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Moving between lists

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  • Moving between lists

    I know this has probably been discussed many times before so it should be easy to answer.

    What is the best method for moving between contexts/lists? GTD is about working the lists and specifically the list associated with the enviornment your in (computer, desk, car/errand, phone, etc.). My problem is getting in the habit of looking through all the lists throughout the day.

    I may have a ton of next actions on my at desk list for example and spend a great deal of time working through it and at the end of the day realize I overlooked other next actions on other lists that could/should have been done. I've tried timers for working on actions but that never seems to work since its difficult to stop in the middle of working on something to go look at other actions on another list. The bottom line is I stay on one or two lists all day and need to break the habit.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.


  • #2

    I would suggest that you pick out the few "must do" items for each day and make sure they are on a list you will always look at - the calendar or a special ToDo category. At various times I have called my special ToDo category "Today", "Worry", "Priority", "MustDo" - for me it works to change the name as soon as I start to feel blase about the name and I choose something else that sounds like a better trigger.



    • #3
      I too am interested in people's takes on this subject.

      My situation: I spend most of my time (>95%) at my desk with access to my computer, my phone, all my office files, and my project support materials. Therefore, my @office, @computer, @phone and most of my @agenda lists are "in-play" most of the day. I also don't have a terribly cluttered "hard landscape", so most of my time is discretionary.

      This week, I've decided to try collapsing the @computer and @phone into a single @work list. Although this will be a longer single list, it will let me see everything at once, without having to flip between lists.

      I've also been playing with making a loose "game-plan" for the week, consisting of things on those lists that I'd really like to have done before the next weekly review (even if they don't have hard deadlines), and placing those on a daily repeating untimed task in my Palm called "Plan for Week".


      • #4
        Moving between lists

        When under the gun, I often scan all my lists first thing and pick out key tasks for the day or week. I code those all as "4" on my Palm priority. (Note: I default my tasks to "5" priority). Next, I'll sequence 3 items as priorities 1-2-3; the rest of the key tasks remain as "4" priorities, and all remaining list items remain as "5" priorities. I use the floating event idea, too, but that's for my weekly compass activities (Covey holdover idea).

        I've recently converted to the less is more notion that others have advocated, so my lists are much shorter, perhaps at most 2 items per project appear across all lists, and I update my lists with the next project action immediately upon completion. That idea might make consolidating lists even more attractive, b/c the consolidated lists would still not be *too* long.



        • #5
          Just a suggestion if you happen to use a Palm for your lists...

          In DateBk4/5, you can choose to display multiple todo categories at once, so you can activate @PC, @Phone etc. depending on what you need (other software solutions may also have this possibility). If you want to go even further, you could create one or more saved custom views with the combinations you need most often.




          • #6

            I recently went to the "!Today" paradigm. I must admit I feel a bit of guilt as it "feels" very non-GTD. With that said, it seems to be working for me. Basically, I do my review and sort into the following contextual lists having merged @Phone and @E-mail into @Home/@Office:

            @Waiting For

            From there I do one more level of filtering on a daily basis to populate the "!Today" list. If I am in the office I look at @Office and then if my hard landscape is packed, only 1-2 items may make it onto !Today. If the hard landscape is open then 5-10 make it one to the "!Today" list. This is my daily acknowledgement of what I am likely to get done off my NA lists.

            Seems to be a decent mental "trick" for me. But the guilt at going back to a daily To Do list...


            • #7

              I too spend the fast majority of my working life at my desk and I use my cell phone rarely and dont give out that number! That said I do like the @errands, @home @office and @phone. The reason I like @ phone is that I think that it is very useful to bunch phone calls. I also try and make telephone appointments with someone rather than play telephone tag for 3 days.