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  • Not specific deadline

    Hello

    I'm a newbie here at forum, and I use GTD in combination with Outlook and Outlook add-on (very excited at the moment).

    A problem I generally have though, and try to cope with is with priorities on my tasks.
    There are quite many tasks that go under the tickler categories, that have no specific deadlines (to be entered at the calendar), but also they must end at some point.

    My problem is, that I gather up so much tasks in my ticklers, so when I review on what to do next, I get a bit confused, after I finish a task and then review again.



    I currently open a tickler task, and put a dead-line typically of 1 week.
    That's how I get a sort of 'priorities' so I can finish tasks that will not end up staying in the tickler for quite some time, while others be done as quick as possible.

    I just wanted to ask someone's else opinion on what they do with this effect.

    Thanks
    Costas

  • #2
    I try to keep my tasks lists down to just what I want to do this week, if I can. Make sure your lists are either the very next action or actions on projects that stand alone. In other words, if you have a phone call to make, an email to write and something to read and all of those actions can be done without doing something else first, it's ok to be on the list.

    I also use Outlook with the Add-in. I got some private coaching from Meg Edwards recently and she taught me a neat trick: Put a dot at the beginning of the next actions on each context list that are the highest priority. Every morning I go through each list and decide what my priorities are for that day. Then I add the dot. The add-in brings those tasks to the top of your context list.

    Hope that helps.

    Comment


    • #3
      Review, renegotiate, and clear the decks

      Everyone has their own internal barometer about when their action lists are getting too large to manage. I regularly have a one context list that gets a little bit too large for me to make intelligent choices about what to do. Most of the items on that list do not have fixed due dates or serious urgency - they just need to get done ASAP. Here's how I handle this situation.

      During my weekly review, I make sure that I prune my lists to a manageable size. If I don't think I will be able to complete a next action within two weeks, it either gets moved to Someday/Maybe or it's noted in my project support materials and deleted from the action list. In the latter case I still intend to finish the project but I'm essentially putting the next action on hold for a while. After the list is down to a manageable size, I add the ones I've temporarily removed (usually during next weekly review).

      When I'm in "doing" mode, I make choices about what to do based on David Allen's formula:
      1. Context
      2. Time Available
      3. Energy Available
      4. Priority/biggest personal payoff

      However, I do sometimes find hung up on the final choice when I don't have actions of a particular urgency or due date. This usually happens when the list gets large. In that case, the biggest personal payoff for me is to "clear the decks" and crank that list down to size. Here's how I do that.

      First, I first pick a context list that I intend to work. Second, starting with the oldest item on the list, I decide if I have the time and energy to handle it and whether or not it's appropriate for me to do now (this is an intuitive judgement call based upon my mood, the mode I'm in, and other factors). Finally, I either do it or move onto the next item. I repeat until I've cranked the list down to size or even emptied it.

      I hope that helps you. Best of luck to you in your GTD endeavors!

      Comment


      • #4
        Hmmmm. I wonder what you use in your tickler.

        Can you give us a few specific examples from your current system? Can you show us a couple of tasks that are giving you problems?

        Comment


        • #5
          Priorities in next actions lists

          Barb, your method as suggested to you is intriguing. I wonder how this is different than the will-do list approach of Mark Forster? It is highlighting actions that you really want and/or need to do today and they will have your primary focus. This is what I do now in terms of a will-do list.

          Comments?

          Best to all,
          -Longstreet

          Comment


          • #6
            Works for me

            I just don't want to waste time scanning down long lists of things to do. I have a home office and, while I do keep context lists, they aren't as discrete as they are for some people.

            If I'm REALLY pushing to get a lot done in a single day, I even create a context list called @@ Today and drag stuff from various lists to it. That way I'm looking at only one list for the day.

            Meg Edwards, David Allen coach, didn't seem to have any problem with either approach. The bottom line is: Does it work for you? Hey, if writing my lists on my arm worked best for me, then I'd write those lists on my arm. I try not to think of Davidco as "cops" for the only "right" way...but some people seem to get a bit hung up on that. I'd bet David himself would echo that.

            I do like Meg's neat trick with the dot before the task, though. That's my norm. That coaching session I had with her was very much worth the money!

            Comment


            • #7
              Works for me too!

              Hi barb,

              Yep -- this philosophy works for me too. I like the simplicity of a will-do list, similar to what you have described with starting next actions with a period or using an @Today context. I know there are many that enjoy rescanning their long context lists each and every time they complete a next action to decide what to do next, but this tires me and after doing it many times, becomes tedious. But that is just me. I like a shorter, sharply defined list. Now of course, if something truly urgent and unexpected comes up, I will do that if it is not on my list, but I try to do what Mark Forster suggests in creating a buffer for all of the constant new inputs. It certainly helps me to focus -- that combined with creating time boxes for focused work on areas like writing, research design and analysis, administrative stuff, etc.

