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  • How to improve speed of processing? Reduce fatigue?

    I am working through large stacks of heterogeneous paper, processing it through the GTD flow chart. Thankfully much is trash, but a lot gets filed and has a corresponding project entry or a simple NA. While I am making progress, it is slow, my usual speed being 7 items in 15 minutes (I have a click counter as I have had to count people at events). Some things I am doing to move faster: calendar entries now go on a month-at-time calendar so I am not thumbing through planner as each date generating item appears before me, possible projects go on index cards so that I can sort them later into active vs SDMB, and do some linking and developing of subprojects, simple NAs go on index cards (I will put them in contexts later. Using the cards keeps me from reading through abut 100 projects I already have on paper to see if the item at hand is related to one in the system yet. The priority is moving the stuff through the system and when I am done I will review the projects on the cards, subdividing or integrating or eliminating, etc. I feel that I should be a point where I can process the giant IN box faster than before but in fact I have more files to walk my fingers through before finding the right one (I am up to four bankers boxes). I have subdivided the comprehensive file system so that financial and vital personal papers are in one box, house remodeling and redecorating are in another, and I am thinking about making family and friends a separate box too. I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions. I am finding all this filing exhausting. Otherwise, it is going really quite well! Any suggestions on increasing speed and reducing fatigue appreciated.

  • #2
    Jamie,

    I just spotted your question in the unanswered post list, and thought I would make an attempt at answering it even at this late date.

    After reading your post, I'm not sure that you are really processing eveything in a useful way. The statements you make such as:

    possible projects go on index cards so that I can sort them later into active vs SDMB, and do some linking and developing of subprojects, simple NAs go on index cards (I will put them in contexts later.
    and

    The priority is moving the stuff through the system and when I am done I will review the projects on the cards, subdividing or integrating or eliminating, etc.
    make me wonder if you are not simply spending time dividing stuff up instead of thinking about it. It is vital, if you are handling a lot of material, that you not have to keep handling it over and over again. If you decide the first time you think about it that something is a SDMB, then you do not have to think about it again except when you are scanning your SDMB list. Similarly, if you think about a project thoroughly when you first create it and create the appropriate Next Actions in context sensitive lists, you won't have to worry much about it until your next Weekly Review. Instead, by sorting stuff out first, you guarantee that you will have to keep looking at it again and again, which for me would be absolutely exhausting.

    What you are doing may even be a subtle (time-consuming and tiring) form of procrastination. By setting up multiple layers of review, you virtually ensure that you will not get to the actual thinking part.

    Please consider processing each item individually and completely, one item at a time. It may feel hard at first, but my guess is that you will find that the ultimate effort is less than the long process you have in place now. If you need reminding on how to do it, the GTD goes through how to process you in-box in detail.

    Please accept my apologies if this sounds as if I'm being critical, but I really think that your system, with its multiple layers of processing and review, is not helping you.

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    • #3
      Thanks for posting that, Guest! Even though it wasn't directed to me, it struck a nerve -- avoiding thinking about the very NA as a form of procrastination. Good insight, and a good reminder.
      Taxgeek

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      • #4
        taxgeek,

        I see I forgot to sign in when I posted the reply above, but I'll take credit and say you are welcome anyway.

        David

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