How to practise GTD with WhatsApp?

YoDee

Registered
I am in a crowd-sourcing project where lots of discussions take place using various WhatsApp groups and within such groups, tasks are distributed, taken up, delivered and paid for. Let us analyze the scenario from GTD perspective now:

Clearly, WhatsApp is the INBOX here which is the central pool where all the information arrives in the first instance. However, this is where the nightmare begins for me endlessly. Reasons:
  1. Project specs are being given in a group setting where multiple projects are being discussed and negotiatated the same time.
  2. I solved this problem by making the group with "posting rights only to admin", so readers can pick a project spec and start discussing it in a 1-on-1 chat with the admin.
  3. At this stage, 1-on-1 chat becomes the Inbox between a Project Owner and Contractor (who does the work).
  4. The challenge now is that the same Contractor may pick up different jobs (projects) every day and then go on to deliver each job over several days.
  5. My problem is how to demarcate each task bit information that comes along and how do I set deadlines on each such Job Discussion that happens sporadically over the next several days.
  6. I came across a tool called Timelines.ai that helps pick specific messages in a certain discussion and give tags / notes / deadlines to each dialog that goes in a flow. However, the software interface is still evolving and is still not very polished at this time.
  7. I am trying out ToDoist app as well to see if I can right-click-and-transfer parts of a conversation to preset Project or Job IDs from WhatsApp to ToDoist.
You will appreciate that I am sincerly trying to label, benchmark, accord deadlines to bits of information flooding in at me .. the whole of WhatsApp is a huge inbox for me. Even after I transfer notes from WhatsApp to ToDoist, etc. even then the question of Trustedness remains - for WhatsApp itself may have to be emptied out because of phone storage issues, and then there is no way to point to original reference of a discussion or commitment that was taken / given for the task in progress within ToDoist.

Please share your thoughts on implementing GTD when WhatsApp is the inbox that cannot be changed.
 

Yasin

Registered
Since I couldn’t fully understand your workflow, I’m unable to provide a clear advice. Please take what I say below with a grain of salt.

I wouldn’t conceptualize your WhatsApp as an inbox. Instead think it as a teleconference call. When I’m in a call, not everything I hear goes to my inbox. Instead I capture some of the ideas or tasks that I heard and locate them in my physical or digital inbox.

What about “star”ing WhatsApp messages that you think is a relevant idea. Just like one captures an idea she hears in a teleconference call. And then go to your “starred messages” folder where your flagged messages from all WhatsApp groups reside. That’s your inbox. Now, go one by one and decide what to do with each item.

Please share your solution here. With the abundance of new technologies, stuff accumulates in a variety of new ways.
 

rmjb

Registered
I agree with Yasin. I don't think WhatsApp is a good inbox because it will be cluttered with actionable and a ton of non-actionable dialogue. I think instead you should use another inbox, perhaps if ToDoist has one, and get a workflow to move actionable messages out of WhatsApp into there. Maybe copy and paste, or some other technique. Once you see a message that may be actionable, immediately capture it out to a proper inbox.

When you are ready, clarify and organize that inbox instead of the myriad of messages in WhatsApp.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
I am not sure what your role is in this effort, or what the goal is In for the functions you are performing. Where I come from, the Project Owner is ultimately responsible for everything associated with that project. That person does not get to throw crumpled-up documentation onto the floor all the time for somebody else to pick up and try to make sense of. A certain amount of disorder in inevitable, but the goal is for everything to make sense to, say, an outside auditor.
 

TesTeq

Registered
I agree with Yasin. I don't think WhatsApp is a good inbox because it will be cluttered with actionable and a ton of non-actionable dialogue.
Isn't an inbox just for that? For capturing everything? For holding actionable and non-actionable items until they're clarified and organized?
 

rmjb

Registered
Isn't an inbox just for that? For capturing everything? For holding actionable and non-actionable items until they're clarified and organized?
That is true, but in a pure sense, when you're processing your inbox you deal with an item, clarify and organize, then move to the next item.
In a conversational platform like WhatsApp, you'll have to go back and find the actionable items you've already seen.

The big gain I can see would be to not have to go back through the WhatsApp conversations to find actionable items, but to pull them out as you see them. You don't need to clarify and organize at that time, to do this step you really should be in that mode.
 

cfoley

Registered
I think the struggle comes from trying to process in the moment.

If I look around the room, I can see a TV, a sofa, cats, scratch posts, a rug, some shelves, etc. Today, none of those things have my attention. Tomorrow, I may decide that a bookshelf is overflowing or a cat is walking oddly. In either case, I have my universal capture tool to quickly capture it in the moment. (or in the case of an injured cat, do some work as it shows up)

I consider WhatsApp to be similarly ambient. It's mostly just chit chat but when it is important, it can either go into my inbox or be worked on as it shows up.
 

OF user

Registered
I tend to transfer all texts to paper and place in my in tray. However, I agree with TesTeq that you could easily use whatever text app you use as an inbox. You just have to have a system for clarifying and organizing that info.
 

DwenMonster

Registered
I think WhatsApp is not the best inbox to discuss the project or share the specs of the project. You can use another app as an inbox to share the project specifications.
 

DKPhoto

Registered
I use 2Do app and you can forward a message to the Inbox in 2Do from Whatsapp (it’s in the share menu). 2Do then copies the text from the message into the notes field and you add your own action to the task field (even if that’s just review the message for next actions).

Todoist may have a similar option.
 

Blanka Dibtr

GTD Connect
Isn't an inbox just for that? For capturing everything? For holding actionable and non-actionable items until they're clarified and organized?
I think the problem with WhatsApp as inbox is that you cannot empty it completely. So you end up re-reading which is a waste of time.
 

