Time Blocking as the Next "Decision Making" Criteria?

Cpu_Modern

Registered
You could just use @free, @focus, @buffer contexts. Maybe add @errands and you should be set. Most @agendas would become scheduled items on buffer days I suppose.
 

Mark Aitken

Registered
So I love contexts for my non work stuff, they work wonderfully.

But at work not so much, I find they drag my system down slightly. I can do anything at anytime because or the massive interconnected systems we have in a large corporate.

I'm experimenting with Carl Pulleins time sector system with one extra context and so far really like it
- @Todays Focus, @ThisWeek, @NextWeek, @ThisMonth, @NextMonth, @Someday

I've limited today to max of 8 tasks and week to max of 25 tasks so I have buffer.

So far I love the ability to move quick. I'm also spending longer clarifying the outcome of the task and I can see myself reducing the number of tasks even more and aiming to have more meaningful and deeper work.

Will see how it goes.... Early days
 

ivanjay205

Registered
You could just use @free, @focus, @buffer contexts. Maybe add @errands and you should be set. Most @agendas would become scheduled items on buffer days I suppose.
As of right now I have Computer with "subtags" for a few specialized programs I use. This way I can work on generic computer stuff or if I want to dial in to a particular program I can. I also have Errands, Calls, a bunch of agendas that I use for reference to others.

I added an admin tag to help me with this. I am going to try to use that to identify those Monday activities that are for my buffer time. We will see how that works!
 

Wilson Ng

Registered
At work, I've found myself focusing on one project at a time. So I tend to look at the projects in my tasks manager. So I set up a time block to work on one project for the next 30-90 minutes.

I also set up time blocks to work on a specific context such as `@admin`, `@sales_floor`, `@rental_unit_3`, `@hardware_store`.

`@admin` - check the mail and all incoming paper invoices/bills that needs to be entered into my task manager. Work on accounts receivables/payables to ensure that the necessary documents are properly filed.

`@sales_floor` - inspect sales floor to see if there are any issues. Restock the shelves. Inventory count. These all need be done in my sales floor context.

`@rental_unit_3` - anything that needs fixing in this particular rental unit I have. There might be a leaky faucet, a storm shutter that got stuck, and following up on small issues that will take 5-30 minutes to take care of.

`@hardware_store` is a context I frequent a lot. I might have this context in different projects shop, my different rental units, or my house. The context allows me to grab all the line items that are tagged with `@hardware_store`. I don't need to check every project in my task manager. I just pull up my tags view and look for `@hardware_store` to find everything I need to buy when I'm visiting my hardware store.

Use contexts when needed. Otherwise, use the projects lists.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
@Mark Aitken So what do you do when 25 tasks are done and it's Wednesday?
Thank you! This explains so much of the behavior I’ve seen in the workplace: people have decided they only have room for 8 things, so a 9th causes a stack overflow. They stop working until someone reboots them. But if their 25 tasks are done early in the week,, they go into a low-power mode until someone recharges them!
 

Mark Aitken

Registered
@Mark Aitken So what do you do when 25 tasks are done and it's Wednesday?

@Mark Aitken So what do you do when 25 tasks are done and it's Wednesday?
That would be a great place to be and ice not been there yet but look forward to it.

If that happened I'll pull work in that's planned for the next week, or I'll spend time reading material that I never get to, or I'll maybe go help someone else, or I'll look at my someday list and pull something from there to ideate.

I've not reached that point but I look forward to experimenting and finding out what works and doesn't.

Week 2 so far.
 

Mark Aitken

Registered
Thank you! This explains so much of the behavior I’ve seen in the workplace: people have decided they only have room for 8 things, so a 9th causes a stack overflow. They stop working until someone reboots them. But if their 25 tasks are done early in the week,, they go into a low-power mode until someone recharges them!
I'm sure we all know people like that sadly!

My problem is being overly ambitious with my time. I always have more to do than possible so reducing mid week decision fatigue with this experiment feels worth exploring.

When I've completed the 25 that's great, but I'm not looking the week at 25. I'm starting Monday with a plan of 25.

I find so far I'm re-evaluating my choices as new stuff shows up and trying to get to zero by Friday evening but that's not realistic - we are always juggling new incoming problems and work.
 

ivanjay205

Registered
Thank you! This explains so much of the behavior I’ve seen in the workplace: people have decided they only have room for 8 things, so a 9th causes a stack overflow. They stop working until someone reboots them. But if their 25 tasks are done early in the week,, they go into a low-power mode until someone recharges them!
Yea I am not a fan of this idea at all. The long list doesnt scare me. However, I do find that 75% are in computer and therefore I have a hard time narrowing down. I try to use area of focus and theme my days but that doesnt always leave the best result.

