Having a hard time deciding how to use gtd methodology

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Joshua Centers, Mar 27, 2019.

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  1. Joshua Centers

    Joshua Centers Registered

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    Im having a hard time deciding how to use the GTD method in things, I get it for the most part. I have watched the video on things. My first question, I created the list of 10. computer, agenda etc. I get using tags sparingly to avoid confusion. As well as headings. For Business Projects I have 2 businesses. A life insurance company and a marketing agency. Would it be better to create a project aka list inside of things for each business and create to dos for prospecting and marketing? Im just having a hard time deciding how I should go about this.Im using things 3. And then I have computer as a project but its hard for me to put marketing and prospecting inside of the computer project for some reason. I feel like these belong in the specific business project. Screen Shot 2019-03-27 at 8.55.18 AM.png Screen Shot 2019-03-27 at 8.55.51 AM.png

    Project:Clicks on command
    -Prospecting
    -Marketing

    Project: Centers Life
    -Prospecting
    -marketing
     
  2. mcogilvie

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    I think what you want, ideally, is a system that answers the question “I’m here, what should I do next?” That leads to specific questions about your particular situation. Are there physical locations where you need or prefer to do certain actions? Do you prefer to keep your work for your two businesses separate, or can you switch from one to the other easily? Answering these kinds of questions should help you set up your contexts. If, for example, you work from home at your computer for both businesses, it might make sense to you to have separate contexts for each business.

    I also use Things, and I like it. However, Things was not designed for gtd. It’s really intended for a master list of Actions and Projects from which you pick what you will work on today. You can still do ok with gtd this way, using tags for contexts, but it’s not perfect. An alternative is to have lists for contexts, as you have done. I’ve set Things up both ways, and they both work. However, you can’t mix the two implementations. When I use lists for contexts, I tag next actions with the appropriate area, and you could do the same with your two businesses. If you search and select a tag, you will see all items with that tag, including future and someday. It’s a pretty good overview. Hope this helps.
     
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  3. Joshua Centers

    Joshua Centers Registered

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    Thank you. I guess I want to keep them separate but I don’t know if that’s best because a lot of the processes are the same. I’m adding other clients so it’s going to get really chaotic if I don’t understand this system. I’m using Facebook and other softwares and systems, multiple systems for clients and myself. So getting this system down is important. For the computer next actions project list I just feel like it’s not helpful because I’m using it in those businesses but again, I don’t know what I don’t know. I wonder if I should ad a marketing campaigns folder and add tags for the companies? And
    Tags for the softwares? Analysis by paralysis right now. I’ve watched that video like 6 times and I don’t get it.
     
  4. mcogilvie

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    OK, let’s step away from the software for a minute and focus on two categories: projects and next actions. What are the projects you have committed to, and what is the desired outcome for each? What are the next actions that will move each project a step closer to completion. Assign each one a context, using as few contexts as you feel comfortable with. Do this on paper if you need to. If you do this in a program like Things, you can always test different areas for their conceptual usefulness later. If the projects and next actions are working, that’s plenty to start with.
     
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  5. Gardener

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    I would expect a business to have many projects--probably dozens of projects per business. And it is possible that some of those projects might benefit both businesses.

    For example, let's pretend that I'm doing preliminary research for starting two businesses from my "farm", one for selling vegetables and one for selling organic flowers. (That's not going to happen--it's a tenth of an acre. Yes, you can farm on a tenth of an acre--I even have that book. But, not me.) I might have projects (and Next Actions) like:

    - Research business liability insurance
    -- Contact Joe for two quotes, one for each business.

    - Research selling at farmer's market
    -- Talk to Jane (Dahlias R Us) about her experience.

    - Research restaurants as floral customers
    -- Ask Fred's cousin Charlie (Burgers R Us) what he pays for those table bouquets.

    - Research selling by CSA
    -- Make a list of local CSAs.

