One NA done - Focus on project or switch - Bookmarking cost and opportunity.

OptiStep

Registered
Hello GTD users. I have been using the method since 2016 and still have a question. Is it best to focus on a particular project for hours or to work on a series of brief tasks associated with different projects?

I my opinion, the criterion to answer this question is: Is bookmarking a project a cost or an opportunity?
(By "Bookmarking" I mean: Defining NA; Writing it down somewhere; Stop or switch).

# Type-A Project: (Bookmarking = Opportunity)
  • NA is in @WaitingFor
  • NA would require a major context change.
  • NA does not match the next time window.
  • NA does not match current energy level (Waste/Stall).
  • Maturity gained as the brain is still thinking in background.
# Type-B Project: (Bookmarking = Cost)
  • State of mind (Creativity; Flow) interrupted. Will requires up to several hours to be recovered (Mental cost).
  • Many actions necessary to start and/or stop (e.g. Painting a room).
  • Soft reference material in the head get forgotten after some days.
  • Project moving slowly -- People will not engage. Motivation decreases …
  • Changing environment (e.g. organizing an event including the booking of a flight).
I my case the GTD-Workflow is working better for Type-A Projects (Bookmarking = Opportunity) than for Type-B Projects (Bookmarking = Cost).

Is it a common pitfall? Is there a small fix in the workflow to better cover Type-B Projects? How do you address project of "Type-B"? In other words how do you manage in your GTD-Workflow projects with a high bookmarking cost?
 

ivanjay205

Registered
Hello GTD users. I have been using the method since 2016 and still have a question. Is it best to focus on a particular project for hours or to work on a series of brief tasks associated with different projects?

I my opinion, the criterion to answer this question is: Is bookmarking a project a cost or an opportunity?
(By "Bookmarking" I mean: Defining NA; Writing it down somewhere; Stop or switch).

# Type-A Project: (Bookmarking = Opportunity)
  • NA is in @WaitingFor
  • NA would require a major context change.
  • NA does not match the next time window.
  • NA does not match current energy level (Waste/Stall).
  • Maturity gained as the brain is still thinking in background.
# Type-B Project: (Bookmarking = Cost)
  • State of mind (Creativity; Flow) interrupted. Will requires up to several hours to be recovered (Mental cost).
  • Many actions necessary to start and/or stop (e.g. Painting a room).
  • Soft reference material in the head get forgotten after some days.
  • Project moving slowly -- People will not engage. Motivation decreases …
  • Changing environment (e.g. organizing an event including the booking of a flight).
I my case the GTD-Workflow is working better for Type-A Projects (Bookmarking = Opportunity) than for Type-B Projects (Bookmarking = Cost).

Is it a common pitfall? Is there a small fix in the workflow to better cover Type-B Projects? How do you address project of "Type-B"? In other words how do you manage in your GTD-Workflow projects with a high bookmarking cost?
I run into this sometimes. I think task switching can be mentally fatiguing since I am a COO. Sometimes I need to bounce around and sometimes I need to make progress on one project.

i use both methods which doesnt help you!

When in between stuff I use contexts to determine what if anything I can get done. If I want to focus on one in a block of time I go to my project list and run through them. I use FacileThings which works well for this.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Know thyself is the first rule of GTD. Choose in the moment what you think will work for you. Learn from your experiences. To put it another way, you might think you need to optimize your work, but what you really need is for your work to optimize you. You are the expert system on the subject of you.
 

TesTeq

Registered
Hello GTD users. I have been using the method since 2016 and still have a question. Is it best to focus on a particular project for hours or to work on a series of brief tasks associated with different projects?

I my opinion, the criterion to answer this question is: Is bookmarking a project a cost or an opportunity?
(By "Bookmarking" I mean: Defining NA; Writing it down somewhere; Stop or switch).

