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Critique my system, please?

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  • Critique my system, please?

    At work, I am at my computer most of the day and I have:
    1. A plain text "log" file, where each day I put a few doable next actions and any hard commitments, and then describe what I did for the day. This is accessed and updated almost continually through each day.
    2. A "back burner" list, which I suppose is really a project list that I do try to review weekly.
    3. The rest is just handled in Outlook. I keep my Inbox clean, I have a "Time Critical" HOLD folder, which is really also sort of a next actions. Then a regular HOLD which tends to grow out of control. It's not really a someday/maybe list, it's more of a longer term next actions list.
    4. For reference, just a huge (and growing) word file where I dump anything I might need to remember.

    On my person I have:
    1. My cell phone's Notepad for next actions. This has been working great for those little things that can be done quickly, like phone calls. A big win for me lately!

    At home I have:
    1. A combination next action, calendar, projects, and reference system done in a hypertext system. I work mostly from a page for the month that has the things that HAVE to get done, any calendar items, and notes on things done.
    2. A regular filing system that I just cleaned out and made room in per David's recommendation that there has to be room or I won't use it!!

    So looking at this all fresh, I'd say it close to a GTD system, but not completely there. I may be missing a good next actions list at work, but I think I have it covered for personal business. I am quite attached to this system but I am open to suggestions - thanks!

  • #2
    It appears that you are happy with the system and the regular holds issue is a small problem. The only suggestion would be to force the weekly review to cover these issues with the regular holds.

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    • #3
      Thanks, cctraderx!

      Yes, I actually went through it all yesterday and there are some OLD items in there! That was its original purpose, a genuine backlog list for things that I wanted to get to eventually after I was current on things (Yeah, right... Hmm, I think I see the fallacy in that logic!). Not really a someday maybe list, but close.

      So I am torn between creating another category for shorter term holds, or just plowing through those old items since if they were important enough to save then I should either do them or trash them. I did trash a few, filed even more, so I made great progress. They are in Outlook and are usually sorted by date, so for now I will just leave them and keep them in my review process for now. A lot of them are good 5 minute knock-out items.

      A note - the review process can feel like a waste of time, but I think overall it is a good thing to devote some time to not forgetting about things. The problem is old open loops can be QUITE depressing, and closure is also good. The key is not to create any new undone things to fester as they age. Cleaning up after yourself is fine, it's actually cleaning up after others that creates most of my backlog. Not saying I am perfect, in fact I leave a lot of messes behind!

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