK YOUR LIFE by Sally McGhee from the library... the newer versions show her version of implementation using Outlook....

                But I agree, the GTD-Outlook white paper is fantastic. With practice, you get to be real fast with it...

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                • #9
                  Sorry, looks like you are using contexts....

                  Connect NA-projects during weekly review... that will keep you current on all projects... another key for making outlook work (especially for me) is that you can make it portable. My outlook syncs to my Smartphone with Microsoft Exchange.

                  Finally, once you get that going- milk the contexts. I stole this idea from 43f. When you work off a particular context just WORK THAT CONTEXT... take your CALLS, OUTSIDE... Maybe you could hone your contexts more to make them more appealing and allow you more focus.

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                  • #10
                    I also use Outlook and use Categories for my contexts.

                    I also found that insufficient.

                    For example, if I have a context @computer, it could contain a lot of urgent work-related items, some hobby-related stuff, some work-related 'growth' stuff (covey quadrant 2), some non-work-related quadrant 2 stuff, etc. And, as you point out, all that stuff gets jumbled together.

                    So, I preface my next actions with 'wor' for work. I preface them with q2 if they are important but not urgent. I also have subcategories for work. So, for example, in my @computer list, I may have a next action such as 'wor -- Pete -- write monthly' -- that says it is work, for my manager Pete, and what it is.

                    Outlook sorts alphabetically, so all my work items are grouped, then sorted by projects. And, since I KNOW what projects are hot, I can go right to the next action for a particular project.

                    Or, I can go right to the quadrant 2 items.

                    I am working hard on keeping my next action lists short (for example, right now I have 12 items in my @computer list -- six of them work, two of them Q2, and a few others) and this makes things very manageable.

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                    • #11
                      Tip from Meg Edwards

                      I recently did a telecoaching session with Meg. She taught me to begin the task/next action for something hot and important with a period. That way, it goes to the top of the list. That's been super helpful.
                      Last edited by Barb; 07-01-2008, 05:02 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Growing numb to list

                        Thanks for sharing the tip. The question that comes to my mind is does this not mean we are prioritizing? GTD is against prioritizing of NAs.

                        regards
                        Sri

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                        • #13
                          My take on it

                          Originally posted by sribri View Post
                          Thanks for sharing the tip. The question that comes to my mind is does this not mean we are prioritizing? GTD is against prioritizing of NAs.

                          regards
                          Sri
                          Whether you use a dot or make a special list or just do it in your head, every time you scan your list to decide which next action to do, you are prioritizing. I think it just eliminates the need to constantly scan down multiple lists, but it would be dumb to put a dot in front of more than one or two actions on any given context list. If there were lots of dots, it seems to me you'd get numb to them.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by sribri View Post
                            Thanks for sharing the tip. The question that comes to my mind is does this not mean we are prioritizing? GTD is against prioritizing of NAs.

                            regards
                            Sri
                            GTD is not against prioritizing. In fact it is one of the 4 criteria that help determine what NA to do: context, time, energy, priority. Priorities change continuously. Sometimes its your boss, sometimes its an outside force, sometimes its your decision.

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                            • #15
                              I just tried your 'dot' suggestion -- wonderful!

                              I am tempted to use it as a variation on 'important': what I would like to accomplish today.

                              Thanks,
                              Rob

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