# Type-A Project: (Bookmarking = Opportunity)
  • NA is in @WaitingFor
  • NA would require a major context change.
  • NA does not match the next time window.
  • NA does not match current energy level (Waste/Stall).
  • Maturity gained as the brain is still thinking in background.
# Type-B Project: (Bookmarking = Cost)
  • State of mind (Creativity; Flow) interrupted. Will requires up to several hours to be recovered (Mental cost).
  • Many actions necessary to start and/or stop (e.g. Painting a room).
  • Soft reference material in the head get forgotten after some days.
  • Project moving slowly -- People will not engage. Motivation decreases …
  • Changing environment (e.g. organizing an event including the booking of a flight).
I my case the GTD-Workflow is working better for Type-A Projects (Bookmarking = Opportunity) than for Type-B Projects (Bookmarking = Cost).

Is it a common pitfall? Is there a small fix in the workflow to better cover Type-B Projects? How do you address project of "Type-B"? In other words how do you manage in your GTD-Workflow projects with a high bookmarking cost?
I am Project-oriented guy so I always prefer to work on one Project and switch contexts as necessary.
 

TamaraM

Registered
Once I start making progress on a project, I try to stay with it until I hit a barrier. I don't have many different contexts, so switching to stay within a context doesn't make much sense for me. I just keep plowing along until I really do have to do something else (meeting, end of work day, other upcoming deadline, etc.).
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Hello GTD users. I have been using the method since 2016 and still have a question. Is it best to focus on a particular project for hours or to work on a series of brief tasks associated with different projects? In my opinion, the criterion to answer this question is: Is bookmarking a project a cost or an opportunity? (By "Bookmarking" I mean: Defining NA; Writing it down somewhere; Stop or switch).
The time and energy cost I incur by creating a next action is very, very small. Three or four years of GTD is great, but there's really no final level to reach. I have been working at GTD for quite a bit longer, and I continue to improve. The collection process is generally atomic and very fast. If I can, I do collect, process, organize in one step, often by duplicating and modifying the current action. If I can't do that quickly, it goes in the digital inbox. I process and organize there quickly too.

# Type-B Project: (Bookmarking = Cost)
  • State of mind (Creativity; Flow) interrupted. Will requires up to several hours to be recovered (Mental cost).
  • Many actions necessary to start and/or stop (e.g. Painting a room).
  • Soft reference material in the head get forgotten after some days.
  • Project moving slowly -- People will not engage. Motivation decreases …
  • Changing environment (e.g. organizing an event including the booking of a flight).
I don't think there's a single fix. Here's how I would handle some of your issues:

1) For me, creative flow is often associated with writing. As I finish a period of work of this type, I will quickly sketch out key words, ideas, a quick text outline of what I am doing in the document I am working on. Often, I put a bookmark like "START HERE" right in the text. This is often a better process than trying to wring every last bit of writing out. If you need several hours to get back to where you were, you are not recording enough.

2) I am probably going to schedule painting a room or anything similar if I want it done soon. I do not have the expectation that I am going to have 3+ hours free ever. If I do and the weather is nice, I'd probably go for a hike instead anyway.

3) Don't keep reference material in your head if there is any chance you will forget it. Period.

4) If you have a project that is repelling you or other people needed to complete it, you need to rethink your commitment to that project. The Weekly Review is a good time to start on that.

I'm not quite clear what your last example means. If you mean something booking a flight before the rates change, well, you do what have to do. I run into this a lot when trying to coordinate my wife's schedule and mine for travel. It's opportunity cost, plain and simple. Do the pluses for acting now outweigh the minuses, given an uncertain future.

I hope this is helpful.
 

TesTeq

Registered
Since I create time blocks for major projects, it is easy for me to stick with that project for the allocated time.
OK, but what about the following situation:
1. You allocate 4 hours to write a section of a scientific paper.
2. After 2 hours you discover that you need a book from the library.

Let's assume that it takes 30 minutes to go to the library and get the book.

Do you:
a) immediately go to the library to get this book and continue writing?
or
b) write "Get the book from the library" Next Action, suspend this Project until the book will be available and use the remaining 2 hours for another "deep work" Project?
 

