Am I actually getting things done? Or do I have control of a growing inventory of unfinished items?

rmjb

Registered
I recently switch tools, and it took well over 6 hours across multiple sessions to copy everything over, item by item from one tool to the next. I always knew I had long lists, but this activity made it sink in how many unfinished activities I have accumulated.

Ideas come easily to me. Since I started using GTD I would capture them, clarify and organize as a next action or a project, park it appropriately and so on. However, my ideas keep coming. In addition to that, at my work, other peoples' ideas also keep coming, since I'm in charge of IT infrastructure, lots of ideas / needs for security, work from home support, other operational issues, all flow into my inbox. With GTD I have them all under "control"; they're all parked in the right place. But honestly, I can't say that these things are all getting done, at least not faster than they arrive and accumulate.

Is there an add-on system to get these things done?
 

Gardener

Registered
I would never assume that all, or most, or even a majority, of my ideas would get done. One out of ten or twenty would be doing pretty well. I've always assumed that the reason to keep the others around for a while is to keep them from gnawing at you with that "Did I forget something?" feeling.
 

Jared Caron

Nursing leader; GTD enthusiast
I've always assumed that the reason to keep the others around for a while is to keep them from gnawing at you with that "Did I forget something?" feeling.
Very well stated. I would agree. I can't count the number of times I've reviewed something I captured and placed in someday or a tickler system and just said "nope... Not anymore...". But in the meantime it wasn't bothering me
 

FocusGuy

Registered
I recently switch tools, and it took well over 6 hours across multiple sessions to copy everything over, item by item from one tool to the next. I always knew I had long lists, but this activity made it sink in how many unfinished activities I have accumulated.

Ideas come easily to me. Since I started using GTD I would capture them, clarify and organize as a next action or a project, park it appropriately and so on. However, my ideas keep coming. In addition to that, at my work, other peoples' ideas also keep coming, since I'm in charge of IT infrastructure, lots of ideas / needs for security, work from home support, other operational issues, all flow into my inbox. With GTD I have them all under "control"; they're all parked in the right place. But honestly, I can't say that these things are all getting done, at least not faster than they arrive and accumulate.

Is there an add-on system to get these things done?
I also noticed that a lot of things goes into my system. Observing this made me realize a few things.
1) The power of the inbox. If I collect it does nt mean I have to do it. It is just a reminder which must be clarified. Most of the collected things are eliminated before entering in omnifocus projects and then next action.

2) The power of the 2 mn rules. Lot of things are collected but if I decide to do them I strictly apply the 2 mn rule. This saved me time !

3) Things evoluate.
Many thing has later on, no value. So I keep in my projects what has value or is necessary. For thinking I use evernote. It doesnt mean either my notes are relevant. Most of them has no value and eliminated too but they may help.

4) I do daily review : I review my diary first and my next action list after. Then I also review my project list asking myself "what is now my high pay of" this is what will go in my diary if I must work on this or make a necessary call to someone. At this step some projects are made "on hold" they deasapear from my next action list. Other projects are made as actionable and reviewed for only but the next action step.

5) Days are short. Each day is a new adventure. GTD engagement is just making choices and shoosing options. It is for me like a plane cokpit. A compas. It indicates where I am, where I may go and often must go and horizon tell me why and how. So I am confident not to do things. If I don't do them, even if the were the most important thing to do yesterday, never mind! Life is moving. I adapt myself to the circunstances.

By the way I also realized, it is not my tool which guides me. It just helps for seeing the way...
 
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Xavier BOEMARE

Registered
Hi @rmjb,

May I ask for how long are you using GTD and how many systems you've tried and how long before that new one ?

I've done that 6 hours copy paste many times at the beginning (2 first years I would say) till the moment I found a "suitable" system for me so I could keep it for a while, learn to use it properly, and ultimately disappear of my sight, no longer thinking about the tool anymore, just the flow.

So I might say, it's kind a "normal" to run through those 6 hours. Don't blame yourself ;-)

Regarding the fact that "I can't say that these things are all getting done", As David Allen said, GTD is not about Getting things Done ! It's about emptying your mind from all those stuff, and to choose what's worth doing. Choosing is giving up !

