Need Advice ASAP on doing "Getting Things Done"

What should you do when you want to do everything? If you're fascinated by everything, and you've been called dabbler, dilettante, undisciplined, indecisive etc., this forum is for you.

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Re: Need Advice ASAP on doing "Getting Things Done"

Postby Tituba » Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:45 am

I'm someone who comes into the house with stuff in my hands and drop it on the kitchen table. It becomes a big pile and then I get overwhelmed. Not to mention a constant state of clutter. What I found helps is to not turn on the TV when I first walk in and spend 15 minutes just sorting and putting things away. If your situation is out of control, consider hiring a temp to come in and help you for two days. Just getting it sorted out of piles and into a system you can maintain will save your sanity. Doing it yourself is great but if you don't have the time, it will just be a source of stress. You could pay someone $10-$15 an hour and get it done in a few days. A professional organizer will cost you alot of money. I know one who charges $100 an hour.
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Re: Need Advice ASAP on doing "Getting Things Done"

Postby DStaub11 » Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:11 am

Hi all! Just wanted to check in and say that I'm still using this system and it's still working. It's the only time/task management system that has really worked for me, after trying many over the years. I've started giving workshops based on GTD specifically for scanners (and including mindmapping and some scanner tools too): Taming the Wild Project List: Organizing Tools for the Complex Life. If anyone's interested in coming to Eugene Oregon for my next one September 20, let me know!! And I've started coaching, too, and am having a blast. Meanwhile, I'm happy to cheer you on and answer questions here (as well as sharing my ongoing tweaks). I agree that you don't have to follow the exact directions in the book. It really is a pretty flexible system, and you can use whatever tools you like. The important points are to capture all of your stuff (I call it "wild things"), get it into a trusted system, and review it regularly. The trust part of the trusted system results from capturing ^everything^ and ^really^ reviewing regularly. I've seen quite a few people now go from overwhelm at the sight of their long list to sudden calm when the trusted system starts working. Do Mi
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Re: Need Advice ASAP on doing "Getting Things Done"

Postby Alexia » Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:36 am

Tituba -- Do you mean the professional organiser actually GETS USD100 an hour ? Mercy on us ! The very thought of that is enough to make and keep me tidy, I think ! I met a girl in Arlington Va who had an almost phobic hatred of "putting things away" after she'd been to the supermarket. She didn't mind the shopping or carrying heavy bags, but she simply couldn't bear to deal with the cans, packets, boxes, etc when she got home, so her kitchen was consequently in chaos. If you're really in trouble with putting things away, your doctor might prescribe a pill that would help. Phobias and PTSD are much better understood these days. Do-Mi -- How do you find the time for "regular reviewing" ? This is a recurring problem for me. I have a number of things which need regular review, but I'm out a lot, and usually return too whacked to do anything intelligent; also, as there's a repetitive element in them, I tend to lack motivation. So my reviewing is anything but regular, and scheduling just doesn't work. Alexia.
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Re: Need Advice ASAP on doing "Getting Things Done"

Postby DStaub11 » Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:58 am

I do a weekly review every Sunday afternoon. It takes about an hour. It was the hardest habit to establish, but once I got it set I look forward to it and it makes a HUGE difference. It saves me much more time than it takes. To get myself to do it, I gave myself rewards, and established rituals--I have "weekly review" playlists so listening to the same music triggers me to get in the review zone. Some other ideas: get someone to sit there with you, report in to a buddy who's working on the same thing. During my weekly review, I catch up "housing" all of the stuff I've gathered (I try to do this as I go along, but anything left over gets done on Sunday). This means going through my inbasket, portable notebook, bag, and digital recorder, and putting each item on some kind of list--either to do soon or later or someday/maybe. Then I look at all my lists. This means that everything in my system passes in front of my eyes once a week, so I know it's not lost. Then I make decisions about which projects I'm going to work on this week, and put them on my This Week mindmap. Everything else goes in Later Projects or Someday/Maybe and I don't have to look at it till next week! Really, even if you think you don't have time to do a review, it's worth it. Let me know what you think and what happens if you try! Do Mi
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Re: Need Advice ASAP on doing "Getting Things Done"

