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  • Keeping on top of everything

    Hi Seeking assistance and guidance from fellow GTD users. I having been trying to work out the best way to keep track of actions, meeting notes, prep notes for meetings etc. Actions can come from me or from meetings I attend. Often an action needs to be discussed/actioned by me working with multiple people who I will probably have to see individually and will just be one of many things to be discussed with the person concerned

    To provide context I run a Business Support team of ~22 people who support a technology group of ~1000. I spend the majority (60%) of my week in meetings, I have experimented with keeping notes and actions grouped by project (using tabs in a notebook for grouping projects) I have tried keeping everything in one notepad ie notes for meetings, prep notes for meetings, actions etc.

    I never seem to be able to get everything together when I need to meet one of the directors. As an example I will have an amalgam of actions, thoughts, e mails etc to consolidate for discussion with him or her often collected over a couple of weeks. Struggle to source everything at once etc

    I use the GTD add in for mail mgt, but use paper as described above for task mgt. Not sure if I should keep using contexts and projects or simplify to just using one of them?

    At any one time I have 25 to 40 individual things on the go many of which can take several weeks to bring to a conclusion. Any thoughts as to what collection system I should put in place?

    I apologise for the length of my posting but want to provide context.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Greystoke View Post
    I never seem to be able to get everything together when I need to meet one of the directors. As an example I will have an amalgam of actions, thoughts, e mails etc to consolidate for discussion with him or her often collected over a couple of weeks...

    At any one time I have 25 to 40 individual things on the go many of which can take several weeks to bring to a conclusion. Any thoughts as to what collection system I should put in place?
    To address the first item you need an "@director x" list for those items to discuss with that director.

    The "25 to 40 individual things on the go", that's your project list, that you are reviewing weekly or as needed to see that everything is on track.

    - Don

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    • #3
      Be happy to help, but I'm having a little difficulty parsing your post; you're asking about a lot of things at once, then you seem to be re-stating your questions. I'll try!

      The best way to keep track of actions -- whatever works for you. I've heard of people using paper, PDAs, laptops, smart phones, whiteboards, chalkboards, and probably others. You mention that you're already using paper. What specifically about that isn't working for you?

      The best way to collect -- you need something you already have with you all the time (all the time), or that you can bring with you all the time. If you already have a PDA/smart phone, that can work. A pocket notebook or deck of 3x5" cards work well, too, along with a pen or pencil always in your pocket.

      Remember: you can capture in any medium; you will later process into another medium (onto your lists).

      You mention that you have an "amalgam of actions, thoughts, and emails" that you bring to meetings. Thoughts should be captured (with your Ubiquitous Capture Tool), then processed into Next Actions, Projects, Waiting Fors, Someday/Maybes, etc. Similarly, emails should generate Actions, Projects, Waiting Fors, etc.

      When it comes to email, imagine if the sender--instead of sending the email--walked up to you and said to you what's written in the email. You (generally) don't need to replay a tape recording of your face-to-face conversations with your boss. Similarly, you (generally) shouldn't need to bring emails to meetings. Any work should be captured in NAs, Projects, etc. If the email is really important, it can go into your Project Support Material for that project.

      Does that help?

      Would it help to read a description of an end-to-end system?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Greystoke View Post
        I never seem to be able to get everything together when I need to meet one of the directors. As an example I will have an amalgam of actions, thoughts, e mails etc to consolidate for discussion with him or her often collected over a couple of weeks. Struggle to source everything at once etc

        I use the GTD add in for mail mgt, but use paper as described above for task mgt.
        As a first swing at this, I might try making a folder for each director you need to meet. Whenever you have anything that you might want or need to discuss with one of them, make a copy of it and put it in their folder(s), then let the original carry on to its original destination.

        This may require you to clarify (possibly formally) what exactly your relationship with each director is, which is quite possibly a good thing.

        There's probably some overhead involved in filtering out obsolete items prior to a meeting, but it may or may not be onerous.

        Anyway, that's where I'd start with it, based on what you've said so far.



        Cheers,
        Roger

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