anti failure implementation of GTD

bcool

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Why does it feel like capturing everything is "too much"? Is it taking too much time, or is there another issue?

--> the processing is taking too long. So then it feels as if I capture too much. Also on some days I might capture between 30 - 50 items in several inboxes, so about 60+ things per day (both as files in the IN folder on my desktop and as stuff in my software).

Also, when you say you're putting everything that "gets on [your] mind" into your inboxes "during the week," are you only processing on a weekly basis?
--> well the weekly review name is pretty obvious, I'm already on the daily review habit now. Had like 200+ items on a given moment in multiple inboxes... which felt uncomfortable.

I ask because the recommendation is to clear out your inboxes as often as possible. At least once daily is a good rule of thumb.
--> Excellent recommendations.


As for software, if the application you're using is inefficient or otherwise getting in your way that may be a good reason to change. But be wary of the temptation to believe that software will solve your problems. If your GTD practices are sound, lots of software options can work effectively; if your execution of the practices is flawed, no software can help you.
--> I'm aware of the separation of "thinking habits" and "software habits". It's the software, cause I need to use the mouse for dragging items from the inbox towards a list. I hate using the mouse.

What application are you using, BTW? And how are you using it?
@bcmyers2112 see my reply to your message in the quote with --> appended :)

What application are you using, BTW? And how are you using it?
Crisis management: Wunderlist (iOS & macbook)
inbox
week
all
next actions
Calendar
waiting for
work projects
personal projects
someday work
someday personal
tickler
Referencing
- same titles as above
History
- old projects that I might want to look at for references

I use some context #hastags. I'm either at work, in transit or at home.

Long term storage: Evernote
Using the same names
 

bcool

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Brain stuff:
Disciplined myself into doing a daily review (with a focus on cleaning & clarifying stuff). I actually see the difference now with before I implemented GTD. Yaay :D

Software stuff:
Since the brain is not the best place for storage (or even remembering how to do the review), the second best alternative is software.

Is there a proper website or sheet that reviews GTD software by usability, security and support?

I have my personal criteria for what I would like to see in order to have minimum software frustration.

I can imagine the list of features to be somewhat similar for the top 10 software providers, however I'm also interested in the lesser known software e.g. for more technical (software) professionals. Can't find anything like a proper table or sheet on google that has this. Could be a nice web development project.

Book stuff:
Almost done with the book.
 

Oogiem

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Is there a proper website or sheet that reviews GTD software by usability, security and support?

I have my personal criteria for what I would like to see in order to have minimum software frustration.
The only list I know about is this one

http://tro.priacta.com/Articles/Comparison_of_GTD_Software.php

What are your criteria?

Just a word of warning, I'm willing to bet that NONE of the existing software packages will meet all of your criteria. I've never heard of anyone, me included, who got everything they wanted in a GTD software system. We've ALL had to make some choices and compromises on something. So while it's nice to have a set of criteria you really need to narrow it down to 3 lists of features: Must Have, Must NOT Have and Desired Enhancements. Use the first 2 to include or eliminate and the last one to decide on one or more choices to do a final test with. That assumes you do not have any mutually exclusive must have/must not have pairs and so can actually have a choice.

So for example for me here is a partial list

Must Have
work on Mac and iOS
support multiple Macs and multiple iOS systems sharing same data
sync between them via my own private system either WEBDAV or MacServer running on a machine I control
support groups of projects
support both independent and dependent actions in project lists
support both due dates, defer dates and mixes of those​

Must NOT have
Not depend on any external cloud service for sync
Not depend on internet connections ie must run independently on all devices​

Desired Enhancements
reports and data on completions, active and pending items
support in depth reviews on a schedule I control for each project
scheduling based on day of week or month and things like first Tuesday irrespective of the date​

Omnfocus hits all my must have and all my must not have requirements but does not include all my desired features. Nevertheless it was the best of everything I looked at for me.

So make that set of list for you and proceed accordingly.
 

bcmyers2112

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@bcool, sorry for the late response but it's been a hectic week.

