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  • Implement GTD, But How?

    Finally going to make a push to implement GTD in my personal life (keeping work separate for now). Have read the book twice and even listened to it on my iPOD. Read about a hundred posts here and external links.
    Still don’t have file cabinets (my wife’s requirement that they not be ‘Ug-Mo’ is hard to meet) but I want to start anyway.

    My problem is actual implementation.

    I have a Blackberry for work that functions as my only PDA and personal Cell Phone. It syncs wirelessly to my work Outlook (email, tasks, calendar, contacts, etc). Work blocks all external ‘apps’ so straight Outlook is all I can use.

    I don’t have an issue with putting personal contacts, appointments and lists on my work Outlook. I’ll sync key items with my home Outlook via USB.

    Now, I want to use my Outlook Tasks via my Blackberry to hold my electronic Lists (Buckets) but I can’t envision how this will work.

    Here’s a sample of my current Projects, Next Actions (NAs) and Waiting Fors:
    • Project – Fix up Storage Area: Move excess bathroom tiles to clear space; set up covered clothes closet; move excess clothes to covered clothes closet [previously I bought shelves and the clothes closet and already set up the shelves]
    • NA – Call back Johnny
    • NA – Text back Jarrett
    • NA – Pick wedding photos [I really want to do this before my 1 year anniversary!]
    • NA – Buy file cabinets [first I need to find them and have wife approve – is this a project? Or is it part of the much bigger project of Implement GTD?]
    • Waiting For – Wife to say whether she can accept delivery of furniture tomorrow [if not, I need to take off from work]

    My Next Action Contexts [Categories in Outlook?] would be:
    • At Home
    • At Computer
    • Calls [this will include texts NAs]

    There’s more but if I can figure out have to process these then I’ll have a roadmap for the rest.
    Last edited by tuba; 06-18-2009, 12:02 PM.

  • #2
    There's not a simple answer to this question; everyone implements GTD in a different way. Ulitmately you'll have to use what works best for you and determining that is usually a trial-and-error process.

    I suggest that you avoid using company-issue equipment for holding your personal system. If you get fired or downsized, your company will confiscate your Blackberry and your system along with it.

    Since you're just getting started, you need to keep technology-related challenges out of the picture and focus on executing the GTD principles. I suggest you start with a paper system for your primary action lists. You can always switch to a computerized system later. Paper systems are easy to build and cheap.

    Since you don't have filing cabinets, get a set of bankers boxes or portable file boxes to hold your reference files. I also suggest you set up a tickler file in a portable file box and use 43 hanging folders to build it (this is the one place I think hangers are better; use plain manilla folders for reference filing). Before the tickler file, I hated paper because I didn't know where to put "decide not to decide" paper articles. Now I don't mind paper at all.

    Best of luck!

    -Luke

    Comment


    • #3
      I second the starting out with paper motion. If I had done that when I started 2 years ago, I would be so much further ahead then where I am now. Man those blackberry's can really get in the way of getting (the right) things done. (Note: I still use my blackberry for contacts, calendar, and notes...but paper for everything else).

      Good luck and have fun. Remember....two important things as you go:
      1. The best system is one you don't have to think about.
      2. The best system is one that you'll use when you have the flu.

      Now make your choices....

      Ryan

      Comment


      • #4
        Some thoughts...

        Originally posted by tuba View Post
        Here’s a sample of my current Projects, Next Actions (NAs) and Waiting Fors:
        Project – Fix up Storage Area: Move excess bathroom tiles to clear space; set up covered clothes closet; move excess clothes to covered clothes closet [previously I bought shelves and the clothes closet and already set up the shelves]
        I would create separate subprojects to reduce the complexity since setting up closet may require some @errands actions.
        Originally posted by tuba View Post
        NA – Call back Johnny
        Do you remember why you want to call back?
        Originally posted by tuba View Post
        NA – Text back Jarrett
        Do you remember why you want to text back?
        Originally posted by tuba View Post
        NA – Pick wedding photos [I really want to do this before my 1 year anniversary!]
        Should be @errands.
        Originally posted by tuba View Post
        NA – Buy file cabinets [first I need to find them and have wife approve – is this a project? Or is it part of the much bigger project of Implement GTD?]
        If you've got to do something first it is a project for sure. You can treat "GTD Implemetation" as a higher level Area of Focus.
        Originally posted by tuba View Post
        Waiting For – Wife to say whether she can accept delivery of furniture tomorrow [if not, I need to take off from work]
        It is rather @agendas (or @wife) item not @waiting-for.
        Originally posted by tuba View Post
        My Next Action Contexts [Categories in Outlook?] would be:
        • At Home
        • At Computer
        • Calls [this will include texts NAs]
        I think you need @errands, @work and @agendas (or @wife).

