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Helllp!

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  • Helllp!

    I have a few questions.
    I'm new to GTD..just started about 2 weeks ago or so.

    I am using my Palm for Calandar and Contacts which I've been doing for over a year.

    I'm putting my lists in a daytimer on blank pages filed under the letters where you would put contacts. Can't seem to decide about putting it all on the palm as I like crossing off and before GTD when I tried to put tasks in the palm I didn't like it because it was so slow to put in and i don't know, just didn't like it. But it seems like it might be better and neater and more organized to have it in one place. I know there is no one answer to this.

    My lists seem out of control- very long (since I'm new and things were so backed up), and messy with all the crossing off.. then I end up scanning the list for what is still on it.

    Also, I'm not sure if I need more lists... I work from home.. am a writer and blogger and market my book online and I am often doing personal tasks mixed in with business during the day.. I have all my computer stuff on one list but thinking maybe I should seperate business stuff... but then it seems like too many lists.

    also, not sure how to prioritize my stuff.. with it all on a few giant lists.. even if something doesn't have a due date.. often it's priority but I end up having to scan the list to find those things....which I thought the idea of this was to eliminate some of that.

    Also, I still find myself procrastinating a lot and also feeling overwhelmed when working on one thing knowing I have these mile long lists sitting next to me...

    ok, I know.. I've gone on and on here with different things... anyone have some suggestions for me.

  • #2
    Lists

    Do you have your lists separated by context (e.g., @calls, @home, @errands)? It is OK to have long lists, but not if you get numb to them from looking at them. From what you have said, I would definitely say you should separate the lists between business and personal, if only to make the lists shorter.

    Having the lists separated by context will help you to have a smaller number of things on each list.

    The other thing you might consider is moving some of the items to Someday/Maybe, this may be especially true for those that do not have a specific due date. If you are faithful to do your weekly review, you can reconsider those actions within the next week.

    Also, are any of the next actions on your lists really Projects?

    I hope some of these ideas help. Welcome to GTD. Hang in there. It really does work and it pays off when you get the hang of it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi..thanks for your helpful advice.. yes, I do have my lists separated by errands, calls, etc (calls and errands are not too uncontrollably long), but it does sound like separating out the business might help.. at least with my focus.

      and good point about someday /maybe.. I think maybe I got too ambitious with those next actions.........should I keep in mind what's actually attainable in a week when working on projects/actions?

      Also, he never seemed to mention where recurring stuff goes that you do every week or want to do every day but could use the reminder of a list like laundry, practicing piano, etc...if it is permanently on an action list, you get numb to it.

      Comment


      • #4
        How To Process Your Lists

        Hey, I'll try and help here a little. These are the steps I took to help get my lists under control.

        First, I wanted to comment that it seems things are moving from your inbox to your lists which is good. I wouldn't worry about how long your lists are at this point. If you are getting your inboxes clear, then I'd move on to what I've written below. If not, get everything collected in your inboxes and move the stuff into your system.

        I'd start with the lists that David Allen recommends which from memory I think are:

        @ Calls
        @ Office
        @ Computer
        @ Home
        @ Errands
        @ Agendas
        @ Read/Review

        If you feel the need to modify these categories, combine @ Office with @ Computer since it seems you are at a home office and that's often a blurred context anyway, but keep your calls and other lists separate.

        Next, I'd view each list as a 'new inbox' that needs processing and focus on one list such as @ Calls and work on cleaning up and doing that list. Extend the two minute rule to 5 or 10 minutes and complete any 5 to 10 minute actions. Take your list and place it and only it on your desk to eliminate distractions.

        Review the list. If you find that nothing jumps out at you as urgent, then don't worry about priority. You can do any item on the list.

        All things being equal priority, I think the ideal way to work a list is first in first out. In real life though, you might not have the focus to do it that way. Once you have improved your skills, you can make that a goal but for now I'd do as many of the easy ones as you can to get you some mental victories and reduce the size of your list.