I'm not sure what you mean by "crisis management" vs. "long term storage." Are you keeping two separate sets of action lists? If so, I'd recommend against it. If something is truly time-sensitive, you can place a note in your calendar (or a due date in your action list manager). Otherwise, sorting by "urgency" or priority just creates unneeded overhead. If your action lists are complete and current, and you review them appropriately, you'll be able to pick the best action to take in the moment.

As for software reviews to help you find the "best" GTD software, the problem is that "best" is a subjective term. What is user-friendly to one may not be to another. If you want to find software that suits you, there's no way around trial and error.

There are some criteria that can help, though. A good solution should enable you to sort or group lists by category so you can have context, project, waiting for and other lists. It should allow but not force due dates. It should not force priority coding. It should allow you to sync to a mobile device of your choice or print your lists for easy portability. Linking projects and next actions is a nice-to-have but not a requirement.

Since you've stated you're an apple guy, both for desktop and mobile, that will also set some parameters.

I know you feel you're aware of the difference between "thinking habits" and "software habits," but I think you're expecting too much of software. I don't think there's a package out there that will streamline GTD to the extent you're hoping. GTD is a knowledge art. Again, I'm speaking from experience and hoping to help you avoid mistakes that I and many others have made. I used to spend a lot of time researching software only to realize that good GTD habits were the key.

I'm glad you're beginning to see a difference with GTD. Stick with it. It's a change, and it can be uncomfortable, like beginning an exercise regimen for the first time. The discomfort wears off with practice.
 

TesTeq

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Not depend on any external cloud service for sync
What do you mean by "not depend on any external cloud service for sync"?
Are there any locally synchronized PIMs like Palm?
As far as I know Omnifocus uses cloud to synchronize between MacOS and iOS. Am I wrong?
 

Oogiem

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What do you mean by "not depend on any external cloud service for sync"?
Are there any locally synchronized PIMs like Palm?
As far as I know Omnifocus uses cloud to synchronize between MacOS and iOS. Am I wrong?
I can set up Omnifocus to sync to my own WEBDAV server, not one that is in any publicly open cloud system. I can limit it to a wifi network I control and have secured and I can encrypt all transmissions. Our system is set up so that the wifi that is in the house only reaches out about 50 feet. I have to be within that radius to sync. The barn wifi is a separate system as is my work shop and my farm store. When I speak of "cloud" I am always speaking of things like Dropbox, iCloud, google drive, amazon cloud services or any other place outside my physical control. Omni apps all support some form of local sync that is within in-house systems. Many of the other GTD apps have drunk the koolaid of public sync and storing data in the cloud. I am not willing to do that at all.
 

TesTeq

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I can set up Omnifocus to sync to my own WEBDAV server, not one that is in any publicly open cloud system. I can limit it to a wifi network I control and have secured and I can encrypt all transmissions. Our system is set up so that the wifi that is in the house only reaches out about 50 feet. I have to be within that radius to sync. The barn wifi is a separate system as is my work shop and my farm store. When I speak of "cloud" I am always speaking of things like Dropbox, iCloud, google drive, amazon cloud services or any other place outside my physical control. Omni apps all support some form of local sync that is within in-house systems. Many of the other GTD apps have drunk the koolaid of public sync and storing data in the cloud. I am not willing to do that at all.
Thank you. I didn't know that Omnifocus can synchronize via local cloud.
How do you manage data transfer from the public Internet to your protected environment?
For example you receive a picture of the new barn design via email. It would be convenient to attach it to the Omnifocus "Barn redesign" project. Do you receive email via the wi-fi connected to the public Internet then disconnect and connect to the secure wifi to attach picture to the Omnifocus project?
 

Oogiem

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How do you manage data transfer from the public Internet to your protected environment?
For example you receive a picture of the new barn design via email. It would be convenient to attach it to the Omnifocus "Barn redesign" project. Do you receive email via the wi-fi connected to the public Internet then disconnect and connect to the secure wifi to attach picture to the Omnifocus project?
I don't. I never check e-mail on my iPhone or iPad. I run POP e-mail for all 14 different e-mail address I use and never leave messages on the server once I download them to my main machine. So I'd never even see that message until I am at my home base and ready to process it properly.