Postby Alexia » Thu Sep 11, 2008 2:37 am

Do-Mi -- thank you so much. Your details really help, and I do understand the usefulness of these reviews. In Ireland I did a "Business Meeting" every Sunday afternoon, and that included the kind of review jobs you mention. It was great, and I was always well organised then. But I've been living itinerant since 1999, have become much busier and involved with the things I love, and rarely now get any weekend time -- or any time, for that matter -- to sit down with all the current incomings and lists, to think and plan. I've been brooding over this problem for some time, and wrote a Day Book page about my lapsed Business Meeting, and how I can resume it. My life generally is erratic and unpredictable, often weather-dependent as I have no car, so I'm really having trouble pinpointing a regular time when I can be sure of being free and "collected" enough to do this kind of thing. The thought just flashed through my mind that as I'm a lark, maybe first thing on a Sunday morning might work ... around 4 a.m., while I'm tanking up with coffee. I'll think this over, and do a couple of trial runs. Many thanks again for your input. Alexia.
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Re: Need Advice ASAP on doing "Getting Things Done"

Postby Tituba » Thu Sep 11, 2008 3:45 am

Tituba -- Do you mean the professional organiser actually GETS USD100 an hour ? Mercy on us ! The very thought of that is enough to make and keep me tidy, I think !
Yup. And she started becoming a professional organizer 20 years ago before any of us even knew there was such a thing. People pay her $100 an hour to make them clean their room.
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Re: Need Advice ASAP on doing "Getting Things Done"

Postby Unity » Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:21 am

Tituba wrote:
Tituba -- Do you mean the professional organiser actually GETS USD100 an hour ? Mercy on us ! The very thought of that is enough to make and keep me tidy, I think !
Yup. And she started becoming a professional organizer 20 years ago before any of us even knew there was such a thing. People pay her $100 an hour to make them clean their room.
I wonder if they just miss their parents?
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Re: Need Advice ASAP on doing "Getting Things Done"

Postby DStaub11 » Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:44 am

Alexia wrote:In Ireland I did a "Business Meeting" every Sunday afternoon, and that included the kind of review jobs you mention. It was great, and I was always well organised then. But I've been living itinerant since 1999, have become much busier and involved with the things I love, and rarely now get any weekend time -- or any time, for that matter -- to sit down with all the current incomings and lists, to think and plan. The thought just flashed through my mind that as I'm a lark, maybe first thing on a Sunday morning might work ... around 4 a.m., while I'm tanking up with coffee. I'll think this over, and do a couple of trial runs. Many thanks again for your input. Alexia.
Alexia, those are hard circumstances for a regular review! When I'm not home on Sunday, I have to struggle to fit it in. Now that I have a laptop, I can put my lists on it and do my review on an airplane or while visiting someone, and that helps. The lark idea sounds good! Try linking it to something else that you do regularly, to help it become a habit. Let me know how your trial runs go! I love thinking about your itinerant life! Do Mi
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Re: Need Advice ASAP on doing \"Getting Things Done\"

