I came up with a new planning system.

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by GreenDog, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. GreenDog

    GreenDog Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2019
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    I work for myself. I'm an artist. Thus, I set my schedule. If you are an entrepreneur, you can call yourself an artist, too.

    After asking a question about planning on this forum, I was confused for a few days. But, innovative ideas occurred to me while I was visualizing for 10 minutes with my eyes closed after 20-minute meditation. Here's how I decided to organize my planning system as a following simple tree structure.
    • Life purpose
    • Long term vision which follows from life purpose
    • Long term plan to achieve my long-term vision
      • It has set amounts with set dates. It is specific.
      • I have long term plans for the next year, the next 3 years, the next 5 years, and the next 10 years.
    • For the current year, I make yearly goals which are more specific than my long term plan.
    • Projects come from responsibilities and yearly goals and various other sources.
      • I can make 1-week projects, 1-month projects, 6-week projects, and quarterly projects when and as they are needed.
      • Thus, projects list subsumes weekly plans, monthly plans, 6-week plans, and quarterly plans.
      • Weekly, monthly, 6-week, and quarterly plans are more rigid than projects because projects don't have a rigid hierarchical structure and don't have pre-defined cycles.
    • Action lists come from responsibilities, projects, and various other sources.
    • Every day, I write down 3 major things I want to accomplish today.
    So, the change from my previous planning system is that projects list subsumes any goals smaller than yearly goals and there are no detailed daily goals that prescribe my entire day. Now, my planning system looks a lot like GTD system.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
    Longstreet likes this.
  2. Tom_Hagen

    Tom_Hagen Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2018
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    IMHO you'll end up with a lists od daily todos which is against GTD idea. In 2nd edition of GTD book Allen writes that you can have a list of next action you would like to accomplish during a day but you have to treat this list like a list of "wish" not "must".
    Our plans are very often too optimistic, there are lots of surprises and new things during realization. After some time we realize we are far behind due dates. And this rises some psychical tensions ("mind not like water" :()
    I would rather go to simple GTD idea: putting into calendar things which must be done on some day / day and hour, putting rest of next actions on lists (with context, priority and estimated time) and try to "done them" asap.
     
    Huicho likes this.
  3. GreenDog

    GreenDog Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2019
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Which one is it that you recommend?
     
  4. Tom_Hagen

    Tom_Hagen Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2018
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Which one "what"?
     
  5. GreenDog

    GreenDog Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2019
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    @Tom_Hagen Do you recommend translating action lists into daily plans? Or, do you recommend not writing down daily plans?
     
  6. Tom_Hagen

    Tom_Hagen Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2018
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    18
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    It is individual decision. Let's say if you are writer and you HAVE to write book by end of year it is reasonable to make a plan for every day: i.e.: Write 5 pages of "The best book of all the time". But for the majority of projects I assume you only WISH not HAVE to complete them by some date.
    In my case - learning Italian for efficent reasons is good example of tasks that shall be done everyday.
    I suppose you would like to have everything under control: progression of every project, knowing when it'll be completed and so on. Nowadays our lifes are much more complex, things that must be done flow like a stream and GTD is here to make you not drown. GTD is to get you to any port you dream of.
     
  7. GreenDog

    GreenDog Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2019
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    I guess I will use daily to-do list as a list of things that I really would like to get done on a particular day, such as writing 5 pages of a book everyday or reviewing anki decks. Reviewing anki decks everyday is really important.
     
  8. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Messages:
    829
    Likes Received:
    146
    Trophy Points:
    43
    I may (or may not) be seeing the confusion here.

    The "things which must be done on some day..." isn't ALL things--if it were, yes, the two statements that you quoted would be a contradiction. I think the idea is that some things truly are scheduled whether you like it or not. If Person X has agreed to meet you at 2pm, or your plane flight leaves at 6pm, or the show that you want to see is at 7pm, then that goes on the calendar.

    But putting other things, things that don't have to be scheduled, in a daily To Do list, can be a problem. Declaring that you WILL take your shoes to be repaired at 2pm on Thursday, or you WILL fix bug number 68493K on Friday afternoon, and then moving those tasks from day to day to day to day to day until they get done, is a lot of wasted complication and energy.

    There's a middle ground that's often debated, regarding whether you should schedule some of the things that are technically in your control. Should you declare that you WILL practice the piano between 3pm and 5pm every day, even though it's within your power to choose a different time or even skip a day? Should you declare that you WILL block off Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for deep thought work, even though nobody's making you do so?

    So I see three categories:

    - Events that are "hard landscape" whether you like it or not.
    - Events, often habitual events, that might benefit from scheduling.
    - All the other countless tasks that are probably not worth scheduling, even to the extent of decreeing what day they will happen.
     
  9. GreenDog

    GreenDog Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2019
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    I guess habits are best managed by habit trackers such as habitica or strides.
    Habits also come from projects and responsibilities. Think of habits as another action list.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  10. GreenDog

    GreenDog Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2019
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    I came up with a good way to deal with habits and various recurring tasks.

    emacs org-mode supports habits and recurring tasks very well.

    In org-mode, a task in a project can be a habit or a recurring task.
    A task without a project can also be a habit or a recurring task.
     
  11. Scott Allen

    Scott Allen Registered

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    I don't make daily lists. I have my system configured so that I can easily see a list of next actions on active projects and quickly decide what to work on next.