I do surf the net using mobile devices but that is it. I also only rarely attach pictures to e-mail, they go into DEVONThink which is also synced via my own WEBDAV server.

The few times I have done travel where I thought I might need e-mail I use my gmail account and log in to their web mail version using a VPN. Yes, that means that when I finally get home and download the mail (my gmail account is a POP account) I may have some stuff I've already seen and handled that needs filing but that is not that big a deal from my POV. I've only used that 5 times in the last 17 years.

For me it's part of doing the tasks where I have the best tools for them. My phone or tablet is not a good tool for me to handle e-mail from so I just never do it. I am missing too many things I might need to consult or reference to process e-mail efficiently using my phone.
 

bcool

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@bcmyers2112

"crisis management" vs. "long term storage.":
-> crisis management = day to day system (it's the front end of the GTD system)
-> "long term storage." = reference material system

I did not use the word “best” GTD software, I was specific:
-> GTD software by usability, security and support

I used to spend a lot of time researching software only to realize that good GTD habits were the key.
-> yes. I'm currently just too frustrated with wunderlist. So I don't want that with my next software choice. At least for a while.

@Oogiem thank you for sharing the link & your partial list.

So make that set of list for you and proceed accordingly.
-> check

I might just experiment with omnifocus...
 

bcmyers2112

Registered
"crisis management" vs. "long term storage.":
-> crisis management = day to day system (it's the front end of the GTD system)
-> "long term storage." = reference material system
OK, that makes more sense. I think we're having difficulty communicating because you're using terms outside of the standard GTD vocabulary. Which is fine, but understand that sometimes a common vocabulary makes it easier to exchange ideas.

What you refer to as "crisis management" sounds to me like what DA would "actionable" items to be done "as soon as possible." Reference items aren't actionable. Instead they are stored because of their potential for future value as information.

Not to split hairs, but a "crisis" usually means some kind of emergency or disaster. One would hope not everything in your action lists rises to that level. :)

I did not use the word “best” GTD software, I was specific:
-> GTD software by usability, security and support
I understood what you said, and I'm not attacking you. I'm genuinely trying to help. Again, "usability" is subjective. I'll give you an example: lots of people in this forum swear up and down that Evernote is not a suitable GTD list manager. Many others, myself included, use Evernote as a list manager with great success. Who is right and who is wrong? I would say we're all correct. Those who find it doesn't work for them have arrived at the correct answer -- for them. The same could be said for those of us who like it.

My point is that there is no list that will enable you to objectively arrive at the right answer for you based on certain criteria, because, again, those criteria are all subjective. What is highly usable to one person is unusable to another.

Or take another of your criteria: security. @Oogiem will tell you that all cloud software is unacceptably insecure. Others like me are comfortable using cloud software with certain caveats; I won't store any kind of information like bank account numbers, passwords or anything else in Evernote that could be used to steal my identity, for example. So, again, who is right and who is wrong? It's subjective. Oogiem does what is right based on her values and criteria, I do what is right based on mine.

My point is, you're going to need to sort out conflicting points of view and make an intuitive judgment about what works for you. Finding the right list manager is not a perfect science.

-> yes. I'm currently just too frustrated with Wunderlist. So I don't want that with my next software choice. At least for a while.
It's a good idea to find an alternative to Wunderlist. Microsoft is retiring that product in favor of one they designed internally (Wunderlist is a product they acquired from another company). But bear in mind you will always find frustrations with any product. As Oogiem has already pointed out, there is no perfect solution. If you focus on learning the GTD process, you'll be surprised at just how easy it is to make any decent list manager work well for you.

I do have one practical suggestion: it's difficult to learn GTD while also learning a new list manager. Make sure any list manager you pick is one you can rapidly learn to use without having to think about it. There may already be a tool you have available that you know well that can fit the bill while you're learning GTD, and you can eventually "graduate" to something more fully featured once you know the methodology better.
 

