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Considering Implementation

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  • Considering Implementation

    Hi, all. I'm relatively new to forums and very new to GTD. I've read thru the book twice and read most of the info you've all posted on the forum (thanks. very helpful!). I'm trying to decide whether to jump in now or wait until January, also considering how to approach it. Would appreciate any suggestions based on my situation.

    I'm a SAHM with school age kids. Most of my time in the past has been filled with volunteer commitments. I'm coming off of a 3yr fulltime volunteer job that basically sucked the life out of me and placed incredible strains on my family. I'm trying to rebuild my family life and get around to all the stuff that got put off (housecleaning, photo albums, friends, leisure activities, exercise, etc). Also, still maintaining some volunteer commitments.

    I'm wondering if I should try to tackle the GTD implementation before Christmas (even typing the C-word causes me anxiety!) or just wait until January. I have tons of loose ends with volunteer commitments and my house. I'm sure my project and next action lists will be overwhelming (although not defining them and keeping them in my head might be even more overwhelming). I frequently just do nothing because I feel overwhelmed with everything I need to do. I'm thinking the Someday/Maybe list is going to be very useful because I tend to generate way more ideas than I can possibly accomplish.

    The next question is how to go about it. The book recommends one fell swoop. I could probably free up close to two days to go thru the IN stuff, but I'm wondering if that time is better spent doing tasks I need to get done (Christmas!). Also, I know from reading your comments(!) that during the first months, the system is going to be time-consuming to learn/maintain.

    Alternatively, I could just work this in around everything else. I wrote up all the Next Actions I could think of to get this off the ground. I could spend time setting up the Tickler files, processing items as they come in (working on the backlog slowly), recording projects as they occur to me, etc. But that way, I think it will be a long time before I get any benefit because it certainly won't be a system I'll be able to depend on.

    Would be interested in how others approached their implementation. Thanks.

    (FYI. I will be going mostly low-tech - with a notebook, dividers, etc. probably entering the actual lists in a Lotus SS for easy sorting. Maybe using Word for Project lists. Really don't want to get into learning new computer stuff right now.)

    (I have whole 'nother set of questions about how to fit 'homemaking' into this model, but I'll leave that for another day and another thread.)

    Thanks for the support!

  • #2
    Good Morning

    Before you jump into Christmas - I hope your Thanksgivig went well!

    My two pieces of advice on your situation ?

    A) Private Message "Cris" - you seem to have very similar situations/demands on your time

    B) Go as SIMPLE as possible.

    I smiled when I saw that you weren't taking on learning new pieces of software - good call. Even though I have a Palm - doing this the "High Tech" way quite often uses a lot of time that could be done "Getting Things Done" and may cause you to get bogged down in the minutia of the "techie details."

    Step ENTIRELY Away from the Computer. Go to the "Tips & Tools" part of this website, and follow David's advice for "How to Set Up a Paper Based GTD Binder" IT's pretty straight-forward, you can do it for less than $20 at an office supply store, and maybe less if you've already got some of the pieces lying around your house. You may not even NEED to set up all the tabbed sections he describes until after the Holidays.

    The main thing this will do is train your mind into processing the info using the GTD methods quickly and simply. You can use the parts of the system that will support you and your current commitments now, instead of bieng one more thing to manage. Avoid all or nothing at all thinking.

    Good Luck with whatever path you choose!


    • #3
      I implemented GTD over about a week. First I spent a couple of hours emptying my dysfunctional inbox. I had about a two feet high stack of envelopes and folders once I unpacked it. I processed it according to the book.

      I had a second category of stuff that I knew was less pressing, stuff to file, etc. which I processed over the next few days.

      For me it was a totally positive endeavor. Just grouping next tasks by context was a big timesaver. So my suggestion is to do it now, then put off as many action items as you can until next year.

      One thing the GTD system helped me do was be more realistic about Christmas commitments.

      This year, no gingerbread house kit (last year's kit got thrown out in July I think). No tree because we'll be away at my folks' for the holiday (that never stopped me before). No cookies (they find their way into the house anyway). No shopping except what's on the list. So far I've decided not to make one doll dress (bought one instead) and one quilt (bought modest present instead). I shortened our vacation and simplifed the plans.

      Maybe I'm just older and wiser, but I think it's helped me a lot to have everything on paper. Now I don't commit to so much because I know how much I have to do.



      • #4
        An easy way to start...

        Like you I found GTD during a very busy time - just a month ago. I didn't have the time to devote to a full implementation right away, so I started slowly and have had huge and immediate results from my temporary system.

        What did I do? It's really simple...

        I got together a bunch of index cards (at least 200- preferably more.)

        Then, every time a thought or action entered my mind I wrote it down on an index card. ONE action per card.

        I put blank index cards and a pen in every room, so that ANYtime I thought of something I could quickly right it down.

        I created a space on my desk to put the index cards - and every time I wrote something on a card I walked it to my desk and added it to the pile.

        If you do just this one simple thing you will have a huge head start on doing your brain dump by January!

        Also, if you want you can take one more simple step: sort your index cards according to simple categories. I used: This week, Someday/maybe review weekly, This month, Someday/maybe review monthly, waiting for. I put rubber bands around the ones I didn't need to look at for awhile.

        Every morning I review the cards in the 'this week' pile and pull out the ones I need to do that day. The rest get put somewhere I can't see them. (That alone has helped me tremendously.)

