Total Newbie

Amy DeLozier

Registered
I'm always searching for ways to manage my life better and stumbled across GTD this week. I've purchased both the book and the Audiobook and I'm feeling a bit overwhlemed and maybe intimidated. I am feeling like I'm missing some things and hope it's okay to ask a few questions!

I'll be using an electronic system. Currently I use Evernote and have been for a while. I would like to keep this method while I'm learning so I don't have to learn new software and a new system all at once.

#1. Does every single thing go into an inbox first? Then get filtered into a project/action list etc?
#2. Can there be projects on my project list without an action or do those need to go into a Someday/Maybe folder if there aren't actions yet?
#3. I get having the "Next Action" list and then breaking those down into "at home" "at computer" etc. But what I'm missing here is prioritizing. Today I got to work and had to jump right into a project to advertise a program I'm running on campus. But I'm not sure how I was supposed to get there through GTD. Should it have been on one of my lists? (it was on my Next Actions "At Computer" list...but there are a ton of other things on there too..)
#4. Would buying the workbook help maybe?

I'm clearly missing some of the important things here as implementation is feeling a bit muddy to me. I did comb through this forum a bit for ideas also.

Thanks for any help and support!
 

danonline

Registered
I'm always searching for ways to manage my life better and stumbled across GTD this week. I've purchased both the book and the Audiobook and I'm feeling a bit overwhlemed and maybe intimidated. I am feeling like I'm missing some things and hope it's okay to ask a few questions!

I'll be using an electronic system. Currently I use Evernote and have been for a while. I would like to keep this method while I'm learning so I don't have to learn new software and a new system all at once.

#1. Does every single thing go into an inbox first? Then get filtered into a project/action list etc?
#2. Can there be projects on my project list without an action or do those need to go into a Someday/Maybe folder if there aren't actions yet?
#3. I get having the "Next Action" list and then breaking those down into "at home" "at computer" etc. But what I'm missing here is prioritizing. Today I got to work and had to jump right into a project to advertise a program I'm running on campus. But I'm not sure how I was supposed to get there through GTD. Should it have been on one of my lists? (it was on my Next Actions "At Computer" list...but there are a ton of other things on there too..)
#4. Would buying the workbook help maybe?

I'm clearly missing some of the important things here as implementation is feeling a bit muddy to me. I did comb through this forum a bit for ideas also.

Thanks for any help and support!
Hi Amy,

Welcome and it's OK to feel a bit overwhelmed in the beginning we're all here to help each other and to be honest I'm still learning (like many). I'll answer your questions based on my experience and understanding.

#1. Not necessarily, I tend to park it on my next actions list straight away if I know what and where (example: I might need to Buy Light Bulbs next time I'm at the shops so i'll chuck that straight on my @errands list rather than in the inbox. I'll check something in the inbox if I'm not sure where it would go and wish to deal with it later)

#2.
Definitely. If they are current projects sure, if they are projects pending you can park it on someday/maybe or a Projects - On Hold list. I also used to get held up on planning a project from start to finish, at times I would of completed the project in less time it took me to plan it, so try and avoid getting caught up on listing too many next actions (based on my experience). (Example: I've got a project called Paint the fence as it's something I want to get started on soon, though I don't currently have the mental cap to list a next action - though it'll probably look something like Research Colours for Fence Painting on my @computer list. To be honest I'll probably put it off as the weather is warming up and then park it on my Someday/Maybe (or a projects - pending list : your choice) list and deal with the project at a later date.

#3.
I used to throw in the Eisenhower matrix to priortise everything in advance and bolting on other systems onto GTD, while changing my tools blah blah, and productively procrastinating and spending time on lower hanging fruit tasks than actually do meaningful work. Our priorities are always changing in this rapidly moving world, my high priority last fortnight was to get a Project Proposal to a potential new client; my health then took a toll on me and guess what - the importance of that project was very low for me now, and I just wanted to focus on getting better and recovering.

In answer to your Advertising On Campus you could have something like (apologies not sure what your job entails). As it sounds more like a project to me than a next action, though not sure how many next action you've already completed prior.

Example (just to give you an idea):
PROJECT: Advertise Program being run on Campus
@Computer: Draft up flyer to distribute on campus
@Work: Book in a time to review draft with Wendy for feedback
-- Wendy then says she's available from 2PM - 3PM today (that goes in your calendar as an appointment - hard landscape).
@Computer: Email Campus print dept to print 500 copies


Agree getting the workbook would be an excellent idea to implementing GTD, other tips of advice would be to check out the setup guides
https://store.gettingthingsdone.com/setup-guides-s/107.htm I've purchased a few, though joined GTDConnect to get more insights through the videos and learn from others in the forum.

See how you, baby-steps is best; even if you implement the 2min rule and have a centralised INBOX you'll be leaps and bounds. It's a practice and takes time, idea is the methodology there is no right and wrong in my opinion.