    That said, critical work, or deep work, I specifically allocate time for on my calendar. GTD weekly review is scheduled every Friday at 2pm. When I know I have a hard deadline, I put time on my schedule to work on that deliverable. That creates its own "daily list", of sorts. But everything else is on the active projects / next actions list, and I work from that.
     
  12. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2012
    Messages:
    813
    Likes Received:
    235
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Not to beat a dead horse, but what you've described is actually very much what David Allen advises against with GTD. The reason he discourages daily to-do lists is twofold. First, it's very likely that unexpected things will often prevent you from completing your daily to-do lists which means you'll have to carry them over to the following day (or days). This is a waste of time and energy.

    Second, there's a subtle but profound psychological tendency to feel like a failure if you can't complete your daily to-do list. This undermines your faith in system and more important in yourself. That's why David Allen strongly advocates that you only assign dates to things that are hard landscape (for instance, in the US if you don't file your taxes every April 15 there are negative consequences).

    Also, in GTD the only "hierarchy" is between projects and their next actions. Lists at the higher level horizons may generate projects and actions, but every area of focus/goal/long-range vision doesn't need to have an active project or action and every project or action doesn't need to align with a higher level horizon.

    Think of it this way: one of my major goals is to improve my physical fitness. I'd like to be able to do full burpees which I can't right now due to flexibility and strength limitations. But I'm going to a gym, I'm stretching regularly and engaged in weight training. At this point, there's nothing more that I can think of that I need to do to achieve this goal. But it's nice to have it at a higher level horizon to review if I get off-track.

    The difference between the different levels is just the frequency of review. Generally, you review actions more frequently than projects, projects more frequently than AOFs, etc.

    If you think I'm telling you your system is "wrong," understand I'm not making that judgment. If it works for you, more power to you. But it's definitely not in accordance with GTD. If your desire is to do GTD, I think the system you've described will lead you down the wrong track.
     
    Tom_Hagen likes this.
  13. Scott Allen

    Scott Allen Registered

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2016
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    David doesn't seem to be completely opposed to the concept of daily lists, but it matters how you approach it. In several interviews, he's discussed this, and the problem, as @bcmyers2112 points out, is using it in such a way that you're constantly falling short. Many people make a long to-do list and just keep crossing things off and adding to it (or re-writing it every day if it's on paper or a whiteboard). You never finish the list, and that's a drain psychologically.

    On the other hand, if you're making a short list, e.g., three things, and approaching it as a pre-decision that these are the things that you CAN do today that will do the most to move you forward, then that is totally consistent with GTD. You don't have to wait until the moment of action to decide which action to take. In fact, pre-deciding reduces your cognitive load and stress throughout the day.

    I'll point out that even that never-ending list...well, you have that in GTD. But it's again a matter of how you approach it. Is it today's to-do list? Or is it your ASAP next actions list?

    The issue really isn't the list, it's how you engage with the list.
     
    TMac and Huicho like this.
  14. GreenDog

    GreenDog Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2019
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
  15. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2012
    Messages:
    813
    Likes Received:
    235
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Gender:
    Male
    Well... the way I interpret DA's advice is this: every action you want to take "as soon as possible" should be organized by lists according to the person, place or tool needed to accomplish that action. You should review the actions in the contexts available to you whenever you have discretionary time.

    In interviews and articles I've read he's suggested that it can be helpful to create a version of a daily to-do list, sort of like a punch list, based on your review of whatever context lists are appropriate in that moment. But he also advised you should be prepared to discard that list in an instant if circumstances dictate a change in priorities.

    But the OP's systems sounds like generating a list of three "must do's" each day. I saw no mention of having a complete inventory of "as soon as possible actions" to choose from. Hence why I suggested this may not be fully GTD-compliant.
     
  16. Huicho

    Huicho Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    I have been using GTD since 2011, but now I'm more productive making a daily to do list de nigth before, with the Ivy Lee method, the more than 100 year old to do list method, but in the way that David Allen suggest in the 2nd edition of GTD, and as you said in your post. I feel the reduction of cognitive load and and I feel the a better workflow. I'm more focused now.
     
  17. Huicho

    Huicho Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    I'm agree with you.
     
  18. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Messages:
    1,374
    Likes Received:
    579
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Professor of Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
    Location:
    University of Iowa
    But one can still place time blocks on your calendar for focused work. :D
     
  19. Sarahsuccess

    Sarahsuccess Registered

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2018
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    30
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Do the 3 major things you want to accomplish come from your lists?

    I think Kelly Forrester does a similar thing:

    “...And sometimes I go old school and also write a list of absolutely must-do items to get done today on a 3x5 colored index card that I keep on my visible desk all day.”

    This is from Kelly’s post here:
    https://forum.gettingthingsdone.com/threads/daily-planning.12743/#post-104480

    Kelly, do you think this is similar?

    Sarah
     
  20. GreenDog

    GreenDog Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2019
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    They used to. But, I no longer make daily to-do lists everyday.
    Occasionally, when I really want to accomplish something today, I put it on today's to-do list.
    If something needs to happen on a specific date, I schedule it with a deadline in my emacs org-mode which is a GTD implementation.

    In other words, except when I really want to do something today, I stick to https://forum.gettingthingsdone.com/threads/emacs-org-mode-is-the-perfect-tool-for-gtd.15028/
     

Share This Page