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Track everything?

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  • Track everything?

    I'm still getting used to using GTD. I've always been rather unorganized, with stacks of papers everywhere. I've recently reorganized my office and have everything in folders. However, I'm still having trouble with where I should stop (if I even should) tracking things. For those of you who've been doing this awhile, how do you differentiate, or do you truly enter everything into your preferred system. For example, would you enter something like "cut the grass" into your @Home context?

  • #2
    Originally posted by bjf123 View Post
    do you truly enter everything into your preferred system. For example, would you enter something like "cut the grass" into your @Home context?
    In general yes, I enter nearly everything. But I also have some Flylady inspired routines written down as checklists. For those my GTD note is in my @inside by myself context and says do flylady monthly cleaning or whatever the checklist is. I also have a daily GTD reminder thing that says Spend 15 minutes on a flylady task. That seems t work best for me

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    • #3
      I track everything that needs to be tracked.

      I have a habit of drafting blog posts every day during lunch, and posting them in the evenings when I check email. I don't track that.

      Otherwise, it goes on a Next Actions list.

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      • #4
        I track everything that is on my mind. If cut the grass is on my mind I track it on @home to get it off my mind (or I calendar it if I am having trouble getting a block of time) .
        For me the objective of the GTD system isn't to get things done it is to get them off my mind so I can think about what really matters.

        So if mow the lawn isn't on my list I might still do it. For example,

        If I am at home and suddenly think wow, now would be a good time to mow the lawn I can review my list quickly and decide, yes, that is the best thing to do right now and I can be comfortable not doing the rest of the things on my list and focus entirely on just that.

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        • #5
          "Cut the grass" is part of my weekend check list - basically I have a weekend list of recurring items which includes things like
          - do the washing
          - put the rubbish out for collection
          - wash my hair
          - water the plants
          - cut the grass
          etc etc.

          I don't actually bother to write the contexts in, but I know for instance that "cut the grass" only applies "when it's daylight and the weather is fine". The aim is to empty the list by Sunday night.

          Ruth

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          • #6
            Originally posted by bjf123 View Post
            For example, would you enter something like "cut the grass" into your @Home context?
            I'd put "cut the grass" into my "@home-outside context", as a recurring weekly appointment. I'd also make sure it had other season specific information, so it would actually look like this:

            "cut grass or rake leaves"

            In the winter months I'd either check off the task, or move it to someday/maybe until the spring.

            - Don

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            • #7
              Thanks for the feedback. I guess this is one of the areas where I'm having trouble fully buying in to the GTD methodology. To me, it seems like more effort to track something like cutting the grass than it is to just look outside one evening or weekend and realize that the grass needs to be cut. It seems to me that if a task will be staring me in the face, I don't need to get it written down so I can get it out of my mind. Every day when I get home, I'll see the grass and, based on how high it is, decide if I need to cut it or not. Maybe I'm just a little slow grasping this concept.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by RuthMcT View Post
                "Cut the grass" is part of my weekend check list - basically I have a weekend list of recurring items which includes things like
                - do the washing
                - put the rubbish out for collection
                - wash my hair
                - water the plants
                - cut the grass
                etc etc.


                Ruth
                What do you do when you don't complete your checklist on a given weekend or it rains etc?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by bjf123 View Post
                  Thanks for the feedback. I guess this is one of the areas where I'm having trouble fully buying in to the GTD methodology. To me, it seems like more effort to track something like cutting the grass than it is to just look outside one evening or weekend and realize that the grass needs to be cut. It seems to me that if a task will be staring me in the face, I don't need to get it written down so I can get it out of my mind. Every day when I get home, I'll see the grass and, based on how high it is, decide if I need to cut it or not. Maybe I'm just a little slow grasping this concept.
                  YOu are fine, if it isn't on your mind, seeing the grass get high and wanting to cut it is your system. I am the same way with taking out the trash, I don't have a recurring task to check the trash cans, I just take them out when they are full.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bjf123 View Post
                    Thanks for the feedback. I guess this is one of the areas where I'm having trouble fully buying in to the GTD methodology. To me, it seems like more effort to track something like cutting the grass than it is to just look outside one evening or weekend and realize that the grass needs to be cut. It seems to me that if a task will be staring me in the face, I don't need to get it written down so I can get it out of my mind. Every day when I get home, I'll see the grass and, based on how high it is, decide if I need to cut it or not. Maybe I'm just a little slow grasping this concept.
                    I think the key point is that GTD is not a one-size-fits-all approach - and you will see this nicely reflected on the forums as someone as a question, and there are a variety of responses.

                    Bottom line: If you don't need "cut grass" on your list, don't put it on your list, if you do then do that!

                    - Don

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 12hourhalfday View Post
                      What do you do when you don't complete your checklist on a given weekend or it rains etc?
                      I make a decision on when the incomplete items will have to be done e.g. "cut the grass" will have to go on next weekend's list (unless I'm away), but I might decide to get up early on Monday morning to wash my hair.

                      Ruth

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bjf123 View Post
                        It seems to me that if a task will be staring me in the face, I don't need to get it written down so I can get it out of my mind.
                        Well, there are several ways of looking at this.

                        1. You're entirely correct. If you already have a system in place to remind you to mow the grass, you don't need to put it on a GTD list. Same as you don't need an @Action to see the dentist at 3:00pm next Thursday; that appointment's already tracked on your calendar.

                        2. Every single thing that you've committed to consumes at least a tiny bit of psychic RAM. Putting it on a list will free up that psychic RAM.

                        Moreover, it's often hard to tell if something's on your mind, until it's off your mind. Your mind may free up after you put "easy, obvious" things on a list, since it now has a chance to relax about those things.

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                        • #13
                          Yep, I track almost everything

                          I've found that I track everything helps, not so much because you'd forget to mow the lawns or whatever, but because it stop it from spinning around your head.
                          At first I thought it was kind of stupid tracking items such as "get a haircut" or "do grocery shopping", but it does actually help.

                          Bob

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                          • #14
                            I have an example of what may seem like an obvious task to most people, but it helped me to set reminders daily to turn on or off the outdoor Christmas lights at a certain times of the day. The reason for this simple reminder was that I always kicked myself when I forgot. Why I decided to actually remind myself daily for the Christmas lights but felt it was not necessary for other repetitive tasks is really a matter of what works best.

                            If you find the thought that you should not forget to mow the lawn on a particular weekend pops up regularly in your mind, you may want to schedule an appointment with yourself, put it on your @home list, or place it in your tickler. See how that works for you.

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                            • #15
                              Or:

                              If you have a system that can remind you, why burden your mind with the job of doing it? Why not free it up for more fun and interesting work?

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