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Ready for GTD, but I need a schedule?!

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  • Ready for GTD, but I need a schedule?!

    We have read and listened to the books (several times) and we are ready and willing to go full GTD... but we find ourselves stumbling because we have no set schedule...

    Can anyone recommend a good book or two on setting up a schedule that we can "live with"??? We are _not_ looking for an alternative to GTD.

    We are fully wanting to use the techniques behind GTD, but GTD still depends on a schedule... the Weekly review, daily reviews, etc.

    With both my husband and I being self-employed consultants, we are not living by anyone else's schedule. We even have created our own software to handle our GTD (and it works great) but after a few days and fighting constant consulting fires, we find ourselves "out of synch" again and again.

    Many thanks,
    -Jodi

  • #2
    I think more information would be helpful.
    What aspects of GTD have you implemented already?
    What aspects do you feel you need to incorporate?

    Comment


    • #3
      What stops you from setting your own schedule?
      Are you worried you will get interrupted during a review?
      I don't have an external schedule either. I have stuck with David's suggestion of Friday morning, as it leaves time for clarifying phone calls and the like. I do it straight after i get up, as my brain is not yet in work mode, but awake enough to ponder things.

      What exactly is it that makes GTD without an external schedule difficult for you?

      Comment


      • #4
        Hmmm, ok, we have basically taken the main aspects of GTD and created a database of Projects, NA's, basically the "guts" of DA's ideas and created an application to use.

        It is great, terrific in fact! We have spent time tweaking it and it contains our projects (work, home, someday/maybe), our NA's, everything... but then I will end up with a terrible week and end up totally ignoring our GTD efforts.

        I feel like we are fighting so many fires from our clients that our weekly reviews are not done when they should be, our daily reviews of our NA's get "pushed" around and skipped over. I see our defined projects and NA's becomming stale and out of synch.

        It is so frustrating and yet, difficult to explain. I don't know if it is just that we are born-again procrastinators or what??? It just feels like we are missing a piece of the puzzle and were thinking that setting up a schedule might be the answer....

        When do you update your Project list, clean up your NA's (marking done, or even deleting no-longer-relevant actions)??? How do you find the time to work on keeping your GTD information up-to-date???

        Thanks for any/all feedback!!!
        -Jodi

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by JPS View Post
          When do you update your Project list, clean up your NA's (marking done, or even deleting no-longer-relevant actions)??? How do you find the time to work on keeping your GTD information up-to-date???
          It sounds like you are basically overbusy, and maybe also a bit in the tweaking trap. My GTD system never worked while i was still tweaking it.

          I empty my inbox in spare bits of time. If it gets too full for comfort, you might have to reserve some time to get back on top of everything.
          Projects get updated when processing the inbox, during weekly review or on the go, although that can lead to slightly blurred project outcomes. You marks NAs done or delete them on the go. If your system doesn't lend itself to doing that, it's probably too complex.
          It should be basically self maintaining and not take that much time at all. It supports you working, it shouldn't be another bit of hard work.
          When your system gets out of date you need to take time to update it. See it as an investment. If it gets out of date, you won't use it anymore. Keeping it up to date is something you have to learn to do, just like you learned to brush your teeth when you were a child. It's simply a habit to learn. It will take some time. You just need to catch yourself when you find yourself falling off the wagon, so you can get back on.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by JPS View Post
            When do you update your Project list, clean up your NA's (marking done, or even deleting no-longer-relevant actions)??? How do you find the time to work on keeping your GTD information up-to-date???
            Short answer: daily and weekly review. Longer answer: The reason why GTD can take a long time to assimilate into their workflow is because a lot people initially view it as an addendum to their workflow...instead of a part of the workflow itself. Procrastination is merely the reaction to a conflict in styles anyway. Find the style that suits you (and optionally, the people) the best. And, get things moving.

            GL

            Comment


            • #7
              I concur in Linada's diagnosis. When I am really flying through stuff, I am in a series of nested loops, moving in and out of the five discrete workflow stages. My software is just there, mostly: stuff gets done, new stuff added, boom. But I have to keep reviewing my lists, scanning often, with an in-depth review as needed but at least once a week.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by JPS View Post
                With both my husband and I being self-employed consultants ... after a few days and fighting constant consulting fires, we find ourselves "out of synch" again and again.
                This sounds familiar! Establish a daily planning session with your husband. It might take place in the office or at home, in the early morning or in the afternoon or after lunch or before dinner or whenever. Just 15 minutes for you + husband + 2 cups of coffee + your planner (or laptop or whichever device you use). Those 15 minutes will be a good investment, both in your GTD and your marriage.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thank you all for the feedback and ideas!!!!