So I would advice you to use as much as possible your "someday/maybe" list(s) and to decrease the number of projects you have on sight (watch out for your WIP limit).

If you have an idea, a lot of ideas, don't store them in your projects / Next actions lists unless you're sure you're going to work on it in the coming weeks maybe a couple of months, use the "someday/maybe" list !

PS : I mentioned the WIP limit, as for "Work In Progress" limit. If you don't know the concept, check it out, along with the Little Law, might help.

Regards
 

Xavier BOEMARE

Registered
Yes, there is. It's called saying "no" and it's famous in tech circles:

Hi,
Not fully aligned with that. If you can say No because you have the authority to do that, then yes, say no ;-)
Otherwise, if it's your job to do it, you take it. But accepting the task does not mean that it's your next immediate action ! It's now about priorities, and then you refer to the "priorities" authority to validate what's next (you if you have that authority).

So yes it's your Job to do it, so you take it, but maybe there's already 200 items in line, and it might take a while before it's done, IF it's still useful to do it at that time ;-)

Regards,
 

gtdstudente

Registered
I recently switch tools, and it took well over 6 hours across multiple sessions to copy everything over, item by item from one tool to the next. I always knew I had long lists, but this activity made it sink in how many unfinished activities I have accumulated.

Ideas come easily to me. Since I started using GTD I would capture them, clarify and organize as a next action or a project, park it appropriately and so on. However, my ideas keep coming. In addition to that, at my work, other peoples' ideas also keep coming, since I'm in charge of IT infrastructure, lots of ideas / needs for security, work from home support, other operational issues, all flow into my inbox. With GTD I have them all under "control"; they're all parked in the right place. But honestly, I can't say that these things are all getting done, at least not faster than they arrive and accumulate.

Is there an add-on system to get these things done?
A Project with real commitment/obligation and without a Next Action is really Someday/Maybe. A Next Action needs to be a 'solid' Next Action without being a disguised Project. Ps. You appear to have expressed the essence of GTD by having control of your 'freed' mind by it not being distracted with undefined concerns/obligations which is a GTD 'requirement' in order to have a 'Controlled Mind' that is readied for Productivity, i.e., "Getting Things Done" without distraction since you KNOW what you are not doing! Hope that helps to carry on with what you really decide to do now.
 
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rmjb

Registered
Thanks for all the feedback. I have to echo what Xavier said about saying no. In my job I can't say no to the hacking group leveraging a new vulnerability across the internet, that is part of my job. However, there are only so many hours in the day, so key is prioritising what should be done over others.

In reading the feedback I see that the essence is better use of someday/maybe and also how to Engage.

I was actually leaning to better project planning when I first made the post. I have the desired outcome written in my projects list, and I have a next action, calendar item, or waiting for noted for each project, but what feel I'm lacking is a timeliness factor and a complete plan.
How long do I leave a project in limbo via an indefinite waiting for, or via a next action that I just never get to because of other, higher priority items have come up?​
How complete should my plan be when clarifying a project? I know what the next action is, but not always clear on what the action after this one will be.​
Are there any techniques that you all employ for better project execution?

May I ask for how long are you using GTD and how many systems you've tried and how long before that new one ?
I started GTD at the end of 2017. I started on MS To Do, but moved to Nirvana within 6 months. I stayed there until a month ago when I moved back to MS To Do.
 

Gardener

Registered
Thanks for all the feedback. I have to echo what Xavier said about saying no. In my job I can't say no to the hacking group leveraging a new vulnerability across the internet, that is part of my job. However, there are only so many hours in the day, so key is prioritising what should be done over others.
Even if you can't say no, you can only do what you can do. So you are saying no for now, even if it's involuntary.
How long do I leave a project in limbo via an indefinite waiting for, or via a next action that I just never get to because of other, higher priority items have come up?​
Unfortunately, as long as you need to.

Some projects are likely to have next actions like:
- Estimate how many months it will be until I can start on this.
- Email updated start ECD. (On a monthly repeater.)