    - General research reading
    -- Get a copy of The Flower Farmer
     
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  6. Joshua Centers

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    So if I understand correctly you use tags for context as a way instead of a list aka project for context. For example, computer is just to Broad for me. I really like the ides of lists for context but it makes sense to have computer as a tag. Various marketing projects involve FB, google etc. So I can have my actions under marketing as a area of focus and either put the companies names and tag the action or actions or I can use lists as context i.e. fb ads, google Adwords..
     
  7. mcogilvie

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    You are probably overthinking things at this point. David Allen quotes an old proverb in one of his books: “the work will teach you how to do it.” Whatever you do, you want it to be systematic, quick, easy and repeatable. Try the approach Cultured Code recommends or try the approach in the GTD setup guide. Try broad contexts like computer and narrow ones like Facebook, and be honest about how you do. Initial theories ultimately must yield to experience.
     
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  8. Gardener

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    In this post and your first one you seem to be equating "project" and "list". But they're not really the same thing. I may be misunderstanding, but I'm going to talk on for a while anyway.

    To steal the definition from elsewhere on the site: "Projects are defined as outcomes that will require more than one action step to complete and that you can mark off as finished in the next 12 months."

    So your businesses wouldn't be projects--they will presumably be around for more than 12 months, and a business will have a large number of different desired outcomes. For example, the outcome "Up and running in a storefront" and the outcome "Manufacturing cost for Widget 4 reduced to sixteen cents" are very different outcomes, even though they might support the same business. So they would be at least two projects, and very likely more. (Because "Preferred storefront identified" and "Store fittings purchased and installed" are also two different outcomes--setting up a storefront might involve dozens of projects.)

    I return to my earlier example, add more actions, and use the outcome phrasing (probably badly, because I usually don't use outcome phrasing, even though my projects usually do have a clear outcome). Looked at by project, it looks like:

    - Project/Outcome: I am informed about business liability insurance.
    -- Action: Contact Joe for two quotes, one for each business. Context: Phone

    - Project/Outcome: I have a preliminary knowledge of the process of selling at the Saturday market.
    -- Action: Talk to Jane (Dahlias R Us) about her experience. Context: Phone
    -- Action: Talk to Joe (Tomatoes Tomahtoes) about his experience. Context: Saturday market

    - Project/Outcome: I have a preliminary knowledge of the desires of restaurant customers, re flowers.
    -- Action: Ask Fred's cousin Charlie (Burgers R Us) what he pays for those table bouquets. Context: Phone.
    -- Action: Google for articles about organic flower producers and their customers. Context: Internet Research

    - Project Outcome: I have identified the local CSAs
    -- Action: Google for local CSAs. Context: Internet Research

    - Project/Outcome: Increase my knowledge of flower farming through reading.
    -- Action: Get a copy of The Flower Farmer Context: Internet Shopping.


    This is just the first one or two actions per project--as time goes on, more actions will be added and worked.

    So, above we have seven actions, organized by project. But we could instead organize them by context:

    Context: Phone
    -- Action: Contact Joe for two quotes, one for each business.
    -- Action: Talk to Jane (Dahlias R Us) about her experience.
    -- Action: Ask Fred's cousin Charlie (Burgers R Us) what he pays for those table bouquets.

    Context: Saturday market
    -- Action: Talk to Joe (Tomatoes Tomahtoes) about his experience.

    Context: Internet Research:
    -- Action: Google for articles about organic flower producers and their customers.
    -- Action: Google for local CSAs.

    Internet Shopping:
    -- Action: Get a copy of The Flower Farmer


    This way, when you're at the Saturday market, you have a handy list of actions for that context. If you've carved out some quiet time with your phone, you have a handy list of actions for that context.

    If you were using paper, you'd have to have project lists AND context lists, to get this, and you'd do a lot of rewriting. This is one of the advantages of a tool like OmniFocus--you can display your actions in several different ways.
     
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