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GTD tips you've found most helpful

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  • GTD tips you've found most helpful

    I thought it would be interesting to see what others found to be helpful GTD tips. Either things that are a standard part of GTD, but that took a while before it really sunk in, AHAs you've had that lead to very helpful practices or perhaps ways you've customized GTD for you (even if not orthodox GTD).

    The most helpful AHA I have had is to write out what a sucessful week would look like. I have a job, moonlight at another facility, am starting up a small consulting practice, and try to get in yoga, pilates and weightlifting. So it is really helpful for me to see what/how much time I have for each activity, and what tradeoffs I have to make given time constraints (and the need for taking down time). Oh and for me, my PDA does not work for this, I need the visual of paper or a large block calendar.

  • #2
    The most helpfull hint for me has been "Don't use support material for reminding".

    Rainer

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    • #3
      I don't know that these count as tips, exactly:

      1) Do the Weekly Review. Just do it.

      2) Those thoughts that drift into my mind when I'm driving (aka 'just thinking')? They're worth recording *for processing*. Really. They may not be next actions, I don't have to commit to them on that level just because 'Hmm, I should clean out the stallion's water tank' just drifted through my head, but they ARE worth recording for processing.

      (Boy, if I can get #2 down, I will rule my little world.

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      • #4
        Too many helpful things come to mind, but I guess it's "you must be responsible for collecting all your open loops, applying a front-end thought process to each of them, and managing the results with organization, review, and action." (Page 80 Getting Things Done)

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        • #5
          When you think about it - write it down or record it somehow, no matter where you are. Period. You'd be amazed at how much information, or how many ideas, you miss because you don't collect it or them.

          Start carrying a small tape recorder and using that instead of a notepad or Palm device for collecting info. Trust me, you'll be very surprised at the amount of useful ideas/next actions you collect.

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          • #6
            I don't have to remember everything

            A former High School history teacher, I am proud of how much I remember. Now, however, I use my gift in other ways. I used to remember calls to make, errands to run, things to tell my boss, etc. I was working up to 12 hours a day, including most weekends...it wasn't slowing down.

            I saw David live in November of 1997. The next month, I was carrying less paperwork home and to school (and I know I was carrying less in my mind). Now, 6 years later, I've got a system that's better than any of that. My lists make it possible to "forget" something now, and make sure I "remember" it later on!

            This by far has been the most important thing I learned. In fact, Jodi said once, "I think taking this seminar saved your life."

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            • #7
              the tug of committments

              For me, the huge impact has been the A-ha experience with the tug of committments. No more do I see my projects, todo lists etc as activities to be occuppied with or stepstones to goals/dreams etc. I see them as my committments I made to others and myself, and I eagerly pursue them with insignificant procrastination because I know that if I don't meet these committments they will tug me at all times.

              The other significant tip was the fact that the psychic RAM will tend to be occuppied with items of significance as well as mundane stuff at the same level. This allowed me to respect the mundane stuff and helped me bust procrastination habit.

              I haven't set up myself with context based execution, I may not be at a black belt level but just the above two insights helped me cure some lifelong maladies. Thanks Dave!

              Siva

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              • #8
                Make SURE that your project files correspond precisely with your projects list.

                If you let any other vague files creep into your filing system, you will lose all confidence in it. Your system should be an instant retrieval system, serving your project list.

                (I hope you noticed the confessional tone of this post).

                Dave

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                • #9
                  My Top Tips Gleaned from GTD

                  These are the things that really changed my life that I learned from Getting Things Done:

                  1. Maintain Lists by Context
                  Yes, I had read a thousand times about the difference between those who do well and those who don't is those who do well keep to-do lists. But I was never able to maintain the lists that I had to keep writing over in my planner day after day.

                  Then I set up an Excel spreadsheet with a tab for each context. I was off and running! This stuff was great. I was using that Excel file all the time every day.

                  For me, lists by context is the key learning from GTD. If I someday lead a life of simple peace and tranquility, then I can abandon my lists by context. Until then, the only way you'll take my lists by context is by prying open my fingers after rigor mortis has set in.

                  2. Keep a "Waiting For" List
                  I used to put stuff in my calendar: "John promised product X by March 25." But that wasn't enough. The stuff wouldn't show up; I'd call; I'd get another date and the calendar was a waste of time. Now I have one organized list of all the stuff that's promised to me.

                  3. Don't Be Afraid to Make a New Folder
                  I had always had an alphabetical folder system. I had already done it, so to alter it would somehow have been to admit my fallibility. I read GTD, bought a battery-operated Dymo labeler (sorry, DA, no power cord), and learned that folders, like Darwin's species, change. New ones come into existence and those that are badly adapted to a changing environment are extinguished .

                  I took DA's advice and trashed all my plastic label tabs on my hanging folders. That lowered my resistance to creating and extinguishing new folders for my cabinets.