And there may be projects for things like estimating and scheduling the backlog, to demonstrate to your boss that a given priority isn't going to begin for 19 months and will take another five months to finish. Maybe offer a project plan that backs up the idea that with two more staff members, that start date could be cut to eight months. Or two or three plans, with different priorities, to choose between.
How complete should my plan be when clarifying a project? I know what the next action is, but not always clear on what the action after this one will be.​
Unless there's a specific reason to expand a project in detail, I don't even put a next action on a Someday/Maybe project. And I prefer to have only one action on current projects. That is, in my GTD project/action lists. I might have a more detailed project plan in the project support material--and for things like estimating/scheduling backlogs, that will be necessary to some extent.
 

DAH

Registered
After a couple of years into GTD, I've switched to the Bullet Journal method just over two years ago. One of the things I really like is the monthly migration. It gives me the opportunity to reflect on tasks before migrating (copy/paste by rewriting them by hand) to the next month. Some of those tasks don't make the cut (= saves me time and less mental 'weight'). Especially when some of those asks have been migrated from one month to the next a couple of months in a row.

Sometimes I try GTD again in my work. But after a few weeks I always go back to Bullet Journal.
 

FocusGuy

Registered
After a couple of years into GTD, I've switched to the Bullet Journal method just over two years ago. One of the things I really like is the monthly migration. It gives me the opportunity to reflect on tasks before migrating (copy/paste by rewriting them by hand) to the next month. Some of those tasks don't make the cut (= saves me time and less mental 'weight'). Especially when some of those asks have been migrated from one month to the next a couple of months in a row.

Sometimes I try GTD again in my work. But after a few weeks I always go back to Bullet Journal.
Over one year I switch for two years to the bullet journal. It was working quiet well with me except that I realize it tooks me a lot of time and it efficiency was not like GTD. I also enjoyed the monthly migration until I realized That I could do the same in Omnifocus. But things gets harder and a bujo last me 2 month and I had to make a general index for finding my stuff from one to the other (even if I followed the monthly and yearly migration). I felts uncomfortable. I was missing GTD even if I was conscious needing to learn a lot about it.

So I decided to go back at 100% to GTD. I made a habit I call it "my monthly clean up" where I look at all Omnifocus list and erase all which needs to be. I just doit with the 2 Ryder's question of the monthly migration and also just taking space to evaluate my engagement regarding to my H3 >H5 horizons. I often realize that some projects are irrelevant and some others need a NPM.

I also make reporting of what I do day by day on a weekly paper sheet adding just one task after it is realized with the rapid logging. it makes me understanding what happened and why. I also let me understand how I could improve myself. It is by this way that I realized I needed a real brush up with GTD ! or that I was working with a client who tooks me too much time for my return on investment.

Then after evaluating this paper sheet each week I archive this paper sheet in my reference binder. I can see at a glance a kind of historical reporting.

About my opinion, the twos methods are not so far away one from the others. David Allen even dedicated it. They have a lot of common points. Bujo could work for me if I had some little engagements but when things are getting crazy like they are now

I only fully trust GTD. With a little time it does the best. And If you add a good software well configured it is just incredible !
So, anyway the bujo is interesting but, for me, not as complete as GTD Is If you get the control part and the horizon part even partially the results are just amazing and you have more results because it is structured and you can get a real help from the GTD community.

Now I am fully GTD and use my bujo for Journaling. This kind of journal is different than my Daily weekly reporting. It is an emotional journaling where I let place to my feelings about my life. How I feel, why, what happened about a client or a friend and how I felt and why. It is often short but it helps. Sometime it makes new projects, new H3, gives me a new vision H4 and sometime has a deep influence on my H5. Last year I read all my journals at a batch, taking notes. It took me about 3 or 4 hours but it had consequences on my decisions...

The 2 journaling processes are in my OF references for not forgetting and do them on regular basis. It is just a list I see once a day which contains my habits.

Hope that helps. ;)
 
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DAH

Registered
@FocusGuy I think I understand what you mean. My initial reasons I started with BuJo were pen and paper — it just looked cool — and because my GTD system just became more and more complex. Maintaining my GTD system (which I by the way loved to do) gave me a false sense of being productive, but in reality I only got to do small tasks while I should've been focusing on that high level view, goals in life, etc. I know David talks about it extensively, but I get distracted quickly.