Postby elizagard » Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:13 am

Do Mi, Most of the scanners on the board and that I met at the scanner retreat seem most concerned about career issues. Those searching for a career appears to be Barbara Sher's main audience in general. However, my biggest concern is not my career (which is fine although I might change jobs), but finding the right balance to avoid being buffeted between being bored or being overwhelmed. Most recently, I've erred more on the side of being overwhelmed. I've been surprised that there weren't more scanners, especially Sybil scanners, with the same problem. I've seen a few who are super-organized, and not surprisingly, they work as project managers. When I've seen posts about being disorganized previously, I've seen many who've said that they are disorganized but have learned to not care. One of these days, I'll make it to one of your organizer classes, but I'm going to a wedding on September 20th this time. I do hope you'll keep us posted on the next one. After looking at the author's website, I did go out yesterday to get the book Getting Things Done. I read/scanned through it in my usual out-of-order order. However, I do think it would be useful to read in from beginning to end. I've several books on organizing and I'm fairly good at it when I'm in the mood to do it. As I have many interests, in additional to the general "business" of running a household and life, I have a great volume of paper to manage all the time. I'll go months without sorting through it all except for maybe some urgent or fun items, then do a marathon. I tend to think of the paper marathons as an archaeological dig to ferret out my interests from the piles of paper. Eventually, most everything gets sorted out into one of my 30 binders or put away in the file cabinet. A lot gets tossed because there are schedules to performing arts or classes I've considered doing someday, but whose time has passed. I suspect that many of my papers, especially those for whom I find difficult to find a home, fall into the someday/maybe category. I'd never considered making a list of all the someday/maybes.
I do a weekly review every Sunday afternoon. It takes about an hour. It was the hardest habit to establish, but once I got it set I look forward to it and it makes a HUGE difference. It saves me much more time than it takes. To get myself to do it, I gave myself rewards, and established rituals--I have "weekly review" playlists so listening to the same music triggers me to get in the review zone.
This caught my eye because I've done something similar a few times and it worked well for me. In college, I used to a weekly review of all my current assignments, reading, classes, and other responsibilities. There was a lot to be done so it helped me to sort things out. Very few other students did all the 500 + pages of reading every week, but I made a point to read everything (except Richard III because I really didn't like that guy). Doing the weekly review did give me the feeling of "relaxed control" that the author writes about. I also did a weekly review of my finances for a while when I went to a financial planner. On Sunday evening, I ate dinner, took the dog for a walk, then turned on the radio to a great program on the classical station. I sorted out all my receipts into categories on a form, then shredded them. The rhythm of the routine was relaxing. The music helped a lot. So, I'm going to try doing this at home on Sunday evenings, and at work on early Friday afternoons (or soon after if I have meetings or appointments). Anyone else want to do this with me? (Not at my house or work, but your own stuff.) :D
During my weekly review, I catch up "housing" all of the stuff I've gathered (I try to do this as I go along, but anything left over gets done on Sunday). This means going through my inbasket, portable notebook, bag, and digital recorder, and putting each item on some kind of list--either to do soon or later or someday/maybe. Then I look at all my lists. This means that everything in my system passes in front of my eyes once a week, so I know it's not lost. Then I make decisions about which projects I'm going to work on this week, and put them on my This Week mindmap. Everything else goes in Later Projects or Someday/Maybe and I don't have to look at it till next week!
I like what he has said about setting up systems that you trust. I usually trust my memory, which works most of the time, but is a very bad idea, because things can go south very fast if my memory fails me. I was a manager when I was in my early twenties, and one of my employees said, "I think your brain is so full of stuff, that things fall out every once in a while." It's not the best impression to make on the people who work for you, but it is true. It makes me uneasy to think that I've forgotten something or to have rush to get something done at the last minute. Having a procedure to know what my choices are will help. I'll let you know how it goes. Elizabeth
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Re: Need Advice ASAP on doing "Getting Things Done"

Postby Alexia » Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:51 am

Do-Mi -- I scheduled my Business Meeting for 6.30 on Sunday morning until about 8 a.m. I actually got to it at 6.15, and finished at 8.15, so it took two hours, which was my usual time in Ireland. I have no charts and diagrams at the moment, but there was backlog to brood over and make decisions about. It all went like a dream. I followed the Wishcraft system, as before, and I think familiarity with the system made it all run beautifully smoothly. I'm now well sorted out, and have a formidable list of things to get done today and this week. I'll get through most of them, I'm sure, as everything is now locked together like a jigsaw, and I can see exactly where the pieces go. I was so energised after this session that I spent the afternoon drafting a calendar for a lecture I have to give next February. So now I know exactly what I have to do for that while I'm here, in Warsaw and in Cyprus, and the relevant items can just be slotted into my weekly lists of jobs. I'll give this meeting time another shot next Sunday morning, but I think it will stick. It worked so well I wondered why the heck I hadn't thought of it before ! Alexia.
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Re: Need Advice ASAP on doing "Getting Things Done"

Postby DStaub11 » Mon Sep 15, 2008 1:04 am

Alexia, that's wonderful!!!! Good for you! Do Mi
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Re: Need Advice ASAP on doing \"Getting Things Done\"

Postby DStaub11 » Mon Sep 15, 2008 1:12 am

elizagard wrote:Do Mi, Most of the scanners on the board and that I met at the scanner retreat seem most concerned about career issues. Those searching for a career appears to be Barbara Sher's main audience in general. However, my biggest concern is not my career (which is fine although I might change jobs), but finding the right balance to avoid being buffeted between being bored or being overwhelmed.
Hi Elizabeth! Yes, I think we have a lot in common. That's my biggest task too (although I'm working on multiple income streams, so I guess that's career stuff).
So, I'm going to try doing this at home on Sunday evenings, and at work on early Friday afternoons (or soon after if I have meetings or appointments). Anyone else want to do this with me? (Not at my house or work, but your own stuff.) :D I like what he has said about setting up systems that you trust. I usually trust my memory, which works most of the time, but is a very bad idea, because things can go south very fast if my memory fails me. I was a manager when I was in my early twenties, and one of my employees said, "I think your brain is so full of stuff, that things fall out every once in a while." It's not the best impression to make on the people who work for you, but it is true. It makes me uneasy to think that I've forgotten something or to have rush to get something done at the last minute. Having a procedure to know what my choices are will help. I'll let you know how it goes. Elizabeth
I've been reading about working memory in search of neuroscientific backup for David Allen's ideas, and that's what they say--our working memory is made to hold about seven things that we're currently "needing" or before they go into long-term memory (where they're not that easy to access unless the right trigger gets trigged). So things can "fall out." I'm also fascinated by distributed cognition theory--we use the physical and social worlds as extensions of our cognition. So the lists of GTD are an extension of the brain, one that (unlike our brains) is stable, that doesn't change till we change it, and that we can access easily. I realized my partner is using distributed cognition when she counts on me to remember someone's phone number. She's using my brain as an extension of hers! Lots of implications... I'll look forward to hearing how it all goes for you, Elizabeth! And still working towards some long posts in the Calling All Sybils thread... Do Mi
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Re: Need Advice ASAP on doing "Getting Things Done"

