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To Do help

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  • To Do help

    I have been utlizing GTD since the summer, but still feel like i do not have a good feel for the "To do" list. I am a palm user and have tried using suggested categories like @calls, @agenda, @work, someday-maybe, waiting for, projects; but i feel like i do my "to do's" instinctively without looking at the list, thus i never really have a plan for getting things done! Some discussions on this forum have centered around context. I am wondering if this is my problem and have recently thought of going back to the A-today, B-Tommorrow, etc way of handling to do's.

    Any recommendations appreciated.


  • #2
    To Dos

    Personally, I think this is the weak link in DA's philosophy. Everything else, in terms of organizing your work, is out-of-this-world good. When it comes to doing, you will have to figure out how best to use the system.

    My approach: I have a todo list (just repro'd over and over, I pull it out of the desk drawer every morning) that reads:

    Tickler file/Tickler ems
    VM greeting/Process vms
    Clear em Inbox
    Process Inbox
    @Action emails
    (I used to have @Anywhere, but that category became irrelevant for me)

    You todo list each day is just 9 items, and the first 5 should take less than an hour. You could try this for a week and see how it goes.

    Thus, if you got through all items in all 9 categories, you would have all NAs done. Now, not every day is perfect, so I get through as many items on each of these lists as I can, prioritizing on the fly if my day is overly busy.

    Brian D.
    Alexandria, VA


    • #3
      Taking Control of Your Calendar

      I think that if your Calendar is already full, almost any system will work because your calendar will dictate your day, but there is a certain elegance to DA's Context lists that gives you a better chance of Doing relevant things, or making some kind of selection to Do things, in the spare moments.

      If your Calendar is not full, then you have a problem/opportunity. The problem is that you have to decide how/whether to fill your Calendar, and GtD doesn't explicitly Do this for you, but doesn't prevent you from doing it for yourself. The opportunity is that you can fill your Calendar proactively with things of your own choice. However, like most other coaches, DA advises against overschedulling.

      Each day may be different and you can be flexible as to your approach according to what's already in your Calendar each day. At the end of the day (literally), your Calendar shows what you did with your time. I try to envision my day in general terms to give me a guide towards what it will look like when it's over



      • #4
        Daily Planning

        You may also consider the following:

        Raise your focus up one level - to the "Outcome" level. At the beginnning of each day (or the night before) select several "Outcomes" that you want to happen that day. These would be the result of the completion of several Next Actions on your "To-Do" List.

        You can list these as "Untimed Events" so they appear at the top of your Daily Calendar. If you don't complete them, move them to another day when you think you'll be able to achieve the outcome.

        If you have enough control over your day to schedule them as fixed blocks of time, you could always do that too.

        Remember - one of David's prime principles is focusing on the successful outcome. The Next Action lists are operating at the lowest level, to make sure nothing slips through the cracks while you're focusing on the higher levels.