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I open my eyes.... A new GTD approach for me

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  • I open my eyes.... A new GTD approach for me

    Last night I had a really nice conversation with a great member of this community. I have been having problems with my system, as you guys have been seen in my posts. I have been trying to get time to find what is what is bothering me, without success until last night.

    This is my actual Setup. Palm Desktop for Mac at home, Palm Desktop for PC at work and Outlook Express at work. Palm for the Rest.

    Before I discover GTD, my palm was the essential key tool of my planning, and the computer is been my backup. I try to make Palm my GTD primary tool and the computer as a backup (as I have been doing since 1994) to discover to me this fail, since I have many cracks.

    The first time this hit me was when he told me last night: “I find that the Palm is great for keeping the basic low level stuff together, but I used to get huge gaps before I realized that the problem was that my project support material was not organized well enough”

    He hit in the Nail so hard with this comment that I understand that I have been aiming to the wrong place all the time, I have been trying to try new software (OneNote, Word, Excel, Life Balance, and more software in the Palm side…. I am a Mac fanatic that was thinking in going to the dark side and buy a Tablet PC until last night… Today I continue with my dreams of a Tablet Mac that never is going to happen…

    The setup of this person is the Palm as support and a Binder to keep the bigger picture organized, I even think about this, but was afraid because I remember my paper years… that thing was heavy, big, bulky and unpractical.

    I think one of the hardest things in GTD is close the Gaps in the system. I was a Covey fan, and that system does not let you many space to set up your own system without stop being covey. GTD instead is user-friendly, as well as more effective, but… yes I know, the big but…. That user-friendly approach makes that the user can create many gaps.

    Finally, this person reaffirms the hit on the nail… he said: “All the time...I really used to think the Palm was an answer instead of a tool”

    I got 30 minutes every morning to think in higher levels… some days I am successful, other I just do not think for 30 minutes, anyways the results are good.

    This morning I spend my time thinking about this… in a bad news for my palm, she need to understand is only a tool… in other lines I just saved US$3,000 of a new Tablet PC…

    At first I start thinking in a system that can work on the palm… I can remember the palm is the tool… therefore now I am thinking in a new system, if fits the palm great… if not great too… MY PALM IS A TOOL FOR LOW HEIGHTS NOT FOR THE BIG PICTURE… I need to remember this…

    Based on that I start thinking my system again. This morning I hit this quotes in one of the GTD groups, after work in my system all the weekend, and was just what I need to confirm my new set-up
    "I think the sentiment is correct. The way it works out in life will vary.
    What may be a distracting toy to me could well be THE application or
    accessory that will make GTD possible for you or vice-versa. It's
    fundamentally important to remember that the process (with all its
    components) is a means to an end: control and freedom so we can use time as
    we wish to."

    I decided to keep my setup as plain vanilla, but I create a support system for other ideas, and specially to keep my projects in order and be able to check and study not only my ideas but also my Landscape.

    For that I set-up 5 documents in Docstogo, Runaway, 10000, 20000, 30000, 40000, 50000

    This is making a diference, I need more time to finish my new set-up and to start making the information in there. Maybe if things works fine after setup in Word I change those to Memos, but for now they are going to be in Word.

    I add another change to my Weekly Review, now I am not going to delete my tasks on the week, and since I have in word a complete list of projects and actions, I am going to be able to follow up in the main project page instead of try to follow up in my todo or in the notes of the todos.

    Also I change my schedule and instead of bubble around 30 minutes in the morning, I am going to try to focus one day on 20000, one on 30000 so on....

    This is going to create (I hope) a better control in the important stuff.

    My weekly review is fine on Wenesday, since is working fine I did not change it.

    Other than that, my palm now is a tool, I am trying to use paper to make my thinking (at least at first, later on maybe I can do it on the Palm).

    I hope with this changes reduce the cracks in my system, using only the lists as support, but the Main list in Word as the Map, in that way I cannot get lost again (This is what I hope)

    I do not think this is going to help somebody... But I was in need to write this....

  • #2
    Apinaud, I enjoy following along as you process your attempts to find the most effective way to use GTD. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You often "push" me into thinking about how I can use GTD in the most effective way to meet my own needs.



    • #3
      And you inspired me, too - I totally need a "runaway" category. Actions include:

      1) Selecting a country without an extradition treaty with Sallie Mae (those student loans add up . ..)

      2) Check weather charts, eliminate all destinations with temps lower than 55 f. for more than 2 days a year . . .


      • #4
        Thanks guys!

        i was not sure if publish this or not, because i was not sure if was going to help nobody, anyways I will publish this weekends the story of this week

        Have a good week


        • #5
          Good note

          This was a good post, thank you. I have having a number of issues between my previous tool/methodology of Franklin Covey and my current tool/methodology of a Palm and GTD.

          When it comes to methodology, FC and RPM are great planning process and both have good process for keeping the most important things in front of you. GTD is a great process for managing the totality of what is on your plate and keeping a focus on the big picture.

          As for tools, the Palm and a corresponding computer are great list managers, can carry a lot of material, and are extremely easy to search. But paper wins hands down for planning and the daily interactions.

          My question is can you talk more about your insight, how you are using your binder fo project support material and in your day to day process. I know a number of people do this and would be interested in their information as well.




          • #6
            ** Update!

            As I was explaining I made the jump to Memos.

            Have it in word for a weekend make big advantages, but of course was not perfect.

            Therefore I decided to create a Memos category called Projects. This let me review each project, and at the end print that page and added to the ones with manila folder and keep the rest (ok the valuables) in another file.

