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GTD and Remembering

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  • GTD and Remembering

    Hey everyone, have a question.

    Right now, everything GTD resides in my moleskine. I have a project section for project lists (for freelance, at home projects, etc), and then single next action context lists (@home, @computer, @out, @calls) close to the back of the moleskine with tabs indicating where they are at.

    Now I'm having a problem with remembering to check those, or even writing anything in those context lists. My memory is very horrible. There have been times I've forgot to use the bathroom up to 5-6 times a day.

    Here is some of the advice I've got:

    - Get some type of memory boosting meds

    - Use remember the milk with email reminders for your context lists (can use at home and on my palm pre)

    - Use the calendar for your tasks, but add the tasks in either the 'all day' part of the day or before the work day start, and don't dismiss the reminder until everything is done.

    - Post it notes in the office telling you your lists.


    Now I'm a web designer that loves tech and gadgets, but I'm a paper based GTD person because I feel that scratching a finished task off motivates me more then deleting or hitting the check mark box, but if I can't remember to even collect, process or anything, then the GTD system is basically useless. I've been doing the GTD system for about a half a year and I still can't remember to do most of the reviewing and processing unless I have some type of motivation (such as other GTD'ers that live like a mile away from me).

    The only thing I can really do right is collect and I'll probably forget to collect once every few days or like on weekends.

    Do anyone have a good GTD system they use to keep them motivated and also something that can remind you at every second.

    Thanks
    Last edited by whochrisporter; 06-23-2009, 06:47 AM.

  • #2
    So, you're not really working off your lists, then. How do you know what work needs to be done? When you sit down at your desk, how do you decide what to do?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Brent View Post
      So, you're not really working off your lists, then. How do you know what work needs to be done? When you sit down at your desk, how do you decide what to do?
      Well when I get home, I sit down and I open up email and then when I open up my moleskine, for some reason everything just leaves my head and I end up doing something else. I'm still used to people yelling at me to do something, but when it's on my own, I tend to either forget or get sidetracked.

      I've even shut down my computer, turn off the TV, and just have the light on, and I still for some reason get sidetracked and go off in daydream land.

      So I always forget to go thru my paper lists everyday.

      So now I'm getting in more ideas from the people at my job and I think I may have to go with the uncomfortable method of going 80% digital/20% paper instead of full paper because at least the digital will have those annoying reminders that will help me.

      Here is my plan:

      - Still capture in my moleskine because its faster to pull out the moleskine and write than to open up the app in my Palm Pre and type on the keyboard

      - Eliminating context lists because I think multi tasking or anything dealing with "multi" is stressing me out and makes me forget more. I think four old guys with Alzheimer can beat me out in a memory game (note: I'll be 23 in July). If I come up with some way to get back into lists, then that would be great.

      - I've tried Remember the Milk for handling my context lists, but I wasn't motivated enough to get too complicated and with all the numerous clicks to do stuff (note I'm a professional web designer)

      - Right now I'm trying the tasks app in my Palm Pre. I want to use it as a daily to do list. So I want to look at my inbox and anything that I have to do today, I put it in my Pre. It notifies me every second to do something, and I'm always looking at my phone because....its the Palm Pre. It's brand new and I love playing with it...pause.

      - I'm still trying to come up with a way to use context lists because without it, I'm not truly using GTD, just my own made up thing. I know I dont have to follow the full system, but I did just throw away like 2 steps:

      1. Collect - in my moleskine

      2. Process - put stuff to do today in palm pre task app

      3. Organize - eliminated temporary until a simpler method or some type of motivation brings me back to doing this

      4. Review - I always forget to do this and never have the motivation to do this.

      5. Do - Of course I do this.

      Any help would be great.

      Comment


      • #4
        Get back to the lists: develop the habit

        I think it is just a matter of developing the habit, and maintaining it. When you notice yourself getting sidetracked, don't beat yourself up. Get back to working off the lists immediately. If by being sidetracked you have some important ideas in your mind, note them all down before turning to your lists. Do this repeatedly, since it is a matter of developing the habit.