        This temporary system works better than anything I've ever tried in the past - and lets me implement GTD slowly over a period of time. The benefits of just getting stuff out of your mind are amazing! It's hard to believe that's only a small part of the whole system!

        Good luck!


        • #5
          thanks for the index cards, The Great Gathering Fear

          Thanks for the index-card tips, KimD!

          I'd picked up unlined index cards earlier for another purpose, but thought they might come in handy to do GTD. Stack some in each room is such a GOOD IDEA. (and the garage, and the car, too). Preliminary processing idea, loveit.

          I find this phase Oh Most Scary.. the initial phase. The gathering phase. Been working up the gumption to do it for oh, nearly a year now. Saw David A at an author event at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena in early January, signed up soon after for the online Barnes Noble U GTD course but bailed (hi, Jason W!). Had some lull times and some crazy high-paced deathmarch times over the year. Latter just ended. Playing catch-up and thinking, Now! now! Now is the Time!

          I've been waiting for A Visitation from The Great Round Tuit to get this Gathering underway so that the rest of my 'I'm Getting Things Done' life can begin. ; )

          I'll try the index card thing. Sounds doable in a 'small moves produces great results' kinda way.

          I'm somewhere between petrified/extremely resistant to begin. I'm afraid that items gathered into a single place will disappear forever. Once gathered, forgotten. That is, until deadline panic mode hits and the Monster emerges.

          Visited the boards here and everyone sounds as tho they've been doing this forever and ever, and I'm still on this side of the Great Gathering Chasm.

          So I posted to get sympathy. Hand-holding. Little ascii "there-there's" and "I was that way too, but then I...." and whatever other words of encouragement and you might offer.



          • #6
            Re: thanks for the index cards, The Great Gathering Fear

            Originally posted by auntialias
            [...] everyone sounds as tho they've been doing this forever and ever, and I'm still on this side of the Great Gathering Chasm.
            No, no, definitely not. I remember the astonishing sense of freedom when I had finally waded knee-deep in the disfunctional inbox. And I remember the celebratory urge (some weeks later!) when I finished slaying 500+ messages (some over a year old) in the personal email box.

            Right now I'm in a bit of a rollback, where I've missed two weekly reviews in a row and am simultaneously somewhat frantic and confused, and resisting the cleanup job. I know I'll feel better when I get it cleaned up, and I've been working on little bits here and there. (Cleaned out the inbox again yesterday, finished off the work voicemail today...)

            The thing to remember about "out of sight, out of mind" is that it's really easy to solve: check your list twice a day! Try keying it to something you already do morning and evening.

            The second most important thing to remember about implementation is that the weekly review really is the key to the whole thing. An up-to-date list is a useful list: it lulls Talking Self to sleep and lets you do -- or not do -- with an undistracted mind.

            Best of luck,



            • #7
              There's a lot of good advice here re: implementation, so I'll leave that along. volunteer4ever, you mentioned time for housekeeping, etc., so I wanted to mention (I found it when somone on this board recommended it). It's a "little bit at a time" approach that has worked for me and helped me establish routines. It also helped me get ready for Christmas early. If you have time, you may just want to take a peek at that website as well.


              • #8
                Thanks for all the great advice! I decided to jump in last Friday - had cleared my calendar but wouldn't you know the kids ended up home due to a snow day. Didn't have the total concentration that I would have preferred for wading thru my INs (and didn't get thru all of them) but made a lot of progress. I saw almost immediate benefits just in combining all those 'things to buy' into one place instead of skittering in and out of my head. The Tickler files have also kept me from misplacing stuff and given me an immediate place to file some things that I never knew what to do with before.

                The hardest part was making myself come up with Next Actions...esp by the end of the day when I was losing my ability to concentrate. I have to admit, I ended up just writing down a bunch of projects with no actions. Need to go back and write up Next Actions because I really think for me this is key...when I looked at my normal "To Do" list for the week, 90% were projects - no wonder it was hard for me to start work on anything, I usually have small chunks of time and everything on the list required so much thought and effort. Hope I can pull together the discipline I need to review each project weekly and come up with the Next Actions - the lists are already intimidating. I probably need to move more to the Someday/Maybe list instead.

                I'm so looking forward to full implementation! Thanks again for the support.

                (AMS, Thanks for the suggestion on Flylady - I've been trying to fly for about a year, with limited success - I didn't even come close to making it on the "Holiday Cruise" though!)


                • #9
                  Originally posted by volunteer4ever
                  Hope I can pull together the discipline I need to review each project weekly and come up with the Next Actions - the lists are already intimidating. I probably need to move more to the Someday/Maybe list instead.
                  Well, here's a radical suggestion: don't just "hope" you can manage a weekly review. Try scheduling a 15-minute session, daily, of turning the "amorphous mass of undoability" projects into projects that have a clearly visualized "wild success", and a next action. That's all you need on the project level, and it will make your weekly review more manageable. (The weekly reviews get shorter as you master the skills involved, too.)




                  • #10

                    Originally posted by AMS
                    There's a lot of good advice here re: implementation, so I'll leave that along. volunteer4ever, you mentioned time for housekeeping, etc., so I wanted to mention (I found it when somone on this board recommended it).
                    You may have trouble with that link - try instead!



                    • #11
                      Whoops - sorry!


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the suggestion, Ambar! 15 minutes a day sounds manageable.