            I keep my files for a little, when they are personal, for a lot of time when they are work related, this let me have the Palm as central tool.

            Therefore I have now... Projects Category in Memos for the runaway. All the notes, all the details, everything... Then in other category called GTD List, with a 10000 list with the important projects, those that for me are important to move for sure. This gives me at glance view in the morning of the most important projects in my lists.

            As many of you I have a lot of projects (Or at least a lot of projects in the way DA define a project). I have in this moment 148 projects, some Personal, Some from Work, some really important, some not so important, some no important at all, but all are there. My 10000 feet list let me keep an eye in those important, since the lists only contain 35 projects.

            Also I have my 20000, 30000, 40000 and 50000 lists that are right now in revision.

            I can say that my more advance list in there is of course the 20000, I am trying to lay out there and make sure and make sure that at least one project has at least one step in my important list.

            In this moment my 30000 is a little hard to understand, there are many ideas, but not too much definition, I can not describe how fragile are 40k and 50k, but I need to go from the Runaway to 50k... planes never go from 50k to runaway, they all start in the runaway, therefore I am trying.

            This week I hope be able to take as much time as I am getting this week, but I need to say that the time I spend in the weekend plus the time I have been spending is making my system works so nice that I feel I am getting more things done, at least all the important ones are going one step forward and that make me so happy.

            The other new implementation I did was add the same name on the folder, the project in the palm and create a folder in the computer for each project, this took me time today, but what a bless in the afternoon when my boos ask for some information, I knew exactly where was the manila, the palm info and the computer files. Also this is the equivalent of have an electronic file system in the palm, if they are closed, they go to another list in excel, with the name a brief description, and in the file cabinet goes at the end when all the closed projects are.
            I do not keep files in the computer after a project is done, everything in the computer is printed and deleted, if the project is really important I put the information in a CD or a disk, but nothing stays in the computer after is done.

            Also in other lines and Answering Alan question "My question is can you talk more about your insight, how you are using your binder for project support material and in your day to day process. I know a number of people do this and would be interested in their information as well."

            As I said before I have the same name for Manila Folder, Palm Memos and Computer files. In my binder, I have a print copy of all my lists that I update in clean after my weekly review; in the week I have 2 different approaches. My morning Planning time is with the binder in paper, with coffee. If I make great changes I update in the computer and print new copy, if changes are minimal I only update the computer and print later after the weekly review.

            I use a lot of paper, before my weekly review I print 2 weeks before of calendar, 4 weeks after the day, all my notes, specially GTD notes and the new Project category, as well as the Tasks. When I finish my weekly review I just print a clean copy again. (Since my office uses a lot of paper, I use old paper for the first print and clean for the second one.)

            My binder has 3 main parts, the first section is my weekly review list and notes of some things I like to remember before start. Goes like this...
            My Weekly Review List.... that includes all the places I want to make sure I check, Car, Home inbox, Work inbox (for this one I have an alarm Wednesday @ 4:30 then I cannot forget), wallet, table (My wife cannot get the idea of my inbox, is getting better but many times she misses the inbox), my palm inbox. After that I everything in the in basket, I do my weekly review for the book.

            The second part has my lists, copy of my projects (runaway), my 10k list, my 20k list, my 30k list, 40k and 50k... Also I have there my someday maybe, that usually is the last ting I go through since I do a ram dump at the end of my weekly review.

            The last part, is just plain paper... just in case...

            I hope this is useful.


            • #7

              I'm glad our discussion inspired such activity. For anyone who is interested, I realized that I had a large gap in my project support because I have a large number of Focus Areas at work that may each contain many DA style projects and that may continue for months or years. Since I may make decisions or give input on any of the projects related to the Focus Area in meetings, I found that I really needed to have all the information for the Focus Area available, instead of just a few Project Support folders.

              To that end, the categories in the Focus Area binders that I created are

              PLANS (My 10k and up thinking on the Focus Area)
              GOALS ( any official documents written on deliverables)
              KEY PEOPLE (names of people and what they deal with)
              NUMBERS (summary of important numbers)
              PROPOSALS (Any official proposals associated with the project)
              NOTES (for notes I have processed into my system, but want for reference)
              AGENDAS (all the agendas for meetings in the Focus Area)
              REPORTS (meaning anything our group has generated)
              PAPERS (meaning anything other groups, venders, etc. have generated)
              RAW NOTES (I keep plain white paper here & take notes)

              Since I am a scientist, these sections work for me. I suspect people in other fields might want a quite different set of sections.

              I still use vanilla DA on the Palm for Projects, Next Actions, etc.



              • #8
                As I told you that day Tornado, our conversation was priceless for me, the change is been amazing.

                Thanks again


                • #9
                  As a newbie to GTD, I understand apinaud's feelings about methods and tools. I think, however, from reading some of the forum posts, that too many people are concerned with tools - don't let the tools force you into a position you're not comfortable with. Let the method you choose inspire you to select the appropriate tools, and even, perhaps, use them in ways they were not designed for.

                  I'm a Mac user too, and, while there is not one-size-fits-all tool for the Mac to apply GTD, there are plenty of solutions. I ended up opting for Entourage, even though it doesn't have all the functions I'd like, because I use it for my e-mail already. It seems an additional complication to add another program to the many I already use, though if something came along that really fit both my way of thinking and GTD, I'd consider switching.

                  If the tools you have don't fit the job, think of how you can change, or how you can use your tolls differently. Let the tools be nothing but tools; don't let them dictate the way you work.