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  • question about page 143: NA's and calendar

    on page 143 in GTD he says, "what many peolpe want to do, however, based on old habits of writing daily to-do lists, is put actions on the calendar that they think they'd really like to get done next Monday, say, but that then actually might not, and that might then have to be over to following days. Resist this impule."

    yea, that describes me perfectly.

    The answer for this he says bellow this is to put all of your "Next Actions" into contexts, which I have done on my palm. I still have the impulse to put these actions into my calendar. Since I may have so many asap actions in each context, I like to the day before or on that day put alot of those actions into my calendar in an order that best suits me. This way I dont have to even think of whats next at all, it just tells me. I find that this makes my day more efficient in planning it percisely, grouping things together and running through them smoothly without looking at a long list of NA's in a context.

    This habbit of course was formed from what Allen says is the old school method of making daily to-do lists, I did it on scraps of paper. He says that no one should ever put next actions that dont have any due date on the calender or this defeats the purpose... as GTDoers yourselves, what do you find is the reasoning behind this? Also what are some other options that I may have overlooked in GTD?

    I really want to follow GTD thoroughly so it can be its most effective, but I keep disregarding this important rule, that the calendar is sacred territory. what should I do?

    Thanks
    Last edited by jkder; 05-28-2009, 10:38 PM.

  • #2
    The point behind that advice is that for most people what they put on their calendar is set in stone. Appointments as much as next actions. For actions that aren't actually time sensitive, that just makes them look like they are.

    There is nothing wrong with making a day list of what you'd like to achieve, just be willing to overthrow it when a new input changes things. David said himself he finds that helpful. But keep it separate from what is truly time sensitive.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by jkder View Post

      This habbit of course was formed from what Allen says is the old school method of making daily to-do lists, I did it on scraps of paper. He says that no one should ever put next actions that dont have any due date on the calender or this defeats the purpose... as GTDoers yourselves, what do you find is the reasoning behind this? Also what are some other options that I may have overlooked in GTD?

      I really want to follow GTD thoroughly so it can be its most effective, but I keep disregarding this important rule, that the calendar is sacred territory. what should I do?
      I'm having this problem too. I've been writing basically a daily to-do list in my calendar.

      I understand the benefit of reserving the calendar for due-date items only, but I still feel a need to be reminded of certain actions on certain days even though they aren't appointments, and that that day isn't really their due date.

      For example, one thing I have to do soon is pick up a new shirt and tie for a function I have on June 6. This saturday is by far the best day to do this, but it isn't the only day I can do it. I want to be reminded on saturday that this is a smart thing to do on that day, but that doesn't mean I won't have a chance to do it earlier, or that I can't do it later.

      How does one plan their week, if the calendar is to be reserved for appointments and time-specific tasks only? How do I make sure that certain elective tasks get done in a reasonable time, even if they don't have a specific due date? Or will they jump out at me as 'reasonably important' during my daily review?

      Comment


      • #4
        How does one plan their week, if the calendar is to be reserved for appointments and time-specific tasks only?
        IMO, this great question goes to the heart of the paradigm-shifting nature of GTD.

        Since we're quoting from the text, here are a few guideposts I follow:

        p.49: "Given your context, time, and energy available [the first 3 of the 4 criteria in the Four Criteria Model for Choosing Actions in the Moment], what action will give you the highest payoff? ... This is where you need to access your intuition and begin to rely on your judgment call in the moment."

        p. 50: "Doing Predefined Work: When you're doing predefined work, you're working off your "Next Action" lists -- completing tasks that you have previously determined need to be done, managing your workflow..." [Italics mine]

        I keep disregarding this important rule, that the calendar is sacred territory. what should I do?
        p. 48: "...how will you decide what to do and what not to do, and feel good about both? The answer is, by trusting your intuition." He goes on to discuss the Four-Criteria Model for Choosing Actions in the Moment, in which priority is determined by answering the question, "what action will give you the highest payoff?" [p.49]

        DA follows up the statement you quote on p. 143 by describing what happens to everything else you have to do when you use the calendar strictly: it relegates them to another category called "as soon as possible, against all the other things I have to do." This goes to the question of determining priority, which, in my opinion, he finesses on p. 195 in a less than helpful way. But his clear statement on p.49 is the ultimate criteria in establishing priority among the non-calendar items: "what action will give you the highest payoff?"

        Comment


        • #5
          I appreciate your struggle! It's not easy to wrap one's brain around a completely new paradigm of working.

