advice on my GTD method

GTD-Sweden

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- Because it can be a switching cost involved in changing contexts (mentioned in the Three fold nature of work webinar with John and Julie).
 

GTD-Sweden

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"That's not my impression. In fact, I have always thought that blocking off time for a specific action is at least mildly anti-GTD. The quote in the thread "Realizing...that you had now better block out two hours..." doesn't say to me that this is something that is recommended as a habit for most large actions.

He does clearly recommend blocking off time for GTD, both for the initial setup and the weekly review, but I'm not finding any specific recommendations for other tasks. Maybe I'm missing it; I'd be pleased to see quotes."

It was mentioned by Meg Edwards on the Daily Grind webinar. Sorry David:) "I find that when I block out time to work to work on something, basically a tips that if an action takes more than an hour most people… usually has to block it out in the calendar to get it done. It sits on your action lists and you look at it over and over again and its not getting done. And your are not gonna find it until you schedule it (42 minutes into the webinar).
 

GTD-Sweden

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Gardener said:
That's not my impression. In fact, I have always thought that blocking off time for a specific action is at least mildly anti-GTD. The quote in the thread "Realizing...that you had now better block out two hours..." doesn't say to me that this is something that is recommended as a habit for most large actions.

He does clearly recommend blocking off time for GTD, both for the initial setup and the weekly review, but I'm not finding any specific recommendations for other tasks. Maybe I'm missing it; I'd be pleased to see quotes.
It was mentioned by Meg Edwards on the Daily Grind webinar. Sorry David:) Meg: "I find that when I block out time to work to work on something, basically a tips that if an action takes more than an hour most people… usually has to block it out in the calendar to get it done. It sits on your action lists and you look at it over and over again and its not getting done. And your are not gonna find it until you schedule it (42 minutes into the webinar).
 

GTD-Sweden

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Gardener said:
That's not my impression. In fact, I have always thought that blocking off time for a specific action is at least mildly anti-GTD. The quote in the thread "Realizing...that you had now better block out two hours..." doesn't say to me that this is something that is recommended as a habit for most large actions.
Question: Is it acceptable to schedule doing time to work on action lists and are there any downsides to this? Kelly Forrester: I would say absolutely and even particular items - yesterday I blocked my calendar for two different time slots to work on a project. So I will do that especially you know so its not the wild wild west so people say ”hey, people is here back from her vacation look her schedule is pretty free, lets grab some time”, and I block it out so the time is available to me, my time is as important as if anybody else is gonna book a meeting with me, so I wanna make time that that time is garded (my italics) (Quoted in the Daily Grind webinar, 41 min into it).

Comment: to call Kellys strategy anti-GTD is not a description that comes to mind, in my mind anyway, when I think of her:)
 

Folke

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I think we are talking about a few different things, and need to separate the issues.

1. Problems with shared calendars or people's expectations about your availability: We all need to make sure that people do not "steal" our time. If you work in a culture (or with an IT based calendar system) that leads people to believe they can book you you anytime they like for anything they want without even asking you, then you need to shut them out - regardless of whether you use GTD or some other ideas. If that might mean even booking solid 24-hour meetings with yourself or God every day in their shared calendar then that is just a social trick, nothing to do with your own reality and the GTD discussion as such. It is just to ward them off.

