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Using 2 systems pulling apart

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  • Using 2 systems pulling apart

    I am wondering how people deal with business that like to keep things private, and personal use.
    I have omnifocus on iPad and iPhone, but have Evernote on all my systems that also include PC and blackberry which I use for work my company uses outlook and I have the use of OneNote 2010

  • #2
    It's going to be a greater-or-lesser pain in the butt. The amount of pain depends on the relationship between your projects and your areas of focus, I believe.

    I'm going to need some diagrams.

    Okay, so you have some Next Actions:

    And you have some Contexts:

    And those Next Actions require a Context (possibly more that one context, but let's not worry about that right now):

    And quite a few of those Next Actions are going to be parts of Projects:

    Hopefully everyone is with me so far...


    • #3
      Now we're going to change our perspective a little bit and consider that we have some Areas of Focus:

      I've depicted them here as overlapping, because a Project can fall under more that one Area of Focus:

      I'll go even further -- I'll suggest that good projects are good precisely because they fall under more than one Area of Focus. If you can get out and play some sports with your kids, and hit Health and Family and Fun all at the same time, then that's going to be a good use of your time.

      But let us consider another scenario, which is not really so rare:

      Here we have two pairs of Areas of Focus -- the left side and the right side -- which do not relate to each other. Furthermore, there's a shared context between all of the projects, but also contexts which are unique to each family of AoF.

      This is the sort of scenario where I think two (or more) mostly-independent systems makes sense. There's not really much to be gained by cramming everything into one system, and not really much lost by dividing things into two systems.

      As an extreme example of the sort of person who might face this sort of situation, consider, say, an undercover narcotics agent. Probably wants to keep a good level of isolation between certain parts of his life.

      I've called these big blobs Areas of Focus, but I think this way of looking at things can operate on the higher horizons as well. Projects also make sense in the context of annual goals and longer-term vision.

      When DA talks about "work-life balance" being bogus, I think this is the sort of thing he's talking about, but that's a little more off-topic than even I want to get right now.

      I'll also mention that this sort of division tends to stress people out, and the stress increases when the division continues into the higher horizons. The very worst schism possible, at the 50,000-ft Life Purpose level, can and does destroy people.

      So... that may not be quite as useful to you specifically as I first anticipated, but it was still kind of fun to write.



      • #4
        Originally posted by Millor View Post
        I am wondering how people deal with business that like to keep things private, and personal use.
        I'm using a single system because I now own my own company and like one system. BUT, when I was working in classified projects the idea was to duplicate the systems one in the clear and one with restricted access. So in your case I'd actually have 2 separate systems that contain the same tools and ideas and perhaps even contexts but you work with them separately. I'd consider the PC Outlook the work system and the Omnifocus the personal system. If you have to transfer stuff from one to the other use the Evernote system as a temporary inbox. Biggest issue would be the need for 2 totally separate weekly reviews.


        • #5
          I didn't want to have to deal with two 'systems' so chose tools that could be used in different environments - i.e. Windows at work, Mac at home. And I utilise the 'tag' feature in the software to distinguish between personal tasks and business tasks so I can easily filter out one or the other depending on what I want to see.


          • #6
            For a couple of reasons, I, too, want to keep my personal and work systems as separate as I can.

            My work day is pretty much during day shift on weekdays, so my Android smart phone calendar has very little on it for those hours. About the only time that I want to show duplicate appointments is when I have to leave work for a personal appointment, e.g., a doctor's visit. I need to show that on my Outlook work calendar so that I (and anyone looking at my work calendar) know that I will be out of the office at that time.

            The only other "work thing" that I can think of that is on my smart phone is an encrypted set of passwords to my various work accounts (along with all of my personal ones) in an Android app.

            For backup purposes, I regularly sync my personal data on my Android phone with Outlook on my personal PC laptop. My work information is backed up automatically by whatever IT processes that my employer has in place on the network.

            In spite of all of this "separateness," there is almost no duplication of information. In situations like this, I always like to cite the old saying: "A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two is never sure." So, each data record resides in only one place (that is backed up somewhere, via sync'ing or otherwise), but the whole set of data happens to reside in 2 places, namely work and personal devices.

            I hope this helps.



            • #7
              Muiltiple Partial Systems

              FWIW, let me confound the issue even more

              I have only ONE system, but it would also be fair to say that I have multiple partial systems. I have things in lots of places, but I have ONE very personal 24-hour system to remind me of dealing with all the others.

              Example 1: If I participate in some project for some company I may have access to a lot of their project planning, but I only record my own interface points with that project, and I am not overly detailed, since I have access to the rest of the information at any time (I consider that to be reference information).

              Example 2: I also have access to a number of shared calendars and Trello boards and Whyteborads and similar devices, which I check as part of my daily routine, and transfer/process items from there as necessary.

              Example 3: If I am working on a document, such as an agreement or a presentation, I often keep notes within the document itself of what else I need to amend etc. I typically do not enter these as individual tasks. (But if I have to do something external to the document, e.g. call somebody to discuss something I usually put that down as a task).

              Example 4: If I would work with huge masses of similar things, e.g. cold calling, I would use a separate Excel sheet or CRM system etc to track that. (I would treat all those names and phone numbers and individual call actions as external reference information.)

              To summarize it all, the important thing for me when it comes to my one and only umbrella system is that I am able to trust it as an overall reminder and "picture" of my total life, short-term and long-term. It does not bother me at all if I do not have all the reference details in that system.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Folke View Post
                Example 4: If I would work with huge masses of similar things, e.g. cold calling, I would use a separate Excel sheet or CRM system etc to track that. (I would treat all those names and phone numbers and individual call actions as external reference information.)
                Been trying to put a temporary moratorium on posting so as to get through an unusually large influx of work, but this is the second time I've seen you mention this and I think I'd be remiss in not telling you that it has cleared a big roadblock for me. Sometimes I get so stuck on using one tool for GTD that I forget that DA himself refers to having a GTD "ecosystem." I like your idea and am using a slight variant of it in my sales work. Thanks for sharing it.

                As to the main topic, when I was working for a overly rigid and controlling employer (a small business run by someone who was a bit... different), I kept two distinctly separate GTD systems so that nothing personal was on the work network. It was very difficult, in part because I was a lot less good at GTD back then. Ultimately the system fell apart but that had more to do with my poor GTD habits than the concept of keeping two systems. I think it's doable as long as you're OK with having some duplication in your lists (for example, agenda and call lists in both your work and personal systems) and can discipline yourself to review both systems as rigorously as you need to.

                Anyway -- back to radio silence for a while but thanks again, Folke.