It took me less then a year to understand that actually slowing down (hence pen and paper; I even use a fountain pen with kinda slow drying ink) gives me a moment to think about it. It happens quiet often that while I write something down, I just strike it through as I realize it's not worth my time or energy. While in GTD (I used Things 3) I would've plotted it in my Inbox and diverted it then to a NA list. Yes, it's not time efficient during the moment I write something down (especially with slow drying ink) But slowing down makes sure I don't 'overcapture' everything. Only the things that really matter. I can only spend my time once. So, on the long run it actually is more time efficient then GTD. At least, for me it is. It took me almost two years to understand that focus is a superpower nowadays, that I can only have one priority at any given moment, that time is valuable, and that BuJo keeps my in check.

So. For my personally, GTD is too distracting and too complicated.BuJo keeps it simple for me, helps me to reflect on the past day/month(s) and stay focused on high level goals.
 
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Cpu_Modern

Registered
It happens quiet often that while I write something down, I just strike it through as I realize it's not worth my time or energy. While in GTD (I used Things 3) I would've plotted it in my Inbox and diverted it then to a NA list.
This means you overlooked the processing step. I think this happens a lot with gtd practicioners.

The question "Is it actionable?" gets taken as "Is there a way in which I could take action on this?" - Why, yes, of course it is. But that doesn't mean you should.

A lot of what gets put on active projects and context lists should go on someday / maybe at best. Probably not even that but into some sort of reference document.

Here is were the •BuJo shines. Over time, when you clear the pages from all active tasks, what's left is the journal of course, pages of reference material sorted by time.
 

FocusGuy

Registered
@DAH I understand the power of the bujo and as I like the method too I won't make any comparaison with the two method. Both are for me complete and efficient. As I said there are some common points. But there are also many different process. If you like bujo, The best is to use what you like the more and go at the end of the path working exclusively with it' own rules Or may be better, to make a mixt of the two methods. Some does Gtd instead of or added to the daily list using collection as Projects and next action list by context vs daily log eg apart in a dedicated space Project list, context list and keep the daily list as reporting.

For my point of view, which is relative, I found easier Bujo at the beginning and hard at the end but I also found GTD hard at the beginning and little by little GTD it is getting easier for me. I also found bujo more in "the now time" as GTD also works on the Horizons (EG H3, H4, H5). The knowledge of the horizons has a crucial effect on every aspects of you personal and professional life.

I have no real problems for working on my hard landscape (eg focusing on what is the most important for me) It is mostly on my diary. With GTD I just feel making choices more efficiently. What I also noticed (as I did my self and see others doing) is when people begin GTD most of them focus on the tool : Eg Ho I want to do this and this one does that and this other does this and that... The main problem with that is that they focus on the wrong thing (as I did myself) They focus on the tool not on the method so they get lost and they quit.

Indeed, If I had to start GTD for almost a Year or two I would do it on paper only. Time to get habits and fully understand the method. No software until everything goes totally right For GTD. Of course it depends on your technical knowledge, needs and capacities.

Anyway I also, admit that working with GTD has a common point with Omnifocus. It tooks me years to understand that Omnifocus had to be simple. I made almost 20 configurations... From the more complex and unmanageable to the simplest (my last one). It's also took me years just to fully understand the GTD basics and I have still a lot to learn. Since over 10 years every day I discover something new !

So GTD is like Bujo it does what you want it to do. GTD is complex and take time but it can be easy, Bujo is easier but sometime can be very complex and messy (as GTD too) It depends on how you make it.

For now I am happy with GTD. The systems takes me some time to maintain it. More than the bujo used to be. But I get a real inventory of my commitments and I do what I need to do. I am also confident on my system. I know that If I spend that time everything will be under control. It is sometime a fight or a kind of struggle but it is functional. Omnifocus and Evernote does the job quiet well. I wish to be able to maintain this flow.

Even if the path is hard the GTD results indeed worth it ! I wish you all the best and be happy with it whatever you do.
 
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