                  We will be in the car for the next few days and needless to say the GTD audios will be in the player!

                  We will review your suggestions and see if we climb back into control using GTD!

                  Again, many thanks!
                  -Jodi

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    First of all - if you're talking about a schedule of things that get forgotten, you may need to use your tickler file more.

                    I personally have all my daily-weekly-monthly-yearly repeating actions written in one packet that I review every day. But this is not strictly GTD. The GTD way to do it would be to add an index card or something to your tickler file.

                    Now if, like me when I first started, you get into this "zone" where you start flying willy-nilly through things without writing anything down or reviewing your projects/next actions, you simply have to commit yourself to continuing to use the system, even when it feels like you don't have time. Trust me - I've gotten stuck in this trap many times, and what always happens is something gets missed that costs you time later.

                    It really does not take long to review your projects and next actions if you stick to your system all the time. I think of it like doing the dishes. Putting the dishes in the dishwasher and washing the few delicates does not take long if you do it every day. But if you put it off for a week, yucky dishes pervade your whole kitchen and are harder to get clean to boot.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks cojo!

                      Nice perspective...

                      Yes, sometimes it feels like it is more "efficient" to hold off and perform the "house-keeping" chores later, when it is a bigger batch... but you are correct, if you do not fall behind, it is a lot more enjoyable (or at least not as painful) as when you are forced into having to deal with a large-old-mess!!

                      I think we need a good dose of GTD discipline!

                      We will be listening to the GTD CD's starting tomorrow ... and maybe along with all the very helpful insights from everyone, we will be GTD'ing again soon!

                      Thanks,
                      -Jodi

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JPS View Post
                        We are fully wanting to use the techniques behind GTD, but GTD still depends on a schedule... the Weekly review, daily reviews, etc.

                        With both my husband and I being self-employed consultants, we are not living by anyone else's schedule. We even have created our own software to handle our GTD (and it works great) but after a few days and fighting constant consulting fires, we find ourselves "out of synch" again and again.
                        Not only are your family lives intertwined but so are your business lives. There were some good threads on here for couples who both practice GTD. Some of the questions they addressed pertained directly to being in synch. Maybe someone can post a link to them (I couldn't find the latest ones.)

                        If you are looking for schedules that fit, you will need to determine one that fits both of you best. You will have to try different times since you probably have different working styles. I would definitely perform a weekly review. Both of you need to identify what the major goals and projects you want to achieve for the business for the next few weeks. If you encounter any sudden business "fires", both of you will right away be able to determine which project(s) you can set aside for that day or two or three.

                        Separately, it would help you to also set up checklists of tasks each of you need to do daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly for your business. As you know, there is a lot of maintenance with running a business. Knowing that you are staying on top of those basic things already helps when new opportunities and problems pop up. Start using a tickler. You also need daily mini-reviews - set up a time in the mornings or evenings.

                        You'll notice when going through the CDs that one of the greatest things about GTD is that it will be your rock if you stay on top of it. Things will happen all the time that throw you off your desired plan of action - that's when having GTD is most important.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My two cents. Having a schedule is always a good idea. I'm a busy customer oriented manager as well. But having some small routines really helps fight that overwhelm. So here're my advices:

                          1. Check Julia Morgenstern books on time maps;
                          2. Set as many routines as you need, here's my list:
                          - Eating time not to miss it (2 hours a day in total)
                          - Fitness time (1 hour x 3 times a week)
                          - Weekly Review time (1 hour x 1 time a week)
                          - Daily processing time (1 hour max daily)
                          3. Plan your meetings and activities in-between

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Cojo, I like the icky dishes analogy - very apt.

                            My $0.02 worth on this is that you need daily routines. What I recommend often is a mix of Leo Babautas' big rocks idea and regular maintenance in the afternoon: focus on a few 'big rocks' in the morning, and do the drudgery (processing email and paper, doing small tasks, updating your lists, etc) in the afternoon. Finish the day by deciding on your big rocks for the next day, and you're ready to leap into it the next morning.

                            I've noticed that a lot of people respond to email, in particular, as it comes in. This is terribly inefficient, as it dumps us out of a warm, creative, productive fog that can take 15 minutes to get back into. So each time you 'just check email', you're losing some time in getting back up to speed. If you're fighting fires, this could contribute to your overload. Try dealing with email in one or two blocks during the day. The phone as well, if you can get away with it - maybe you can take it in turns to have a focused hour, when the other person has to get the phone if it rings.

                            Remember that it takes about 30 repetitions to build a habit, so you have to focus on it for that long before it sticks. And building daily habits is faster than building weekly ones, because 30 days goes faster than 30 weeks.

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