anti failure implementation of GTD

bcool

Registered
Hi,

I joined a workgroup of people using GTD. I am new to this. I'm not interested in wasting time.

The workgroup had 2 groups, 1 for the experts and 1 for the new people. I joined the 2nd group. We had a workshop around the weekly review.

Right now I understand that I have to implement these steps:
1. get clear
2. get current
3. get creative

then as additional steps:
4. Celebrate successes of last week
5. Get future oriented: what is the primary focus for next week

Explanation I understood:
get clear: clean all inboxes by moving items to action lists
get current: order the lists in terms of priority
get creative: say no to items on the lists that are not of importance any more, so you free up space to do other items

Right now I'm planning on doing this weekly review on the same day, time & location. That was the biggest failure most of the group didn't do in the beginning they said.

I'll be keeping a log in this topic of my next activities & findings. Aiming to prevent common mistakes from the beginning ensures a good foundation.
 

TesTeq

Registered
Explanation I understood:
get clear: clean all inboxes by moving items to action lists
get current: order the lists in terms of priority
get creative: say no to items on the lists that are not of importance any more, so you free up space to do other items
I don't think that the GTD book recommends to:
- move inbox items to action lists (what about the most important step: clarification?);
- order lists by priority (you take the priority into account when you are deciding what to do in a given context when you have some time and energy available);
- use your creativety to prune your lists.
 

treelike

Registered
Hmmm... I wonder if, without all the years of trying things that failed before I found GTD, I would have the appreciation now of how good GTD is.

I'll be keeping a log in this topic of my next activities & findings. Aiming to prevent common mistakes from the beginning ensures a good foundation.
I would say that reading the book is the best way to ensure a good foundation.

Also, generally in life, I believe that failure should be embraced as opportunity to learn. The best time to make mistakes is in the beginning, as this tends to prevent much bigger mistakes later on.
 

Oogiem

Registered
Explanation I understood:
get clear: clean all inboxes by moving items to action lists
get current: order the lists in terms of priority
get creative: say no to items on the lists that are not of importance any more, so you free up space to do other items
Get clear is far more than just a rote moving of items from inbox to lists. You have to decide what list they go on. Is it a project? Is it really a current next action for an existing project? Is it actually a someday/maybe project? Is it trash and can be gotten rid of completely? The processing is the most important part. Plan on spending about an hour to hour and a half each day just properly processing all your inboxes. Remember an inbox can be more than just e-mail or paper. Depending on your system inboxes can include twitter feeds, facebook messages, phone messages, multiple e-mail accounts, multiple paper inboxes, forums you participate in regularly that are important to you and so on.

I would not try to order lists at all. You decide the priority based on your immediate view of the total tasks. Instead focus on putting all your concrete distinct next actions onto appropriate lists by context. Then when you are in that context decide on the fly based on time, energy and priority which task to work on. Start with the standard contexts in the book but feel free to branch out and test, use and either keep, modify or delete contexts as appropriate.

Get creative is rarely about saying no, it's almost always about saying yes. Yes to dreams, plans, big ideas, unusual ways of looking at existing problems and projects. Many of the items you discover during the get creative part will go into your someday/maybe list but some will affect how you perform on the current active projects. Get creative is the time where you have the space to think deep and big thoughts because you are at peace with the fact that you really know everything that you have committed to and everything that you'd like to do someday. It's freedom.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
Get clear is far more than just a rote moving of items from inbox to lists. You have to decide what list they go on. Is it a project? Is it really a current next action for an existing project? Is it actually a someday/maybe project? Is it trash and can be gotten rid of completely? The processing is the most important part. Plan on spending about an hour to hour and a half each day just properly processing all your inboxes. Remember an inbox can be more than just e-mail or paper. Depending on your system inboxes can include twitter feeds, facebook messages, phone messages, multiple e-mail accounts, multiple paper inboxes, forums you participate in regularly that are important to you and so on.

I would not try to order lists at all. You decide the priority based on your immediate view of the total tasks. Instead focus on putting all your concrete distinct next actions onto appropriate lists by context. Then when you are in that context decide on the fly based on time, energy and priority which task to work on. Start with the standard contexts in the book but feel free to branch out and test, use and either keep, modify or delete contexts as appropriate.

Get creative is rarely about saying no, it's almost always about saying yes. Yes to dreams, plans, big ideas, unusual ways of looking at existing problems and projects. Many of the items you discover during the get creative part will go into your someday/maybe list but some will affect how you perform on the current active projects. Get creative is the time where you have the space to think deep and big thoughts because you are at peace with the fact that you really know everything that you have committed to and everything that you'd like to do someday. It's freedom.
This is outstanding, @Oogiem! SO nicely written and informative. Cheers!
 