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by tuba View Post
          • Project – Fix up Storage Area: Move excess bathroom tiles to clear space; set up covered clothes closet; move excess clothes to covered clothes closet [previously I bought shelves and the clothes closet and already set up the shelves]
          • NA – Call back Johnny
          • NA – Text back Jarrett
          • NA – Pick wedding photos [I really want to do this before my 1 year anniversary!]
          • NA – Buy file cabinets [first I need to find them and have wife approve – is this a project? Or is it part of the much bigger project of Implement GTD?]
          • Waiting For – Wife to say whether she can accept delivery of furniture tomorrow [if not, I need to take off from work]
          Fix up storage area looks to me like several projects. All dependent on the one that came before. There is no next action acssociated with it at this point. Move excess tiles isn't sufficient unless you know where they are going or what you are going to do with them.

          I'd put them in categories @phone the call to Johnny, but I'd have more on the call about what I need. my actual NA would be call Johnny re cost to fabricate widget for thingy by Monday.

          Ditto the text back to Jarrett, what do I need to text back?

          Pick wedding photos is an incomplete project to me. It's much too vague to be a next action. Are they at home? On computer? at a photographers studio? Do you have CD's full of guests own pictures? What are you planning to do with them once picked out? Traditional paper scrapbook? Digital scrapbook? Send copies of them to family? Get them framed for display in your house? I'd have a next action to make the decisions about why you need the photos first.

          Buy file cabinets is a project because there are several steps. I think the next action would be to have wife define what style is acceptable to her. Without that you will be searching for stuff, asking if it is ok and wasting a lot of time. Might you be able to delegate this to her? Define the requirements (I need a file cabinet with a sliding back stop that does not use hanging folders that can hold 8 feet of files) or whatever your real requirements are and then let her find file cabinets that meet both your file needs and her design needs?

          The furniture delivery isn't really a waiting for it's more of a talking point or agenda with wife. I have all projects and actions that I need hubby for in 2 main contexts as either inside with K or outside with K

          Hope that helps

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for the responses. I’ll address each in turn.
            ellobogrande
            Originally posted by tuba View Post
            I don’t have an issue with putting personal contacts, appointments and lists on my work Outlook. I’ll sync key items with my home Outlook via USB.
            Plus, the Blackberry is mine. They can’t/won’t ‘take it.’

            roakleyca
            Originally posted by roakleyca View Post
            2. The best system is one that you'll use when you have the flu.
            Hehe. That’s a good rule of thumb.

            Not gonna do paper. I’m a digital guy and I know paper will just add to my problems.

            TesTeq and Oogiem
            For clarification, the clothes closet is a stand alone that I can put together in 20 mins. Everything is in one box. And the wedding photos are on a site just waiting to be selected (already paid for, this is the last step). But your comments were appreciated. I remember why I need to call/text back but I see the point; I should add more details.
            Since I already asked the wife about waiting for the delivery, isn’t it a ‘Waiting For?’ Don’t I need a list of ‘Waiting Fors’ separate from my Next Actions list?

            Overall, my problem is more platform specific, I guess.

            Using a Blackberry, I can sort the Tasks list using the Categories (people here equate them to Contexts). I envision a Category for Projects, Next Actions (which will be broken up into subcategories of “Errands,’ ‘At Computer,’ ‘Calls/Texts,’ etc.), Waiting For, Someday/Maybe, and so forth.

            Below is my best guess how all this will look on my Blackberry.
            Note that for Projects, I will include the various Next Actions in its notes section AND copy those into their own Next Actions as they become do-able. For Next Actions that are completed, I will add the completion date in front of it in the Project’s notes section. I will worry about linking Projects to their Next Actions for now. I understand it’s a polarizing issue.