Postby elizagard » Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:30 am

Hi Do Mi, I've bought GTD and Ready for Everything. I previously thought that I knew what to do to get organized but just wasn't doing it, but now realize that I was wrong. In my personal life, I'm now actually doing things that I've put off for far too long. At work, I'm getting through my inbox more efficiently. I've been super busy (out of town wedding to attend, minor flood in my house, dog got injured), but this helped a lot.
I've been reading about working memory in search of neuroscientific backup for David Allen's ideas, and that's what they say--our working memory is made to hold about seven things that we're currently "needing" or before they go into long-term memory (where they're not that easy to access unless the right trigger gets trigged). So things can "fall out." I'm also fascinated by distributed cognition theory--we use the physical and social worlds as extensions of our cognition. So the lists of GTD are an extension of the brain, one that (unlike our brains) is stable, that doesn't change till we change it, and that we can access easily.
What's amazing is that there are trigger absolutely EVERYWHERE. I took my dog for a walk, and thought of 5 things to do as I headed out the door, another 5 before the end of the block, and a total of 30 things to do before the end of the walk. They ranged anywhere from buy dog food or wash car to find out what prop 4 is. I realize now that this was in large part why I was so overwhelmed.
I realized my partner is using distributed cognition when she counts on me to remember someone's phone number. She's using my brain as an extension of hers! Lots of implications...
This works as long as you don't mind, and are there!
I'll look forward to hearing how it all goes for you, Elizabeth! And still working towards some long posts in the Calling All Sybils thread...
Thanks so much for recommending this. I'll have some questions later when I've been using it a bit longer. Elizabeth
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Re: Need Advice ASAP on doing "Getting Things Done"

Postby elizagard » Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:10 pm

Hah! Pushing this up again after 5 years. i have been rereading the getting things done book and started using the system again. This time i amusing apps such as evernote, clear, and fantastical. Has anyone else using or has used this process?
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Re: Need Advice ASAP on doing "Getting Things Done"

Postby sanwoman7 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:29 pm

Hi, elizagard!
I just saw your last post on this topic; sorry for the late reply--haven't checked this section in quite a while. I am a GTD'er and have used Evernote (haven't tried the others) as a "capture tool", mainly for new ideas or reference stuff I need to keep.

At first on my computer I used it to clip web pages (or parts)--it is excellent for this if you get the browser plug-in for it. If your computer has a webcam it is particularly good for taking pics of business cards (then you can search by word after it is scanned in). Then when I got a smartphone with a camera (about a year and a half ago) I use it a LOT to "scan" in pics of handwritten notes I want to keep or other random bits of information.

Similarly, Dropbox (free "cloud" storage app) is really good for this kind of capture--I use it (w/ smartphone camera mostly) more for reference docs I want to share on other computers or devices, and for "temporary" files (bills, statements) that I only need access to for a certain period of time (so in GTD language, they are incubated (until their "expiration date"), then they can be deleted (or delegated, if it's something someone else needs to then deal with).
As mentioned, I also use DropBox on my laptop (and desktop, when I occasionally use it) to share reference documents, esp. between devices (and computers, since for a while my Windows desktop wasn't "recognizing" my Mac laptop on my network). I also save web receipts for online purchases in DBx until the credit card statements come in (then delete them). For fun stuff, (on DBx) I share recipes and/or music files (lyrics and/or songs) with my husband since we play music together (and cook, although he does most of the cooking :lol:

If you want to talk more about it, PM me. Don't want to go on and on in a boring fashion, esp. if it isn't pertinent to you anymore.
Peace,
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