TesTeq

Registered
Now I understand why David Allen Company banned any unauthorized GTD coaching and training. People have good intentions but it really requires years of experience to know all the "whys" behind each GTD recommendation and practice. Learning GTD from people who've just read the book is risky.
 

bcmyers2112

Registered
Hmmm... I wonder if, without all the years of trying things that failed before I found GTD, I would have the appreciation now of how good GTD is.


I would say that reading the book is the best way to ensure a good foundation.

Also, generally in life, I believe that failure should be embraced as opportunity to learn. The best time to make mistakes is in the beginning, as this tends to prevent much bigger mistakes later on.
Very, very, very well said. Trying to avoid failure is not the same as pursuing success. The former requires avoidance of all risks, and the latter requires taking them.
 

bcmyers2112

Registered
@bcool, have you read Getting Things Done? If not it would be a good idea to start your self-study there.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about GTD. I should know. I tried to learn it several years ago without reading the book, relying instead on blogs and web sites from people not affiliated with the David Allen Company. I picked up a lot of misconceptions that way. It sounds like this workgroup might be passing along some bad information.

If you can't afford coaching or a seminar from the David Allen Company (and certainly not all of us can), the best place to start is with the book. Yes, you will make mistakes but as @treelike correctly points out that's the only way to learn. You can also post specific questions in this forum; sometimes coaches from the David Allen Company pop in here and answer questions from time to time.
 

Ravine61

GTD'R 4 Life
Hi bcool;

congratulations on embracing the life changing methodology of GTD! Several replies on this strand have recommended "reading the book" - I did do this, and I also learn really well from "listening". All of David's books are available in audio format (I have even found them at my local library, so I can rent/listen to them for free).

As a member of GTD connect, you also have a very large library of recorded "podcasts", which span the range of so many GTD topics.

Best of luck to you!
 

bcool

Registered
Thanks for all the replies :)

With my 2nd weekly review I first read your replies as my first list to clean. Because first be effective, than efficient. Then I quickly checked the book on what this weekly review is. Here's my summary.

weekly review is to:

  1. gather & process stuff
  2. review the system
  3. update the lists
  4. get clean, clear, current and complete.
on
  • projects
  • active project plans
  • next actions
  • agendas
  • waiting for
  • someday / maybe lists

to ensure everything has been:
  • captured
  • clarified
  • organized

my todo for upcoming month: get an overall understanding of every line item mentioned above.
 

bcool

Registered
So I went back to the book. The title of the weekly review part is: "Critical success factor: weekly review is part of the reflect step."

So I went a bit back in that chapter to see more structure.

Chapter 2: getting control of your life: 5 steps of mastering workflow.
I understand that these are the 5 steps:
1. capture what has your attention
2. clarify what that item means AND what to do about it
3. organize the results
4. reflect on these items
> weekly review is part of step 4! nice, I know where this piece fits.
5. engage with chosen item

Weekly review is for Horizon 1 level
Possible (popular)(daily/weekly?) review order :
1. Calendar (what must be done)
2. Next action lists (could be organized by contexts)
3. Projects, Waiting for, Someday/Maybe lists

Extracts from the book that resonated:
“You wouldn’t want to distract yourself from too much of the work at hand in an effort to stay totally “squeaky clean” all the time. But in order to afford the luxury of “getting on a roll” with confidence, you’ll probably need to clean house and refresh the contents once a week.”

Okay so from the reflect step with the weekly review I'm going to discover what the horizon level 1 is. I first want to get an understanding for which domain I'm doing the weekly review.
 

bcool

Registered
So Horizon 1 is Current Projects.

The others:
Horizon 5: Purpose and principles
Horizon 4: Vision
Horizon 3: Goals
Horizon 2: Areas of focus and accountabilities
Horizon 1: Current projects
Ground: Current actions

Seems to going from concrete physical actions to abstract things.

So the weekly review is for Horizon 1. Nice, I understand where I'm at with this weekly review in the GTD universe.

So I wanted to see if there was a short tutorial on GTD for beginners. Instead of digging through the book.

This one I like: https://hamberg.no/gtd/

Made a small summary of this summary:

IN list
- daily collect all stuff here

Processing, the IN list (also daily, in the evening?):
- is it actionable?
- <2 min? DO it
-Delegate it (waiting for list)
- Schedule (the physical task) it in a project as next action
- Defer it to some day / maybe list
- Store it as reference material
- Remove it from system

Projects (add subtitle of intended outcome)
- is objective with more than 1 action
- when reviewing project list, make sure there is always 1 next action for each project
or remove the project

Contexts:
tags on next actions, e.g. location (where you do it) or which state is needed (logic)
where:
who: tags
emotional state:
also smart to have a tag “everywhere”.