Gardener

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I do have one practical suggestion: it's difficult to learn GTD while also learning a new list manager. Make sure any list manager you pick is one you can rapidly learn to use without having to think about it. There may already be a tool you have available that you know well that can fit the bill while you're learning GTD, and you can eventually "graduate" to something more fully featured once you know the methodology better.
A related strategy, since the poster mentioned OmniFocus, could be to start out using OmniFocus as a plain old list manager--project view, projects as lists, actions as items--and then slowly start to learn the other features. People often complain that OmniFocus has too many features, but it is possible to largely ignore those other features.

(It's not as easy to ignore them as it is in, for example, Scrivener. That is an application that has countless capabilities neatly masked until you want them. I started out using it as essentially a BasketOTextFiles, but every time I find myself thinking, "It sure would be nice to have...", I Google with "scrivener" and the appropriate keywords, and I find that the feature is there. Not that that's all that relevant; I'm seriously considering using Scrivener as a replacement for OmniFocus, but that's due to very specific personal preferences.)
 

bcmyers2112

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A related strategy, since the poster mentioned OmniFocus, could be to start out using OmniFocus as a plain old list manager--project view, projects as lists, actions as items--and then slowly start to learn the other features. People often complain that OmniFocus has too many features, but it is possible to largely ignore those other features.

(It's not as easy to ignore them as it is in, for example, Scrivener. That is an application that has countless capabilities neatly masked until you want them. I started out using it as essentially a BasketOTextFiles, but every time I find myself thinking, "It sure would be nice to have...", I Google with "scrivener" and the appropriate keywords, and I find that the feature is there. Not that that's all that relevant; I'm seriously considering using Scrivener as a replacement for OmniFocus, but that's due to very specific personal preferences.)
I haven't used Omnifocus, so you know better than I do about it. :)
 

TesTeq

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A related strategy, since the poster mentioned OmniFocus, could be to start out using OmniFocus as a plain old list manager--project view, projects as lists, actions as items--and then slowly start to learn the other features. People often complain that OmniFocus has too many features, but it is possible to largely ignore those other features.
I can hardly accept the idea of purchasing the most expensive list organizer on the market and then ignore its functional richness. It looks like Omnifocus fanboyism/fangirlism. It's like buying a bulldozer for planting some flowers in the backyard!
 

Oogiem

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I can hardly accept the idea of purchasing the most expensive list organizer on the market and then ignore its functional richness.
The other way to look at it is to know that as your needs grow and change you will not have to learn an entirely new piece of software, change your basic system. spend more time getting your sync and backup set up and so on. It's called conservation of energy. Starting with the most powerful software and using only the simplest stuff initially isn't a waste it's efficient and economical.
 

Gardener

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I can hardly accept the idea of purchasing the most expensive list organizer on the market and then ignore its functional richness. It looks like Omnifocus fanboyism/fangirlism. It's like buying a bulldozer for planting some flowers in the backyard!
If it were the price of a car, or even a really long cab ride, I might agree with you. But at forty dollars, or eighty for both devices, the time spent learning two tools probably has more value than the dollars spent on the software.
 

bcmyers2112

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If it were the price of a car, or even a really long cab ride, I might agree with you. But at forty dollars, or eighty for both devices, the time spent learning two tools probably has more value than the dollars spent on the software.
Not to mention that you never suggested buying it and then forever ignoring its "functional richness." You suggested starting simple and then learning more as one's comfort level grows. It's a very reasonable suggestion, particularly if someone is also new to GTD. I can't understand why this is turning into an argument.

Well... it is the internet.
 

bcool

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Thanks all for the discussion on "the internet" :)

OK, that makes more sense. I think we're having difficulty communicating because you're using terms outside of the standard GTD vocabulary. Which is fine, but understand that sometimes a common vocabulary makes it easier to exchange ideas.
I'll be accurate from now on.

What you refer to as "crisis management" sounds to me like what DA would "actionable" items to be done "as soon as possible." Reference items aren't actionable. Instead they are stored because of their potential for future value as information.

