Need Guidance with GTD. Can't seem to make it work

Quang123

Registered
No software will fix an recurring systemic problem. All the SW will do is allow you to handle your lsits in a more efficient manner but you still hve to curate what is on your lists.

As others have mentiones you must first CAPTURE the things that you need to do, the CLARIFY what they mean. Are they full blown projects? Are they next actions? Where can I do them? What are the necessary tools? Do I have time and energy now to add this to my list of tasks? The answers will determine where and what you do with what you have noted. That's the CLARIFY step.

So here is an example from my own system:

I look at the weather and notice that in 2 days it's predicted that we will have lows of 3°F and a high of 15°F. I know that all the sheep water tanks will freezea and I need to install the heaters. So I put a note into my inbox "Sheep water tank heaters" and move on. I don't have time to deal with it right now, I'm in the middle of something else. Later that day or the next day I process my inbox and get to the note about the sheep water tank heaters. I know that installing them for the winter will take several steps. So I create a project called Sheep Water tank Heaters Installed in my list management tool. (I use Omnifocus but it could eb any tool or even paper) Now I need tofigure out what the next action is. Well in this case I need to count how many water heaters we need. That is a task that has to be done when I am outside and I don't need any help to do it so I create an Action under the project to "Count number of 2020 water tanks that need heaters." and the context is Outside by Myself. Now I also know that we have some heaters stored in the red barn so since I am working on the project I also add an action "Get water heaters from Red Barn" and the context is Red Barn. Other actions I know I have to do include locating enough extension cords, checking to see all the heaters work perhaps I need to purchase some heaters or I may need toadd a metal cage if the tabks are plastic not metal, or I might even have to add or purchase more water tanks when I discover that some of the tanks have holes that cannot be repaired. I personally like to fill out as much of a project as I can and in many cases I can do most of the project planning at once but all that really matters is that I have a project and at least one action.
I work through the actions, counting tanks, getting the water heaters out, finding and installing extension cords and so on and discover that I need to buy some more tanks and some heaters. As I am working I add the apropriate actions to my lists in the contex tin which I can do them.

While I am workign on this project I also rememebr that i want to seed Sanfoin into the lower pasture. I make that note and add it to my ibpx when I am next in the house. When I process this note I realize that because we had no fall rains and it's now too cold that this will have tobe delayed until next spring. So I just put that idea "Spread Sanfoin seed in lower pasture" into my Farm Projecs to Do Someday/Maybe list. I know it will eventually become a project with actions like buy Sainfoin seed, locate a no till drill to rent and so on but for now all I need to do is capture it for later. When I do my weekly review I have things set so that the only projects in my Omnofocus system are ones I can do in this 3 month period. So I never see it/ I reset those project sd review ALL my someday/maybe lsits quarterly. I'll look at the Farm projects to Do list again in December at the Solstice and sicne it's a spring projectthat can be done in March or April depending on the weather I'll notice it then and move the project about the sainfoin from my S/M lists into my Omnifocus system and start working on it.

Weekly reviews are my time to compare what's on my lsits, with what I got done last week and what I have planned fo rnext week and how it all fits into what I have on my 12 week year quarterly plan for getting major projects done.

I like long lists and I typically have several hundred active projects. Other epeople will limit their active projects toonly those they reasonably expect to work on in that week. Either way is fine but from you issues I bet you are more on the need shorter lists end of the spectrum than I am.


The key is you CAN'T do everythign on your lsits and you need to curate or triage your projects and tasks. My Someday/Maybe lsits are hige, over 1000 items on them and probably closer to 2000 but that's ok I am only working on hwat I have decided, by reviewing, what is most important now and in this season.
Great and thorough respond to my issue. I was under the assumption that the weekly review includes everything in our someday/maybe list but in your case, you have certain things that you really need to be reviewed again 3-4 months out. I guess it would make the weekly review much quicker and easier esp if you have lots on your someday maybe list.
 