Some day / maybe list.
- stuff you want to do maybe some day

Calendar
- stuff you have to do and nothing else

Weekly review
- make sure all next actions in projects are items i need to do. If not move it to some day maybe list or remove it.
- evaluate someday/maybe list, remove it if its not important or move it to a (new) projects / general next actions list. Ensure its a physical action item.

Trigger list
- list of key words to remember open loops to be captured in the system.
- useful for weekly review capturing phase
- e.g. job, study, gtd
- put stuff in IN list

Getting GTD to work
- use it when it’s a must
- pick tools that are minimal but fun.
- focus on output, not on input.

Read / review project list
- every 5 minutes in transit is available to start reading on this read / review list

Tickler file
- place reminders for future dates in here (my idea: could be anything from birthday reminders to taking out trash)


---
next action:
create project list for Understanding GTD,
with next action item of making basic mindmap of GTD to share with community.

This will be fun.
 

bcmyers2112

Registered
@bcool, you're getting some misinformation from these sources you're working with. For example, the book does *not* recommend "emotional state" as a type of context for next actions. A context is a person, place or tool you need to accomplish something.

It sounds like you haven't read the book -- at least not all the way through -- and are looking for a shortcut. If that's the case I can tell you from direct experience that you'll waste more time than you'll save with this shortcut. A lot of what passes for "information" about GTD from third-party sources not affiliated with the David Allen Company is actually MIS-information.

Finally I think you are greatly overcomplicating GTD. The best way to learn GTD is by experiencing it. My suggestion would be to read the book all the way through, and then go back and follow the steps for initial implementation outlined in the book. Once you get used to the method, including what to review and how often, you'll get a better understanding of how it all fits together.
 

ggray50

Registered
Tried looking for shortcuts myself to begin with and just ended up taking the long way round. Buy the book, read it, then try applying the system. You won't regret it.
 

treelike

Registered
Getting GTD to work
- use it when it’s a must
- pick tools that are minimal but fun.
- focus on output, not on input.
I agree with the middle point -tools minimal and fun, but I'm not sure I understand the other two points.

On the first point, in my opinion, GTD is a lifestyle change so you're kind of using it all the time. Not writing/reviewing lists all the time but always being ready to collect anything meaningful that comes into your head and making decisions with awareness of everything on your lists.

The third point I don't understand, by which I mean I am not aware of any relevance to GTD.
 

bcool

Registered
Feedback is greatly appreciated.

1. Going to read the book, couple of pages at a time
2. Going to apply it as I read it
3. Will provide a summary, in order to receive the much appreciated feedback :)

Have a good weekend
 

bcmyers2112

Registered
Feedback is greatly appreciated.

1. Going to read the book, couple of pages at a time
2. Going to apply it as I read it
3. Will provide a summary, in order to receive the much appreciated feedback :)

Have a good weekend
Actually, the way the book is structured, the first few chapters give you a high-level overview and to prepare you for the next few chapters which walk you step-by-step through initial implementation. Later chapters take you deeper into the application of the methodology and the new edition of the book includes some information about science that supports GTD.

I'd suggest reading the whole book first, and then go back to the section about implementation and start there. Once you begin doing GTD, I think it will begin to make more sense.

I understand the desire to first put together a theoretical framework before rolling up your sleeves and doing the work. But as I said, with GTD I've found the best way to understand it is to experience it. Once you do, I think you'll find yourself understanding the bigger picture. But it will happen on an intuitive level. In other words, you won't have to *think* about the theory. Just like a musician who plays improvisationally doesn't think about music theory as they play. They've internalized it so they can apply it almost unconsciously.
 

bcool

Registered
@bcmyers2112 I implement as I go. I need to see results fast.

Since Saturday I started using the inbox (from software xyz) to drop literally everything that was stuff related in there.

Did the first exercise from the book called: "An important exercise test this model"

“you’ll be experiencing at least a tiny bit of enhanced control, relaxation, and focus”

oh yes.
 

bcool

Registered
I wanted to post something positive again here after my weekly review. But then I saw my previous post and I didn't experience the "enhanced control, relaxation and focus this time.

I did the exercise again and then I experienced it again.

Currently read till Capture.

Was interesting to read about the bottom up approach.
 
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