Some context lists are getting longer and longer

Hi there,
Some of my context lists are getting longer and longer. For example "To do on computer". Indeed, I have these last years less and less free time (2 young children joined my life for my biggest happiness), and time to perform all the researches, emails, etc. on computer is less and less available.
I know I could simply delete next actions of such contexts which are there for weeks, months, or even years for some. But I'm almost sure they'll get back in my inbox in the future.
I could also live with this situation, waiting for more time to do things in such lists. But reviews are more and more longer.
Maybe moving "old" items in a dedicated context list "To do on computer the day I'll have extra-time again", not reviewed at each regular (I cannot say I do weekly review these days) reviews? But this can lead to "forget" those items, which is not in phase with the regular review philosophy...
As I guess I'm not the first facing this issue, maybe some of you might have advices?
Thanks for any feedback.
Cheers,
Christophe
 

GTDengineer

Registered
That’s customarily called the someday/maybe list, but if you want to use a fancier name, go ahead!

One way to achieve success and balance in life is to think of the higher horizons and prune your project and action lists accordingly.
 

Gardener

Registered
I agree that this sounds like a someday/maybe list.

I am slightly disoriented by this being addressed from the context level rather than the project level, though. Are these tasks tied to projects?
 
Thanks for your feedbacks!

I am slightly disoriented by this being addressed from the context level rather than the project level, though. Are these tasks tied to projects?
Rarely.
Examples of such tasks:
- Compare keeping our car vs. rent cars when we need a car
- Try software xxx
- Check if ability xxx is on my CV
- Update my contacts with this and this information
- Add rules in my emails
- Convert some files into another format
etc.

I agree some of them look like projects, in the someday/maybe list. Do we agree that such a list is at project level?
 

Gardener

Registered
Thanks for your feedbacks!


Rarely.
Examples of such tasks:
- Compare keeping our car vs. rent cars when we need a car
- Try software xxx
- Check if ability xxx is on my CV
- Update my contacts with this and this information
- Add rules in my emails
- Convert some files into another format
etc.

I agree some of them look like projects, in the someday/maybe list. Do we agree that such a list is at project level?

I think that I would call most of these projects, not next actions.

For example, for "try software xx", I'm betting that you need to find a source for the software, possibly submit a request for an evaluation license, download the software, configure it, and go through a number of possible scenarios for trying it. To me, each of those is an action. (If I were doing this at work, at my company there would also be a multi-step approval process involving both Legal and Security, before I'm allowed to install the software.)

For the car comparison, I'd need to figure out what my criteria are for a car (which might involve conversations with anyone who would accompany me on the trips), identify a number of possible places to rent cars with those features, get quotes, find out how much it would cost to add the desired level of insurance, if I will keep any car insurance personally find out whether it covers rental cars, find out whether I have any credit cards or memberships that offer discounts on rental cars, etc. Again, lots of actions.

I might or might not make the others into projects. They might instead be single actions under other projects. For example, the CV change might be under a project to update my CV in general, or a project to explore a possible job change.

The reason that I feel that this is relevant, is that when I'm deciding what to put into Someday/Maybe I usually make that decision based on the importance and urgency of the project, rather than at the context level.
 
The reason that I feel that this is relevant, is that when I'm deciding what to put into Someday/Maybe I usually make that decision based on the importance and urgency of the project, rather than at the context level.
I got your point Gardener. And indeed, even for topics which are actions, they are related to projects which should be in my someday/maybe list.
I think you helped me on this issue guys, thanks a lot!
New next action to put in my "On computer list": Reorganize this list. Which is a project. In my someday/maybe list. Omg, inception is part of my GTD system! ;)

Cheers and thanks again
 

Oogiem

Registered
Rarely.
Examples of such tasks:
- Compare keeping our car vs. rent cars when we need a car
- Try software xxx
- Check if ability xxx is on my CV
- Update my contacts with this and this information
- Add rules in my emails
- Convert some files into another format
All of those are projects to me, Tehre isn't a sngel one thare that is a simple concrete task. They are descriptions of projects that will take several actions to do. The closest to a task is check if ability XXX is on my CV. That would still be a project for me because I'd have to fist find a CV, decide if it was mostly current, update and then I would hve the answer.

As to the specifics a long @computer list. Try breaking it down by the software application you need to do the task. Makes it a lot more managable.