All the best and hope that helps.
 

Cpu_Modern

Registered
…hope it's okay to ask a few questions!
It's always super-okay on a galactical level to ask questions around GTD over here!


#3. I get having the "Next Action" list and then breaking those down into "at home" "at computer" etc. But what I'm missing here is prioritizing.
In GTD we prioritize with much more style, than in (most) other systems.
http://www.43folders.com/node/47671/322109

Ultimately the idea is, that having your higher levels (5-2) current, the right prioritization will occur on the lower levels. Which means on level 1, you are clear about what is a project and what goes on to someday/maybe. While the runway level, your next actions, flows smootly because you tend to make the right choice in the moment of picking the next action from your @context list.

Today I got to work and had to jump right into a project to advertise a program I'm running on campus. But I'm not sure how I was supposed to get there through GTD.
Well, just jumping right in is a valid way in GTD. Look up the "threefold model of work" in the book, it talks about that.
 

RobertWall

Registered
I'm in newbie mode too. I actually took Ready For Anything, GTD Live, the Weekly Review audio, and a couple other GTD programs and put the rips of the CDs into a rotation. Every day instead of some of the podcasts I used to listen to I'm listening to an hour of David & friends talking about GTD. It's slowly helping to drill things into my brain. :)

My newbie understanding of how (3) works in your post is that you have the list, you can quickly scan the list, and intelligently decide "in the moment" which item is more important.

I.e. GTD isn't as much a tool for spitting out the next thing for you to do as much as it is a methodology for helping you *know* all the things that you need to do, that can be done where you are, so you can choose what's most important to you at the time.
 

rtaylor913

Registered
I'm always searching for ways to manage my life better and stumbled across GTD this week. I've purchased both the book and the Audiobook and I'm feeling a bit overwhlemed and maybe intimidated. I am feeling like I'm missing some things and hope it's okay to ask a few questions!

I'll be using an electronic system. Currently I use Evernote and have been for a while. I would like to keep this method while I'm learning so I don't have to learn new software and a new system all at once.

#1. Does every single thing go into an inbox first? Then get filtered into a project/action list etc?
#2. Can there be projects on my project list without an action or do those need to go into a Someday/Maybe folder if there aren't actions yet?
#3. I get having the "Next Action" list and then breaking those down into "at home" "at computer" etc. But what I'm missing here is prioritizing. Today I got to work and had to jump right into a project to advertise a program I'm running on campus. But I'm not sure how I was supposed to get there through GTD. Should it have been on one of my lists? (it was on my Next Actions "At Computer" list...but there are a ton of other things on there too..)
#4. Would buying the workbook help maybe?

I'm clearly missing some of the important things here as implementation is feeling a bit muddy to me. I did comb through this forum a bit for ideas also.

Thanks for any help and support!
Hi, Amy.

I agree about setup guides. They really help center you on what works best. After you get your system running, you can personalize it.

About projects without actions. I would start with a clean system of having projects with no actions into some kind of incubation list. I have seen it suggested for "Someday--this month" etc. I did not do this when I got started and was overwhelmed when I looked at my project list. (If you cannot or are not ready to move a project along with an action, it is not active.)Key: make sure you do a weekly review. This is how you catch the things in the Someday/Maybe list that need to be elevated to current.

I would also recommend for a while putting everything in an inbox. This forces you into the clarifying phase. It is easy to not get clear next actions when you clarify on the fly, although some things might feel easy. (Again, experience is the best teacher.)
 

ML1

Registered
1: yes, everything goes into the inbox, but be aware that during the initial set up, it will feel overwhelming. You could do an emergency scan of all the physical "stuff" then decide what needs to be processed immediately, what can wait for the next couple of weeks, and what can be processed at your own discretion. Make sure to define these as their own next actions and projects. With the mind sweep, be strategic. Capture what's been on your mind lately, and create a next action to do a full mind sweep using the incompletion trigger list. Again, make the distinction of what needs immediate processing vs. what could wait.

2: a project is only considered an active project if it has at least a next action, waiting for, calendared entry, or an agenda item. If not, it will go into your s/m lists.

3: clarifying the higher horizons will help, but in the meanwhile, a review of your actions first thing in the morning can assist you in identifying what are some of the actions that are more urgent for the day or the week. Take advantage of creating any type of punch lists throughout the day. Do treat those lists simply as guides. It's ok to delete them or toss them away once they become obsolete. On the other hand, sometimes you get the option to work on unplanned work (work as it appears) yet a review of your calendar and actions lists can help you determine its level of priority by contrasting it to the other options.

4: the workbook would surely help. I recommend you to also look into the GTD Getting Started and Refresher Series (do make this its own next action as well).
 

John Ismyname

Registered
I'll be using an electronic system. Currently I use Evernote and have been for a while. I would like to keep this method while I'm learning so I don't have to learn new software and a new system all at once.
GTD is platform independent. There is an official GTD guidebook for evernote. As you are all ready an evernote user, you might consider trying this guide.

