Newbie question about processing my inbox

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by KW7, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. KW7

    KW7 Registered

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    I'm just starting GTD and using Evernote to manage my tasks.

    When processing your Inbox, how many items do you move to various contexts? Just those you plan to work on soon or everything that fits? If I put tasks that I think I'll work on next week into my @Work PC context, for example, it seems like it may save me a step. While if I throw it into Someday/Maybe then I've got to review it all over again, at least in terms of deciding the context. Not sure the right answer here.

    As an example: I write blog posts on various topics and the topics come to me at different times. It's usually helpful to compare one topic to another to prioritize. If I only put the one I plan to work on right now into @Work PC , and the rest into Someday/Maybe, it would make that comparison difficult.

    Many thanks for your input!
     
  2. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    I don't understand the question. You do review Someday/Maybe list during your Weekly Review. All over again.
     
  3. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    This is a good example of a specialized Someday/Maybe list. You have an idea, you throw it into in. You refine it a bit, you throw in on your list of possible blog topics. When it’s relevant, you look at the list, and choose and weed as you like.
     
  4. KW7

    KW7 Registered

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    I think I've partially solved the problem. Regarding the blog posts, I created a context just for that type of work since it occurs so often and comparisons are needed to determine what to do next.

    I'm still uncertain about how many tasks should be in each context though. Why should a task be put into Someday/Maybe as opposed to @Work_PC? I can put 100 tasks in @Work_PC if I want but that doesn't mean they'll get done anytime soon. And choosing what to do next is almost like another weekly review if there are too many tasks in a given context. Any thoughts??
     
  5. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    Experiment! One person can have 64 items on the Next Action list, another person is overwhelmed by 16. There's no general rule here.
     
  6. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    I think that the last sentence in the above paragraph answers the question in the first sentence. The more tasks you put into your active lists, the more work it is to go through your active lists.

    Some people are comfortable with lots of current stuff. I prefer a bare, bare minimum of current stuff--other than a grocery list, I don't want any current list to be longer than one screen on my phone, and I'd prefer more like half a screen.
     
  7. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    A good of rule of thumb, which I have heard David Allen suggest, is that you should not put things on your list that you are sure you have no chance or intention of doing this week. Also, it is important to only have next actions on your lists, not stuff that you plan to do after you finish something else.
     
  8. Cpu_Modern

    Cpu_Modern Registered

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    Also, your Next Actions don't have to come in multiples of eight, even if it's a digital list.
     
    Gardener and mcogilvie like this.
  9. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    It's actually a binary list: "Do. Or do not. There is no try." May the force be with us.
     
  10. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    Have you looked at the Evernote Set-up guide from here? I am sure that will help with basic setup.

    Only move to contexts those things that are not Someday/Maybe. I personally like to work with long lists and lots of choices. Plus most of my work is seasonal. So I typically have on my lists as active projects anything I can do in the current 3 month season. That means that for me I usually have about 200+ active current projects, and about 300+ actions defined for them spread across 37 active contexts.

    When I process my inbox if the item is something related to a current active project I add it as applicable, it might be support material for that project, or it might be an action but it goes on my lists. If it's part of a someday/maybe project I will add it to the project support material for that project if I have created a folder for it or if not I might just add it as a note under my Someday/Maybe lists. I keep my S/M items in DEVONThink but it's similar to Evernote.

    The way I would handle that type of thing is that I would have a single active project called "Blog Updated Weekly" with the action of "Write this weeks' blog post" in the context Scrivener (my writing tool of choice) and in the notes for the action I'd say something like "See list of possible topics in DT note Blog_Updates. My DEVONThink note would have a list of all my blog topics that I had thought of, just a plain text file like this:
    Discuss options for setting up a chicken brooder in an old water tank
    Explain my scoring system for sheep evaluations
    Describe my Lamb Bag contents and how I use it
    Why you should eat rare breeds to save them
    etc. etc. etc. for all the various ideas I have had about the blog​

    Then say I am processing my inbox and I come across a note I scribbled that said "blog idea custom vaccine notes" That would translate into a line in my DT note for blog ideas "Explain how we created a custom vaccine for Clostridia Type A for our flock".

    Now it's my blog day and I need to create an entry. I look at my action lists for the context Scrivener and see that I have 3 things to do, one is write this weeks blog post. I reference my list and I decide that the one I want to actually work on now and get up or at least written is the one on eating rare breeds because it's fall and that's when we slaughter and I want to drive more meat sales. I delete it from my DT note, add it as a post in my blog document in Scrivener and start writing.

    And in fact that is exactly the structure I am in the process of implementing for myself because I am woefully out of date doing my farm blog and really need to write blog posts more frequently than once or twice a year! ;-)
    Does that help?
     
  11. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    I'm glad I saw this thread, and this post in particular. I've been struggling a while with swelling lists and action items languishing for months, and a feeling of failure every time I review them. It's gotten to a point where I really struggle to even review the lists on a daily basis.

    The fact is if I'm working on some projects, others will have to wait. I like the rule of thumb you've shared here because it's not too rigid. I think my next weekly review will be an overhaul, shifting lots of stuff into someday/maybe or oblivion as appropriate.

    Thanks.
     

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