Quang123

Registered
I have been add it for 2 days on and off capturing and clarifying everything. I guess I am so delinquent that capturing and clarifying that ti will be a long process due to having a lot of backed up and avoided commitments. I assume this is normal. once I am back on track, I am hopeful that I can keep it moving forward well as a new way of being for me.
 

Jared Caron

Healthcare Quality & Safety pro; GTD enthusiast
When you mean to give myself 1 hour to process inputs effectively, are you referring to processing my inbox? Take the team to process it slowly and thoroughly?

To the first question:
Yes, I was referring to processing your inbox(es). Not necessarily that you should take 1 hour every time you sit down to process, but that most people need at least that much time each day to stay current with all the various inputs.

If your calendar is packed and you don't have the 60-90 minutes free per day to process, it's likely to pressure you to rush through your processing. If you protect the time you need for processing, it will be much easier to slow down and focus on the decision making. It's a complementary habit to slowing down while processing (see below)

2nd question:
yes, absolutely, take the time to thoroughly think through the flowchart. Much of what we deal with as knowledge workers is not immediately obvious. This will likely be an ongoing learning curve. I find the weekly review the best opportunity to review my decisions about next actions and projects - it sort of naturally reveals things you assessed inaccurately on the first pass; which is another reason why the WR is truly the keystone habit in GTD.
 

Jared Caron

Healthcare Quality & Safety pro; GTD enthusiast
I have been add it for 2 days on and off capturing and clarifying everything. I guess I am so delinquent that capturing and clarifying that ti will be a long process due to having a lot of backed up and avoided commitments. I assume this is normal. once I am back on track, I am hopeful that I can keep it moving forward well as a new way of being for me.

Absolutely normal. In fact, it's a semi-regular occurrence when you practice GTD - you will inevitably fall off and get behind. The difference is that by applying the tools and techniques and staging a regular weekly review, you will have solid procedures to dig yourself back out, unlike most!
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Absolutely normal. In fact, it's a semi-regular occurrence when you practice GTD - you will inevitably fall off and get behind. The difference is that by applying the tools and techniques and staging a regular weekly review, you will have solid procedures to dig yourself back out, unlike most!
GTD requires a fair amount of discipline to start, which for many turns into habit. It‘s easy to fall off the wagon (slack off on best practices), but easy to get back on (resume).
 

Sarahsuccess

Registered
David Allen, in the book Making It All Work page 111, in discussing the Processing stage of GTD says, "Once you really integrate this clarification process into your life-and work style, you will find yourself comfortable with a wide range of tools that can genuinely work for you. If you haven't applied this process, nothing will seem to serve you very well."

I like that quote and have found it helpful, so I thought I would add it to this discussion.
 
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Tom_Hagen

Registered
...

Some practical thoughts:

Slow down, especially in the first 3 phases (capture, clarify, organize).

Hi Jared

Great post on mindful work. There is a proverb in Poland: "Śpiesz się powoli" ("Hurry up slowly"), which captures the essence of things. The point is that only careful execution of anything ensures quality and is durable - be it tangible or intangible.
In addition, the rush causes us to anxiously await the completion of the activity, which means that, mentally - our implementation is longer. On the other hand, slowing down - I know it after myself - increases motivation, gives a sense of satisfaction and it happens that in this mode we are even able to do more than in a hurry.
So ... I recommend learning Polish proverbs ;)
 

billjw

Registered
Read "Essentialism" by Greg McKeown
I've had this for a while on Kindle. Thought I'd better read it and am enjoying the principles. Especially the "Law of the Vital Few vs the Trivial Many" and it's all trivial (for the most part!) And while I hate to say it, obvious ... in hindsight.
 

Oogiem

Registered
I was under the assumption that the weekly review includes everything in our someday/maybe list
No, it must be what works for you. I have over 1800 items on my someday/maybe lists and there is no way I want to read all of them every single week. I do read them all once a quarter so 4 times a year.
 
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