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Sensible prioritization in task lists.

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  • Sensible prioritization in task lists.

    GTD implores you to NOT prioritize tasks in any written form. I understand the reasoning behind this and would never try to do an A, B, C or 1, 2, 3 priority for Daily or Weekly tasks. However, let`s be real here, there are always things that are more important than others in your day, but they are not tasks.

    But how to keep track of them?

    I`ve studied Hyrum W. Smith, Franklin Covey, and Anthony Robbins` time management programs. The thing that hit me most about the latter two is the idea of "outcome."

    Outcomes are not linked to one particular taskbut feelings, accomplishments, connections, etc. you want to achieve out of a certain task or set of tasks.

    Since these are things I naturally want to keep in front of me (and do not want to introduce another list or view) I write must outcomes in my Task list and mark them as "High Priority."

    Someday/Maybe ideas, tasks, actions that are not part of any current project are given no due date and prioritized as "Low Priority." This makes it easy to sort/filter these items in Outlook and my PPC.

    Priority is completely time relative. Even though, "take my family to Cancun" is very important, it may not be important this week or month. So, you could mark it as Low.

    Be sure to reevaluate all of your High, Med, and Low tasks during your weekly review.

  • #2
    I remove the category from the "must do today" items. That puts them at the top of my Outlook task list in a category called "None." That helps them stand out for me.

    As for the outcomes, I try to keep the Projects list down to the projects I really intent to move forward that week. Anything else goes on what I call Future Projects (same thing as Someday/Maybe).

    One thing that I think is important is that if you unlimited time to devote to each project and no other people who would be involved, there would be no need for the context lists. You would start on a project and just move from one action to the next until the project had been completed, then pick another project and start on it.

    To me, the context lists come into play when for some reason you can't go further on a project (because you have to wait for someone to complete the next step before you can proceed, a certain period of time has to pass, an appointment pulls you away from the project, or you just feel like changing gears). At this point, you need a "bookmark" to tell you exactly where to pick up next time.