Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Does GTD work on paper?

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Does GTD work on paper?

    I read David Allen's book about 4 months ago and it has been nothing short of life transformational. I'm still experimenting with my system, and moving to a paper-based system has a lot of appeal to me. Does GTD work on paper? I know there's a white paper on setting up a paper planner on the davidco.com website, has anyone implemented a system like this? If so, how does it work? Would you recommend a paper-based system to someone still relatively new to GTD? Thanks in advance for any input or advice.

  • #2
    Plenty of people here are using paper. (Including me, although my system is not strictly GTD at the moment.) Plenty more recommend paper for new people, since the learning curve is less steep.

    Katherine

    Comment


    • #3
      I use a paper-based system. I read David's whitepaper, and though I came up with my system independently, it is almost identical to his.

      I have a classic- (half) size planner and print out my own sheets using templates from diyplanner.com. I created tabbed pages for each section and take my planner with me everywhere. Sections are as follows:

      1. Notes
      2. Projects (lists of projects and someday-maybes)
      3. Actions (divided into @work, @computer, @desk, @errands)
      4. Agendas (each page has the name of a person or meeting, and underneath I write about things I need to talk about with each person or in each meeting)
      5. Calendar (1-week-per-day through 2010, then 2-pages-per-month)
      6. Reference (routines, checklists, frequently referenced sheets)
      7. Address book (including contacts, passwords, birthdays, hours, etc)

      Although I work in an IT field, I have found that paper works much better for me. It's the flexibility and portability that made the decision for me. When I was in the fast-paced world of customer service, I did need to use ThinkingRock (a software program) because of the quick- and small- changes, but once I moved into an IT role I was able to move to paper.

      Comment


      • #4
        Our system is exclusively paper. Each item is on 1 index card. If a context changes for an item it gets moved into a separate packet. We have a paper calendar for hard landscape stuff and manila folders with 8x10 paper to plan projects. It's portable, and if I lose a card I don't have to do the task!

        Comment


        • #5
          Check Katherine's thread, it is a few down from this one. Here is the link:

          http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5803

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Grey11 View Post
            Does GTD work on paper?
            GTD is a process and a way of approaching problems not a tool. You can do GTD in all sorts of tools.

            I started fully Palm, was a hybrid paper/Palm for a while then tried LifeBalance until it no longer worked, went back to a paper hybrid while I did a much more careful search of options and am now using Omnifocus and my treo/Palm system.

            Paper doesn't work for me long term but it's a great place to start and regroup to when something isn't working electronically.

            Comment


            • #7
              I prefer paper to digital for (most) of the GTD process. I've been running my GTD system off a clipboard for years now and it would take a lot for me to switch back to digital.

              For me, paper feels much more *real* in a way that's difficult to articulate. I'm more productive with it, even though digital systems do have great advantages.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                I started fully Palm, was a hybrid paper/Palm for a while then tried LifeBalance until it no longer worked, went back to a paper hybrid ... and am now using Omnifocus.
                I am curious to know how did you manage with the hybrid system you had.

                Did you print lists from the digital system, worked with them for a while and then input changes back to the digital system?

                Mic
                Last edited by Mic; 04-24-2009, 04:34 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Tool agnostic

                  It depends upon your comfort, skills and style of working. You can work GTD on any medium, like paper, PDA, Remembrals, or Pensieves

                  Regards,
                  Abhay

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Grey11: I purchased the Coordinator from David Allen. Trust me, you can do GTD on paper and be very successful with it. I find that when I tire of digital planning, or my system becomes stale, I can switch over to paper for awhile and get centered on the core principles of GTD and not become enamored/distracted by technology. Give it a try!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Paper vs. 'puter

                      Originally posted by GTDWorks View Post
                      Grey11: I purchased the Coordinator from David Allen. Trust me, you can do GTD on paper and be very successful with it. I find that when I tire of digital planning, or my system becomes stale, I can switch over to paper for awhile and get centered on the core principles of GTD and not become enamored/distracted by technology. Give it a try!
                      I do the same...and for the same reasons. It really helps re-focus me.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mic View Post
                        I am curious to know how did you manage with the hybrid system you had.
                        My calendar has always stayed digital since my first Palm, a US Robotics machine when they first came out. Likewise my address book has also always been digital and my shopping/errands list

                        When it became cumbersome to deal with the Palm TTD system due to larger numbers of projects than it was designed for I moved my projects list into a straight text file and my context based action lists onto pages of paper, one page per context. This doesn't work for me long term because I need to be able to have all my contexts with me at all times and I cannot carry a purse or briefcase or notebook. Everything must fit on my person and allow me full use of my hands. I tried making the lists smaller, 3x5 cards and even smaller but it's too hard to read when the lists are tiny even with reading glasses on top of bifocal contacts.

                        The hybrid time was to give me time to keep going while I more carefully researched my electronic options. I settled on LifeBalance because it seemed to offer the best way to marry my need to have projects associated with my areas of focus and life goals and still keep me working on specific projects. It also had a good synch with a Palm version and a decent Mac desktop version. However, I got injured then sick and during the recovery the LifeBalance system fell apart in 2 critical areas:

                        1) I could not re-negotiate projects to a future date easily (LB's archaic user interface is hard to manage without lots of mousing and my wrists got hurt so mousing was painful while keyboarding was ok. Their fuzzy logic system of putting things on the list made it difficult to change the outcome consistently when you change the parameters of various projects and actions)
                        2) Weekly reviews became nearly impossible to do. There was no clear and easy way in LB to review inactive projects, no real distinction between stalled and active projects and with limited energy I found myself not doing reviews and got behind on projects that should have been triggered as active by weather and didn't get done and now I have to wait for months to get the right conditions again.

                        I moved back to a paper system of lists of next actions while I took another look at my second choice OmniFocus. The reason it was initially not selected was the difficulty in synching to my Palm Treo. It synchs using missing synch and my experiences with that package in the past were horrible. It was buggy and crashed a lot. So the project became research whether missing synch had improved enough to depend on it for synch. I ran my paper and the Omnifocus and LifeBalance systems side by side and duplicated for almost a month. Then dropped LB, moved the LB stuff to Omnifocus by way of a trial of OmniPlan and dropped the paper system shortly after that.

                        There are still a few issues with OmniFocus, repeating tasks are a bit odd for me but it seems to be working. The next couple of months will be a good test, we are heading into lambing and if any system will get stressed it is then when my time is entirely under the control of the sheep and not me.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks to everyone for all the great input and advice...this is awesome! I feel totally inspired to try a paper-based system. I also discovered the diyplanner.com website, which seems to be a gold mine of templates, ideas and advice on using a paper-based system. I can't wait to get started!

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X