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Plz help a GTD newbie struggling to implement into Outlook!

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  • Plz help a GTD newbie struggling to implement into Outlook!

    I've just finished a quick read of Getting Things Done and think I understand Allen's system fairly well. However, I want to implement it in Microsoft Outlook (since I'm already using it's calender function which synchronizes with my phone).

    Here's a few questions that I have, if you can help with any, I'd appreciate it very much...
    • How do you record day-specific actions and day-specific information in Outlook's Calender? Do you add these as "tasks" with a specific date?
    • When you write your list of next actions, do you prioritize it in any way? If so, how? From what I've picked up, Allen does not suggest this.
    • When you complete an action, do you immediately write the next action down on your list (transferring it from the associated project actions list)? Or do you wait 'till your weekly review?
    • Do you ever (I don't think Allen agrees with this) write a list of actions you want to get done today, taken from your list of next actions, or do you just work directly from the next actions list?
    If you can help me here (I know, I know, it's almost Christmas and you haven't finished buying presents!! ) that'd be awesome!

    Thanks!
    Zahid

  • #2
    1. Day-specific gets entered as an all day event. time-specific gets a hard appointment time.
    2. Next actions don't get officially prioritized. If your list of next actions is limited to NEXT actions only, then they are already prioritized per project. I've tweaked the plain vanilla GTD method by using the outlook flags for low-medium-high priority to highlight an action or two that I want to focus on.
    3. Upon completion of an action I usually enter another action. I have found it to be good discipline. Note, though, that I don't always stop immediately after completing an action to update my list. I will keep working on the project. Only when I reach a stopping point, or, at the end of the day, do I update my lists. At the weekly review, I catch any project with no next action, or any new ideas, and add them.
    4. Next actions are sorted by context. In my @office list, I pick the few things that I want to focus on today and highlight them, mostly so that if I get interrupted I can quickly see where I wanted to make progress.

    Hope these quick tips help.

    -Ken

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    • #3
      Thank you, that was helpful.

      Any further replies would be much appreciated, especially if anyone can focus specifically on how they implement the GTD system in Outlook and choose what to do on a certain day.

      I'm guessing a few will break the rule and write a daily to-do list based on their list of next actions?

      Cheers,
      Zahid

      Comment


      • #4
        I keep a hard edge (hard landscape) on my calendar. Only things that must be done on that day or day-specific reminders (e.g. one yesterday was Boston Bruins v. Montreal Canadiens). It's a hard edge, but also a mix of really important and not so important stuff, but all only day-specific.

        I'm glad I bought the Outlook paper. I only learned a few new tricks, but they were worth the price (cheaper than paying a consultant).

        With Next Actions related to a larger outcome (Project), I don't mark the action complete. Instead, I edit the Next Action (Outlook Task), replacing it with the new Next Action. This way I guarantee I always have a Next Action for each Project. No sophisticated linking required.

        Good luck with implementing GTD. Give it time and keep it simple.

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        • #5
          Outlook Paper

          I've come close to buying the Outlook paper before, and finally about to break down and get it. I'm just afraid there wont be much I dont already know or do. I'm pretty competent with Outlook.

          Anyone else out there in favor of it? What did you learn? - I know you cant be too specific...

          Mark in Plano, Tx

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          • #6
            Cos brings up a very good point. I bought the Outlook paper before the Add-In software was released, so it wasn't an option for me.

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            • #7
              Coz has a good point too. My bad, sorry.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thank you to everyone who replied to my post.

                I have a few more questions if anyone can spare a second...

                Does everyone else record day-specific actions as all-day appointments? is this how it's meant to work?

                How about day-specific information? How do you store that in Outlook??

                Where do you store all other actions for projects (i.e. not next actions) in Outlook? Do you simply list them inside the task (project) or is there another way to do this in Outlook (I've heard of using contacts, but I can't do that because I use that area regularly and need it to be clean).

                Also, do Davidco.com offer a money-back guarantee with the Outlook Add-In? I'm not 100% sure whether I still want to use Outlook or stick to paper-based solution, I find it easy to get bogged down with technical issues that drain my time.

                Cheers,
                Zahid

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have a few more questions if anyone can spare a second. Does everyone else record day-specific actions as all-day appointments? is this how it's meant to work?

                  How about day-specific information? How do you store that in Outlook??
                  Absolutely! All day specific items, be it deadlines, or reminders, or just information about a particular day, I treat as "hard landscape" and put it in the Outlook calendar as you described.

                  Where do you store all other actions for projects (i.e. not next actions) in Outlook? Do you simply list them inside the task (project) or is there another way to do this in Outlook (I've heard of using contacts, but I can't do that because I use that area regularly and need it to be clean).
                  I use to make projects contacts, it is an elegant solution, but I found I did not need the linking, so I stopped. I keep projects now as Tasks, and use a saved view for them, and one for just next actions. All single step next actions pertaining to a project go in the body of the task, to be reviewed each week, and thn copied and paste as its own next action when needed.

                  Very basic, but it is working well for me.




                  [/quote]

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                  • #10
                    Welcome to GTD, and good luck tailoring the philosophy & methods to fit your particular needs

                    One Friendly Reminder:

                    It is very easy to fall into the trap of becoming engrossed with the methods and "new & improved" toys to play with and ways to get to the Outcome.

                    The "Next Action Lists" are meant as the "grasscatcher" of the system - to capture even the tiniest details in life.

                    The preferred focus of GTD is the Successful Outcome - and whatever it takes to move your toward that with as much completion and as quickly as possible.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply to my post.

                      Have a happy Christmas!
                      Zahid

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