            TASK LIST
            Category = Projects
            • Fix up Storage Area.
              Notes: 06-15-09 Shop for shelves and covered clothes closet for storage space; 06-17-09 Buy shelves and covered clothes closet for storage space; 06-18-09 Set up shelves in storage space; Move excess bathroom tiles to shelves to clear space; set up covered clothes closet in storage space; Pick clothes from bedroom closet for long-term storage; move excess clothes down to covered clothes closet in storage area.
            • Buy File Cabinets.
              Notes: Write down specifications for file cabinets (# of drawers, size, layout); Ask wife to pick 3 file cabinets that fit my specifications and meet her atheistic requirements; Decide which of the wife’s 3 file cabinet options I prefer; Buy selected file cabinets.
            Category = Next Action and At Home
            • Move excess bathroom tiles to shelves to clear space.
            Category = Next Action and Calls
            • Call back Johnny to return his call from 06-15-09 @ 10:15pm.
            • Text back Jarrett re: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class.
            Category = Next Action and At Computer
            • Select wedding photos from photographer’s website.
            Category = Waiting For
            • Awaiting response from Wife as to whether she can accept delivery of furniture on 06-19-09.
            When I have time to make calls, I open up the Tasks list and display only those items that fit within the Calls/Texts Category. I can also see ALL my Next Actions, regardless of sub-category, if needed, by displaying all Next Action Category Tasks. When I’m doing my Weekly Review, I open up the Tasks list and display only the Project Category, then close that and switch to the Someday/Maybe Category Tasks, and so on.

            Wouldn’t this work?
            Last edited by tuba; 06-19-2009, 08:16 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Not sure if I’m the only one using straight Outlook Tasks for GTD or if my posts are just too long and poorly written to garner a response.
              No worries, I'm just going to go for it.

              Started implementing GTD with the Tasks and Categories above.

              Problems I’ve encountered:
              1. I am in-between GTD and my old system because I’m not able to ‘Collect’ everything in one sitting. Doing mini-runs where I Collect and Process when I get time. Sometimes I only get one item done. Not sure if this is correct.
              2. Since I used Tasks a lot in my old To Do List system, I already have a bunch of Tasks without Categories that need to be ‘Processed.’ For most I’ve created an “IN BASKET” Category with one task entitled “GTD IN BASKET LIST.” I will process the items on this list from top down as I get time. Most stuff in there will qualify as Reference Materials related to Projects.
              3. Having a “NEXT ACTION” Category, as well as different NA context Categories, seems like a waste. I’m going to delete the pure “NEXT ACTION” Category and file every next action with a context. So far I have “NA-Shopping,” “NA-@Computer,” and “NA-Calls.”
              4. Synchronizing my work and home Outlooks via my Blackberry is not easy. Work synchs wirelessly and home synchs wired (which requires manually turning off wireless synch for tasks and contacts every time I want to synch!). Sometimes things don’t synch after I change them. Maybe it’s because home uses Outlook 2002 and work uses Outlook 2003.

              Slowly but surely I'm getting GTD done.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tuba View Post
                Not sure if I’m the only one using straight Outlook Tasks for GTD or if my posts are just too long and poorly written to garner a response.
                You might have better luck over in the Software/Hardware forum (or you might not.)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Roger View Post
                  You might have better luck over in the Software/Hardware forum (or you might not.)
                  Thanks. I'l give it a try.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I was once told that tool is a 4-letter word.

                    I was told a tool is a device that gives you advantage you otherwise wouldn't have. However, if you believe because you're good with that tool that you have to use it as a solution for everything, the tool becomes a burden. (It was from the Japanese proverb of, "It's one thing if you know when to use a hammer. It's another if you believe you must always use a hammer.")

                    Blackberry is a tool. If a given person is fluent with it for many things, great. If not, it can be an impediment to getting a "mind like water" GTD system.

                    Of course, don't drop your Blackberry in the toilet. That's not what I meant by "mind like water." (It's been known to happen, and that's a nightmare.)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      QuestorTheElf - The quote you're looking for is:
                      "When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

                      And I agree with you about paper. In most posts here people talk about paper as if it is the best tool for GTD. Especially Moleskins.

                      Comment

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