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Can you use GTD to reach financial and healthy goals?

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  • Can you use GTD to reach financial and healthy goals?

    Just wondering if anyone else uses GTD to reach financial goals.

    I've had less success here than in other areas. I would like to save up a 6-month emergency fund.

    At first, my next actions are easy.

    1. Open a savings account
    2. Deposit $100 into the savings account
    3. Ask HR to transfer $100 into the savings account each paycheck

    But...then what? Am I done? Do I just let the project sit there for several years until I have the right amount saved? Is there any way I can communicate making everyday frugal changes in my life using GTD (for example, putting my lunch money into a jar and boxing a lunch, then depositing that amount into the emergency fund a few times per year)? Am I being too nitpicky about writing things down? LOL!!

    Are long-term finances even an appropriate use of GTD projects?

    Just wondering how other people use GTD with regard to saving for retirement, being frugal, and reaching financial goals.

    I'm encountering the same thing with losing weight. The first few actions are easy to capture (join Weight Watchers, create an exercise plan) - but after that, it's dozens of everyday changes that are really impossible to capture in a checklist. Thoughts?

  • #2
    If automatically depositing $100 with each paycheck will meet your goal, then you're done as soon as you set up the deposit. Yay! Same with 401K deposits and such. The whole point is that these are more likely to happen if you *don't* have to do anything beyond the initial setup.

    But sure, any habit that requires regular action can be managed within GTD.

    You could set up a Tickler reminder to pack your lunch, to empty out the spare change jar, or to review your 401K elections.
    You could monitor progress toward your goal as part of your Weekly Review, adding actions to your list as needed.
    You could set up a Next Action to contact a financial planner, read about retirement planning, or find out more about that mutual fund you saw in the Wall Street Journal.

    And so forth,



    • #3
      Hi there,

      Financial is an area of responsibility for me, not a project. There will be many actions that stem from this area of responsibility over the course of your life. And there will be some projects.

      I have a couple projects for the Financial area of responsibility. One is rolling over an IRA. A second is rebalancing the stocks in my portfolio. There are also some actions that aren't part of a project that are a part of this area of responsibility.

      It's pretty quick to get the concepts of actions and projects going with GTD. But don't forget areas of focus and those other things higher up.


      • #4
        Well, you've got your hands on a couple of different things there.

        "Save up a 6-month emergency fund" is a project, provided you've defined the exact dollar amount that "6-month emergency fund" means. The goal you define has no timetable. So, yes, just opening a savings account and transferring money into it will eventually get you to that goal, so you've now done everything you need to achieve the goal of eventually having a 6-month emergency fund.

        If, however, you want the emergency fund more quickly, that should be part of your goal. Then you can create Next Actions like, "Calculate amount needed beyond $100/month to fill fund by desired date", and "Save receipts to calculate weekly grocery money for potential cost savings."

        "Being frugal" is a different goal. It's not specific enough to be actionable in a GTD context. Exactly how do you want to be frugal? What's your specific goal? Same thing with "losing weight;" how much? How quickly?

        Does that make sense?