Countless questions have been e-mailed to me asking for the best ways and tools to organize project thinking, or how to relate project pieces to each other and to all the other projects and their pieces. Ninety-nine percent of the time, my answer is: “Do the Weekly Review. If you do, it all works. If you don’t, nothing will work. – David Allen
Q: I write down everything but I always seem to end up having problems controlling all the pieces of paper and lists; what are your suggestions?
Coach Janet Riley: Writing everything down is a great first step. All those “notes” where you’ve captured and collected what’s in your head, need to be put into an “IN” box and then within a day or two they need to be “processed” so that you make decisions about what the work is to be done (an email to send, a call to make, etc.). Once you process them, put reminders of the work to be done in your Next Action lists or on your calendar. If you travel, your “IN” box can be a folder, for example. On a regular basis, stop to gather up any notes, business cards, loose papers, etc. that you might have left in a pocket, briefcase, wallet, or which are still on a notepad (tear them off) and put all those in the “IN” box or tray to be processed. You can read more about Collection and Processing best practices in David’s first book Getting Things Done and we have loads of Webinars and educational resources on GTD Connect about this.
A contribution from Eric Mack with ICA, developers of the “GTD Enabled” application eProductivity for IBM Lotus Notes
Does your employer block productivity apps on your BlackBerry, iPhone, or Android Smartphone?
With the recent discussions about Apps and how consumers want the freedom to find, evaluate, and purchase Apps for their Smartphones, I wonder how many users are able download and use a productivity application and how many have policies that prevent them from doing so.
If you found a productivity application for your mobile device that was proven to increase your performance, would you: a) be allowed to install it? b) encounter resistance (or refusal) from IT to allow you to install it? c) make a business case to management for why this App should be allowed?
Please take a moment to take the quick poll then scroll down to share your comments.
“Many years of research have proven that the systems and tools for personal productivity that have the greatest value are relatively simple. Too many lines and boxes on organizing forms, for instance, are not only unnecessary — they create more pressure than they relieve. If you have to think too much every time you engage with a tool, then it isn’t serving you well.”
A GTDer asked: Can I use project management software for my GTD lists?
Coach Wayne Pepper: From our perspective, project management tools are good for Project Support, not necessarily Next Action lists though. In other words, if I have a project that is so complex and intertwined that it needs to be broken down into several sub-projects–many of which are contingent upon one another–then that kind of tool is a really good tool for supporting that project by capturing all those moving parts and pieces, and identifying how they relate to one another. Those tools are not as good however, for capturing and contextually categorizing all the discrete, granular next actions which support all those moving parts and pieces. A simple list manager is often a better central hub for organizing ALL of your Next Action–related and not related to your projects.
A Community Contribution from Jon, who posted this on his blog. We thought other GTDers would resonate with this and Jon’s advice of, “You don’t have to be perfect.”
I refuse to use the word “busy” because in this day and age we are all in the same boat. This year has been an enlightening one for me so far. Truthfully, I decided a couple months ago to take a step back from the constant search to improve. I found myself constantly reading books on getting better at work and life. Also, consistently reading GTD material and listening to podcasts, etc. While this worked for a long time and I tangibly saw the benefits of my learning, I found that it became a vicious pursuit of perfection. The pursuit of perfection is what most of us are after. It’s a noble pursuit. However, it can be an addicting one as well. [Read more →]
A Community Contribution from Carolyn J. Sullivan about her experience with the GTD Weekly Review. We would love to hear your experience with the Weekly Review in the comments.
I’ve been using GTD principles since I was first introduced to them in 1994-95. I was part of a consulting group at Polaroid responsible for supporting cross-functional new product development teams in the areas of effectiveness, organizational learning, and functional expertise. After some research, a colleague found the Time/Design system, and before long we had arranged for David Allen to come in and deliver what was then called the “MAP Seminar.” I don’t exaggerate when I say it changed my life, and I have applied the questions “What’s the desired outcome?” and “What’s the next action?” to every conceivable personal and professional issue since.
The thing that astounds me most about GTD is the fact that, 25 years later, I discover nuances and have epiphanies on a regular basis – this is truly an organic approach that grows with the user. My latest epiphany came a few weeks ago and concerns the dreaded Weekly Review. I thought: “If I feel stress in any given week, it’s because I’m trying to think about several ‘big pictures’ while simultaneously reigning in the chaos that threatens to run away with my sanity!” [Read more →]
One of the most common questions we hear from GTDers is which list manager they should use. You’ve heard from us on this in loads of webinars, podcasts, articles and blog posts. We thought we would pass along a fellow GTDers comment to someone on our Forums, which we thought was great advice, especially for someone new to GTD:
Buy the new GTD Implementation Guide in PDF, and David’s first book. Read them carefully and use paper for a few weeks. You will become a far-better informed shopper for any digital solution for managing lists. - rdgeorge