              Best regards,
              -Longstreet

              Comment


              • #8
                Oops -- I meant Barb

                Sorry for not capitalizing your name, Barb...

                -Longstreet

                Comment


                • #9
                  Gosh, I didn't even notice you didn't make me capital!

                  Further comment on context lists: I find that if my lists get long and I'm constantly scanning for "what's next", I get numb to them. Period. My dot trick helps avoid that.

                  I'm interested in reading Mark Forester, but I have an Amazon Kindle (and a $400 committment) to not buy books any other way from now on. He's not available for that format yet. And YES...if David's new book is not available for Kindle, I won't buy that either! (that one will hurt)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Longstreet View Post
                    I know there are many that enjoy rescanning their long context lists each and every time they complete a next action to decide what to do next, but this tires me and after doing it many times, becomes tedious. But that is just me. I like a shorter, sharply defined list.
                    I would argue that if someone's context lists are so long that reviewing them is "tiring" or "tedious," that person may need to be more rigorous in their approach to the Weekly Review. The whole point is that the prioritization is done up front, so that when you're ready to "do" you can simply start at the top of the list and work down.

                    Katherine

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Do not agree...

                      Hi Katherine,

                      I very respectfully disagree. I perform a rigorous weekly review and may still have many next actions on context lists. The point being is that, at least for me, having to rescan long lists each time one is completed and you have to decide what to do next -- using the criteria David states in terms of context, time available, energy, and then priority, it is tiresome. I fully realize that many out there thrive on this concept as it is in itself a mini-review each time one does this....but it does not work for me. I also know that there are hundreds if not thousands of people like me that feel that way. Shorter lists constructed at the beginning of the day -- and closed -- work better for me.

                      -Longstreet

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Longstreet View Post
                        Hi Katherine,

                        I very respectfully disagree. I perform a rigorous weekly review and may still have many next actions on context lists. The point being is that, at least for me, having to rescan long lists each time one is completed and you have to decide what to do next -- using the criteria David states in terms of context, time available, energy, and then priority, it is tiresome. I fully realize that many out there thrive on this concept as it is in itself a mini-review each time one does this....but it does not work for me. I also know that there are hundreds if not thousands of people like me that feel that way. Shorter lists constructed at the beginning of the day -- and closed -- work better for me.

                        -Longstreet
                        Longstreet,

                        it doesn't matter if you have opened or closed list. They are equal to some degree. I guess that closed list works better with longer Next Actions like writing. And opened list works better with smaller Next Actions like calls - just imagine you are in sales and have 20 calls on your list constantly - doesn't make any sense to make them 5 calls as any of them takes from 3 to 15 minutes maximum

                        Anyway, let me guess how you constract your closed lists for the day. You open your lists. Take the actions you could possibly do in the contexts of the day, with time you have between hard landscape, with energy you have through the day and their relative priority. That's consisous and you do it unconsisously but the same way David suggested

                        Eugene.
                        Last edited by Borisoff; 07-22-2008, 12:36 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yep -- I agree!

                          Hi Eugene,

                          Yes, I agree -- I do follow that process even with closed lists! My point is that I work better off of smaller, more concise lists for the day and using those criteria for what to do next than trying to scan long lists. Closed lists do not mean I am not versatile in terms of changing events during the day. If something truly urgent comes up and has to be done today, of course I do it. But having a closed list approach provides a buffer for me to not get in a reactive, "busyness trap" and focus on what I have chosen as very important to do today. This just works well for me.

                          Thanks to both you and Katherine for your comments!

                          Best regards,
                          -Longstreet

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Longstreet View Post
                            Hi Katherine,

                            I very respectfully disagree. I perform a rigorous weekly review and may still have many next actions on context lists. The point being is that, at least for me, having to rescan long lists each time one is completed and you have to decide what to do next -- using the criteria David states in terms of context, time available, energy, and then priority, it is tiresome. I fully realize that many out there thrive on this concept as it is in itself a mini-review each time one does this....but it does not work for me. I also know that there are hundreds if not thousands of people like me that feel that way. Shorter lists constructed at the beginning of the day -- and closed -- work better for me.

                            -Longstreet
                            I agree that "having to rescan long lists each time one is completed" would be tiresome. Since that's not an accurate description of my system or the way I use my lists, I'm wondering whether you're truly addressing a flaw in GTD per se, or in one particular implementation of it.

                            *shrug*

                            Not that it matters. Having a system that works is more important than having a system that reflects The One True Way.

                            Katherine

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Not really a flaw in GTD...

                              Hi Katherine,

                              No, I do not think this is an inherent flaw at all in GTD, but more likely my implementation of it. What is a long list for one might be okay for someone else. I have seen others on here comment that they indeed like to rescan very long lists within different contexts because they see it as an instant, reoccuring form of review each time. But it makes me numb to do this on long lists many times a day. But that is just me.

                              Thanks for your comments!

                              Best regards,
                              -Longstreet

                              Comment

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