advice on my GTD method

Folke

Registered
I think that is a great statement. I think it could perhaps be paraphrased as "Don't plan things in greater detail than you can easily keep current or in greater detail than you need" or, "Keep it as simple as possible, but add whatever you need in order to be able to trust it and make it convenient to use". I totally agree with that. And I think that is also what most of us are trying to do - get rid of unnecessary things that add no value and add things that do add some value for us. We just have slightly different ideas of what is worthwhile, convenient etc. and what is not.

David's statement - the use of the word GTD as a synonym for "structured method" - also reconfirms the impression that David is aiming for a very large target group, including, among others, those who have previously had only little interest in "the conscious art of being organized" and for which GTD then comes to represent the first, or one and only, structured method. The fact that GTD also appeals to many who have been experimenting with their own structured methods or have been turned off by methods that are either too top-down or too date-focused or too priority-focused etc comes as a bonus for David, who thereby gains additional support from these people. But in marketing terms it is the first category that is the primary target group. Or so it would seem.
 

JeffB

Registered
Interesting discussion.

Personal productivity, (literally, getting things DONE) is a huge issue within companies and families. The effectiveness gap grows with it. Productivity literally makes the difference between happiness vs misery, and fulfillment vs despair. What makes a good employee? A good business? Someone who understands the right commitments and next actions to make, then executes them. Or as some like to call these rare specimens, "A productive member of society."

Having been a student of productivity all my adult life, I know there is definitely a doing/effectiveness gap that creates angst for many. (caused in no small part by a burgeoning cottage industry of "experts" who insist that their method is what you need, and look to cause you pain by suggesting "You can do this better, just do it MY way") At our work, we have all had those large personalities who insist they have found "the" way and inflict it on everyone they bump into. I have been guilty of this on occasion myself. Everyone is always looking for the better way. Few start by looking at the person in the mirror.

It's not methods, it's principles. It's not a system that's "out there", it's you. It's us. It's commitment and discipline, or lack thereof. It's about less talk and more DO. And frankly, I have learned the hard way it's about simplifying the complex, not complicating a straightforward way to work.

We need an adaptable, flexible way that allows individuals to be productive. Because no one else is like you, why would we expect a particular method or workaround to work for someone else? We all need to be reminded on occasion that the true essence of group productivity is figuring out how to get different people to do their best work with their methods, not yours, within the framework of the group core objective.

What I like about GTD and am seeing is, there isn't one way to do GTD. There isn't one app that works the best. It's what you figure out. It's a philosophy first, and a simple OS second. In fact, David Allen says it best (and I think this is one of the most impressive parts of the GTD method) To get your stuff done, you need to figure out each day:

Context
Time Available
Energy Available
Priority

There isn't an app for that, just decisions to made. GTD makes it simple for me.

In reading a few of these discussions, I would be willing to wager that if something isn't working, you should consider simplifying what you're doing. Don't work apps, just work the GTD method. So if you have to color code a priority, or don't, than either is fine. If you keep a list on a calendar for that day vs a particular context list, does it matter so long as your head is free and you get it done?

Anyway, back to my weekly review. My challenge, to learn the discipline and keep it simple. That is my focus for the week. Best wishes to all.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
Yes, David Allen made a remarkable statement. I hope once and for all we can stop telling others that pursue differences in their GTD approach that their are not really doing GTD, or what they are doing is anti-GTD. We are all in this together and this is why I love GTD. it is flexible....and it works.
 

Folke

Registered
Longstreet, I think maybe you have taken people's words as something they were never intended as. The person who used the term "anti-GTD" even explained to you what she actually meant. I myself have used terms such as "fake dates" in a similarly reckless way. I too have explained what I meant. In retrospect, seeing that people are actually offended by such words we can all learn the lesson over again that it is very important to exercise great care when wording things. But it is also important to listen not just to the words themselves but to what the intended meaning reasonably must have been.

I would like to offer you the following thought to consider: GTD contains very many statements, principles and suggestions, and people then add their own to that. All in all, that is a lot of things that need to work together in harmony in our minds, guts and/or on our lists. Some of these principles go very well with most of the others and do not really need a lot of balancing or tuning. Other principles are mutually contradictory or conflicting and do need some form of reconciliation or balancing as we go. For example, the four task selection criteria - context, energy, time and priority - must be balanced against each other in every gut decision.

Although I cannot read the mind of the person who used the term "anti-GTD" I honestly believe she meant "not easily reconciled with some of the other core GTD principles". An example of where such balancing or reconciliation is required, and I think the discussion at that point was about, is the built-in contradiction between the core GTD principles to exercise caution with how you use the calendar (and use the gut and the four criteria instead) and the conflicting GTD principle "do whatever you want as long as it works". I can happily accept calling all of it GTD, if that matters, but the fact remains that some practices are more easily reconciled with the remaining GTD principles than others. And then, even so, we do whatever we choose anyway depending on how useful we personally find it to be. And that can be called GTD, too.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
Okay, Folke. Fair enough and enough said. David Allen was clear....do what you need to do to get commitments off of your mind and be present in the moment. Whether some believe some practices are more "easily reconciled" with other GTD principles is fine if it makes them more productive and in the moment. Basically, whatever floats your boat. Really enough said.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
One thing I do wish to add and that is the context in which David Allen made the statement that Testeq reposted here from the GTD Connect forums. I have been corresponding with John Forrister about how much weekly planning and time blocking one can do and still be considered following GTD best practices. John posted my letter where I described my weekly review and planning session I have scheduled every Monday. In that, I described how I create Area of Focus blocks, goal blocks, project blocks, and yes major next action blocks in my calendar. For the latter, if I have a number of high-focus, high-energy next actions that will take 1+ hours to complete, I will add these in specific time slots on my calendar. Other times, I have entire mornings blocked off for projects, or goals, or a single AOF. So that is the context in which David Allen made his statement. I easily rennogotiate with myself if new work coming in takes precedence. My weekly plans are flexible. This simply works best for me.
 

Folke

Registered
I am glad if you are satisfied. I would also be glad if you could sympathize a little bit with those of us who were unable to intuitively associate that with GTD. It rather sounds quite different, at least at first glance ...
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
@Folke: I sympathize a lot! I am not trying to state that ANYONE should follow my lead. All along I have tried to portray the mindset that each of us has to "do" GTD in a way that works best for them. We are all different. I just wanted validation that my approach IS within best GTD practices. I avidly schedule weekly reviews, maintain context lists with pretty standard GTD contexts, have waiting for, someday/maybe, and project lists. As a natural planner, I like to schedule some things on my calendar is all. That is what works best for me. You like to color code and it sounds like a great approach. THAT is what works best for you.
 

bcmyers2112

Registered
JeffB said:
In reading a few of these discussions, I would be willing to wager that if something isn't working, you should consider simplifying what you're doing. Don't work apps, just work the GTD method. So if you have to color code a priority, or don't, than either is fine. If you keep a list on a calendar for that day vs a particular context list, does it matter so long as your head is free and you get it done?
I think this is far and away the most insightful, most useful and best remark in this entire thread.
 

JeffB

Registered
bcmyers2112 said:
I think this is far and away the most insightful, most useful and best remark in this entire thread.
Lol. After I wrote that, I tripped over my soapbox and went outside to tell the kids to get off my lawn. :)

I wish I could say I always 'got it'. However, the older I get, the more I see WE get in our own way more than an app. When you're a hot shot with tech knowledge and a cool gadget and you get consistently beat by an old timer with a Rolodex, it will cause you to step back and re-evaluate.
 
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