#1. Does every single thing go into an inbox first? Then get filtered into a project/action list etc?
The 2-minute applies before something goes into your inbox. If you can do it in 2 minutes or less, where you are, and with the resources you currently have available, then you do it now.
#2. Can there be projects on my project list without an action or do those need to go into a Someday/Maybe folder if there aren't actions yet?
The short answer is "yes". Let's say you decide and commit to a project right now. Put it on your project list. If you are not committed to it, it goes on your "maybe" list.

#3. I get having the "Next Action" list and then breaking those down into "at home" "at computer" etc. But what I'm missing here is prioritizing. Today I got to work and had to jump right into a project to advertise a program I'm running on campus. But I'm not sure how I was supposed to get there through GTD. Should it have been on one of my lists? (it was on my Next Actions "At Computer" list...but there are a ton of other things on there too..)
Most GTD newbies (myself included) had the same question "Where is the numbered todo list?" There is none. For things that MUST be done (like a pre-GTD A-list), like the task for your on-campus program, they go on your calendar. For things that you SHOULD do or would LIKE to do (a pre-GTD B-list) go in your context (@_) lists. If an @_ task eventually become MUST dos, then you move it to your calendar.

This is very liberating because it forces you to take your INTENT of a task you have COMMITTED to doing, and specify on your calendar when and where you are going to do this.

#4. Would buying the workbook help maybe?
Yes but not now! In your own words you,
stumbled across GTD this week. I've purchased both the book and the Audiobook
I would read the book again! I started with GTD circa 2003 and have read the book at least a dozen times.

I'm clearly missing some of the important things here as implementation is feeling a bit muddy to me.
GTD will always be muddy as you have to interpret it into the workflow of your own life's mission, vision, projects, and tasks.

Today is Saturday, the end of the week. Start GTD now based on what you know and have your first weekly revue on Sun 24 Nov. Not doing the weekly revue is like playing a game without keeping score - you are not really golfing (or whatever) you are walking on a big lawn and swinging a club. if you do the weekly revue, then you are a GTD practitioner!
 

bcmyers2112

Registered
I am feeling like I'm missing some things and hope it's okay to ask a few questions!
It's more than "okay." It's welcome. It's one of the main reasons this forum exists.

Currently I use Evernote and have been for a while. I would like to keep this method while I'm learning so I don't have to learn new software and a new system all at once.
The David Allen Company offers Evernote setup guides for both the Mac and Windows clients that are excellent. I'd strongly recommend purchasing a copy for whichever platform you us:. https://store.gettingthingsdone.com/setup-guides-s/107.htm

#1. Does every single thing go into an inbox first? Then get filtered into a project/action list etc?
It depends. If you're talking about emails and voicemails, those things already come to you in their own inbox. You can leave them there until you're ready to process them.

In terms of other inputs (meeting notes, random paper materials, ideas you generate with yourself, etc.), f you're in processing mode you can go ahead and add things to the relevant lists (next actions, projects, someday/maybe, etc.). If not you should toss them into an inbox of some sort.

#2. Can there be projects on my project list without an action or do those need to go into a Someday/Maybe folder if there aren't actions yet?
GTD best practice is to have at least one next action for every project. Otherwise you're creating an open loop without any next step. If you're not ready to take action on a project the best thing to do with it is park it in some kind of someday/maybe or other tickler list.

I get having the "Next Action" list and then breaking those down into "at home" "at computer" etc. But what I'm missing here is prioritizing.
This is a tough one to get used to because traditional time management methods usually recommend some kind of priority coding or only keeping "high priority" tasks on your lists. GTD recommends you filter actions first by context (i.e. only look at actions you can do where you are, with the tools you have and the people who are available to you at the moment), then by time available, then by energy level and finally by priority. If you don't have the tool, the time, or the energy to do a certain action it doesn't matter how high it is on your priority list.

Once you have a complete inventory of all your actions, you'll find it's easy to prioritize intuitively and in the moment rather than relying on priority codes which can change on a moment's notice.

Would buying the workbook help maybe?
I don't have the workbook so I can't vouch for it. I can't imagine it would hurt, and I'd bet it would help. Order it and see. You've very little to lose (other than the cost of the workbook, which is relatively inexpensive in the grand scheme).

Thanks for any help and support!
If any of my responses have helped, you are quite welcome. :)
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Regarding the workbook: when I first saw it, I thought it was ok, but a rehash or familiar material. However, I think the exercises can be helpful to newcomers to GTD in teaching how to process, et cetera. One of the ten “moves” (the last) is a Daily Review, which consists of reviewing calendar, doing an “emergency scan” of new inputs (like email), reviewing lists, looking for “clarifying time” during the day, and identifying today’s constraints based on context, et cetera. Interesting,huh?
 
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