        If you are still stuggling. Pick only one item you have to do. Remove everything that might distract you and put that item in front of you. Ask yourself one question. What do I have to do to get this item off my list and stare at until you do it.

        One you get one list under control, repeat with the other lists. Consider making Mondays the day that you work on reducing your calls list, Tuesdays the day you work on your office list and so on.

        To me the key to overcoming procrastination is practice. If nothing is moving through your system, take it one day at a time, one item at a time. Make it your goal to get one item done today. Two items done tomorrow, trying to improve your skill each day.

        Work is alot like exercising. You can't lift three hundred pounds the first day you lift weights. But you can probably lift one. Just keep increasing the resistance on a consistent basis and you'll see improvement. Just keep at it and try and get better each day.

        Comment


        • #5
          thanks

          thank you..this was really helpful and I signed up for your newsletter.. so that should help too..........

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by attitudemama View Post
            I'm new to GTD..just started about 2 weeks ago or so.
            Welcome!

            Can't seem to decide about putting it all on the palm as I like crossing off and before GTD when I tried to put tasks in the palm I didn't like it because it was so slow to put in and i don't know, just didn't like it. But it seems like it might be better and neater and more organized to have it in one place. I know there is no one answer to this.
            As you almost said it, the most important points are comfort and speed. If you are not comfortable with PDA, leave it. (Or spend a day on learning how to use it with speed, read its manual for all shortcuts, and so on, if you can affort the time.)

            My lists seem out of control- very long (since I'm new and things were so backed up), and messy with all the crossing off.. then I end up scanning the list for what is still on it.
            As crouse said, you can consider putting things on Someday/Maybe. About the mess: You can rewrite a list after the crossing gets to the point where you have to search for uncrossed items. Of course it is you who decides how much of crossing is mess. And if you can part with the crossing-off feeling, you can consider using plain text files with a plain text editor for your lists. And the lists which you need out and about can be printed. It's much cleaner, no crossed actions, little paper consumed.

            Also, I'm not sure if I need more lists... I work from home.. am a writer and blogger and market my book online and I am often doing personal tasks mixed in with business during the day.. I have all my computer stuff on one list but thinking maybe I should seperate business stuff... but then it seems like too many lists.
            More lists, or more items in each list. Either way, you have the same number of total actions to look at. So experiment and decide for yourself. Too many, and you may not look at them all those relevant at a context. Too few, and you may be distracted by actions that are not possible in the current context. But beware of the fine-tuning game: it may suck your time!

            Further, if your working style is mixing personal with work, then don't separate the lists. OTOH, if you enter an "office mode" from say 9 to 5 at home and then a "personal mode", then it will be better to separate the two.

            also, not sure how to prioritize my stuff.. with it all on a few giant lists.. even if something doesn't have a due date.. often it's priority but I end up having to scan the list to find those things....which I thought the idea of this was to eliminate some of that.
            Again, use someday/maybe. See what you have to and can do in the next week/month/whatever. Breakdown large projects (like an year or so) into smaller milestones which can be achieved in a week or month. During the weekly review, you can write down what milestones you would like to achieve in the next week/month. Every day you can have a look at it, so that it helps the action choice.

            Also, I still find myself procrastinating a lot and also feeling overwhelmed when working on one thing knowing I have these mile long lists sitting next to me...
            Overwhelm is one of the first feelings of beginners! What I can say is the lists are not there to show you how many things you have to do, but to enable you to objectively choose what is the best action choice at a given moment, and to trust that choice. You can trust the choice since the lists have all the options of actions that you could possible take. You always had those many options available to you even before GTD, only you were not aware of them. You will get used to the awareness that the lists create. It will also help keeping in mind the commitments that are already made while considering making new commitments.

            Procrastination has a lot of other angles to it. See if this audio helps you:
            http://www.davidco.com/podcasts/play/2.html

            Regards,
            Abhay

            Comment


            • #7
              thanks so much

              Thanks so much to your detailed response to my concerns.. very helpful.. I'll check out the audio and think I just need to be patient with the process as I get better at using it. I have actually gotten A LOT done in the last 2 weeks...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by attitudemama View Post
                My lists seem out of control- very long (since I'm new and things were so backed up)
                (1) Create a list called "someday, but not this week"
                (2) Move everything you can't do that week to this list
                (3) Look at this list during the weekly review and move a do-able number of items on to your context lists for the week.

