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Help w/migrating Hipster PDA to actual PDA

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  • Help w/migrating Hipster PDA to actual PDA

    I'm relatively new to GTD and opted for the Hipster PDA route to start off with. My goal is to ultimately automate my system to a PDA once I've dialed in and made most of my major adjustments to my system. However, I really like the tactile nature of the Hipster and often have 5-10 cards spread out on my desk at any one time. I'm not sure I'll be able to emulate this on a small screen PDA.

    Anyway, here is a quick overview of what I'm doing.

    I use a small notepad and a very small cross gel pen for capturing. I don't go anywhere without these two items. When I do, I feel more "naked" then if I leave home without my wallet. I used to capture several things on one sheet, but now only capture one item per page. I then review the items when I have time to determine whether these are unassociated NAs, if they are, they go straight to my Tasks / Nas list with no associated Project number, or whether they are a smaller piece of a larger NA or project. In which case, I create a project sheet.

    The project sheets receive a number from 1-99 when I hit 99, I recycle back to 1 again. This has worked so far. The Project sheet has the desired outcome at the bottom of the sheet with up to 9 supporting NAs listed to achieve the project. (Any project requiring more than 9 NAs should be broken down further into sub projects - it could be argued that 9 may be too many, however, it's working well for me at the present time). Once I complete the Project Sheet, I transfer it over to the Projects master list Index card. This lists all of my projects along with their assigned project number. This allows me to quickly scan all of my projects on one or two cards to jog the memory for new NAs instead of flipping through all the project sheets.

    I then take the next NA for each project and list it on a separate Next Actions card

    For example, I'm taking my boat over to the Bahamas for some offshore fishing in the next couple of months and I need to make sure my boat is "legal" for the trip. Therefore, project 23 is: "Everything legal for Bahamas Trip".

    Task or NA "A" for this project is "Print Fishing Regs for Bahamas".
    Task or NA "B" for this project is "Check date on flares"

    These two NAs gets transferred over to my NAs list from my Project sheet as:

    23A C "Print Fishing Regs for Bahamas"
    23B B "Check date on flares"

    The "C" for my first task is my @Computer context notation. The "B" for my second task is my @Boat context notation. My Tasks / Next Actions: Index Cards list 20 NAs on each card. If I'm at computer, I simply scan the Context column and look for all the "C"s listed and can quickly pick them out. Anything I need to do while at my boat, I simply scan for all the "B"s on the Task list.

    As soon as I complete an Action, I can quickly flip to Project Index card 23 and look for the next NA to transfer over to my Tasks lists. If there are none, and I've completed the Project. I cross it off my master Projects list and throw the projects sheet away. If completing this project opened the door now for another sub-project along the same theme, then I create a new project sheet, add it the project master list and create the relevant NAs to transfer to the task list.

    I've found that maintaining one large task list with Context notations works better for me than keeping separate cards and moving them between the various @contexts. That was just too much manipulation to me.

    I also have a separate Waiting list similar to my Task list. For example, I intend on taking my Golden Retriever over to the Bahamas with me when I go. You need a permit to bring your pet into the Bahamas. I've completed the application for this permit and now am awaiting return from the Bahamian government. This particular task is on my Waiting list as "23C Wtg 4 Return of dog's permit"

    While I believe I'm getting close to being comfortable enough with the system to begin considering automation on a Palm, the standard applications that come with the Palm do not seem to support the cross referencing that takes place here. I would need some type of Forms development tool where I can create my own forms and have fields easily cross referenceable through a simple double click or tap. Cascading of forms would be real nice too.

    For example, if I complete the task...

    23A C "Print Fishing Regs for Bahamas"

    I would like to double click or tap the project ref# on that task to have it automatically take me to my Project #23 form so I can choose the next Task to go on the master Tasks list. This could be a simple checkbox that enables it to then display on the master Task list, or Waiting list.

    I know there are still some holes in my application of GTD, but this is working very well for me at this time. Any constructive criticism to help make my system more effective, or any ideas on what Forms development apps for the PDA may support my design, would be greatly appreciated. TIA


  • #2
    Why change?


    Your hipster PDA system seems to work so well I wonder why change it?

    That said, you can manage your system quite easily on a Palm with plain vanilla apps, using Memos for your project sheets and the regular todo list for your todos. Continue using your numeric code to relate tasks to projects and you're all set.

    For a little more software sophistication, add in an outline manager like Shadowplan or Bonsai to do your project lists; then link the NAs to the todo list.

    For even more fun try doing everything in LifeBalance.



    • #3
      Why change it when it works?

      Originally posted by bkpix
      Your hipster PDA system seems to work so well I wonder why change it?
      Yes. Why change it when it works. Switching to Palm (just for fun - with no other reasons) will add the PDA management and backup/synchronization overhead with no real productivity gains.


      • #4
        Thanks for the replies. I guess my greatest concern is the backup factor. With the Hipster, there's no way to easily back it up and I do have some concerns about it remaining as portable as it is as it continues to scale.

        Another area is the convenience factor. Once I create a project on the master project list a simple tap should be able to immediately open a new form with the project name already entered allowing me to enter the associated tasks then tick which ones are immediately doable having them automatically show up on the master task list. Checking off a completed task could then pull me straight to that project form to select the next doable action, etc. etc.

        Of course, keyword search would be nice too. Hard to do that with index cards.

        This is pretty simple stuff and I was just wondering if there were any PDA apps or forms / database development tools that are already available that would support something like this. It looks like ShadowPlan and Bonsai are a couple to take a look at. Thanks.


        • #5
          With the Hipster, there's no way to easily back it up
          Do you have access to a Xerox machine? That's how I do it. I find copiers pretty easy to use these days.