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Any advice for implementing GTD for school?

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  • Any advice for implementing GTD for school?

    This maybe a rehashed topic so if anyone can point out any good threads I would appreciate it.

    I would specifically like to know how people have treated classes and the associated assignments and exams and studying involved in a GTD framework.

    I'll be using a tablet PC and mindmanager so I would be especially interested in how people have used outlook/onenote and mindmanager with school. Thanks and I hope I can contribute something back from my experiences.

  • #2
    Track the implementation of routines

    GTD is a methodology that catalogues all your open projects and provides you with a workflow process for organizing the moving parts of these projects. GTD applies equally well to all forms of work. There is nothing inherently different in implementing GTD for school work as opposed to office work.

    That being said, school work is different from office work in that you are incorporating new behaviors and routines in your life, while learning new information. I suggest using the Tickler to manage the implementation of new routine behaviors.

    Suppose you want to study for an hour each day. Grab a slip of paper, an index card will do, and at the top write down the action “Study for an hour today”. At the bottom note the repeat interval – “Repeat Daily”. Put it in your tickler file and act upon it whenever it comes up. You can use the back of the card to note the days you successfully completed the action. This will motivate you to follow through with the routine even when you are in a slump. The note provides a physical reminder for the routine so you can keep it off your mind.

    Assignments and tests are basically projects with deadlines, and the particulars of managing them are covered in the book.


    • #3
      Once you find out what your classes are going to require of you (readings, assignments, etc.), I would make a list of next actions that you can do right away (read 20 pages in X). You may want to put the class title in front of the next action, like Physics: read first chapter. Anyway, I would just keep a running list of all of my next actions for classes. Then for larger projects, such as a big paper, I would have a page coordinating the project and then put the next actions in your list as you get to them.

      You will still sort your next actions by context, but you'll have "studying" probably as one of your categories, along with computer, errands, etc.

      I'm not currently in school, but my husband is and he has me organize his classwork for him so that is where these ideas are coming from.


      • #4
        I agree that the system is equally suited to schoolwork. Unfortunately, the book is written for an audience of professionals, so the lingo, examples and analogies may seem less relevant to students. But don't let that stop you.

        If I were implementing it for school, I think each course would be a project and I would have sub-projects for each assignment and probably for each exam. I would have a context for studying which might be active in various locations such as the library, my desk, etc. I would also try to block time on my calendar for studying.

        I bet there are plenty of other refinements for students and it would be great if there were a blog or wiki for them. Maybe there is. Good luck.


        • #5
          I did my doctoral work before I ever heard of David Allen, but one thing that turned out to be very helpful happens to be one of the cornerstones of GtD--using contexts. I kept a list of things to do at the campus library (since I worked and lived 45 minutes from that campus, I coldn't just pop in on a whim. I had to keep a running list and everytime a went to campus for a class, drop by the library and hammer out as much as possible from the list. Likewise, I had a list of stuff that I could only do when I was in that class (questions to ask the teacher, questions to ask classmates, etc.)


          • #6
            check out this thread for some more discussion of the topic.


            • #7
              Two ideas for a student with a Tablet PC

              You should visit the Student Tablet PC blog and forum to learn a number of things that will help you maximize your use of the Tablet PC. Tracy and Trevor (the two actual students) behind the site have a wealth of information specifically geared for students using the Tablet in their studies.

              You may also want to look into GoBinder 2006 which will be released sometime soon. The current 2005 product is good - the 2006 version will be even better. It provides a pen and school environment that you can easily adapt to GTD principles.