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Some questions from GTD newbie

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  • Some questions from GTD newbie

    Hello,

    I've been walking around with the GTD book under my arm for about two weeks now. Needless to say, I think it is awesome, and mirrors the way I had been starting to approach tasks and projects, but much more comprehensively.

    I have a handful of niggly questions and since it is on my NA list to post these questions , here they are:

    1. Is a task a Project or a NA if there is only one action, but it will be done in chunks. For example, I want to read a book that I already have (don't have to go to library or store). There is only one action involved - read - but I most likely won't read it in one sitting. Should it go on a "Project" list or "Next Action"?

    2. I find for some items, the next action seems to be "decide about." I really may not need to draft anything on paper or dicuss with anybody, I simply need to look at my schedule and decide whether it's something I want to participate in. How do you handle those? It's not really anything physically based.

    3. I am a stay-at-home mom with a lot of recurring tasks but outside of that, many days have little structure and lots of interruptions. The other day I unexpectedly had to stay home (sick kid) and I found I kept having to revisit the NA list again and again and felt a bit disoriented, not having a daily todo list. I totally get *not* having a daily todo list, as they often didn't work for me anyway, but I wonder how well GTD works with really unstructured time?

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Re: Some questions from GTD newbie

    Originally posted by Guest37
    1. Is a task a Project or a NA if there is only one action, but it will be done in chunks. For example, I want to read a book that I already have (don't have to go to library or store). There is only one action involved - read - but I most likely won't read it in one sitting. Should it go on a "Project" list or "Next Action"?
    If it's an eBook/AudioBook, I'd put it on my @Anywhere list.
    If it's a dead tree version and the book is located at my house, I'd put it in my "To Read" pile on my bedside table along with my other books to read for leisure.
    If it's something I really need to finish in a certain period of time, I'd put it on my calendar and note the pages or chapters to read on that day.


    Originally posted by Guest37
    2. I find for some items, the next action seems to be "decide about." I really may not need to draft anything on paper or dicuss with anybody, I simply need to look at my schedule and decide whether it's something I want to participate in. How do you handle those? It's not really anything physically based.
    I'd place it on the @Anywhere list. When you have decided on the next action, place it on the appropriate action list.
    Originally posted by Guest37
    3. I am a stay-at-home mom with a lot of recurring tasks but outside of that, many days have little structure and lots of interruptions. The other day I unexpectedly had to stay home (sick kid) and I found I kept having to revisit the NA list again and again and felt a bit disoriented, not having a daily todo list. I totally get *not* having a daily todo list, as they often didn't work for me anyway, but I wonder how well GTD works with really unstructured time?
    It works really well for contexts. Based on your example, staying at home to take care of your kid is the "hard landscape" of your day. That limits the things you have to do for the day. To be most productive, you could have browsed your @Anywhere, @Home, & @Phone list. You could have also done your weekly review.

    Comment


    • #3
      from Jason

      Originally posted by Guest37

      1. Is a task a Project or a NA if there is only one action, but it will be done in chunks. For example, I want to read a book that I already have (don't have to go to library or store). There is only one action involved - read - but I most likely won't read it in one sitting. Should it go on a "Project" list or "Next Action"?
      The purpose of writing down a next action is to remind me, when I get somewhere, that I had something to do there. Reading books doesn’t go on any next action list for me. Instead, I have a book in my briefcase, or on my desk. When I’m on a plane, or at my desk, I look at the things I “could” do, and if I choose to read, it’s because I saw the book there as an option. If you’re bringing the book around with you, that should serve as a reminder that you “said you would read it.”

      Originally posted by Guest37

      2. I find for some items, the next action seems to be "decide about." I really may not need to draft anything on paper or dicuss with anybody, I simply need to look at my schedule and decide whether it's something I want to participate in. How do you handle those? It's not really anything physically based.
      Decide on…our coach Anne wrote a great article on deciding next actions, check it out at: http://www.davidco.com/coaches_corne.../article6.html . There, she reminds me that even if I have to decide on something, I still have to some action (review, talk to, brainstorm, purge, gather, etc) to get to the point where I can make a next action decision.

      Originally posted by Guest37
      3. I am a stay-at-home mom with a lot of recurring tasks but outside of that, many days have little structure and lots of interruptions. The other day I unexpectedly had to stay home (sick kid) and I found I kept having to revisit the NA list again and again and felt a bit disoriented, not having a daily todo list. I totally get *not* having a daily todo list, as they often didn't work for me anyway, but I wonder how well GTD works with really unstructured time?
      Keeping my “open-loops” ready to review has been a great key to my productivity. When I’m not on the road, I’m working from home. That means a lot of unstructured time, where I have been tempted to run down rabbit trails. At the end of the day, I want to look back and feel great about what I did. GTD helps me do just that.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: from Jason

        Originally posted by Jason Womack
        Originally posted by Guest37

        1. Is a task a Project or a NA if there is only one action, but it will be done in chunks. For example, I want to read a book that I already have (don't have to go to library or store). There is only one action involved - read - but I most likely won't read it in one sitting. Should it go on a "Project" list or "Next Action"?

        The purpose of writing down a next action is to remind me, when I get somewhere, that I had something to do there. Reading books doesn’t go on any next action list for me. Instead, I have a book in my briefcase, or on my desk. When I’m on a plane, or at my desk, I look at the things I “could” do, and if I choose to read, it’s because I saw the book there as an option. If you’re bringing the book around with you, that should serve as a reminder that you “said you would read it.”
        Thanks, Jason for your reply. Actually in my case I actually need to be reminded that I am reading a given book because I usually tend to be reading two or three at the same time, and in different places depending upon my mood. While I try to keep the books in one place they don't always stay there. Maybe the book reading wasn't the best example. What about a different thing that is done in chunks, such as typing up a long document - would you put that in a Project or a Next action, if the only thing to be done is type the document and it would take several days?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Some questions from GTD newbie

          [quote="greyf1"]
          Originally posted by Guest37
          To be most productive, you could have browsed your @Anywhere, @Home, & @Phone list. You could have also done your weekly review.
          I wish I could have done my Weekly Review. I tried, but an ornery three-year old tugging on me all day long kind of precluded that.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: from Jason

            Originally posted by Guest37
            What about a different thing that is done in chunks, such as typing up a long document - would you put that in a Project or a Next action, if the only thing to be done is type the document and it would take several days?

            A next action acts as a reminder, a bookmark if you will, on the "project plan."

            Take for example:

            PROJECT: Submit 1,000 word article on Office Productivity to editor.
            Next Action: Type up handwritten conclusion and intro paragraph.


            Here's a "real project" I'm working on. So, I have the "successful outcome," and, where I am right now is to enter some stuff that I've written into the computer.

            I don't write down ALL the next actions, just the next one. It's as if I picked up a book, openned to the bookmark I left, and continued reading.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Some questions from GTD newbie

              Originally posted by Guest37
              2. I find for some items, the next action seems to be "decide about." I really may not need to draft anything on paper or dicuss with anybody, I simply need to look at my schedule and decide whether it's something I want to participate in. How do you handle those? It's not really anything physically based.
              Just a couple thoughts regarding this question...

              If there really isn't anything else that I need to do before making a decision (i.e. getting more information, talking it over with someone, etc.), it means one of two things, for me. Either I just need to make the decision, meaning that I look at my calendar and make it (usually a less-than-two-minute action) or I need to incubate it for sometime, when I hopefully will be more ready to make the decision. In the latter case, I place the item in my tickler file, anywhere from a couple days to a couple months out.

              Comment

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