GTD - Making it a habit

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by GeoDrilbP, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. GeoDrilbP

    GeoDrilbP Registered

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    There's one and a half month now that I'm trying to apply GTD, I have already failed a lot of times and got back again but I began thinking differently on how to approach it. I think I need to establish this big habit by starting small, and making small improvements. I have this idea from articles I have read in the past for building habits plus this article: http://gettingthingsdone.com/2017/04/10-tips-for-success-with-gtd/
    Also I searched about this and found a system similar to GTD which uses such strategies(ZTD).

    For example I can have a daily habit for processing in tray by starting small like 5 minutes and making tiny improvements. I can start by adding 10 seconds every day. By adding 10 seconds per day in 3 months the habit would reach 20 minutes. At this stage I can increase the growth rate by 10 seconds to 20 seconds. In 45 days the habits is going to reach 35 minutes. At this point again I can increase the growth rate to 30 seconds. In one month it'll be at 50 minutes. I don't think I need to increase the minutes even more from here, I believe that these are already a lot for me and maybe I'm going to stop at 30 minutes since I don't have too much to process every day and my next actions are around 25-30 I guess.

    EDIT: I forgot to mention that I will process 100% of the content of in-tray during weekly review. But for the other days I want to stick to this program I've written.

    About capturing I don't think I need to create it a habit since I am already comfortable with it. For Weekly Review instead of saying I am always going to do it every Friday for every week from now on, I can just schedule the next one, and when I've done that I book the next one(instead of focusing at reaching the top of the mountain which is very overwhelming, focus for now on the next 50 metres.) Also if I see that using this strategy I still have problems doing the weeekly review I can do it every 10 days for now for it to be less overwhelming.

    For reviewing my lists habit I can set a habit of always reviewing my next actions, waiting for, calendar each morning and night at least. I was already doing that so I am more comfortable with it. Also I tried in the past to look every day quickly at all of my projects and be sure that each one has next actions and I think that's a good behavior to continue doing.

    Ok, you get the idea, that's just a simple plan of how I'd like to approach GTD. In the book I've read that David says that GTD can easily take 2 years before it's a habit. I think by having such a plan by starting small, GTD can become a habit quicker and with less failures. Also that's a better way to tackle such a big habit and habits in general, it makes the process much less stressful. What do you think? Has anyone else incorporated similar strategies in his GTD journey?
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
  2. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    1. Small steps are great for habit building.
    2. Your example of building the inbox processing habit confuses me. In the beginning the stuff pile in your inbox will grow, and grow, and grow. And you'll be rather discouraged than encouraged.
     
  3. GeoDrilbP

    GeoDrilbP Registered

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    Sorry for that, I forgot to mention that I will process in-tray 100% during weekly review. But for the other days I want to stick to these minutes I've written.
     
  4. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    IMHO it's risky. Weekly Review seems to be the most challenging GTD habit. If you overload it with inbox processing it will take hours. Let me do the math:
    1. You say 30 minutes daily will be enough to process your inbox.
    2. In the first week you'll be processing 5 - 6 minutes daily.
    3. So during your first Weekly Review inbox processing will take 5 days x (30 - 6) minutes = 120 minutes = 2 hours.
    Exhausting!
     
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  5. cfoley

    cfoley Registered

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    I've never much understood the concept of scheduling inbox processing for a certain time. Often, I have things on it that need attention the same day they go on. As such, I often process my inbox several times a day. It's really quick to process when there are only 5 things there!
     
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  6. treelike

    treelike Registered

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    If something needs my attention that day I try and deal with it there and then because a lot of my day is taken up by back-to-back two minute jobs and I'm physically too busy to get to my inbox! I do usually manage to empty it daily though.
     
  7. cfoley

    cfoley Registered

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    Do you mean 2 minute jobs as in the 2 minute rule?

    If that's the case, then the usual time to do them is while you are processing your inbox.

    This isn't written anywhere but I would think that if you have so many 2 minute jobs that your whole day is taken up with them, then it's OK to put them off if it allows you to do some deeper work.
     
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  8. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    TesTeq's theorem about the 2-minute rule:
    Average time of execution of the 2-minute action equals 1 minute.
     