Also, like others, I'd make a muhc more liberal use of the someday/maybe list to weed out things you can’t work on right now.
 
Thanks for the feedback, confirming previous ones!

Additional question as a result: The "Someday/maybe" list will become longer and longer.
How frequently do you review it guys?
 

Jim

GTD Ninja
If the Someday/Maybe list grows large, consider breaking into separate lists, each defined by a horizon of focus.

Then you can review them by the periods that each horizon represents.

As you review the lists, note when a task or project loses your interest or no longer serves you. Remove them from the lists when they are no longer helpful.

That should help manage long lists.
 

Gardener

Registered
Thanks for the feedback, confirming previous ones!

Additional question as a result: The "Someday/maybe" list will become longer and longer.
How frequently do you review it guys?
For me, it depends on which Someday/Maybe list. And I tend to split them based, in large part, on how often I would need to review that topic. Right now, I have 29 lists.

So, "books to read" would only get reviewed after I finish the last book I was reading. If it's important to read a book by a deadline, I'll put that in an active project instead.

"Garden ideas" might get reviewed once a month, to maximize the odds that I'll see an idea I'm interested in before the weather and season that it needs. And if I don't have any active projects, I'll go look at it to create new active projects.

"Sewing ideas" isn't going to get reviewed until I start sewing again, which won't happen until I finish the first draft of the book that I can't seem to finish the first draft of.

And so on.
 

TimB

Registered
The items you list are all candidates for a Someday/Maybe List.
Let me share something I recently heard DA say in a podcast: "you don't have to do everything that is on your lists." That triggered 2 things in me:
  • I put more things on my lists. Before I subconsciously thought that I had to execute on everything I put on my lists, so when there was some doubt if I was going to do something, I did not put it on my lists.
  • I delete things more easily from my lists without doing them.
My someday/maybe lists contains things like: "try softsware xyz", but also things like "Autumn-prep garden for winter". I will review my someday maybe list on a weekly basis (the weekly review is so important!), but I will obviously skip over any things that refer to winter activities in august, for example.
When stuff has been sitting on that list for a while without me creating an active project, I ask myself the question if I still really want to do this. If it turns out I do not really want to do it anymore, I happily delete it. If I still want to it and it starts to "itch", that means I need to create an active project and define a next action. (most purchases related to new software/gear/expensive toys gets put on the Someday/Maybe list for a couple of weeks before deciding to actually purchase. That has saved me a ton of money).
In line with other replies and what I said above: it is very possible that at some point software xyz seemed really really cool and an absolute fantastic tool. If after 3 or 6 months you haven't brought yourself to sit down and try the software, it looks like there are other things in your life that were/are more important (with 2 young children, I guess "sleep" is a biggie). And that is fine. Delete the item and move on. In a couple of months, when you had more sleep, the software may creep up again (maybe a new version is released, ...), you can then put it on the list again and revaluate.
One final thought: I recently had an item on my list: research leather notebook: I love my notebooks and I wanted to buy one with a leather cover. I researched some models and they were bloody expensive and if they were not expensive, the quality was well below par. So I decided I did not want to go through with it. But my mind kept wandering to a leather notebook, so I put on my list again and did more throurough research; same result: too expensive will not do it. But the idea kept popping up in my head, so it ended up on my list again. When I came across my old filofax, it dawned on my why I wanted a leather notebook: I like the feel of leather and how it gets a weathered look over the years and how you can maintain it. As the average lifetime of a notebook is 3 months, I will never get the "used" look on a notebook. so i ordered a leather sleave for my notebooks, and I am very happy now. So if something keeps coming back, even when you have decided you do not want to do it, take a step back and see if you can detect the underlying issue.

Good luck!
 
Thanks for this long and interesting answer! One step further to help me!

> with 2 young children, I guess "sleep" is a biggie
I loved this. You are so much right.
What am I doing right now instead of sleeping, by the way? :)
 

James M

Registered
(most purchases related to new software/gear/expensive toys gets put on the Someday/Maybe list for a couple of weeks before deciding to actually purchase. That has saved me a ton of money).

So if something keeps coming back, even when you have decided you do not want to do it, take a step back and see if you can detect the underlying issue.

These both really resonated with my experience - sometimes ideas are persistent and having somewhere to park that thought, even if it's not possible to commit and take forward at the moment, is huge for getting it off your mind.

And that weird thing where seeing the thing you are looking for!
 
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