                - Don

                Comment


                • #9
                  For what it's worth, for months my list of active Projects and Next Actions was limited only to work that I intended to finish that week. Everything else was on Someday/Maybe. It worked very well for me.

                  I'm currently experimenting with a longer field of view on my Projects (about a month), and it's not working as well. I just don't get as much done.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by attitudemama View Post
                    I have a few questions.
                    I'm putting my lists in a daytimer on blank pages filed under the letters where you would put contacts. Can't seem to decide about putting it all on the palm as I like crossing off and before GTD when I tried to put tasks in the palm I didn't like it because it was so slow to put in and i don't know, just didn't like it. But it seems like it might be better and neater and more organized to have it in one place. I know there is no one answer to this.
                    I'm a Palm user myself, and I agree that using the stylus and graffiti is VERY slow and an impetus to using it for data entry, particularly if you have a "glitchy" screen like mine. I don't do data entry on the Palm--I do it on the desktop software that synchronizes with it. Some use Palm Desktop, I use Outlook. I only use the Palm as my "heads-up-display" to view what I've organized, check things off as done, and sometimes move calendar entries, but nothing more.

                    Try that and see if you're comfortable with it, but if you're not, continue to use paper for your lists.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      thanks

                      thanks... only thing is I am often adding things to lists as I think of them during the day/week and not necessarily always at my computer...esp. calls and errands... but in general, attempting to keep my head clearer by writing it down right away

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It sounds like you're collecting, processing, and organizing on the go, when these thoughts come to you. I'm not saying that this is necessarily bad, but when you're "in the war zone" and collecting lots of these action items while you're busy with other things, you can't give them the time and attention to adequately process and organize them when they show up. You're more likely to miss something or add vague ambiguous stuff into your system.

                        Try separating the activities--only collect first, then process and organize later when you're in "executive processing mode" instead of "doing" mode.

                        By doing that, I find that I make better decisions about the outcome and the next action about each item. If your Palm has the notepad application where you can hand-write a note free-form (no graffiti), you can use it to capture thoughts. Then, later, when you're ready to process your stuff, treat that notepad application like it's own Inbox and process each note.

                        Try this for a week and see if it makes a difference. Best of luck.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Very much agreed with ellobogrande.

                          I often find that, after scribbling down an idea and dropping it in my inbox, the idea itself is better done in a different way than I initially described. And I needed time to see it. So, separating those steps has great benefit.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            very helpful

                            well, I see your point.. helpful.. except the things I am jotting down as I think of them are the small stuff (the bigger stuff I DO put in the inbox) and it's smaller stuff that needs to be done soon.. if I don't process my inbox for a few days or a week.. that stuff will sit in there and not get time in a timely way... it's stuff that doesn't have to be done on a particular day but as soon as possible (ie mail things to someone, take the skis in for a tune up, call my son's horse riding instructor with a question, etc. etc.. the little stuff that's not really part of a project.. and usually doesn't even have a next action after it) does that make sense?

                            I'd have to process the inbox every day to be sure those things weren't slippiing thru the cracks.. should I be doing that? maybe I missed that in the book.. not sure.

                            also, still trying to figure out how to process daily and weekly stuff. ie.. practice piano (a hobby) really would like to be doing it daily, but don't.. if it sits on the list.. I just ignore it after awhile.. or ongoing stuff.. laundry.. which is several times a week.

                            thanks everyone for your helpful suggestions..

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              palm?

                              also, ellobogrande.. you said you are a palm user.. it does have a notepad feature but seems when I use it, it doesn't work well.. very particular on how I have to hold the stylus, etc.. often the writing won't show up.. is there a trick to this?... I stopped trying to use it, it was so frustrating

                              Comment

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