                  I then went a step further and did something an old boss of mine would do. I made an Excel list titled "file folders." In column A I list the folder name, in column B I have the option of listing some of the contents of that folder. Lots of times I can't remember where I filed something. I do a quick Ctrl-F search and, often, I find it.

                  It's a little extra work, but the reality is that I have all sorts of documents that could be filed in more than one folder. What I learned from GTD is that the extra up-front work more than pays for itself at the back end.

                  4. Get a PDA

                  I thought about it for years. I started GTD, as I said, without one. I'll never look back. It's great doing GTD on my PDA. It also enables me to do what I never did with my paper planner: I use little bits of open time to write in my PDA.

                  My PDA has a voice recorder. So, as others have mentioned already in this thread, now, when driving, I get a thought and I grab the PDA and record it. In my pre-PDA days I would, occasionally, grab my cell phone, call the office and leave myself a message on voice-mail. But that was a much more tedious process and I had much more resistance to overcome with my cell phone than I do with my PDA.


                  5. Date Stamp All Action Reminders

                  Brilliant! I didn't do it for my first few months of GTD. Then I caught it on one of my rereadings of the book. Today I just put in my "Wating For" list:

                  040322 Connie form 5500 return receipt for profit sharing


                  I do this for everything. I precede the reminder with the year 04, month 03, and day 22. This is real useful down the road when I can see how long I or someone else has let an action slide.


                  That's some of what's worked for me so far. I still have a long way to go. My home organizational system lags behind my more highly developed office system. I suppose that when I am a true master I will be able to say, a la Jason Womack, that the top tip is to ask, "What is the Next Action?" But I am not there yet.

                  My last tip would be keep rereading DA's books and follow the website. The GTD method is invaluable. But it takes time to master. My organizational system requires constant maintenance to keep it functioning well. I also require continuous reminders from DA and Jason and CosmoGTD and others of how much better it can still get.

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                  • #10
                    Great post moises!

                    What a terrific story you've told. You hit on key aspects of succeeding with GTD and along the way shared your experiences in how you've evolved your approach. I second your final tip in particular. Every time I have reread (or listened again) to the book I gain a better appreciation for how rich DA's system really is.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by moises
                      5. Date Stamp All Action Reminders

                      Brilliant! I didn't do it for my first few months of GTD. Then I caught it on one of my rereadings of the book. Today I just put in my "Wating For" list:

                      040322 Connie form 5500 return receipt for profit sharing


                      I do this for everything. I precede the reminder with the year 04, month 03, and day 22. This is real useful down the road when I can see how long I or someone else has let an action slide.
                      Try this. Turn on your PDA and go to your "Waiting For..." list. Hit "New". Now enter the shortcut symbol (which looks like a lowercase cursive "e"), then the letter "d", then the letter "s". Oooh!

                      Now try the shortcut symbol, then "d" and "t" and "s". Be sure to mention me in your will.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This is harder to answer than I thought it would be. I would say, in no particular order:

                        1-weekly review
                        2-two minute rule
                        3-writing it ALL down

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          DateStamping

                          Originally posted by spring
                          Originally posted by moises
                          5. Date Stamp All Action Reminders

                          Brilliant! I didn't do it for my first few months of GTD. Then I caught it on one of my rereadings of the book. Today I just put in my "Wating For" list:

                          040322 Connie form 5500 return receipt for profit sharing


                          I do this for everything. I precede the reminder with the year 04, month 03, and day 22. This is real useful down the road when I can see how long I or someone else has let an action slide.
                          Try this. Turn on your PDA and go to your "Waiting For..." list. Hit "New". Now enter the shortcut symbol (which looks like a lowercase cursive "e"), then the letter "d", then the letter "s". Oooh!

                          Now try the shortcut symbol, then "d" and "t" and "s". Be sure to mention me in your will.
                          I date stamp everything the way Moises does - I use an inexpensive program called Pop by Rick Bram which allows exactly that kind of date formatting (040322 for today) which greatly simplifies sorting

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: DateStamping

                            Originally posted by rolian
                            I date stamp everything the way Moises does - I use an inexpensive program called Pop by Rick Bram which allows exactly that kind of date formatting (040322 for today) which greatly simplifies sorting
                            Rolian: great tip. Here's a URL for Pop! which looks very nice. It is a hack so you will also need a Hack management program (like X-Hack or Hackmaster) to run it.

                            http://shop.store.yahoo.com/pilotgearsw/pop.html

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: DateStamping

                              Actually there is a newer version out that doesn't require a hack managment program. For more information you can go straight to the author's website: http://www.digitalglyph.com/pop.html

                              - Mark

                              Originally posted by mochant
                              Originally posted by rolian
                              I date stamp everything the way Moises does - I use an inexpensive program called Pop by Rick Bram which allows exactly that kind of date formatting (040322 for today) which greatly simplifies sorting
                              Rolian: great tip. Here's a URL for Pop! which looks very nice. It is a hack so you will also need a Hack management program (like X-Hack or Hackmaster) to run it.

                              http://shop.store.yahoo.com/pilotgearsw/pop.html

                              Comment

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