Gardener

Registered
OK, but what about the following situation:
1. You allocate 4 hours to write a section of a scientific paper.
2. After 2 hours you discover that you need a book from the library.

Let's assume that it takes 30 minutes to go to the library and get the book.

Do you:
a) immediately go to the library to get this book and continue writing?
or
b) write "Get the book from the library" Next Action, suspend this Project until the book will be available and use the remaining 2 hours for another "deep work" Project?
Does this scenario assume that the project, in all its aspects, will stop dead in its tracks without the book? I think that's an important nuance. For me, it's better to shift to a different aspect of the same project, than to shift to another project.
 

Longstreet

Registered
Does this scenario assume that the project, in all its aspects, will stop dead in its tracks without the book? I think that's an important nuance. For me, it's better to shift to a different aspect of the same project, than to shift to another project.
Exactly. My projects are of the nature that there are many moves within them, so I would focus on a different part of the project. I certainly would not switch because I did not have a particular resource. The other point is that I can access virtually any reference I need online.
 

TesTeq

Registered
Does this scenario assume that the project, in all its aspects, will stop dead in its tracks without the book? I think that's an important nuance. For me, it's better to shift to a different aspect of the same project, than to shift to another project.
Yes, that was my hidden assumption. Unfortunately I often have projects that are linear especially these "deep work" things that require a real, continuous flow of thoughts (eg. writing poetry). I can still be in such a flow while going to library to get a book but it wouldn't be possible for me after switching to another "deep work" Project. @Longstreet
 

OptiStep

Registered
Thank you all for your great answers. I particularly like these quotes:
1) For me, creative flow is often associated with writing. As I finish a period of work of this type, I will quickly sketch out key words, ideas, a quick text outline of what I am doing in the document I am working on. Often, I put a bookmark like "START HERE" right in the text. This is often a better process than trying to wring every last bit of writing out.
The front-end thinking "how should I stop in order to be able to start again effortless" is a great piece of advice. It actually decreases the bookmarking cost :)

# Post "Project-oriented"
If I want to focus on one in a block of time I go to my project list and run through them.
I am Project-oriented guy so I always prefer to work on one Project and switch contexts as necessary.
Once I start making progress on a project, I try to stay with it until I hit a barrier. I don't have many different contexts, so switching to stay within a context doesn't make much sense for me. I just keep plowing along until I really do have to do something else (meeting, end of work day, other upcoming deadline, etc.).
Since I create time blocks for major projects, it is easy for me to stick with that project for the allocated time.
For me, it's better to shift to a different aspect of the same project, than to shift to another project.
My projects are of the nature that there are many moves within them, so I would focus on a different part of the project. I certainly would not switch because I did not have a particular resource.
If I do not over-interpret, your dive in "Type-B Project: (Bookmarking = Cost)". As a result it becomes a kind of "MentalContext". You stay in this MentalContext even if minor physical context changes are needed.

In the practice, how do you cover this kind of work within your GTD-Workflow?
  • Do you open regularly your full project list; decide on which project you start/continue working?
  • Do you have a front-end prioritization during your weekly review (e.g. 3 Projects for this week)?
  • Are yours @context-List reserved for single task (not related to a project)? Or only related to Type-A Project: (Bookmarking = Opportunity)?
  • Do you create anonymous time block (@Longstreet )? Or do you plan in front-end (e.g. weekly review) when you will work on Project xy?
Thanks a lot again to share your experience :)
 

Longstreet

Registered
Thank you all for your great answers. I particularly like these quotes:

The front-end thinking "how should I stop in order to be able to start again effortless" is a great piece of advice. It actually decreases the bookmarking cost :)

# Post "Project-oriented"







If I do not over-interpret, your dive in "Type-B Project: (Bookmarking = Cost)". As a result it becomes a kind of "MentalContext". You stay in this MentalContext even if minor physical context changes are needed.

