Getting Better: Capture

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by bcmyers2112, Jul 28, 2019.

  1. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    In a recent edition of his "Productive Living" email newsletter, David Allen described 10 reasons GTD is like karate. Number 10 was, "There is no end to how good you can be at it."

    That got me thinking. I've been practicing GTD since 2007 (although I only really got consistent with it in 2014), but I've never felt like I was as good as I could be. So I began looking at my practice for gaps. Capture stood out immediately.

    I've always thought I was good at capture, but it turns out I had major leaks in that area. I haven't been capturing things that occur to me while driving or come up during conversations with my wife while walking the dogs, for example. Why? Because my capture habits required some kind of manual input -- either into my phone or on a pad of paper -- and there are many circumstances where that isn't practical.

    So, in addition my notetaker wallet and a mobile digital capture tool called Drafts for iOS, I've gotten into the habit of using Siri to dictate stuff into my list manager when those other tools aren't practical. I realized I can also use my Amazon Alexa to capture thoughts in my Amazon "to-do" list and then get those things into my system (it requires a couple extra steps but it's better than keeping those things in my head).

    I know DA recommends keeping a pad and pen on every surface in the house, but with four cats and two dogs those things tend to disappear or get chewed on if I leave them lying around. But I've made sure to put paper and a writing instrument into a drawer in every room so I have easily accessible capture tools in the event the power goes out and my phone battery is low.

    I'm capturing a much greater percentage of the value-added inputs coming into my life now -- much, much closer to 100% -- and it feels good. In fact, it's a tremendous relief. I am sure there are more leaks in my overall GTD practice but this was a good place to start.

    So... I'm curious: what other strategies do people use to ensure they're capturing as much as humanly possible? I'd love to know. I may even borrow an idea or two from you all.

    Thanks.
     
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  2. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    I would like to be better at capture too. In principle, if I can talk, I can capture. However, there are circumstances where it is impolite to say “Pick up more hemorrhoid medicine” or even “Siri, remind me to never attend this meeting again.” Social convention aside, sometimes I just forget to capture. The Apple Watch is definitely helpful though.
     
  3. Rostane

    Rostane Registered

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    Good insights, thanks ! Is Siri doing a good job for capture ? (I'm on Android)
    I use my shortcuts on Evernote and it works fine, I sometime use audio notes also or voice recognition.
    I'll check if I can do the same with "OK Google" !
     
  4. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    Really? I like dictating uncomfortable-to-hear things into Siri while I'm in a crowd just to see the reactions. But that's just me.

    But seriously, the one thing I always bear in mind is DA's advice in the Getting Things Done book: that 100% capture is an ideal to strive for rather than an absolute (I'm paraphrasing but I think that was the gist). I know there are times capture won't be practical no matter what tools I have available. And there will be times I'll forget because I'm human. I strive for "the best I can." But until now, I wasn't doing anything close to "the best I can."
     
  5. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    It's not perfect but it's good enough.
     
  6. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    Siri and I do not get along. I can barely get things captured correctly so I only use it for a very few reminders that end up in my OF inbox and only when I only have 1 free hand. Otherwise my on my belt pouch pen and pad in my wallet is my primary capture tool.
     
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  7. rash15

    rash15 Registered

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    Capture is certainly something I have been working on too. My vote is for paper and pen as a capture tool. I keep cheap A7 notebooks all round the house/car/office/bags and any other place I can think of. I also have some Fisher Space pens that work anywhere (including writing when I'm laid down in bed ;)), then I can capture as much as possible. The only exception is when I'm driving I use the voice memo function on my phone and transcribe when I get to the end of my journey.
    Like OogieM, I don't get on with Siri and although I have tried many other methods, paper and pen never runs out of charge, is light, cheap and you never have to worry about it crashing!
     
  8. aderoy

    aderoy Registered

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    3x5 cards with a pencil is main capture tool when out and about. Leave a few cards and a pencil in the car works when -40c or +42c (Canada swings) do not have to worry about it. Work has cards (Levenger briefcase) and fountain pen with pencil backup.

    Google assist is not great for me, all thumbs when it comes to typing (Blackberry or Palm E2 had better inputs imho).
     
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  9. Melissa Strayer

    Melissa Strayer Minimalissa

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    Thank you for your candid post.

    I too am discovering I have opportunities around capture. And that is the riskiest one to have as a weakness because we know that none of the other phases of workflow can happen without capture.

    If you find that having capture tools out of sight in a drawer doesn't work and you need a physical reminder out for capture, perhaps applying those velcro squares or strips to a small pad and pen and sticking them to the wall where the at least the dog can't get to them might help. The cats may play, but I'm guessing they'd get bored after a couple days of it and then leave them be.

    I capture on index cards and I keep them within reach in my car, home and work offices, bedside, front door. I've learned to be steadfast about placing them in "in" and emptying "in" as soon as I walk into my office or home.

    My biggest challenge is akin to yours: ideas and "oh yeah, I need to's " come to me while I can't capture, like, say, on my morning run or in the car. I'm curious to learn how you are creating and sustaining the habit of checking your "in" for voice memos. Does anyone have any hacks that have worked for them for capturing when it's not physically feasible to capture in the moment?

    One thing that has worked surprisingly well in closing my capture gap is having a small stack of 5-10 notecards out when I'm in a meeting. When those random thoughts come I capture them there. I'm really surprised at just how many of those loose thoughts come to mind while in a meeting. Not sure if that's good or bad but I've been able to corral A LOT of loose ends that way.

    Mindsweeps: I found my mind sweeps stymied when I would sit down to do them and my mind goes blank; I found I need to be moving and in a context other than where the work happens for the stuff to come out. Does anyone else find this? And if so, are there any strategies that have helped you rise to another level of mastery? I've shifted my mind sweeps to 5 mins after my run and I'm trying to hardwire a 5 min mindsweep before I end the day at work to cut down on the loose ends popping up on my commute home; the latter is more challenging since I often do not end the day in the same place everyday (so there's no consistent anchor for the habit) and I'm tired.

    I hope your new strategies provide a sustained sense of relief. Please share an update in the coming weeks and let us know how it goes.

    Cheers,

    Melissa
     
  10. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    That's a great idea. Thanks for sharing it.

    I use a checklist to remind me of all the places (both physical and digital) I need to check for inputs during capture.

    Other than what I've already described (using Siri and Alexa), the one "hack" I use is to accept that there are times I can't do capture. If I'm doing difficult driving (like during a snowstorm) or exercising, those aren't great times to capture. I rely on the mindsweep portion of the weekly review to help me catch things that would otherwise fall through the cracks.

    Will do. Thank you for your thoughtful and thought-provoking contribution to the thread.
     

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