Why is GTD so often misinterpreted or misunderstood?

Folke

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Here I'm is, the Zombie Woof

bcmyers2112;112003 said:
You may be surprised to learn I was a convert from the A-B-C/1-2-3 Franklin-Covey priority coding, daily-list-making, arbitrarily-scheduling-everything school.

Also, I don't do "what the heck I want" all the time. Sometimes I do things I have to but would rather not. I have a job. I have a boss. I'm practically married (I have been living with the same woman for nearly 12 years). In fact, I don't want to do laundry right now but if I don't when my girlfriend gets home it's going to be an issue. (Would that fall under @Home or @Hell Hath No Fury? If the latter isn't a context perhaps it should be.)

(I kid, I kid. My girlfriend's a sweetheart. Generally.)
Just to be clear: When I said "what the heck I want" I was referring to the methodology by which I obey my wife :D

Interesting to hear that you have been using the Franklin-Covey method. And you've probably heard of, or been taught, several other methods as well. And I have been to all kinds of courses (leadership, business planning etc etc) where similar topics are often at least touched upon. And I have met people with gigantic calendars and their whole lives laid out like a corporate project plan. David Allen has that kind of background, too, and so do many GTD followers/supporters. And we have probably all experimented with lots of variations of setups. Maybe the likes of us think of many of our daily choices as a matter of "trusting our gut", "using our intuition" etc simply because we have long ago forgotten how we found the pros and cons of all the alternatives. But not everyone has this kind of trial-and-error or reflective or educated background. Some have "no background" at all except that they have found that their lives seem to have turned into a chaos, and they want clear, structured instructions. It simply is not a good enough instruction to tell an anxious student to "trust his gut". (Nor to say such things to colleagues with academic tendencies.)
 

fwade

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Add-ons

TesTeq;111992 said:
I am talking about the "calendar management programs development pattern" as invented by you: "most calendar management programs are add-ons to email programs."

I think that very rarely calendar management programs were developed as add-ons to email programs.

Can you give any example except for Microsoft Outlook?
I don't have hard research to back this up, but here are the examples I have been exposed to:

Outlook
Gmail
Yahoo mail
AOL mail
Maybe Lotus Notes?

There ARE lots of programmers out there who are developing calendar management programs but they aren't likely to succeed for the reasons I stated before. People don't like dealing with tasks / time demands in more than one place, and at the moment email is the primary conduit for task triggers - so the email Inbox becomes their task list, and using a separate task list program or calendar program involves too many new habits.

There are also lots of people developing new email programs with embedded calendar capabilities but they also face an uphill task, because the majority are using programs and apps that they will only switch away from reluctantly.

Gmail took a long time to catch on, and it's a pity that they have essentially copied the Outlook model of development.

I pity the developers who are working on the many todo and calendar apps for this reason - some of them have fine ideas but they don't go far enough to compel the user to switch. They'd need to make a quantum leap (in philosophy) to convince people to switch away from the "email-first-and-everything-later" mindset.

Several months ago I had an interesting conversation with a developer on this very topic... but I sensed that they were very busy rolling out and testing new features.

Unfortunately, I can't find anyone on the Internet talking about this topic... but new todo apps keep rolling out every week or so, but they are trapped by the same problem.

IMHO!

Francis

P.S. You had mentioned Above and Beyond, which I checked out and may write a blog post to highlight - it has some _very_ innovative ideas...! It's a good example of what I'm talking about. Incidentally, it's interesting that the ideas it uses haven't entered the mainstream and been picked up by other new calendar programs.
 

Oogiem

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fwade;112011 said:
Outlook
Gmail
Yahoo mail
AOL mail
Maybe Lotus Notes?
G-Mail, Yahoo and AOL Mail are mail programs only. As far as I know Yahoo and AOL don't even HAVE real calendar programs. Google Calendar was initially totally separate from gmail and the folks writing it did not want any integration. If you use google calendar there is no reason you have to use gmail and vice versa.

No idea on Lotus notes, might check with DavidCo folks, they use it a lot.
 

Roger

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Oogiem;112019 said:
As far as I know Yahoo and AOL don't even HAVE real calendar programs.
I set up a private Yahoo!Groups thing mostly for the calendaring; it's not fantastic but it's pretty okay.

Good enough for free, for me, anyway.

Cheers,
Roger
 

mcogilvie

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fwade;112011 said:
There are also lots of people developing new email programs with embedded calendar capabilities but they also face an uphill task, because the majority are using programs and apps that they will only switch away from reluctantly.

Gmail took a long time to catch on, and it's a pity that they have essentially copied the Outlook model of development.

I pity the developers who are working on the many todo and calendar apps for this reason - some of them have fine ideas but they don't go far enough to compel the user to switch. They'd need to make a quantum leap (in philosophy) to convince people to switch away from the "email-first-and-everything-later" mindset.

Several months ago I had an interesting conversation with a developer on this very topic... but I sensed that they were very busy rolling out and testing new features.

Unfortunately, I can't find anyone on the Internet talking about this topic... but new todo apps keep rolling out every week or so, but they are trapped by the same problem.
Actually, there are several new-ish ios email programs designed to handle tasks: Dispatch, Mail Pilot and Mailbox come to mind. There's been interest in them, but no groundswell of adoption. The same holds true for programs that peek at your email, calendar, Facebook account, et cetera, and try to integrate everything into one place. I think many people use Outlook and Googlestuff for the same reason people buy cars from Detroit: they're there and they run ok most of the time.
 

bcmyers2112

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mcogilvie;112022 said:
I think many people use Outlook and Googlestuff for the same reason people buy cars from Detroit: they're there and they run ok most of the time.
Aaannnddd... it's mcogilvie for the win! 'Cause FWIW I think you nailed it.
 

Folke

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Tentative Summary

The original post asked the question why GTD is often misinterpreted and misunderstood.

We all know that David Allen expresses strong caution against inappropriate uses of priorities and scheduling, and we here probably all agree with his advice (for the main part, anyway).

Now, if we imagine somebody who has only heard a brief summary from a friend, or has read other users' interpretations in an app forum, or has quickly browsed the book himself/herself, or has actually read the books thoroughly but without much prior experience of the subject matter and/or with a feeling of personal uncertainty. And what if that person has heard all his/her life that scheduling stuff on the calendar and making priorities is what people normally do?

Is it then really any wonder if the twisted impression of GTD arises that priorities and scheduling are "taboo" for some reason that they perhaps did not quite understand? And that GTD leaves you with long, impenetrable lists with no firm structure, with just your "gut" to rely on?

I certainly do not agree with such an interpretation, but I can honestly say that I do not find it at all remarkable that such impressions seem to be quite common.

I believe it might be easier to convince more people that GTD works if there was more structure available for those who wish. This would tend to limit the span of interpretations among those deeply interested, which in turn would lead to a more limited span of second-hand impressions given to others, and to more consistent advice from the majority of fellow users/followers.
 
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