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GTD

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May. 28th, 2006 | 01:12 am
location: home

At some point I noticed myself beginning to stress out over all the random projects floating through my head--and I thought back to the GTD book and remembered how the author promised that the system would help cut down on stress.

The theory was that human brains aren't that good at dealing with "I need to remember to do that later". He argued that if you ever had two things to do, one's brain would start to be unhappy because one of those tasks wasn't getting done (because you were working on the other). Since the second task wasn't recorded anywhere one's brain would feel the need to constantly keep remembering it, and then feel bad because it wasn't getting done.

I started off well by using a stack of 3x5 cards to try to organize things (aka hipster PDA). But of course that was too low tech, so I started using some text files, and then like all the other systems I've tried, at some point I stopped looking at the text files and went back to trying to remember everything.

One of the most critical steps of a "time management system" is to look at it. So I'm back to the 3x5 cards on the theory that physical objects function as their own reminder that you need to look at them.

But to make my life a little more pleasant with the 3x5 cards, I got a little plum colored 3x5 card carrier and some "durable index tabs".

(And yes I looked up the color name).
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Comments {9}

Vicky the Compost Queen

I just got GTD

from: vixter
date: May. 28th, 2006 03:12 pm (UTC)
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but I haven't gotten around to even opening it. :) A couple years ago the women engineers book club read it, so I think I know the gist of it.

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Diane Trout

Re: I just got GTD

from: alienghic
date: May. 28th, 2006 07:45 pm (UTC)
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I think one could learn how to use the GTD methodology off of a one page summary. It is really simple. I think the hardest part is coming up with a good list of contexts.

Here's my quick summary.

Projects generate lists of things todo, those things get written to lists organized by context. Contexts are the places where one can accomplish those tasks. (E.g. Home, Work, Computer, Particular Person, Driving around, Phone).

All new things go into the "inbox" first, where you then pull items off and decide what to do with them--do, record task list, or put it on someone else's task list. (Putting it back on the stack isn't one of the choices.)

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T e s s

(no subject)

from: soulsong
date: May. 28th, 2006 03:49 pm (UTC)
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very true about the remembering to do something later thing. I've always found that I can cope until there are about 3 things on the 'stack' and then I start getting disproportionately stressed if someone gives me another task before I've finished the previous ones.

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: May. 28th, 2006 07:48 pm (UTC)
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Yes I agree completely, and unfortunately my historical algorithm for dealing with that stress is to erase the stack and see which tasks come and hunting me down first.

(I really want a better solution than the forget and start over system).

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(no subject)

from: clynne
date: May. 28th, 2006 06:49 pm (UTC)
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I started making lists a while ago, and discovered they cut down on my anxiety about getting stuff done quite a bit. I love the 3x5 idea, though, for longer-term stuff, though. Hm. I've been really ineffective at getting stuff done lately; maybe I need to look at my long-term lists...

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: May. 28th, 2006 07:52 pm (UTC)
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A couple of the neater ideas of GTD is the clear separation between a project and and a task. Projects are things that take multiple steps to accomplish (and by that definition almost everything is a project).

So one of the arguments is that peoples todo lists get cluttered with things like "get car washed", which actually has the hidden task "ask for recommendations for car washes" attached to it. Since that hidden task actually takes some thought the task gets ignored when we're quickly scanning our todo lists.

The GTD book make a gigantic point of the todo list only contains things that are the "next physical action" needed to advance a project.

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no, YOUR mom

(no subject)

from: theinfamousmom
date: May. 28th, 2006 08:17 pm (UTC)
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I recently persuaded F'zer to buy a book called "Take Back Your Life" which is ostensibly about using Outlook to manage day-to-day stuff. It makes much the same point, in that sometimes what one thinks is the first priority is actually a ways down the list.

F'zer has a very, very, VERY hard time understanding time management and real priorities. I was hoping if he heard it from someone other than me it might sink in, but so far no luck. Especially after I put post-it flags on the pages in the book that tell him the same things I've been trying to tell him for decades. :)

I put GTD on hold at the library after looking at that "hipster PDA" web site. I bought F'zer a really nice leather 3 x 5 card holder close to 20 years ago and suggested that he might get a better handle on time management if he would put that in his pocket, and every time he started a new activity, whatever it was, write down the time. Since he has no internal "time database" and no idea how long any given activity takes, I thought we could construct an external database of average times for any given daily activity.

I think "fat chance" just about sums that idea up.

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: May. 28th, 2006 09:06 pm (UTC)
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The question I've got is does he want to change? I know from my experience that no time management system works if you have any reason to try and ignore it.

Also one of the reasons I went back to the 3x5 card todo lists is I needed return to the simplest possible thing that has any hope of working (as I stopped using the more complicated thing). It's so easy to construct goldbergian "workflows" that collapse from their complexity.

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Dilinger

PDA

from: dilinger
date: May. 31st, 2006 02:04 pm (UTC)
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That is interesting. I used to have a cheapy cheap calender device, and i could put simple notes in it and have an alarm. My cell phone can now do that so If something is important I put it in there. My Cell has a full keyboard I'm not good at texting with the multi press sytsem. Not sure I want to be.

In either case. You have to use what works for you.

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