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  • GTD at home and work, separate or together?

    Hello all,

    I have started to pursue GTD as a means of organizing my life at home, given my tendency to procrastinate/forget just about any chore there is.

    While reading, the author mentions "If your head is empty of everything, personally and professionally, then your in-basket is probably quite full..." While I would like to implement GTD at work as well, I have tried to keep work and home as separate as possible, and was going to treat that as its own separate project.

    Should I be trying to implement GTD for all aspects of my life right now, as one big undertaking, or is it alright to separate them like this?

    Thank you for your thoughts.

  • #2
    Personally, I've always done them together, but the bottom line is that, if you need to do them separately... First one then the other, then do that!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by dschaffner View Post
      Personally, I've always done them together, but the bottom line is that, if you need to do them separately... First one then the other, then do that!
      Thank you for your thoughts, dschaffner. I'll give it a try!

      Comment


      • #4
        Work and home

        Here are some suggestions to consider.

        Ideally, GTD describes the mind sweep as being everything from work and home all in one place. You may choose to try GTD for your home life, and then decide what to do about work later on.

        You will likely find, though, that to clear your mind completely, you will end up having to write down work items. This is because the work ideas will keep popping up while you think of home ideas, so you'll need to get them on paper so they are out of the way. To keep work separate, put them on a separate list.

        You may later find that it is more efficient to have, for example, all of your work and home Errands on one list. It may be helpful to have "buy manila envelopes for business mailing" and "buy printer paper for home printer" on the same list. You may choose to keep them separate anyway, in which case you'll just need to review two lists.

        I appreciate why people want to keep the two as distinct areas. In my case, those reasons became less important as I got GTD more implemented. When I finally had ALL of my projects and Next Actions listed, it no longer mattered to me whether they were work or home. I can't fully explain why. Before that, it had mattered much more.

        Hope this helps!
        JohnV474

        Comment


        • #5
          Thank you for your thoughts, JohnV474.

          Those are all good points; and definitely are feeling true... Work does come up when trying to get it all out on paper, and there is that feeling that I really haven't gotten _everything_ in the in basket.

          Work and home used to be a much blurrier line, and it was having a negative impact in my personal life due to my inability to keep the two separate at times. I think this is where part of my aversion to tackling them together comes from. That, and the inbox is already stacked very full...

          Your point about keeping work on a separate list is a really excellent idea, though. Rather than having GTD blur the line between work and home, it could serve as a tool to keep them separate quite nicely.

          Thanks for your thoughts! Time to overflow the inbox...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by JohnV474 View Post
            I appreciate why people want to keep the two as distinct areas. In my case, those reasons became less important as I got GTD more implemented. When I finally had ALL of my projects and Next Actions listed, it no longer mattered to me whether they were work or home. I can't fully explain why. Before that, it had mattered much more.
            I don't undestand why one would want to keep seperate home and work lists: If there's something I have to do, I have to do it. What's the difference between calling a client and calling aunt Josie? What's the difference between buying a loaf of bread and buying a pen for the office?

            Jochen

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            • #7
              I keep all actions in one system buy separated by contexts: @home and @work. The reason I don't want to see Call my brother John on my work list is because I want to use my work time as efficient as I can to earn as much as I'm able. And my brother could wait till 7pm when work hours are finished.

              Comment


              • #8
                Another reason for wanting the separation

                One reason someone may want to keep home and work separate is that the person feels that one of the two has stepped on the other's toes. I imagine there are people who were once so devoted to work that their personal lives suffered, so they may want the separation to reinforce that priority.

                Another reason someone may want to keep home and work separate is if the person has a strong negative feeling towards one or the other. For example, if I hate my job, I may not want reminders of it when I'm going to the store. Another example, if I have a horrible home life or a house in terrible disrepair, my emotions may push for separating that area from the productive (so to speak) area.

                I can understand why people would want to do this, but I believe many people will lose that motivation as GTD gets more fully implemented (and, by extension, life goes more into balance). I would encourage anyone to keep both systems separate if possible. There are ways of separating work and personal life within a single system (by Contexts, for instance).

                JohnV474

                Comment


                • #9
                  All one Life

                  For me it's all one life. I see no value in separating my work and home, partly because I live where I work. For balance between those aspects I should be balanced if I manage my weekly review correctly and look at the higher levels as needed.

                  You can always make appropriate contexts for your actions hat will tend to be focused on work or home tasks. My outside with help context is almost all work related where my inside by myself context contains a mix of personal and work items.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I keep everyting in one system and partition them according to areas of focus and roles. My system contains a tree folder structure that makes it easy for me to organize projects into catagories that represent horizons of focus. my top structure is the 30k focus and looks like this
                    H:Friends and Family fun
                    H:Finances
                    H:Health and Vitality
                    H:Home Maintenance
                    W:Admin
                    W:Maintenance
                    W:Career Development
                    W:Construct and Create


                    Below these top folders I have more folders for goals, folders for individual projects, down to taks files. which are forms that contain the task details.

                    The system works nicely. Though all my items are in one system I find that there is very little overlap or ambiguity between what I consider work and what I consider home.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JohnV474 View Post
                      I appreciate why people want to keep the two as distinct areas. In my case, those reasons became less important as I got GTD more implemented. When I finally had ALL of my projects and Next Actions listed, it no longer mattered to me whether they were work or home. I can't fully explain why. Before that, it had mattered much more.
                      I would have to say it's because you're Making It All Work!

                      There really is no distinction in the mind between personal or professional work, which David defines as anything that you want to get done that's not done yet. Manage it appropriately and it doesn't distract you. Mismanage it and it will bug you regardless.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Reading through this tread makes me realize that, to an outside observer, my system looks completely convoluted. But it works for me:

                        I keep separate systems, one for my "day job" and one for everything else. Anything directly related to day job is on the work system, if I think of something off hours I just shoot an email to my work address and process it the next time I'm in the office. (Reverse the direction if I think of something personal while at work.) Where it gets convoluted is I keep career development and my hobbyist "work" on my personal/home list.

                        I don't want to be distracted with personal stuff while at work and I certainly don't want to be reminded of the office over the weekend.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Another reason to keep work separate

                          Although I am a firm believer that the system must include both work and personal and, specifically, you must have a calendar that has both (how will you know when to schedule your dentist appointment if you don't know when that board meeting is?), I agree that there may be benefits to keeping separate work lists (project and next action lists, at least). In the event you cannot be at work, having a complete list of all your open projects and planned next actions can make your substitute's life so much easier. Or if you are sick for five days, can help you get back on your feet when you get back.

                          And as also been mentioned on this forum several times, if you are discussing your job responsibilities and commitments with your supervisor it can help to have the lists handy.

                          I would not be as comfortable handing over a list with all my personal projects and actions to someone at work.

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