The second-worst task list app

DaveInMilwaukee

Registered
I’m convinced that the reason people fall into bad productivity habits is because we are never taught how to be productive. Kids go to high school and college without ever being taught best-practice note-taking. So should it be a surprise that most people don’t know how to correctly manage their emails? Enlightened people seek answers whether it’s from GTD or other methodology but it is only a small percentage of people who look for this info. We are all on this forum because we “get-it” yet I feel an obligation to find away of spreading the word to those who dont even know there is a better way.
 

John Forrister

GTD Connect
Staff member
Kids go to high school and college without ever being taught best-practice note-taking.
True. And without being taught how to write papers or plan a project. My standard operating procedure was to pull an all-nighter when a paper was due. I would have saved myself a lot of misery if I had known about the Natural Planning Model and David's explanation of why people procrastinate.
 

Oogiem

Registered
Well your posting got me to finally completely empty my email inbox out for the first time since probably February. I'd get close, within 1-15 messages but then I'd stop because I'd already spent a lot of time on it.

Things that tended to stay in the email inbox, Zoom meeting links for meetings in the future. emails that I want to respond to but that are not urgent, like writing back to friends in a chat/letter sort of way and things I am really unsure what to do with and that figuring out will take up to half an hour or so.

The respond to friends chat ones got dragged into DEVONThink with an action in my Onifocus system to reply to thema nd the original email is in my DT Action support folder. I realized I left them in the email inbox because I like to review what they said as I draft my reply.

The Zoom meeting links went into my DT Tickler file. I've tried adding the links to my calendar but they clutter up the view and make it hard to see the rest of the stuff in there.

The hard to figure out what to do ones really were hard to figure out. I timed each one and the average time spent just answering whether the item was actionable or not took 15 minutes. Then if the answer was yes the create a project and get the first next action took on average 10 minutes of which nearly all that time was spend figuring out the next action and documenting it in a clean and concise way. Some took longer and a couple took less. Looking at the dates of when they came in it seems I get about 1 of these really hard to process emails every 3-5 days.

So going forward I'm going to try to allocate an extra hour to process email every couple of days to be sure I handle the tough ones fast enough.

Paper inbox has also been languishing but I have been cleaning it out completely when I process it, just that I'm not managing to do that every day. I am working to change that by adding a bit more processing time into my daily plans.
 

John Forrister

GTD Connect
Staff member
I get one of those "hard to figure out emails" every week or so as well. When I get stuck at the question of whether it's actionable I often go to the areas of focus horizon. Does it fit, and if so how, with any of my areas of focus?
 

Ger80C

Registered
Thank you for the reminder and the good and encouraging article. When reading it, my eyes drifted right next to my monitor to a pretty-full, stacked inbox that has been neglected for three days. You got me there. :) I will block some time to clarify this and to fence the "high-decision-precision" time to stay motivated.

The second shocking revelation was, of course, your "worse wurst" German sausage experience. Once Covid is over and when you happen to be in Europe, be sure to stop by and try Curry-Wurst as a second try ;)
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Thank you for the reminder and the good and encouraging article. When reading it, my eyes drifted right next to my monitor to a pretty-full, stacked inbox that has been neglected for three days. You got me there. :) I will block some time to clarify this and to fence the "high-decision-precision" time to stay motivated.

The second shocking revelation was, of course, your "worse wurst" German sausage experience. Once Covid is over and when you happen to be in Europe, be sure to stop by and try Curry-Wurst as a second try ;)
German sausage is the best of the wurst! :) (Although I love all sausages.)
 

Suzanna

Registered
John this was SUCH a great article that I sent it to some friends who are not GTD practitioners (but who I am trying to convert) as an example of how to think differently about an inbox. I think its a really great point that some emails are starting points for HUGE projects and some how instinctively you know that and avoid them. I have one now which is to figure out the changes to my work health benefits. I have 3 times tried to understand the email and the corresponding steps and each time have just let it languish. Gonna set a timer right now for an hour and see if I can make heads or tails. So thankful for GTD! (And you John! And the Forum)
 
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