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RosieTR
1-11-11, 11:58pm
Based on the book and method from David Allen...anyone read this/do this? What methods have you used? It sounds good but I'm trying to think where I would have my action item list etc...computer, paper, what? And how to make sure I look at it often enough. I have only just started the book though so maybe there are some models ahead. I could really use this both at work and home so I hoping it's all it's cracked up to be.

Simplemind
1-12-11, 12:07am
I have the book and have read it a couple of times. It doesn't give you a strong direction on how to do it.



Edited - My bad.... different book. I read Execution: The discipline of getting things done.

lhamo
1-12-11, 12:11am
I have not had much success with the full system -- too complex for me to keep up with. But I have adopted a few pieces of it:

1) The Mind Dump

Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed and like things are getting out of control, I sit down for 30 minutes-an hour and do a "mind dump" -- just put everything that I know I need/want to do in a single word document. I try to organize it under headings so it isn't all just raw spew. Then I go through and prioritize, break out into more doable chunks, etc. That becomes my checklist/to-do list for the coming weeks. Usually just the process of doign this gets my mind back into a better space and I get a lot done in the following days and weeks.

2) The little pad of paper

I carry a small spiral notebook in my purse, and that is where I do impromptu to do lists, keep notes to myself about things I am looking for or trying to accomplish (like finding a cabinet for a strange nook we have in the kitchen -- I keep the measurements in that notebook). It kind of functions like the "mini me" of the mind dump process.

Those are the two main things I have implemented more regularly. I try to do quarterly goal setting/review as well.

lhamo

kevinw1
1-12-11, 4:53pm
I've been using GTD for about 4 years now, and my system has morphed and adjusted over the years. It's mostly paper-based, but I do keep a full Next Action list on my computer which I update and print out when I do my Weekly Review. Your system will be unique to you, and will probably change as you use it and fine-tune it.

Key points:
Capture EVERYTHING, somehow, whether it's on a voice recorder, PDA, or paper pad.
Weekly review to bring everything up to date and know you're not missing anything.

Surprising discovery: the label maker really does make a difference to keeping a filing system. Before GTD, my "to file" pile would accumulate for YEARS (literally) before I spent a couple of days dealing with it. Now, it's pretty much up to date all the time. Much easier to find things when they are in the file cabinet, not in a teetering stack or box.

fidgiegirl
1-12-11, 8:47pm
There was a whole thread about this on the old site. Bummer!

I am working on implementing GTD in my life. What first turned me on to it was a series on The Simple Dollar last summer. He broke it up into steps that helped me envision what each chapter really meant. Here is a link. The newer entries are about another David Allen book: Making Things Work.

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/category/getting-things-done/

I use the program OmniFocus to help me keep track of all of it. Paid $50 for an educational license, but it is specifically set up to manage projects a la GTD so I find it worth it so far.

I am missing the weekly review part. So then when I go to look at all my projects, I am backlogged because I'm not keeping up.

I also want to have a better place to keep my files. I have one filing cabinet upstairs, far from where the mail is processed.

Some elements that have helped me are:
- Things that would take less than two minutes - doing them right now
- Breaking projects down into next actions. When I got married we did this, actually. We broke up all the things to do into all the small steps.

At first GTD stressed me out. It felt like my to-do list was ginormous and it was really stressing me out. But I have to remember that a to-do list is never done. Never! :0

RosieTR
1-13-11, 12:04am
Thanks! I have just started the book (also saw a few parts of the simple dollar discussions which prompted me to get the book) and just for kicks tried the mondo to-do list. This has worked better at work, where I have crossed off a bunch of stuff! I will have to look at it daily or maybe every other day; weekly probably won't cut it. However, I did get a lot done of especially random stuff that doesn't actually take that long but more than 2 min. Some of it took less time than I thought it would and it was nice to see an item and think "have to wait for so-and-so" or "I could find out that info in a few minutes then I can cross it off the list" etc. Maybe I will try to implement it in its entirety (or close) at work, then tackle home. Home might be harder because of more scatter since we have a couple different computers plus dry erase boards and a couple calendars etc so will have to decide on a system. Plus it's DH and me so we'll have to coordinate who's doing what instead of me at work where it's either me doing it or me asking someone else to do it.

jrb3
1-17-11, 11:16am
I'm slowly growing into the full system. My main trouble is connecting the dots between "big picture" and "fine detail" -- that's where it's heaviest sailing for me, both in life and in using this system. What David Allen has provided has helped, it's just that I'm still not making the connections I need to. And yes, that's one of my projects; maybe it should be one of my responsibilities instead, hmmm ....

