How long did it take you GTD'ers to fully feel like you got your system down

mganzel

Registered
I first listened to GTD audiobook this past Winter and I am convinced that this is the system that makes the most sense for my life (and, believe me, I've tried a few). I've since listened to the book 2 more times so I can grasp all the concepts.

I originally tried to do a fully paper system. No Go. I'm on my computer too much. So, I had to scrap that. Then I kinda gave up over the holidays but always in the back of my head that I needed to figure this out the best way for ME.

Now that I have Office 365 I am working on setting up the system in OneNote. This way I can transfer support files, tasks and e-mails to tabs and projects in OneNote and keep the vast majority of my material in one place. I will keep you updated as to how it goes. It also allows me to capture on the fly with my phone right into OneNote.

Is my story similar to others who try to implement GTD via different approaches until they finally find one that fits for them? I feel like this is taking me longer than it should but I have to find a system that I will use on a daily basis and not make my life harder.

I am also toying with the idea of changing my Contexts from what David originally suggested (phone calls, computer, at home, etc.). I have 4 main "hats" in my life (Metro, eBay, Vintage Motocross and Home). I tend to work best when I am in one of these "hats" for 2-4 hr stretches. I am playing around in OneNote with using context for those "hats" instead of the place for the action. When I am in Metro hat then I open up the Metro Notebook and work within the action list there. Then in the afternoon I switch to eBay hat then I open up that Notebook (it's all digital) and work on that action list. Do any of you more experienced GTD'ers have any insights to me as far as pros and cons to this? I don't want to reinvent the wheel.

Another thing: How do you capture when you are in non-capture places (shower, just drifting off to sleep, arms deep in dishwater, etc.). I can walk into a room focused on one task and then see something on the floor that needs to be captured but I try to stay focused on what I went in there for and 2 minutes later forget about the floor item.

Thanks for any input you all may have. You have yourself a great day!
 
Hi there. In case this helps, here's the timing we share in GTD courses about common times to get up to speed:

2 minutes to understand the core concepts
2 days to get yourself fully set up (part two of the book or follow the Installation Guide)
2 years for it to become a habit/second nature, etc.

2.jpg

Hope that helps!
 

bcmyers2112

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Is my story similar to others who try to implement GTD via different approaches until they finally find one that fits for them?
I can't speak for everyone, but my experience was similar to yours. I've read more than a few other posts in these forums from others who went through the same thing. I can't say for sure just how prevalent this is, but you're certainly not alone.

Another thing: How do you capture when you are in non-capture places (shower, just drifting off to sleep, arms deep in dishwater, etc.).
Capturing 100% of the inputs you encounter in the moment is an ideal standard to strive for, but not an absolute rule. If it was it would be unattainable and would render GTD impractical. Instead, try your best to capture as much as you can, whenever you can. The weekly reivew -- particularly the mindsweep portion -- will help you with anything that inevitably falls through the cracks.

To paraphrase DA, if you're not losing control of things from time to time, you're not playing the game of life at a high enough level. Like anything else in life, it's not worth demanding perfection of yourself with GTD because no one can achieve that. Just give it your best effort. I think you'll find that will be more than enough.
 

Oogiem

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Is my story similar to others who try to implement GTD via different approaches until they finally find one that fits for them? I feel like this is taking me longer than it should but I have to find a system that I will use on a daily basis and not make my life harder.
I took me a year of various things before I settled on Omnifocus as my list manager. Initially I used OF to sync to Apple calendar and To-Do's and then sync that off to my Palm phone. (No iPhone on Sprint then which was our only decent cell phone service) Ended up running with OF on an iPod plus a flip phone for a while before we finally got iPhones on Sprint in 2011. Been running on iPhones and using OF since then.