2. The more interesting discussion, I believe, from a GTD perspective, is the other discussion we have had here - the perceived need by some of us to somehow "mark" those actions that we are afraid we might overlook and cannot afford to overlook. This is an oft-perceived problem, that I have read complaints about in many forums. GTD primarily offers the "carpe diem" approach (or rather "carpe horam" during the day, i.e. to see what you can find in your lists that matches your current location, mood etc - and we all love that. Or, in the morning, to look at your calendar for the hard appointments that will constitute the "skeleton" for your day, and we love that, too - but no word on looking anywhere in particular for "hot candidates" for your "skeleton". There simply is no way in core GTD to identify "hot" actions in general. If they happen to be "hard" (agreed date etc) you will have them in the calendar, so no problem, but if they are not "hard" (but perhaps super super important) you have to dig them out of your long lists every time. Some people are fine with that - they do not mind plowing through all their actions in all their contexts lists over and over. But this scares some people - those who, like me, fear that they might overlook something important in those lists, and who want to have the "critical" things more visible. So some of use have found ways to "mark" actions that are particularly important in order to at least feel assured that we will consider them before we decide to do something else. I think it was Longstreet (?) who somewhere recently identified the methods most commonly in use for this purpose - calendar, alarm bells, color coding, flag/focus lists, today list (white index card list).
 

Gardener

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GTD-Sweden said:
Question: Is it acceptable to schedule doing time to work on action lists and are there any downsides to this? Kelly Forrester: I would say absolutely and even particular items - yesterday I blocked my calendar for two different time slots to work on a project. So I will do that especially you know so its not the wild wild west so people say ”hey, people is here back from her vacation look her schedule is pretty free, lets grab some time”, and I block it out so the time is available to me, my time is as important as if anybody else is gonna book a meeting with me, so I wanna make time that that time is garded (my italics) (Quoted in the Daily Grind webinar, 41 min into it).

Comment: to call Kellys strategy anti-GTD is not a description that comes to mind, in my mind anyway, when I think of her:)
I suppose I'm seeing this two different ways:

What I see as anti-GTD: "I'll work on that task from 1-2 and that one from 2-3 and that one from 3-3:30 and that one from 3:30-4 and that one from 4-6 and then tomorrow morning starting at 8 I'll work on..."

What I see as perfectly compatible with GTD: "I'm going to mark off six hours every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for uninterrupted programming. I'll only allow interruptions and email in the last two hours of the day."
 

GTD-Sweden

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I think everybody in this discussion would agree that scheduling your life minute by minute is ani-GTD. But to block some hours each week for highly effective predefined work I think is about the best way to get things done (as Kelly does). Is someone really arguing against this strategy?
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
Really, Folks? Anti-GTD? You sound like you belong to a Cult. Better not sway away from the esteemed leader because what he says is it - there is no other way but my way. Seriously, modify to make things work BEST FOR YOU. One size does not fit all. If you like to time block and schedule on the calendar and that works for you, then by all means do it! I do and love to have important actions IN MY CALENDAR. The Cult will not come and take you away.
 

GTD-Sweden

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Getting lost in semantics😃 Different formulation - is there any GTD:er out there who block out there calender from dusk till dawn? That would be, how to put it, unothodox.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
I am sorry, @GTD-Sweden....I was not questioning your semantics or English at all. What I am questioning is the belief that some seem to have that one cannot modify the best standard practices of GTD. How many people do the weekly review exactly at 2:00 on Friday afternoon? How many follow to the letter the outline for the weekly review from the David Allen Co.? What? Not everyone? You mean...you have modified it to what works best for you? What about contexts? Does everyone follow to the letter the standard contexts illustrated in the book? What? Not everyone? Heresy, I tell you. So....if one wishes to modify the standard practices to what works best for them, it really is okay. It is NOT anti-GTD. This includes scheduling actions and projects directly on the calendar. This is NOT only to protect one's time, so let's not think that is the only reason - it is not. Embrace the beauty of GTD....modify that which does not work as well with your personal productivity style. Again, you are not harming GTD and you are not anti-GTD.
 

notmuch

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I want this poll:

A) I use strict GTD. I never distinguish next actions with soft dates or priorities (by number, color or tag). I never create a today or hot list. I simply first look at my exclusively-hard-landscaped calendar, then faithfully employ the four-criteria model to choose from my next action lists in the moment.