Crystal
1-17-11, 2:01pm
Ordered the book using some old gift cards (whoo hoo!) I already make to do lists to help keep organized, but I'm intrigued by this thread.

catherine
1-17-11, 2:50pm
Yeah, I bought it, and it's one of those systems that looks great on paper, but if you're like me (with a touch of ADD), you lose your way quickly.

If you have more of a left brain, I think it makes a lot of sense, but if you're a scatterbrain like me, it's TOO systematized.

I think it's Tim Ferriss (4 Day Workweek) who carries a slip of paper in his pocket with three and only three things on his to-do list for the day. No more. That works for me. I can do three things. Prioritizing a list, or sorting things into piles, or making lists for this and lists for that, I'm lost.

maryellen
1-17-11, 9:12pm
I will cast another enthusiastic vote for GTD - but admit that I couldn't seem to manage it without Omnifocus. As I mentioned in another thread, Omnifocus is really geared toward people who are somewhat computer-oriented when it comes to lists and planning. Many people use GTD in a non-digital paper format, though.
What makes sense from the perspective of trying to simplify - is the principle of emptying your mind of all the details you're trying to remember - in order to free it up to really focus on a specific important task. I find that most of my major challenges & overwhelming projects begin to seem manageable, once am able to really focus on them.
There are a number of good free articles and podcasts on the David Allen website which expand on the principles in the book.

Zippy
1-18-11, 2:29pm
I have long been a devotee of the Franklin Planner, before it became Franklin Covey, because the gist of it is that you should spend your time living your values, so you first define your values, and from your values you set goals, and from goals you set tasks and break them down into daily ones. You prioritize your values so that you're always working on what matters most to you. Here's a link to the book by Hyrum Smith: http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Laws-Successful-Time-Management/dp/0446670642/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295375070&sr=8-1

I read GTD and it has some similarities, but Franklin planning has helped me achieve some of my most important goals, so I'll stick with it.

Crystal
1-20-11, 4:46pm
I have long been a devotee of the Franklin Planner, before it became Franklin Covey, because the gist of it is that you should spend your time living your values, so you first define your values, and from your values you set goals, and from goals you set tasks and break them down into daily ones. You prioritize your values so that you're always working on what matters most to you. Here's a link to the book by Hyrum Smith: http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Laws-Successful-Time-Management/dp/0446670642/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1295375070&sr=8-1

I read GTD and it has some similarities, but Franklin planning has helped me achieve some of my most important goals, so I'll stick with it.

Your statement above about values informing the way you spend your time has stayed with me. So I looked online for a values clarification test and found a mission statement builder at Franklin Covey that is kind of fun and interesting:
http://www.franklincovey.com/msb/

maribeth
1-20-11, 5:39pm
The mind dump is absolutely critical for me -- it is the only thing that allows me to manage multiple projects at once.

Thinking in terms of the "next action," no matter how small, helps too. I am a procrastinator. The tinier the chunk of work needed to make progress, the more likely I am to do it.

I don't use software, just a notebook. My filing system currently consists of some large piles of junk next to the desk. I am working on that.

RosieTR
1-23-11, 1:44am
Seems like it will help a great deal having things not slip through the cracks, if properly implemented. It also seems easier at work, where I have one computer and a list of stuff to do with some priorities. At home there's a lot more ongoing things (grocery shopping and laundry happen every week, food prep happens every day etc) that may or may not have a certain day they have to be done but they have to be done sometime more or less once a week. With work, there's stuff that happens once a week, but more like every Monday we have X meeting or whatever. Even just making up a master "to-do" list and checking it at least once/day has already started to help. Also realizing some emails do not need to be filed helps though I have much more to go in getting email under control both with personal and work addresses.