About 2 years into the OF work I revamped stuff and did that again
I am also toying with the idea of changing my Contexts from what David originally suggested (phone calls, computer, at home, etc.). .... Do any of you more experienced GTD'ers have any insights to me as far as pros and cons to this? I don't want to reinvent the wheel.
Create use and adjust contexts as necessary to fit you. I will create temporary ones often, use them and then delete them when they are no longer useful. I've got 37 contexts right now. SOme come and go. Feel free to try them out and change until it works.

Another thing: How do you capture when you are in non-capture places (shower, just drifting off to sleep, arms deep in dishwater, etc.).
In the shower I have been known to take a bar of soap and write a quick note on the walls. I have pads of paper on my nightstand and often take notes just before I sleep or when I wake up at night. I have a water resistant case for my phone so I can start it and use Siri to take a quick reminder that automatically ends up in my Omnifocus inbox. I carry my wallet in a belt pouch (women's pants rarely have decent pockets) and I have a notepad and a pen in it at all times. Biggest addition was to get a really nice space pen that has a lanyard so I can carry it around my neck and some rite in the rain 3x5 notebooks so it doesn't matter where or what the weather, I can still take notes.
 

mganzel

Registered
Thank you all for your words of inspiration and insights as to how you implement your systems! I cracked up with the bar of soap on the shower wall idea!

So far Outlook seems to be working well for me. Because I don't have a block of 1-2 days to capture my entire life I am doing it as I go. I know this isn't ideal but, it is what it is.

The hardest habit for me to break will be how I use my Franklin Planner. I've been a Franklin user for 20 years and I'm very attached to my compact leather zip binder. Now I am teaching myself to only use it as a capture tool and not as an action/task list. Will take some time.

One of my next areas of focus will be to define my "IN" buckets as I tend to have paperwork all over. If I dedicate 1 place in the house, 1 at work (already done) and my planner for capture and my e-mail I think that will work. Still in planning stages on that one.

OneNote has met all my needs to date. I've read in other posts that it's not up to par but I think they've improved it quite a bit since then. I can interact it with e-mails, calendar, tasks, web links, photos and attachments. I can also share pages (projects) with others who don't have OneNote. Will take about a month of testing to see if it really passes the test.

Keep the ideas and insights coming! I love to hear how others got their systems up and running and how long it took and the struggles you went through.

Oh, and another thing - I am reviewing my system about once a day just to get in the habit of checking all the projects/action lists. I know this will wane off as I become secure with it but I don't want to miss any loops and it gives me good practice of identifying action steps and defining projects.

Cheers!
 

CamJPete

Registered
It has taken me about ten years. My progress really increased after I fully bought into the method about 1-2 years ago.

A couple of suggestions I found helpful along the way:
--Buy the audio version of Getting Things Done (updated). Listen to it often for the first two years (perhaps once a month to once a quarter), perhaps during your morning commute. You will learn things each time that will help you make it a habit, and will help put your missing gaps into place.
--If you can't process everything in 1-2 days, don't sweat it. I am STILL processing some random boxes of things from my childhood. If you have to take it in chunks, just tackle the inboxes that are most weighing on your mind and get those empty. Including a recurring daily action to "get a part of my inbox clear" combined with "don't break the chain" (google this if needed) may help you to consistently make progress toward empty.
--Search for an organizational tool that works well for you for your lists, but don't let that search cripple your implementation of the system. I finally settled on Workflowy because of its amazing ability to create infinite hierarchical lists. This has helped me to better implement the system, but what helped me the most was to understand the principles. First, focus on mastering the principles. Let tool searching remain secondary.
 

mganzel

Registered
--Buy the audio version of Getting Things Done (updated). Listen to it often for the first two years (perhaps once a month to once a quarter), perhaps during your morning commute. You will learn things each time that will help you make it a habit, and will help put your missing gaps into place.
I do have the audio book and I've listened to it 3 times in the past 5 months. I also have DA's other audio book "Making it All Work" but I've only listened to that 1 time. You are correct - I learn something new each time and plan to listen to it at least once a quarter.

