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Digital action list but paper project list!

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  • Digital action list but paper project list!

    I'm not sure if this has been discussed already as it seems such a no brainer now I've hit on it. I have been doing GTD for over 3 years but it seems I overlooked this.

    I've been using Outlook and Palm for my lists for most of the 3 years but have recently been developing resistance to keeping my project list up to date. Perhaps because I have learnt to think of follow on actions when an action is completed but also because I have always found the toing and froing from action list to project list cumbersome and frustrating in digital.

    I've now hit on the what now appears obvious solution (maybe it always was and I was resistant to the idea before) of having the action list in digital but the project lists (and also a prompt list and area of focus list on paper).

    To me this has the following advantages:

    1) Action lists are constantly changing so I have always got frustrated listing out actions on a new sheet of paper usually on a daily basis. So actions are best for me on digital.
    2) Project lists change less frequently and in fact the action of writing them out again in a weekly review helps one define them further if necessary.
    3) In a weekly review one has to check each project has an action. This is very easy if you can check a piece of paper but then look for actions in different context lists on a digital system. In a sense it a solution to the digital solution I have long wanted - to be able to look at the project list and action list in separate concurrent windows.

  • #2
    MindManager to Manage Projects

    I am a newbie with GTD, but the more I get to know it the more excited I get.

    Currently I also use Outlook, but syncronised with Pocket Informant on my Pocket PC, for my Tasks and Calendar lists. This works quite well for me.

    Another advantage of my Pocket PC, I have the HTC TYTN 2, is the easilly accessible voice record button. I use this to constantly colllect notes and get it off my mind. Whenever I have a quiet moment I process my notes from my Pocket PC to where it belongs ie., do it, project, task, appointment, toss, delgate or file.

    However, the Project list is a very powerful component of GTD that I am currently struggling to find an ideal solution to manage. Currently I am toying with MindManager, which I believe has got huge potential.

    Is there anyone out there that have optimised this combination to help a newbie such as me?

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    • #3
      I love the technology too. I use Keysuite which is an equivalent of Pocket Informant on the Palm. I have tried Mind Manager. And I have tried linking project and actions and not linking ad nauseam.

      What I'm saying though is that for me the optimal solution is a simple project list in a notepad together and my action lists on Palm/Outlook. I can also use pages on the notebook for project planning. Prompt lists and higher level stuff are also in the notebook. Simple and very powerful.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by tominperu View Post
        What I'm saying though is that for me the optimal solution is a simple project list in a notepad together and my action lists on Palm/Outlook. I can also use pages on the notebook for project planning. Prompt lists and higher level stuff are also in the notebook. Simple and very powerful.
        I recently moved my project support (data/ideas/plans) material out of the notes section of my electronic list manager. My project list is still electronic, but when I work on a project of any complexity, I use a separate project support file. I have found that a single, separate space for project "stuff" gives me a better focus when working, more creative freedom, and better preserves the state of a project. Is this similar to what you have experienced?


        Technical Note for the curious: I am using plain text files, synced between macs and an iphone using SyncBook. I work with the files using TaskPaper, which provides a simple tool for formatting sections, items, and notes while staying with pure text files.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tominperu View Post
          I've now hit on the what now appears obvious solution (maybe it always was and I was resistant to the idea before) of having the action list in digital but the project lists (and also a prompt list and area of focus list on paper).
          Tom,

          I've been toying with a similar idea: using a paper list of project to do my weekly review. It was part of the reason for moving from lifebalance to omnifocus: the ability to print out lists of actions and projects.

          Hmmm, I need to capture that idea

          - Don

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          • #6
            Originally posted by tominperu View Post
            I have always found the toing and froing from action list to project list cumbersome and frustrating in digital
            You may want to look at some other digital options. Most of them (Nozbe and Toodledo come to mind) allow you to simply star a task as a "next action" and that's it. At that point, it shows up in your project list and on your next actions list. If you want to remove it as a next action (but keep it in the project), just un-star it. Otherwise, check it off when it's done and it disappears from both places.

            I'm finding the the "toing and froing" of task items is the main reason TO use a digital product.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
              My project list is still electronic, but when I work on a project of any complexity, I use a separate project support file. I have found that a single, separate space for project "stuff" gives me a better focus when working, more creative freedom, and better preserves the state of a project. Is this similar to what you have experienced?
              Yes definitely. I find paper supports creativity much more than digital.

              I like the idea of having a digital list I could perhaps print out and scribble on also. I've never found printing out a Memo or Task in Outlook very satisfying for doing that though.

              Incidently I think the interaction between digital and paper is another topic in itself which I will start another thread on.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tominperu View Post
                I like the idea of having a digital list I could perhaps print out and scribble on also. I've never found printing out a Memo or Task in Outlook very satisfying for doing that though.
                While I don't use it very often, I know that Nozbe (and others) have excellent print options for your list. In Nozbe's case, you can print any list full-page, pocket size (1/4 page) or wallet size (1/8 page).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by dschaffner View Post
                  It was part of the reason for moving from lifebalance to omnifocus: the ability to print out lists of actions and projects.
                  I'm just getting set up in lifebalance and I fond that printing was easy. I just select the set I want to print (by place or whatever and it all works.

                  What wasn't working for you?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                    I'm just getting set up in lifebalance and I fond that printing was easy. I just select the set I want to print (by place or whatever and it all works.

                    What wasn't working for you?
                    Well, I'm using a Mac now, but was using a PC when I was using LB, so this is from memory, and relates only to the PC version.

                    As I recall it was a general lack of flexibility. For example, I could print all the tasks in a given context, but couldn't print tasks from different contexts together.

                    - Don

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dschaffner View Post
                      For example, I could print all the tasks in a given context, but couldn't print tasks from different contexts together.
                      I'm mac based and I have some places set up that include other places to get the sets to print if I need more than one context. But I've been finding that a single context is more important.

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                      • #12
                        Outlook NetCentrics addin; mindmap of Projects (on paper?)

                        I use the NetCentrics Outlook addin which takes care of the Project list automatically. When I create a new task, I can link it to an existing project or add and link to a new project.

                        The Outlook 'Active Task by Project (GTD)' task view make reviewing projects easy. I have also set View > Reading Pane > Bottom so I can concurrently see the notes field of a (Project) task.

                        I also keep a mindmap of Areas of Focus with current active and somedayed Projects around the periphery. It provides a second form of the project list. I have been updating this mindmap during my weekly review. This gets a bit tedious swapping back and forth between Outlook and Freemind.

                        This thread has encouraged me to try printing out that mindmap, update the paper version during the week whenever I add/complete/someday a project and then reconcile the digital version during the weekly review and print out again.

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