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Using Word for GTD setup

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  • Using Word for GTD setup

    I want to simplify my GTD system. I use Pocket Informant and it doesn't sync to all my devices: IPad, MacBook and IPhone. I thought of start using a simple Word document or a Notepad for my @action lists and project plans. Does anyone have any experience?

  • #2

    I started to use GTD with Word. I created a file for each context (@calls, @errands, @computer ...) and checklist (horizons of focus etc...).

    But after a while I shifted to Outlook, which seems more comfortable to me (and syncs to my stone-age Palm).


    • #3
      Use simplenote and notational velocity.


      • #4
        Use Excel

        If your going to go with simple "text" lists kept on a computer file, Excel is the way to go. You can have numerous lists in one file, each as a separate worksheet accessible by the tabs at the bottom of the screen (just like tabs in a binder/notebook.) Even better, you can view more than one at a time on the screen and easily lay out the format. For example you can have your NA list on the top half of the screen and your Project list on the bottom half, scrolling through both as you wish. You can also mark/tag/categorize each item on the list in any way you want, with multiple columns if you need. The real power comes in being able to sort the lists in numerous ways, only limited by the columns/tags you used.

        I used this for a long time and it was simple and fairly powerful. I eventually moved to Outlook because I needed NAs connected to Projects in my Project-intensive work environment, and because it was great to have everything GTD in one place.


        • #5
          Any examples?


          • #6
            Use Toodledo

            Use Toodledo pocket informant will sync with it use the we bite on your Mac the app on iPhone and iPad. If u use Toodledo it will sync it all.


            • #7
              Toodledo made a lot of mess in my lists after the sync ...


              • #8
                using Excel

                Originally posted by Kloun View Post
                Any examples?

                I use Excel to track my next actions. The columns allow me to filter easily for whatever I want to put together.

                In an earlier post, I posted once the model of my excel-file and explained a lot more about it, I looked it up, and you can find it through this link (message n° 24)

                Please get back to me with questions if you have any!



                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kloun View Post
                  Toodledo made a lot of mess in my lists after the sync ...
                  It was most likely Pocket Informant that was responsible, not Toodledo. The iOS versions of PI are not highly rated, but Toodledo is, and syncs very well.

                  You might have similar problems using Word or Excel, because the mobile apps are not that robust. Text would be safer.


                  • #10
                    I've used both Word and Excel in my early days of using GTD. The Word list worked great except I'd have to scroll a lot to get through my lists. The Excel worked even better, since I could set up only the columns I needed and filter them however I needed (context, project, unfinished, etc.). It was a nice simple tool that worked very well.


                    • #11
                      I use Word and Pocket Informant on the iPhone, I don't bother syncing because I always have my iPhone, so use it in isolation to the computer.

                      I started using Excel, but found it too limiting to hold all the project support and natural planning info, and Word does this as well.

                      I have one Word file per Area of Focus, and it contains all the support info and project info. It does become quite a long document, so I use the Document Map pane to navigate around it.

                      Some typical headings:
                      -Drivers for change (incl corporate strategic framework and legal info)
                      - internal stakeholders
                      -external stakeholders
                      -agendas and meeting notes
                      INFORMATION, DATA & ANALYSIS
                      - Information (glossary, general info)
                      -Data sources
                      -Past work
                      - Ideas
                      - Reports
                      PROJECT 1
                      - Purpose
                      - Outcomes
                      -Actions & Checklists

                      I did start with a Word file for each project, but found that a lot of support info was common amongst many projects and so created a common file.

                      I also always put a * in front of any heading where there is outstanding actions, or needs to be reviewed in the weekly review, so by looking at the document map I can see all the sections which need review very quickly.

                      I then manually put next actions only into Pocket Informant, all future actions stay in the Word document.


                      • #12
                        Funny you should say that, I started two people off recently with a basic GTD set of lists, and in both cases used Dropbox and a bunch of word documents - one for calls, one for emails, and so on. I combined that with a Google calendar and a clean file box/filing cabinet.

                        It worked great. I was really taken by how simple it was, compared to my system which has (over)grown since I started.

                        It syncs on their computers and laptops, they can read the lists on their phones - and most importantly they got word documents. The system of lists was no barrier to understanding GTD.

                        One was fairly IT iliterate, but was comfortable with Word docs. Another was the kind of person that would race to a complex system and then find it unworkable.

                        My view was that they should reach the limit of the system they're using and want more complexity before they have it. That way they can naturally evolve into a more complex way of working, if (and only if) it helps.

                        I see a lot of people get hung up on tags/sub-projects/deadlines etc.


                        • #13
                          Another good feature about using Word is that you can easily search within the document, and because it uses skills you already have, you can focus on learning GTD and not a tool


                          • #14
                            I am using word and excel.Excel is so useful things that help me more great things..
                            I am very thankful for this one..I have a reminder to all my works and I have done them easily and fast because of this excel.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bishblaize View Post
                              I see a lot of people get hung up on tags/sub-projects/deadlines etc.
                              I think this comes from not trusting your system. That's completely normal when new to GTD. Your sub-consciousness has to re-learn. In the past there was the need to have yellow stickies on your eyes to not overlook the looming deadlines. That is learned behaviour. Only after having made the experience that a trusted system really, really and I mean for real, does remind you at the right moment of what possibly are the best engagements for you in the moment of choice, again and again... your sub-consciousness will loosen the grip and relax. Then you are a step further towards mind like water, a little bit healthier. And then the sick attachment to tags/sub-projects/deadlines goes away.