        Also, when you are about to start working, just relax for two minutes, and visualize yourself working off the lists, marking item done, moving to the next item, and so on, ever day. In due time, this will help increase working off the lists.

        Almost every one of us gets sidetracked with a variety of frequencies. That is perhaps one of our ways of being creative. So do not expect to be on the lists all the time!

        From your post I had the impression that you designate a time for collection. Collection should happen all the time, as and when you think of something, or somebody asks you for something, and so on. The mind sweep once a day or week is just to ensure you haven't missed something.

        Processing, almost once a day, is also a habit. You can decide to do it, and stick to it as far as possible, again without beating yourself up.

        It is a circle of habits and trust: You will capture regularly if you trust it will be processed, you will process regularly and make projects and actions if you trust you will be working off action lists, you will mainly work off action lists and not get sidetracked when you capture those thoughts and you trust your capturing process. And you will trust the entire process and system only when you regularly review and update it. So it may take more time.

        It is only your mental setup that can keep you on something "every second"; anything else would be too irritating to be of any use. Again, just keep up at it, without beating yourself up.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the more detailed reply!

          I do sympathize with your plight; I've been there. It's just easier to do nothing, and there's often still some internal resistance towards looking at one's lists.

          Is there any way you can make your lists more visible? For example, at home I used to keep my NAs on a big whiteboard. Hard to miss!

          Have you tried scheduling some time to work on your NAs? This doesn't work for everyone, but sometimes it helps as a reminder to look at one's lists.

          One trick I've found useful: I put fun on my lists, as well. A movie I want to see, for example. It's a positive draw.

          Comment


          • #6
            Context Lists

            [QUOTE=whochrisporter;68093]...
            Here is my plan:...
            - Eliminating context lists because I think multi tasking or anything dealing with "multi" is stressing me out and makes me forget more. I think four old guys with Alzheimer can beat me out in a memory game (note: I'll be 23 in July). If I come up with some way to get back into lists, then that would be great.
            ....

            Whochrisporter,

            I think you're throwing the baby out with the bath water. Context lists are not about multi-tasking. They are just a way of reminding yourself of all of the things you have committed to do in a particular place.

            An increasing body of evidence suggests that multi-tasking is stressful and decreases your effective intelligence. You can and should do the actions one at a time.

            Comment


            • #7
              On a Different Note Entirely...

              Whochrisporter,

              Forgive me for saying this, and I'm not trying to be a smart alec, but when I read your post, it occurred to me that you are showing a lot of signs of mental exhaustion or possibly depression. You might want to consider seeing a doctor.

              Needless to say, I would invite any members who are medical or psychological professionals to correct me if I'm off base here.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Scott_L_Lewis View Post
                Whochrisporter,

                Forgive me for saying this, and I'm not trying to be a smart alec, but when I read your post, it occurred to me that you are showing a lot of signs of mental exhaustion or possibly depression. You might want to consider seeing a doctor.

                Needless to say, I would invite any members who are medical or psychological professionals to correct me if I'm off base here.
                Its all good. I go to therapy once every two weeks. I have GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). So I'm always negative about everything (even when there isn't any negatives, I make up one...like getting laid by Halle Berry or winning some money for example), and I worry a lot so the worrying keeps me from being productive and puts too much on my mind.

                I take Lexapro, but with my terrible memory, its hard to remember to take it everyday. I've even put posted notes in places where I'm always looking at (dresser for deodorant, fridge for food, in the middle of the computer screen), and I still walk out the house for work without taking the pill.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Habits

                  Perhaps some of your issues come from not having the right habits established. I know much of getting things done involve developing habits, the most basic of which is looking at a list. A checklist can contain such things as "Take medication today" and "look at NA list in total". (For example, I've been checking off "take vitamins" for a year now, since I will forget if the day starts stressy.)

                  Just looking at a daily list or checklist requires a habit to do so. Maybe there is a fun or interesting way you can develop some of these basic habits.

                  Comment

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