Not to split hairs, but a "crisis" usually means some kind of emergency or disaster. One would hope not everything in your action lists rises to that level. :)
I prefer to call it crisis or chaos management. Because that's how the ground feels to be honest compared to having a mind like water at horizon 3 and up.

as stated above I'll use the appropriate terminology to make the conversation easier.

I understood what you said, and I'm not attacking you. I'm genuinely trying to help. Again, "usability" is subjective. I'll give you an example: lots of people in this forum swear up and down that Evernote is not a suitable GTD list manager. Many others, myself included, use Evernote as a list manager with great success. Who is right and who is wrong? I would say we're all correct. Those who find it doesn't work for them have arrived at the correct answer -- for them. The same could be said for those of us who like it.

My point is that there is no list that will enable you to objectively arrive at the right answer for you based on certain criteria, because, again, those criteria are all subjective. What is highly usable to one person is unusable to another.

Or take another of your criteria: security. @Oogiem will tell you that all cloud software is unacceptably insecure. Others like me are comfortable using cloud software with certain caveats; I won't store any kind of information like bank account numbers, passwords or anything else in Evernote that could be used to steal my identity, for example. So, again, who is right and who is wrong? It's subjective. Oogiem does what is right based on her values and criteria, I do what is right based on mine.

My point is, you're going to need to sort out conflicting points of view and make an intuitive judgment about what works for you. Finding the right list manager is not a perfect science.



It's a good idea to find an alternative to Wunderlist. Microsoft is retiring that product in favor of one they designed internally (Wunderlist is a product they acquired from another company). But bear in mind you will always find frustrations with any product. As Oogiem has already pointed out, there is no perfect solution. If you focus on learning the GTD process, you'll be surprised at just how easy it is to make any decent list manager work well for you.
Thanks, good explanation, I'll stop the "comparison" project :)

Yes, I read that Wunderlist is going to be retired. The philosophy of the omni group seems to be as nice as the one from mailchimp. Non VC / Employee owned with a laserlike focus on building a usable product.

I do have one practical suggestion: it's difficult to learn GTD while also learning a new list manager. Make sure any list manager you pick is one you can rapidly learn to use without having to think about it. There may already be a tool you have available that you know well that can fit the bill while you're learning GTD, and you can eventually "graduate" to something more fully featured once you know the methodology better.
If the software has an Inbox + Projects + custom kind of list optionality. I'm good :) I use software as needed. Preferably to a minimum.

The other way to look at it is to know that as your needs grow and change you will not have to learn an entirely new piece of software, change your basic system. spend more time getting your sync and backup set up and so on. It's called conservation of energy. Starting with the most powerful software and using only the simplest stuff initially isn't a waste it's efficient and economical.
@Oogiem exactly. I don't want "scaling" problems which I'm now experiencing with Wunderlist.


Book stuff:
Currently at the "Getting projects under control".

GTD stuff:
Waiting for items are such an effective concept.
 

TesTeq

Registered
The other way to look at it is to know that as your needs grow and change you will not have to learn an entirely new piece of software, change your basic system. spend more time getting your sync and backup set up and so on. It's called conservation of energy. Starting with the most powerful software and using only the simplest stuff initially isn't a waste it's efficient and economical.
I understand your point but my way of doing things is opposite.
I would never buy Autocad to draw a triangle (my exaggerated example).
If you ask me why I am using Microsoft Word for writing my answer is not "because sometimes in the future I will need document templates" but "because it has the best Polish spell checker". I write in Word using html for formating! ;-)
 
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TesTeq

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If it were the price of a car, or even a really long cab ride, I might agree with you. But at forty dollars, or eighty for both devices, the time spent learning two tools probably has more value than the dollars spent on the software.
Yes. The cost of time spent learning Omnifocus or any other tool is high so in my opinion it is much better to begin learning GTD using simple list manager.
 

TesTeq

Registered
I can't understand why this is turning into an argument.

Well... it is the internet.
Yes, indeed. It is not possible to have an opposite opinion and clearly state it on the internet since there's always someone who will feel offended by sheer existence of other opinions. I would never call our friendly discussion an argument but YMMV. So let's agree to disagree.
 
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