In the practice, how do you cover this kind of work within your GTD-Workflow?
  • Do you open regularly your full project list; decide on which project you start/continue working?
  • Do you have a front-end prioritization during your weekly review (e.g. 3 Projects for this week)?
  • Are yours @context-List reserved for single task (not related to a project)? Or only related to Type-A Project: (Bookmarking = Opportunity)?
  • Do you create anonymous time block (@Longstreet )? Or do you plan in front-end (e.g. weekly review) when you will work on Project xy?
Thanks a lot again to share your experience :)
Yes, during my weekly review, I may decide that I need focused, deep work on some major projects. This may be 1-3 projects. I then schedule time blocks. The main reason for adding this to my hard landscape is that I need to protect my time. Meetings - a LOT of them -- will show up on my university Outlook 365 calendar. So if I need to have the time for focused work, I need to block it out. This is perfectly within a good GTD practice.

As I have stated elsewhere, I look at my block when it comes time for me to work on the project. Perhaps my world has changed and this is no longer the most important priority for me at the moment. I may decide to use the block for something else, reschedule it, or delete it. So, even with time blocking, we STILL are always choosing what to do moment to moment. Apart from these time blocks, the rest of the time I choose what to do in the moment using the standard GTD criteria.
 

TesTeq

Registered
In the practice, how do you cover this kind of work within your GTD-Workflow?
  • Do you open regularly your full project list; decide on which project you start/continue working?
  • Do you have a front-end prioritization during your weekly review (e.g. 3 Projects for this week)?
  • Are yours @context-List reserved for single task (not related to a project)? Or only related to Type-A Project: (Bookmarking = Opportunity)?
  • Do you create anonymous time block (@Longstreet )? Or do you plan in front-end (e.g. weekly review) when you will work on Project xy?
Yes, I select active Projects during my Weekly Review.
3 is a good number for me but apart from that I maintain my Areas Of Focus (recurring Projects and Next Actions).
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Thank you all for your great answers. I particularly like these quotes:

The front-end thinking "how should I stop in order to be able to start again effortless" is a great piece of advice. It actually decreases the bookmarking cost :)

# Post "Project-oriented"







If I do not over-interpret, your dive in "Type-B Project: (Bookmarking = Cost)". As a result it becomes a kind of "MentalContext". You stay in this MentalContext even if minor physical context changes are needed.

In the practice, how do you cover this kind of work within your GTD-Workflow?
  • Do you open regularly your full project list; decide on which project you start/continue working?
  • Do you have a front-end prioritization during your weekly review (e.g. 3 Projects for this week)?
  • Are yours @context-List reserved for single task (not related to a project)? Or only related to Type-A Project: (Bookmarking = Opportunity)?
  • Do you create anonymous time block (@Longstreet )? Or do you plan in front-end (e.g. weekly review) when you will work on Project xy?
Thanks a lot again to share your experience :)
Answers to your list of questions:
No, I generally only need to look at next actions.
No, I generally do not need to single out particular projects as weekly prioritit’s.
No, the context lists have everything I think I might want to do, part of a project or not.
No, neither, my weekly schedule generally has rhythms built into it, but that’s it.

As you might guess from my answers, none of those practices are required for GTD. Following David Allen’s advice, I try to plan and schedule as little as I have to. Some people like to do more, but I find I don’t really need to. It’s actually a bit of a shock, to find out how free you can be. Like walls disappearing into thin air. I think I get more done and am happier too.
 

Longstreet

Registered
Answers to your list of questions:
No, I generally only need to look at next actions.
No, I generally do not need to single out particular projects as weekly prioritit’s.
No, the context lists have everything I think I might want to do, part of a project or not.
No, neither, my weekly schedule generally has rhythms built into it, but that’s it.

As you might guess from my answers, none of those practices are required for GTD. Following David Allen’s advice, I try to plan and schedule as little as I have to. Some people like to do more, but I find I don’t really need to. It’s actually a bit of a shock, to find out how free you can be. Like walls disappearing into thin air. I think I get more done and am happier too.
We are all different. Some of us need to plan more and have more structure in our weeks. It certainly does not mean we are not doing GTD.
 
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