Ugghh, today was not a 100% day. Stayed up too late last night so was sluggish all afternoon. I did manage to get several hundred digital documents, photos, etc. on my laptop transferred to their correct folder on my cloud. Mundane work but at least it's progress. I have about 2 days of capture notes in my planner to process and organize though.

Everyone have a great weekend! ;) ;) ;)
 

TesTeq

Registered
Speaking of audiobooks, I think that "Ready for Anything" is David Allen's most undervalued book. This book has allowed me to understand "why" of GTD, while other books are focused on "how".
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Speaking of audiobooks, I think that "Ready for Anything" is David Allen's most undervalued book. This book has allowed me to understand "why" of GTD, while other books are focused on "how".
I agree completely. I think the book and the audiobook are very helpful.
 

mganzel

Registered
I have that audio book too (I'm an audible member) and I'm listening to it now.

Does anyone have other audio book recommendations that they would like to share regarding productivity, motivation and business? Not ones based on a different system (I'm considering myself a GTDer now) but about the topics in general that would compliment the GTD system?
 

Cpu_Modern

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David Allen himself recommended "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield as a compliment to GTD. I heard him saying this on a podacst some odd ~10 years ago. I read the book and found it quite good.
 

mcogilvie

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I have found most books in the self-help, motivation and productivity categories very pedestrian post-GTD. I think Covey is still worth reading, though.
 

bcmyers2112

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OneNote has met all my needs to date. I've read in other posts that it's not up to par but I think they've improved it quite a bit since then.
Two things about OneNote: first, David Allen Co. offers a guide for setting up OneNote for use with GTD. Second, don't sweat what other people are saying about it. If it's working for you, that's what matters.
 

Castanea_d.

Registered
I've been doing GTD for not quite one year. I didn't really trust it until it got me through Christmas, a busy time for my work. It was extremely helpful to re-read "Getting Things Done" this spring, about six or eight months after my start - some things that slipped right by me originally now were exactly what I needed to tune things up. Also I read "Making it all work" and that helped too. I do not at all consider myself a GTD "pro", but at least it is thoroughly habitual.

Still lots to do: in the initial purges/organizing of my office, I didn't get very far - my desktop, my computer, and my worktable. That was enough to give me a good workflow, for I already had a fairly decent filing system. The best I could do for the bookshelves and filing cabinet and desk drawers was to make TBD items in the system to do these things when possible. I can readily lay hands on anything in my office, but I know that there is a lot to "trash" in these places -- I have been in the same office for seventeen years and things do accumulate. Hopefully this summer. I think at that point I will have a sense of having fully arrived in a GTD system.
 

mganzel

Registered
@bcmyers2112 - I forgot about the supplemental guides and since you brought it up I went and purchased the 2 pack of Outlook/OneNote. Thank-you for the recommendation. I can already tell that I initially set it up VERY similar to his suggestions. I can also see that there will be a lot of useful tips in there as well.

My struggle this week is the IN. Old habits are fighting me BAD and I find myself repeatedly DOING each piece in the IN instead of PROCESSING it, causing me to not make much progress. 2 minute actions are fine but it's the others that I need to discipline myself to process and not DO.
 

Jodie E. Francis

GTD Novice
@bcmyers2112
My struggle this week is the IN. Old habits are fighting me BAD and I find myself repeatedly DOING each piece in the IN instead of PROCESSING it, causing me to not make much progress. 2 minute actions are fine but it's the others that I need to discipline myself to process and not DO.
I have that problem as well. For me it is a sign I've lost trust in my system - it feels like if I put it on my list I won't remember to do it - and I need to sit down and do a thorough Weekly Review.
 

Cpu_Modern

Registered
Old habits are fighting me BAD and I find myself repeatedly DOING each piece in the IN instead of PROCESSING it, causing me to not make much progress. 2 minute actions are fine but it's the others that I need to discipline myself to process and not DO.
Maybe. But if you have the time available to DO, why not do it right away?
 
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