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Biggest GTD breakthrough/lesson/mistake for you?

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  • Biggest GTD breakthrough/lesson/mistake for you?

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to GTD and I'm still developing these habits, and last night I read a post here that was a real breakthrough for me. I divided my S/M list into four tiers: to be reviewd weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. Made things sooo much clearer.

    It made me wonder: what are the most important things you discovered about maintaining a GTD system? In other words, what do you wish you had been doing right from the beginning?

  • #2
    I know it's not 'orthodox' GTD, but for me a quazi-daily-to-do list really made the difference. It's not a list of next actions, so much as a reminder of how I want to try and spend my time. For example, it has items like 'Spend one hour on your primary goal' & 'Go to the gym'. Without these reminders, I know that I have a tendency to drift.

    That, and really sticking with the weekly review. The weekly review is vital.

    Comment


    • #3
      My most recent ah-ha moment concerns the weekly review and how to get it done in less than two hours.

      As you do the review, don't allow yourself to get caught up in doing. In fact, avoid processing and organizing because through the two-minute rule they lead to doing while you're reviewing. The exception of course is checking off completed items and adding next actions for projects you've defined.

      As you review your system, strictly capture thoughts that get triggered on a pad or individual slips of paper and get those into your inbasket. As soon as possible after you complete the review, process and organize what you've captured.

      For more information, see my post on this topic.

      Comment


      • #4
        Big breakthroughs:

        1. Buying an inbox. Before GTD, I didn't have one. It then took me a couple of years to develop the habit of getting my inbox to empty daily. I had some heavy resistance, but once I overcame it, I could never go back.

        2. Keeping a projects list. Before GTD, I had no lists. During my first week, I created some action lists in Excel, divided by context. It took a while before I started building up to project lists.

        3. Planning for higher altitudes. As stated in point 2, I started GTD by only listing actions. Gradually, I added projects. After a few years of working only with actions and projects I felt a natural inclination to create goals with longer time horizons.



        Biggest breakthrough:

        I have always felt that the key GTD insight is to get it out of my head. Contexts, ticklers, and everything else pale in comparison. Write it down!

        Comment


        • #5
          Weekly reviews

          GTD for me doesn't function without the weekly reviews. Reviewing everything and planning my next week is essential! I struggled with the weekly review for a while but loved a suggestion that was mentioned at the GTD Summit..."you don't have to do the review in one sitting; I do my review over a period of 2-3 days. - e.g. I get clear/current on Thursday and on Friday I finish getting current and get creative..

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          • #6
            Asking the right questions: esp outcome visioning

            All the questions that one asks regarding stuff; especially the purpose and visioning in the natural planning model. The biggest breakthrough and real motivator is detailed outcome visioning: fantasizing how anything would look and feel when completed, at all altitudes.

            Regards,
            Abhay

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            • #7
              Finding and implementing a list manager that worked for me. After that it all kind of went click, including the higher areas of focus. It was really a total breakthrough.

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              • #8
                The clean desk, the tickler system, with various "next actions" on a single sheet of notebook paper, it is all a well oiled machine now, been doing it for years.

                Thanks David!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Linada View Post
                  Finding and implementing a list manager that worked for me. After that it all kind of went click, including the higher areas of focus. It was really a total breakthrough.
                  What is your list manager set up? I recognize how important it is to have the right system and that it be as simple as possible. What clicked for you?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Danny Hardesty View Post
                    The clean desk, the tickler system, with various "next actions" on a single sheet of notebook paper, it is all a well oiled machine now, been doing it for years.
                    Do you have a full list of next actions somewhere else and just key ones on the sheet of paper - or do you fit all of your next actions onto a single sheet? Do you use contexts?

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                    • #11
                      For now, it's getting my reference filing system all set up. No longer do I need to have to hunt through my files. And, I have to work with my particular way of doing - it can be hard to break a lifetime of habits, but if you get these to work with you instead of against you, the process is much smoother.

                      For instance, I use color to distinguish between different items. A bunch of plain, tan manila folders all look the same to me, even with labels and are boring. So, I set up my filing system to take that into account. See how I got it all set up:

                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/lolajlb/3599733183/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Be confident in your system

                        Originally posted by David Cain View Post
                        It made me wonder: what are the most important things you discovered about maintaining a GTD system? In other words, what do you wish you had been doing right from the beginning?
                        I think it is really important since the beginning, collect all and be confident in your system, that means, for me, be confident in it and consult its context to be directed where you like to go

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                        • #13
                          where to begin

                          There were lots of breakthroughs. First getting the piles off the floor and my desk, to where I can see my desk and it's usually clean. The first time I did it took 2 weeks (5 hours/day) to go through everything. This was in the midst of several ongoing issues, so it wasn't like there was down time. When I set the system up the first time I used what I had and about 1 year later I bought filing cabinets and desk system that contributed to my productivity.

                          One thing that almost killed it for me 5 months after I started was when I began working from home one day/week and I was trying to process things in my office and at home (while filing everything at work). It meant essentially processing twice that I processed at home and it nearly killed the system.

                          Went through the book again got clean, and now my focus is the weekly review Using the check list provided on the site. It's made me a lot clearer about my commitments & priorities.

                          1. collect. (they've provided some wiggle room in their coaching that you don't have to do it all at once, but just get it done.)
                          2. process daily or at least every other day
                          3. capture everything (I use my iphone now)
                          4. weekly review done right. (connect helped me get the weekly review right, well worth the 48/month)
                          Stick with it. Stick with it, Stick with it. Just look at it this way, it's way easier than ..... -insert unpleasant medicine of choice- (chemo, quitting smoking, castor oil, etc).

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                          • #14
                            I still feel like I occasionally have a revelation about GTD - I'm still pretty new (only started about 2 months or so ago) so I guess there might be a little "tweaking" still to do

                            Two revelations spring to mind - one minor, one major. The former is the value of having lots of folders and filing equipment to hand. The amount of piles of papers I had that were totally disorganised on my desk was ridiculous. I couldn't find anything! Being able to just grab a file, label it, and put in what I need is great. I remember the first time I "surprised" myself when someone asked for some older piece of information, and I thought "I know where that is!" and could find it instantly!

                            The latter I got from this forum and that is: don't stress over the "right" way to organise things in your system. When I first started, I would be concerned over everything - "should this go in @home or @computer?" and sometimes miss stuff because I was trying to stick to the "rules". If this is happening, something's wrong! If you have a context list that you keep overlooking, then maybe those tasks don't need that context. That kind of thing. Realising that the goal was to Get Things Done and not to follow some strict scripture made everything fall into place.

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                            • #15
                              I just unstacked my two inboxes and declared one an outbox. So simple, and it keeps me from storing things in the bottom inbox.

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