B) I deviate from A.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
I will get off of my soapbox now. Sorry for coming across a bit strong. I do sincerely love what GTD has done for my professional and personal life. As you can see, I have been on here since 2002. Overall, there is not a better "system" than GTD, which is one reason I am a GTD Connect member. Best wishes to everyone.
 

Folke

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A Mercedes is designed to take you from A to B very comfortably. Hence, if you can find something that takes you from A to B very comfortably, it really is a Mercedes. Right? (No?)

When people on this forum talk about GTD it is often in the sense of the Mercedes above. Anything is GTD as long as it serves a good purpose. Just like anything is a Mercedes if it takes you from A to B. All cars have at least some similarity with Mercedes, and they can take you from A to B. Similarly, all habits or methods for "staying organized" employ listed actions, appointment calendars, goals etc. Are they all GTD?

Personally I use a less liberal definition, much less liberal, but that's only at the semantic and analytical level. I am actually tolerant of people using whatever methods they prefer. We all do what the heck we want, don't we. I do, anyway. It just happens to be close to GTD. But I prefer to be able to speak and analyze freely, and be able to call a spade a spade. Date scheduling is NOT among the core tenets of GTD. On the contrary, in his first book from 2001 David Allen displays a marked reluctance towards any use of dates that are not externally firm ("hard landscape"). There is a whole chapter about that, if I recall correctly, and that same message also seeps from virtually every page of the book. I am bewildered that so many people apparently understand it differently and claim that the opposite is also core GTD, that their Audi is a Mercedes. Both are good cars, so if someone prefers Audi, why not admit it? (I openly admit that my color markings are not part of GTD, and I am actually quite disappointed that David has not come up with something similar. I think they should be part of core GTD ;-) )
 

Gardener

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Longstreet said:
Really, Folks? Anti-GTD? You sound like you belong to a Cult. Better not sway away from the esteemed leader because what he says is it - there is no other way but my way. Seriously, modify to make things work BEST FOR YOU. One size does not fit all. If you like to time block and schedule on the calendar and that works for you, then by all means do it! I do and love to have important actions IN MY CALENDAR. The Cult will not come and take you away.
Hey. That's a little insulting, there.

I like to know what a system calls for, because certain elements of the system may mesh with other elements, and if I don't understand each of them, I may miss something. So I want to know what GTD calls for. THEN I decide whether I'm going to do that.

I usually cook a recipe as written, too, the FIRST time, so that I know what the recipe writer intended. Then I do waht I please.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
No insult intended. I just expecting tolerance of different ways people implement their GTD practice is all.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
@Folke....agreed.....just as I wish David Allen was a little more tolerant of scheduling.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
And it would be nice if a senior GTD coach or even David Allen himself would comment on all of this. Please?
 

Folke

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I suspect no one is denying anyone the right to have their own system. I don't think Gardener is. Nor am I. The question is more related to terminology - whether it is best to refer to your own system as GTD or Franklin-Covey or Stephen Covey or Mark Forster or XX or YY - or simply NN, your own name. Why is everyone so keen to call their own system GTD? (I would not call my own system GTD, even though it is very close - why should I?)

Observation: GTD is not particularly unique - most people and methodologies share most of those thoughts, and David Allen says so himself. The only things that stand out as markedly different from what the vast majority of other gurus teach is the avoidance of dates and priorities and the embracing of making decisions with the gut in the moment. Although that is not a new or unique view, it is a minority view, at least among gurus. Most gurus advocate a more strict, planned approach, top-down, with dates and goals and milestones etc. GTD is more similar to the intuitive approach that many sensible people have been doing for ages. (Does that make those people post-mortem followers of GTD?). I think David Allen did a great job of writing down the timeless essence of how to get things done. And we can all benefit from making our own adaptations, if our life situation or personality so requires.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
Folke. A fair enough assessment. Of course my system is a hybrid. The heart is GTD-based, but I embrace The Five Choices, Francis Wade, and many others. But I maintain my position that I am not anti-GTD in what I do.
 
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