Sarahsuccess

Registered
I am in a crowd-sourcing project where lots of discussions take place using various WhatsApp groups and within such groups, tasks are distributed, taken up, delivered and paid for. Let us analyze the scenario from GTD perspective now:

Clearly, WhatsApp is the INBOX here which is the central pool where all the information arrives in the first instance. However, this is where the nightmare begins for me endlessly. Reasons:
  1. Project specs are being given in a group setting where multiple projects are being discussed and negotiatated the same time.
  2. I solved this problem by making the group with "posting rights only to admin", so readers can pick a project spec and start discussing it in a 1-on-1 chat with the admin.
  3. At this stage, 1-on-1 chat becomes the Inbox between a Project Owner and Contractor (who does the work).
  4. The challenge now is that the same Contractor may pick up different jobs (projects) every day and then go on to deliver each job over several days.
  5. My problem is how to demarcate each task bit information that comes along and how do I set deadlines on each such Job Discussion that happens sporadically over the next several days.
  6. I came across a tool called Timelines.ai that helps pick specific messages in a certain discussion and give tags / notes / deadlines to each dialog that goes in a flow. However, the software interface is still evolving and is still not very polished at this time.
  7. I am trying out ToDoist app as well to see if I can right-click-and-transfer parts of a conversation to preset Project or Job IDs from WhatsApp to ToDoist.
You will appreciate that I am sincerly trying to label, benchmark, accord deadlines to bits of information flooding in at me .. the whole of WhatsApp is a huge inbox for me. Even after I transfer notes from WhatsApp to ToDoist, etc. even then the question of Trustedness remains - for WhatsApp itself may have to be emptied out because of phone storage issues, and then there is no way to point to original reference of a discussion or commitment that was taken / given for the task in progress within ToDoist.

Please share your thoughts on implementing GTD when WhatsApp is the inbox that cannot be changed.

Whatsapp may be an inbox but it is certainly not a tool to hold next actions. The following video may be helpful:


Do you find it helpful?
 

Murray

Registered
Whatsapp may be an inbox but it is certainly not a tool to hold next actions. The following video may be helpful:


Do you find it helpful?
Whoa that was a helpful tip about archiving WhatsApp messages! I quickly archived all my WhatsApp chats and then set to work on facebook messenger. However that is taking quite a long time because there are years of unarchived chats and the app makes you archive them one chat at a time (at least on Android)... Still great to be clearing it out though! Thanks for the video.
 

Murray

Registered
Whoa that was a helpful tip about archiving WhatsApp messages! I quickly archived all my WhatsApp chats and then set to work on facebook messenger. However that is taking quite a long time because there are years of unarchived chats and the app makes you archive them one chat at a time (at least on Android)... Still great to be clearing it out though! Thanks for the video.
Replying to my own post to show off this beautiful empty messenger inbox, after archiving hundreds of old chats over 10 years.
 

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I am in a crowd-sourcing project where lots of discussions take place using various WhatsApp groups and within such groups, tasks are distributed, taken up, delivered and paid for. Let us analyze the scenario from GTD perspective now:

Clearly, WhatsApp is the INBOX here which is the central pool where all the information arrives in the first instance. However, this is where the nightmare begins for me endlessly. Reasons:
  1. Project specs are being given in a group setting where multiple projects are being discussed and negotiatated the same time.
  2. I solved this problem by making the group with "posting rights only to admin", so readers can pick a project spec and start discussing it in a 1-on-1 chat with the admin.
  3. At this stage, 1-on-1 chat becomes the Inbox between a Project Owner and Contractor (who does the work).
  4. The challenge now is that the same Contractor may pick up different jobs (projects) every day and then go on to deliver each job over several days.
  5. My problem is how to demarcate each task bit information that comes along and how do I set deadlines on each such Job Discussion that happens sporadically over the next several days.
  6. I came across a tool called Timelines.ai that helps pick specific messages in a certain discussion and give tags / notes / deadlines to each dialog that goes in a flow. However, the software interface is still evolving and is still not very polished at this time.
  7. I am trying out ToDoist app as well to see if I can right-click-and-transfer parts of a conversation to preset Project or Job IDs from WhatsApp to ToDoist.
You will appreciate that I am sincerly trying to label, benchmark, accord deadlines to bits of information flooding in at me .. the whole of WhatsApp is a huge inbox for me. Even after I transfer notes from WhatsApp to ToDoist, etc. even then the question of Trustedness remains - for WhatsApp itself may have to be emptied out because of phone storage issues, and then there is no way to point to original reference of a discussion or commitment that was taken / given for the task in progress within ToDoist.

Please share your thoughts on implementing GTD when WhatsApp is the inbox that cannot be changed.
I've been struggling with this problem for a while now, to the point that I've been thinking about building my own tool to solve this.

As others have suggested already, I've used the archive feature aggressively in the past. The problem is that I sometimes want to link my TODO to the whatsapp message in question. It's very time-consuming to copy and paste the message thread over or scroll through my message to find it.

Would love to speak more with you!
 

Murray

Registered
A word of warning for anyone archiving WhatsApp conversations -

It took me quite a while after archiving all of mine to realise I was no longer getting any notifications from WhatsApp. I missed one message in particular that was important and time sensitive and is now 11 days old. This was a message from one person direct to me, not in a group chat.

WhatsApp confirm in their support documentation:

  • You will not receive notifications for archived chats unless you are mentioned or replied to.

To my mind, this is a very strange functionality to include with the 'archive' feature. It's different to how archiving works in email and also facebook messenger, just to name two examples I'm familiar with.

Seems like they've bundled 'archive' together with 'mute'.
 
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