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GTD for Scanners - Anyone else need this?

PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:51 am
by geoster
Plate Spinning Jack-of-all-Trades here.

One of the things I've pseudo mastered is the systems and tools for time management.

After learning I'm a scanner, I immediately realized the problem I had with time/project management tools - they are designed by and for specialists.

Have you ever started working on a task list for a project and then begin writing down items to do for 3 other projects?

I know, right?

So GTD, the classic workflow management tome by David Allen, has some awesome strategies and tools, but most of them need tweaking and hacking to be usable by scanners. Also, Personal Kanban, a book by Jim Benson and Tony Raye Freeman, provides a little more clarity into how to manage personal workflow, but again, not tailored for scanners.

I'm thinking it's time we had productivity tools for scanners! Or at least finding out about them!

What have you used? What works? What have you experimented with? Have you given up?

My goal is to document all the best scanner productivity tools and then write up a synthesis of them to take to market. Who knows? Maybe I'll even start writing a For Scanners series (because who really wants to by a book for Dummies?) So Productivity for Scanners may be my first eBook. Want to help me create it? (It will be free to anyone on this board. I'll sell it as an evangelical piece for Refuse to Choose - :mrgreen: Oh, you like this book? You didn't know you were a scanner? Welcome home to your lost tribe!)

Feedback please!

Cheers from sunny Seattle,

Re: GTD for Scanners - Anyone else need this?

PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:00 am
by geoster
By the way, if you want to start tinkering with some of the things I've found useful as a scanner, here's a short list to get you started:

* Trello
This uses corkboards and notecards as metaphors for tasks and projects. And yet it has SO much more. They don't yet have a "board of boards" or dashboard feature, but I have a hack for that.

* Kanban
Okay, trello is really just a kanban tool. But learn about kanban as much as you can - it can help you manage things! Have a backlog organized by color, each color represents a project or life arena, and you can tell by looking what you're working on now and what is sitting there waiting for you when you're ready to turn back to it.

* Obviously, Barbara's Scanner Tools
Everything from the Daybook to the Avocation Station can be hacked/mashed up to manage the system that works for you.

* My Secret Weapon - Taxonomy
Have you ever thought about HOW you call things and how they relate to each other? Ever wonder what the difference between "categories" and "tags" are? Once you grok all of your data and create a logical hierarchy for all of your projects, and a taxonomy of tags for things that cross reference between multiple projects, you will have a cognitive system, or hueristic, for organizing and managing all of your stuff.

That's just a start. I'd love to hear what other scanner minds have come up with.

Heck. let's co-create this book and everyone involved will get a credit in the book, sort of like over here in Business Model You and Business Model Generation. Be my extended team! Heck, I did a training with Tim Clark, author of BMY. Maybe he'll endorse a "Scanner Business Models" version as well!

[Number of new ideas in this thread, >3. Need to get my scanner daybook out. Yippee!]


Re: GTD for Scanners - Anyone else need this?

PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 3:09 pm
by onestrokeartist
Hi, I'm all for new scanner tools, so whatever helps is great. However, I am re-visiting Barbara's book Refuse to Choose after buying it 7 years ago. Thank goodness for Barbara Sher! I was feeling so guilty again for wanting to do so many things instead of focusing on one. I actually thought painting in acrylics was finally the one area I wanted to specialize in!! I did concentrate on this for several years! Guess what, I'm all over the place again - yes, I want to paint but now I'm drawn to what and what style - flowers, landscapes, in real life, from photos, in acrylics, but maybe watercolour, maybe oils, maybe collage on canvas (registered for collage on canvas class)...however, also wanting to do sewing using my fancy embroidery stitches on my sewing machine, also I'm taking a free online drawing class on the Wetcanvas website, also I want to finish knitting my sweater, and I would like to do some crochet, also I need to clean my condo, I also work outside the home. I also bought a DVD to learn Polish just for background cultural reasons. I'm sure I've forgotten other things I want to do...But I took out Barbara's book and frankly right now the Scanner Daybook is really helping me! I was so mad at myself not being able to focus on one thing, but now I have calmed down and have made peace with myself that it's OK to be me, a scanner. :D

Chris in British Columbia Canada

Re: GTD for Scanners - Anyone else need this?

PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:23 pm
by SquarePeg
hi Chris and welcome! The scanner daybook is my favorite tool from Barbara Sher. I keep mine online. I started with it on my blog, then in Evernote, and now Google Drive. I came across recently, but it doesn't seem to work right. But if it ever does what it's supposed to, it will be a nice platform for the daybook.

Re: GTD for Scanners - Anyone else need this?

PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:39 pm
by onestrokeartist
Hi , thanks for the welcome! I'm back to focusing on painting only (I want to, not forcing myself). However, I find that it really helps to have a few paintings started on, rather than work just on one, because you lose your perspective just working hours and days on the same painting. Well, not days, as I work outside the home as well and not as an artist but as an office administrator. It's good to get away and come back to my first painting as I see it in a new light. I really want to paint Christmas ornaments as well, so I will be doing that. I would really like to finish items that I could give away or possibly sell. i am very proud that I have actually completed about 10 paintings and have actually sold one to a friend. My friend has motivated me to continue on the painting path.

Re: GTD for Scanners - Anyone else need this?

PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 1:57 pm
by sanwoman7
I'm thinking it's time we had productivity tools for scanners! Or at least finding out about them!

What have you used? What works? What have you experimented with? Have you given up?

Hey geoster,
I'm a scanner and have tried GTD; have found it most helpful to gain a clearer head (writing down things as I think of them, processing them later as to what/where needs to be done (like breaking it down further). I find I have more ideas because my head is not obsessing about stuff I haven't addressed yet.
But I agree with you it has its shortcomings.

For "project management" for lack of a better phrase (more like "making sure I'm actually making progress on the six different projects I'm working on"/getting unstuck on said projects),

at the risk of being obvious, B. Sher's "Wishcraft" walked me through brainstorming + barnraising (Idea Parties, accountability buddy)+backwards planning (backwards from your goal) + goal calendaring= Planning Wall. My "wall" is (the inside back section of) my desk hutch, front and center.

Tried this with one goal as as a test run, then with two projects that overlapped, and I'm going to post multiple ones (each below the other) soon.

Also, I tried the scanner tool of having a big planner "sheet" (one of those laminated ones--scored a couple for free) to track several projects at once (each with a different colored dry erase marker) as bars (that get longer the more progress I make) with progress points. It is on the inside of my office closet door.

One of the biggest stay-on-track tools is a timer:

15 min. for tasks I don't want to do but need to get done (with the option of adding another 15 min. but not more than an hour) (thanks,;

50 min. for almost everything else, with

10 min. breaks. (to prevent burnout) (This is per an article I read: ... an-rhythms about using your energy cycles to help productivity--it's not as new age-y as it sounds).

Those are my top tools that I can think of right now.

Re: GTD for Scanners - Anyone else need this?

PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 2:33 pm
by sanwoman7
P.S. Here is a freebie for anyone who is starting GTD and/or feels overwhelmed for the holidays:

Roll-your-own lists/index cards (vertically lined for better list making)
Google Drive free 3X5 cards vertically lined letter size

3 Starter GTD tips: 3x5 size
(obviously, your printer has to be able to print 3x5's; if not, see the link below)
gDrive Three_Steps_To_Clear_Your_Head_3X5

3 Starter GTD tips: letter-sized (one page)
gDrive Three_Steps_To_Clear_Your_Head_letter.pdf

These (above) are totally free with no strings attached.
I will have a couple of more tips in the future, but they are part of a larger project I am doing. You can check in with me on Twitter: @mnkygrl7 to see the progress on that.

Full disclosure:
I will give the extra two tips away free, but am trying to start a blog helping scanners find their stuff (the word "organize" has negative connotations). So to get the additional two,I would be asking that you opt-in to a mailing list to send you periodic email newsletters with informational articles (and occasional promotional ones) and short surveys about scanner issues.