For example today might be HR day for me, but there might be a more pressing item in my business finance world that I am just not tackling because it is Thursday vs Tuesday
 

TesTeq

Registered
Good answer! Do them in that order too.
@Mark Aitken Some context here: @mcogilvie

@Tom_Hagen 's answer is very similar to the Polish hit lyrics (listen @1'50" of the videoclip):
Pić, jeść, spać – jak Tamagotchi, (Drink, eat, sleep – like Tamagotchi)
Tylko pić, jeść, spać – jak Tamagotchi… (Only drink, eat, sleep – like Tamagotchi)

Recently the words were changed to: (listen @3'50" of the videoclip):
Pić, jeść, grać – jak Iga Świątek, (Drink, eat, play – like Iga Świątek)
Tylko pić, jeść, grać – jak Iga Świątek… (Only drink, eat, play – like Iga Świątek)

Iga Świątek is currently the number one WTA tennis player. And Tamagotchi… was the world's first portable virtual pet…

 
Last edited:

DavidAllen

GTD Connect
Here's a perhaps radical thought: Put all your next actions back on ONE list. Then sort them in the way that makes the most sense to you. That's how "contexts" showed up in the first place; but certainly in a bit different world 30 years ago. And pruning never hurts. I know several GTDers who simply look through their whole inventory nightly and hand-write on 3x5 card what they think they should do tomorrow. And they're willing to tear up and rewrite that card as needed.
 
Last edited:

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
Here's a perhaps radical thought: Put all your next actions back on ONE list. Then sort them in the way that makes the most sense to you. That's how "contexts" showed up in the first place; but certainly in a bit different world 30 years ago. And pruning never hurts. I know several GTDers who simply look through their whole inventory nightly and hand-write on 3x5 card what they think they should do tomorrow. And they're willing to tear up and rewrite that card as needed.
Hi David! May I ask you if you still solidly advocate deciding what to do moment by moment versus extensive weekly planning? I loved your 2-minute tip on listening to your small inner voice!
 

John Forrister

GTD Connect
Staff member
Hi David! May I ask you if you still solidly advocate deciding what to do moment by moment versus extensive weekly planning? I loved your 2-minute tip on listening to your small inner voice!
I've asked David about this within the last couple of months. Yes, he still decides moment to moment. I also asked him about when he was writing the first three books, if he scheduled time for that on his calendar. He said he didn't.

In my opinion, it's a balance between enough planning to relax about the future in the present, and the inefficiency of having to reschedule if priorities have shifted when the planned time shows up.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
I've asked David about this within the last couple of months. Yes, he still decides moment to moment. I also asked him about when he was writing the first three books, if he scheduled time for that on his calendar. He said he didn't.

In my opinion, it's a balance between enough planning to relax about the future in the present, and the inefficiency of having to reschedule if priorities have shifted when the planned time shows up.
Thanks so much, John! I wholeheartedly agree with your opinion. I love the idea of balance between planning and having to reschedule. This happens to me a lot!
 

ivanjay205

Registered
Here's a perhaps radical thought: Put all your next actions back on ONE list. Then sort them in the way that makes the most sense to you. That's how "contexts" showed up in the first place; but certainly in a bit different world 30 years ago. And pruning never hurts. I know several GTDers who simply look through their whole inventory nightly and hand-write on 3x5 card what they think they should do tomorrow. And they're willing to tear up and rewrite that card as needed.
Hi David, great to see you in the forums. I had tried this originally but the challenge for me (work wise) is that 80% of my tasks were in the computer category. So I really needed ways to focus that down. I have tried theming my days with each day being a different area of focus. I did try to break down computer into a few subcategories but if I am at my computer they are technically all available to me. Maybe worth trying to go back to that and trying it again.
 

DavidAllen

GTD Connect
Hi David, great to see you in the forums. I had tried this originally but the challenge for me (work wise) is that 80% of my tasks were in the computer category. So I really needed ways to focus that down. I have tried theming my days with each day being a different area of focus. I did try to break down computer into a few subcategories but if I am at my computer they are technically all available to me. Maybe worth trying to go back to that and trying it again.
Sounds like a good approach. A while ago I found I needed to split my @computer list with the addition of an @creative writing subset. Though it's at the computer as well, it's a psychologically different context. I did that because I found myself resisting my @computer list because it mixed up admin/business things with the creative writing--and that was just too much for me to process. Helps to sort the lists in such a way they become more attractive than repulsive.
 
Top