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Tracking Actions on a daily basis

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  • Tracking Actions on a daily basis

    Greetings! I'm new to the forum and pretty new to the process GTD as well. I've had an ongoing question since I got started, via reading the Getting Things Done book. I'm using my Microsoft word notebook function to keep track of Actions and Projects, etc. I find that each day I like to write down what I want to get done. I like to look at it as the day goes on to make sure I'm not forgetting anything. It's not convenient for me to carry my (big) laptop everywhere--this is where my Notebook planner is. But even if it was convenient, I don't know that I really want to be looking through my Action Lists over and over during the day. I suspect I'm missing something in the program and wonder how other people deal with this. Thanks for any feedback.

  • #2

    Hi Linsi,

    First of all welcome to the forums! I remember coming in thinking I would only do the 2-week trial and 3 years later I'm still hooked! Such a great community and help from folks here has taken my GTD practice to a whole new level. Hope the same for you as well.

    You should keep in mind too that there are both public and GTD Connect member only forums so now that you have access to both there's a wealth of information you can find especially searching in the latter.

    I actually am happy to look at my action lists throughout the day. But I'm used to my action lists now so I'm really only looking at the pieces and parts that I need to ... not the entire list. For instance:

    1. The actions I really need to get done are tagged with a 'Today' tag so I always look at that list first.

    2. I only look at actions I could possibly do given the context I am in.

    3. I quickly scan my actions list and mentally filter based on how much time I have until the next meeting, the energy mode I'm in, and then what is priority.

    4. I don't worry about whether the list is getting complete or not. Over time, my experience with GTD, is that as long as I make 'do' time in the right contexts ... an amazing amount of stuff just gets done. I really trust that process now.

    5. The evening before I scan my lists and plan what contexts I need to be in the next day. If there is a must-do, I make sure I've made the time on my calendar.

    So I think what's happening for me that perhaps might be helpful to you is the using of your lists to think through what contexts you need to hit the next day and then just reviewing just the action list(s) related to those contexts, when you're in those contexts.

    Hope that helps.


    • #3
      I have been making duplicate lists--oh no!

      Thank you enyonam and bcmyers2112,
      I appreciate both responses and they are both very useful. I have been creating a "today" page on my Notebook and I realized that it was not only "today" but also a compilation of any action that I didn't want to forget. And things were getting duplicated, on "today" as well as on another action list. Just what the whole system is trying to avoid. So I started to see that I'm doing something wrong, since --with duplicate lists--life seems even more complicated than it already is! I actually was thinking myself, about prioritizing my lists by highlighting them or something like that. So you both mentioned this, and that makes perfect sense. After reading enyonam's response, my one hesitation was--well what if I don't have my Notebook handy--do I need to write hand notes for those times? So your answer, bcmyers2112, telling me to find a way to make the lists portable hits the mark. Minimally I can put the notebook on a USB stick. I'm usually at my home office in the morning, where my laptop is, and afternoons I'm at the main office with the staff. I tried emailing my Notebook to the main office, but I had to download it to open it, and I didn't want to download it on the public office computer, and also then need to put it in the trash when done. The other thing is that if I added actions on the downloaded version, then those wouldn't be on the laptop--so it could get confusing. So looking into icloud sounds like a good idea for me. Thanks again! How very cool to have help with this stuff. I feel like I should be giving you each a gift or something!


      • #4
        "Just pay it forward"

        Will do, Thanks!! Should I put that on my Action list? (Just kidding!)


        • #5

          So glad you've figured out a way forward. And like bcmeyers - with that spot on advice - I'm just happy to help others in the forum I've gotten so much out of myself. Your thanks is plenty gift enough

          I'm not sure what your entire set up is but I am sure there is a way to make your lists more portable ... other than paper and pen (if you're trying to stay electronic). You could use your smartphone / tablet device is you have one and there are definitely other forum discussions to search for suggestions on GTD apps for those.


          • #6
            Hi Linsi,

            Have you tried the USB stick approach yet, and has it worked for you?



            • #7

              Apart from choosing a way to carry your lists with you: I use dropbox to sync my lists (they are in Excel) between all of my devices...

              About the carrying with you: you might want to make a print out of a certain part of your list (call it the "today"-part). All your notes on that piece of paper will become an inbox item every evening and you can then update your file.