Best way to apply GTD to creative assignments?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Tristan, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. Tristan

    Tristan Registered

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    GTD has worked beautifully for completing next actions with defined edges i.e. call so-and-so, buy toilet paper, email so-and-so, etc.

    Where I struggle with GTD is when the next action (or could be a project) is creative in nature or requires 'deep thinking' such as writing a paper, or creating a design, or strategizing a plan. Usually with these creative assignments, the next action isn't readily apparent or easily defined.

    What's the best practice for GTD in these cases? I find internal resistance to working on these assignments because it's not clear to me where to start and where it ends, so they tend to get pushed back in favor of the more traditional 'widgets' that can be cranked easily.
     
  2. Castanea_d.

    Castanea_d. Registered

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    I keep a project sheet (perhaps a wordprocessing text file, or for many things a manila folder) for anything of this nature, plus a one-sentence referral to it in my action list; an example for me is writing a musical composition. It may have a due date (e.g., I have put it on the schedule for the choir to sing it on a specific Sunday), or not. Seeing the item in the action list during weekly review reminds me that it exists, even if it is long-term and does not now have much of a priority. The "next action" for a lot of these is to "gather thoughts" or "brainstorm," until they reach the stage where a more specific next action is appropriate. At some point, the next action might need to be "take the time to define how I'm going to do this," and that will lead me to spend an hour or so with the text file or the folder, seeing if I can better clarify the project into something more actionable.

    I have been surprised how often a random thought about one of these projects will come to mind when I'm working on something unrelated. I write it down (for the musical things, this is usually jotting down a motif or phrase on staff paper), and having a place to put it where I know I will find it when I need it has been encouraging. There have been a few projects of this sort where initially I was totally stuck, but ideas trickled in over many weeks/months and all of a sudden, it was clear how to get the thing done.
     
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  3. AndrewJMason

    AndrewJMason Registered

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    Hey there Tristan...here's just my 2 cents. Sometimes the Natural Planning Model can work wonders on creative projects. But the magic lies in cycling steps 3 and 4 for me. For example:

    01 - Purpose -"Why am I doing this?"........Really? (Sometimes the "really" part gives me another level of honesty. Takes it from "To facilitate mutual coorporation in blah, blah, blah" down to a more emotional level. "To KICK BUTT AND TAKE NAMES." is sometimes more effective. ;)
    02 - Vision - "What am I thinking, feeling, and saying to myself once this project's complete? What are the sights? The sounds?
    03/04 - For me, for creative projects - Steps three and four are cyclical. They're still separate, but once I know my target, it's a constant interchange between brainstorming thoughts & collecting, organizing, and sorting those thoughts. Back, forth, course correct, repeat.
    05 - The "Next Action" emerges after the 03-04 cycles completed a few times for me. Thoughts, organized, thoughts, organized, etc...."THAT'S IT!" Then I write. Or edit footage. Or whatever creative execution looks like for you.

    Make sense?
     
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  4. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    This is pretty much what I do as well. I have folders for each of these projects or items that contain the materials I've gathered. For longer term someday/maybe items as I collect the notes in my inbox for the thoughts and ideas I just toss them into the appropriate folder or type them into the appropriate electronic note and leave it at that. One of the major next actions for many of those types of things is to reflect on and organize the various random notes.

    So for example:

    In my LambTracker program I have a section I want to implement for Group Sheep Management. This is for when we do the same task (give a vaccine, shear, trim toes whatever) to all sheep within a defined group. Over the years I've had ideas about it like, how do I define a group? By age, by what pasture or pen they are in? by sex, some combination of those? How do I know when I am doing a group that this sheep is in or not in the group? How do I handle the case of "spare" sheep that show up in a group i.e. fence jumpers who got into the wrong pen? How do I handle missing sheep that are supposed to be there but aren't? I've been collecting those notes for 3 years and I keep going back and forth on how to implement it. Last week I decided to really focus on designing that section of code so I took all my notes on Group Sheep Management and discovered that some things kept reappearing. If a way to do it has 3 or 4 instances of where I captured that I decided that was an area that is likely to be the correct answer. So I sorted and evaluated the various options and now the current next action is to flowchart the code for group management by location as that is the most common way we handle group sheep actions. The research phase was over several years of e capturing thoughts and just tossing them into the folder for that project, the collating and organizing phase took a couple of hours of concentrated time and now the next action is clear and precise. I think I can do that part in about an hour and I know i have to be fresh and uninterrupted. I also know by looking at my calendar that I'm not going to have that sort of time until next week so I put a delay on the action so it won't start until Wednesday, the day before the first available time and I made my real next action "Schedule an hour of time to flowchart group sheep management module" Coding will be another action that will probably take many sessions over several months.
     

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