Getting Low-Urgency Low-Important Projects Done

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by ///, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. ///

    /// Registered

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    Hello,

    One of my projects is to organize all of my browser bookmarks. This is basically an inbox itself with 1,000 items, and for each bookmark, I'd need to ask all the questions, what is it, is it actionable (e.g., read/review or representing a project), is it trash or reference, &c.

    So, the next action for the project seems to be simply to begin processing the bookmarks. This is probably going to take a while; it won't be done in one sitting. It's a low-priority item, but I wouldn't want a year to go by without completing the project.

    I'm wondering how best to ensure it gets done in say, nine months.

    It's not critical that it be done any *particular* day or week so that seems to leave it off the calendar. It's also unlikely to be selected in the context @computer when up against other more important projects. If I use a tickler file to remind me of the project, I'm imagining that I'll re-tickle myself month after month ad-infinitum in favor of more urgent projects.

    Essentially I'm looking for some suggestions to ensure that low-urgency low-importance projects still get done and how best to allocate time to do them.

    Many thanks,
    David
     
  2. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    The most important question is "what's the desired outcome?" Organized is just a word unless you know what it means to you. Frankly, a thousand bookmarks is likely to be a serious bag of digital clutter. I would speed up the process by quickly separating out the ones I use frequently and deleting the rest after some period of time. Google will probably find the left-handed blue squirrel video if you need it.
     
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  3. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    I have several of those type things and one was even the edit and fix bookmarks one you mention. What I did on bookmarks is set up a new folder structure in my browser including one called inbox. I pulled all the existing links into the inbox and all previous folders of collected links. Then right after lunch, when I am mostly braindead and farm work is done until evening chores, I set aside 15 minutes to process a few inbox items from my browser inbox. I had a context of Braindead Computer Maint. Where I put the actions for the projects to clean the bookmarks, rename and sort files and so on.

    My top browser bar has the following folders or links: WebCams, News, Weather, Netflix, Amazon, Our Web Sites, Finance, Google Drive, Google Calendar, TweetDeck, Ravelry, GTD Forum, Blogs & Forums, Active Projects (which has a folder Inbox), Sheep Stuff, Farm, Computer, Friends, Marketing, Household,Other News, Travel and Reference (Which has a single layer of folders or individual links).

    As I went through the links I was able to delete duplicates and old dead links and sorted the rest into the proper folders. The I set up so when I save links they automatically go into the inbox folder and I clear it out as part of my normal inbox processing or during my weekly review. I also changed the name of links so that they made sense to me. I do a more in-depth review of the top level folders at my quarterly deep dives and try to clean out one or more of them once a month just to keep the links pruned.

    Keys to getting that and other similar jobs done include:
    1. Set up the final structure first
    2. Corral all the stuff into a new fresh "inbox"
    3. Decide whether it's a high attention task or a low one and set a context appropriately
    4. Know when you will best be able to do the task and if you really are avoiding it actually schedule some short period of time in the calendar to work on those items.
     
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  4. treelike

    treelike Registered

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    It's not low priority it's unknown priority because, as you say, it's another inbox. There could be some real gems in there that usurp your current projects and that's what's bothering you about it. I think I personally would try and process it all in one sitting- most of it will be trash, a few bookmarks will lead to projects/next actions and the rest someday/maybe. How long will it take to put all bookmarks into those three buckets? Maybe block off a chunk of time to do it in ;)

    If that didn't work I would maybe skim the entire list to see if anything jumped out and then put the rest in SDMB and then repeat the skimming exercise with the remaining list every time I reviewed SDMB (theoretically every week).
     
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  5. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    I lost any hope and don't collect any bookmarks. Why? Because:
    1. They breed like rabbits. Faster than I can consume them.
    2. The pages that they point to often disappear.
    So when I encounter something interesting I print it to PDF and store in my reference library.
     
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  6. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    Evernote for me, but the same idea.
     
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  7. TobyTrigger

    TobyTrigger Registered

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    1: do a 5 minute skim and pull out any bookmarks that might be landmines: important, deadline things that might need more urgent attention.

    2. Create a daily recurring task to purge 10 bookmarks. 100 days later you will have them done. Well under time estimate. Double that up as a motivation/discipline/habit building challenge, can you do something every single day for 100 days without breaking the chain?

    3. Or go beast mode: take a day off and challenge yourself to purge for 14 hours straight, listen to 1 song on a loop to keep you in the zone, turn off your phone, have food/water pre prepared next to you. BEAST mode it. Learn the power of large uniterrupted flow time blocks, no interruptions, clear intentions/task, the relaxed flow of knowing this is all you will be doing for the next 14 hours. No task switching costs. *note im not a doctor and dont play one on the internet, consult your physician before you try marathon sessions, stay well hydrated, and dont sue me if something goes wrong! Im absolved before you even try.
     
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  8. ///

    /// Registered

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    Thanks, everyone. @treelike nailed why it bothers me. I think I'll be doing an amalgam of all of your suggestions. Set up a new structure ahead of processing, go though the existing ones 10-20 at a time, and consider not using bookmarks going forward by using Evernote instead.

    Cheers,
    David
     
  9. Castanea_d.

    Castanea_d. Registered

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    I had a similar thing that hung over me for years: my predecessor retired and left in the office his large collection of single-copies of choral anthems. Five large fileboxes of them, unsorted. Things he had picked up at workshops, conventions, etc. There were just enough gems in there that I was unwilling to haul the whole collection to the recycling center, but it was definitely a low-priority task. For anything that was a keeper, I entered it into my anthem database and put it in my collection - unlike my predecessor's, well-indexed and easy to find by quite a few criteria. But that takes some work; the data entry alone was about five minutes per item for the ones I chose to keep, and that part of it was a task with high resistance for me.

    I sporadically nibbled away at it for the next sixteen years, with one memorable week of what Toby called "beast mode" -- the electricity was off at the church for a week during a construction project. The rest of the staff took a week off; I came in every day and put in eight or ten hours doing just this one task: working through the anthems at the (acoustic) piano. That knocked off about two boxes, with the data entry over the next few weeks after the power was back on. I would take an anthem from the top of the pile, give it a scan. If it looked interesting, I would read through it and if it was really interesting, kind of get stuck and spend what I now realize was too much time on it.

    By this time last year I was down to one filing box, maybe a thousand anthems or so. Thanks to GTD, I finally realized that the whole thing was an "in" box, and that I could make headway by a quick scan with a thirty-second rule. That got it down to about a hundred items in fairly short order, over the course of a couple of weeks. From there I used another of Toby's ideas - a goal of five items a day to read through/play at the piano and decide whether to keep it or not. If it was a keeper, it went into my regular In box, and got cleared (data entry, filed in my ring-binders) at latest by weekly review.

    And so, I am done! Finished it off earlier this year. Even though it was low priority, I consider it worthwhile because I did indeed find some hidden gems - anthems that were new to me, which fit our choir well, many of them now out of print and hard or impossible to find - the publishers will usually grant permission to reprint for a fee, but only if you already have one copy to work from. We have done quite a few things that way. Out of those five original boxes, there were maybe one or two hundred keepers.

    Maybe more to the point, it taught me - especially this final year of it - how I could deal more effectively with similar things in the future.
     

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