          Originally posted by David Cain View Post
          I still feel a need to be reminded of certain actions on certain days even though they aren't appointments, and that that day isn't really their due date.
          According to "classic GTD," this is what the tickler's for. You can also schedule them as reminders, as long as they're not specific appointments on your calendar.

          How does one plan their week, if the calendar is to be reserved for appointments and time-specific tasks only? How do I make sure that certain elective tasks get done in a reasonable time, even if they don't have a specific due date? Or will they jump out at me as 'reasonably important' during my daily review?
          If you're using GTD, you're looking at your Action lists many times per day--that's how you know of the work you need to do. Anything that needs to be done that day should leap off your lists, and you'll have many opportunities to see them that day.

          Does that make sense?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by David Cain View Post
            How does one plan their week, if the calendar is to be reserved for appointments and time-specific tasks only? How do I make sure that certain elective tasks get done in a reasonable time, even if they don't have a specific due date? Or will they jump out at me as 'reasonably important' during my daily review?
            I use Omnifocus and for those types of things I tend to set a due date for them. In OF they do not get attached to the calendar at all, but are still shown in their context as actions but when they become due, they change color so I know I've really got to work on them.

            I use my forward calendar for only hard appointments that I have to do at that time or not at all. As I complete my day I document what I actually spent my time on, this is my farm diary that is the initial data collection point for my various scrapbooks. I also go and review it to set future projects and dates. o for example, I don't know when the lambs will be born, but once they are I enter it in my calendar. Then at weekly review time I can see the date of the births and can then set a start and end date for the project in OF that has to happen 10-12 weeks after birth. Since I review my OF lists several times a day, I can see that coming up in the next few days or weeks I have to get the stuff to vaccinate lambs.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Brent View Post
              According to "classic GTD," this is what the tickler's for. You can also schedule them as reminders, as long as they're not specific appointments on your calendar.

              ...

              If you're using GTD, you're looking at your Action lists many times per day--that's how you know of the work you need to do. Anything that needs to be done that day should leap off your lists, and you'll have many opportunities to see them that day.

              Does that make sense?
              Yes that makes sense. I'm still creating fundamental GTD habits; my projects list definitely does not encompass 100% of my 'stuff' yet. I do not yet check my lists enough either, and I think that is the problem.

              I'm blocking off this entire evening to getting all my 'stuff' accounted for, and by monday I should be operating strictly from my projects list.

              I insist on doing everything on paper, so there will be no electronic reminders for me, and I just don't want to use a tickler file. But I've decided I will still schedule defined "reminders" in my calendar, with the prefix REM. But I'll stop putting NAs in there that have no clear time requirement.

              I'm getting more comfortable with this, thank you everyone.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jkder View Post
                Since I may have so many asap actions in each context [...] grouping things together and running through them smoothly without looking at a long list of NA's in a context.
                How many items are in each context list? How long does it take you to review all of them?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by David Cain View Post
                  For example, one thing I have to do soon is pick up a new shirt and tie for a function I have on June 6. This saturday is by far the best day to do this, but it isn't the only day I can do it. I want to be reminded on saturday that this is a smart thing to do on that day, but that doesn't mean I won't have a chance to do it earlier, or that I can't do it later.

                  How does one plan their week, if the calendar is to be reserved for appointments and time-specific tasks only? How do I make sure that certain elective tasks get done in a reasonable time, even if they don't have a specific due date? Or will they jump out at me as 'reasonably important' during my daily review?
                  I had a short struggle with this, too. Here's how I handle it now.

                  Remember, only these three things go on the calendar:
                  1. Time-specific actions
                  2. Day-specific actions
                  3. Day-specific reminders

                  You CAN put day-specific reminders on your Saturday calendar for things like this ("Buy new shirt and tie today?"), but the primary action reminder remains on the @Errands list because it CAN be done in advance. If the world changes and suddenly you're able to do the errand on Thursday, you'll have that reminder in a place your brain trusts you'll see it.

                  If Saturday is the ONLY day that you could do it, the reminder would go on the calendar as a day-specific action and not on the @Errands list.

                  I frequently do this with outdoor home improvement projects when weather conditions are ideal for a particular kind of task.

                  -Luke

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by David Cain View Post
                    I just don't want to use a tickler file.
                    A tickler file is most useful for physical objects that are tied to a particular date but that don't fit into your calendar (e.g., concert tickets). You don't have to stuff it full. Just insert whatever needs to be inserted into the appropriate folder for the month or day, and check the file regularly.

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