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  9. treelike

    treelike Registered

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    So I should put off the two minute job by writing it on a note and putting it in my inbox so I then have time to empty my inbox, find the note I wrote, determine it is a two minute job and then go and do it ;)
     
  10. cfoley

    cfoley Registered

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    I'm not sure, but I know that if you are generating so many 2 minute actions that it takes all your time, then by definition, there is no time left for anything else.

    Would you be able to share some of them straight from your inbox? I'd like to understand what's happening and I think seeing them might help me.

    Interesting theory. Care to elaborate? I'm so terrible at estimating that I'm sure most of my 2 minute actions take three minutes!
     
  11. Gardener

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    Well, it depends on what the two minute jobs are, and what form they arrive in. Are you having days filled with two minute jobs that are each different and that exist only in your short-term memory rather than being recorded anywhere?

    As an example of two-minute jobs that are not each different and are already recorded, let's imagine that you talked to an audience and offered to send a document to anyone who's interested. Let's imagine that seventy-eight people emailed you and are interested. Let's imagine that sending the document to each person would take about thirty seconds.

    That doesn't mean that you're obligated to interrupt what you're doing and spend that thirty seconds the instant each email comes in. You could instead spend thirty seconds total, with the mouse and the Shift key, selecting the seventy emails that look like they're probably document requests, and dumping them in a folder. Then you write yourself a task to go through those emails and send the document, as one big batch job.
     
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  12. AnneMKE

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    Related to this: one of my biggest misunderstandings when I started GTD was thinking the two-minute rule meant I had to stop what I was doing every time I saw a new two-minute task. Since (1) I'm pretty distractable and (2) I habitually check my E-mail often, that misinterpretation had me constantly getting pulled away from work that required concentration. Re-reading and webinars have helped me understand that the two-minute rule applies while you're processing, not all day long. Of course, you still have to sometimes stop to deal with a new input, but not every single two-minute input. Hope this helps someone avoid my mistake!
     
  13. treelike

    treelike Registered

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    Mostly child related I'm afraid, as I spend a lot of time (trying to) look after my young kids. Yes and, despite my silly reply, you're right I do sometimes put off the two minute things in order to get something deeper done. I've had children clamped around each of my legs screaming blue murder just so that I could get that one action done- then I have to deal with the fallout. Also, if you don't deal with the two minute things then they build up, they still have to get done! And there are some very practical reasons to do some two minute jobs- spills are easier to get out of the carpet before they dry in, better to break up the fight before the younger brother sustains brain damage from having his head smashed against the wall by the older one. These can quickly turn into Projects if they aren't dealt with immediately.

    I wasn't looking for a solution as such, and I didn't say that the two minute things take all my time (I wouldn't be able to write this post otherwise), I just wanted to make the point that I am often unable to empty my inbox more than once a day and so I need to pre-filter for anything that might have to be done the rest of that day before putting it into my inbox.
     
  14. cfoley

    cfoley Registered

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    Oh, that's understandable. Thanks for providing the example. I was sure you must be doing something wrong in terms of GTD but actually, I was just assuming you had similar circumstances to me. I don't have children so don't know what it's like looking after them full time. Please accept my apologies for being so condescending.
     
  15. TesTeq

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    Maybe I'm just the Pessimistic Estimator. Besides my 2-minute Actions are very granular. For example not "put all the books on the shelf" but "put 'Getting Things Done' on the shelf". Fast, easy, serial wins!
     
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  16. treelike

    treelike Registered

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    No worries :). I suspect many people empty their inboxes daily, and not more frequently than that. If something comes up and needs done on the day the only options as far as I can see are:
    • Do it there and then no matter how long it will take
    • Set an alarm do to it at an expected convenient time (although you might not be within earshot of alarm at the time)
    • Write it on a sticky note at a place you know you are likely to be when you can do it
    • Keep it in your head that it needs done
    • Forget about it
    If this happened to me more frequently then I would empty my inbox more often. It's all about balancing the consequences. At least with GTD we can understand the causes of these consequences and can form the best strategy to deal with our own particular stuff.
     
  17. treelike

    treelike Registered

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    Actually now I think about it I do have another solution for things coming up that day. I simply add them straight to my next actions list leaving the context blank. As I have my next action list sorted by context, they appear right at the top so I'll see them even if I glance at the next action list. Of course this does depend on me even glancing at the next action list again that day, which is not always guaranteed.....
     
  18. cfoley

    cfoley Registered

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    Nothing wrong with doing work as it arrives. It's one of the ways of choosing what to do int he moment.
     

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