View Full Version : My Read-Review folder and "sorting my actions, projects and M-Ses" causes stuckness.
12-25-2008, 11:29 PM
My Read-Review folder and "sorting my actions, projects and M-Ses" causes stuckness.:mad:
First off, organization, choosing to eliminate, trash, delete, archive, etc. your actual actions is meta-cognition and meta-organizational management. David Allens's yes/no system works great for sorting pieces of paper, various notes, etc. but I get stuck when it comes to organizing the 200+ next actions, projects, and maybe-someday ideas. How do I eliminate some of those? Certainly many are useless, but many are also vital. I guess I could prioritize them all but its frustrating to label and organize stuff I'll potentially trash.
Read-Review folder causes incredible stuckness b/c it leads to endless amounts of more next actions. Reading something becomes a complex and overwhelming project because I wnat to highlight, take notes, process those notes, then possibly, integrate those notes or quotes into some kind of publishable article or blog So each read-review item/ article is really a 6-7 step project in itself depending if I want to properly and thoroughly utilize the information. So I basically don't touch my ever-growing stack of read-review material because it just seems like mounds of endless work and not enjoyable.
You have to makea deletables projects, and do completley NEW areas of responsponsibility, it's too complex with the labels and responsibiltiy areas, emphasize one, maybe use an other for other ideas.
Read-Review, make a "take notes and process after having read" bin. That's where you'll go through and extract all notes taken from bins.
Here's the bins you'll need for read-review
1. Skim -- Skim, M-S, highly trivial reading
2. Close Read High likelihood, near 100% of finding something valualbe and will almost certainly highlight
3. AR-Computerize. AR-Read: Process the highlights. -----> Notes on computer
4. AR-Read: No highlights -------> AR-Read Box
5. AR-Read AR-Processed Highlights -----> Reference
12-27-2008, 06:24 PM
First off, organization, choosing to eliminate, trash, delete, archive, etc. your actual actions is meta-cognition and meta-organizational management.
You are spot on! Gaining control over your "stuff" is just the first part of GTD. Bringing it into perspective is the next step. You may want to watch DA's speech on the Google Campus for a more elaborate presentation of this. Basically it's about the higher level horizons as described in the book. Are you clear about your 20k-50k questions? How is your conversation on 30k going?
David Allens's yes/no system works great for sorting pieces of paper, various notes, etc. but I get stuck when it comes to organizing the 200+ next actions, projects, and maybe-someday ideas. How do I eliminate some of those?
What about trashing some of them? If that's not possible, clarify your higher levels, that will give you perspective on this as a sound basis to decide. Is the goal to have empty lists?
12-29-2008, 11:09 AM
David Allens's yes/no system works great for sorting pieces of paper, various notes, etc. but I get stuck when it comes to organizing the 200+ next actions, projects, and maybe-someday ideas. How do I eliminate some of those? Certainly many are useless, but many are also vital. I guess I could prioritize them all but its frustrating to label and organize stuff I'll potentially trash.
Okay, I'm confused.
If you've put an item on a Next Actions or Projects list, you've committed to completing it. You've essentially promised yourself to complete everything on those lists. How could those items be useless?
If you've put an item on your Someday/Maybe list, you've identified it as something you want to do in the future. How could that be useless?
Ah-ha! You're confusing the different modes. You very much should not do all of that at once, in my opinion. Processing is different than reviewing, etc.
I'll give you an example from my life; perhaps it will help.
A magazine arrives in the mail.
I put the magazine in my inbox.
When I process my inbox, I put the magazine in my reading pile next to my bed.
When I read the magazine, I see a review for a website I want to visit. I highlight the URL on the page and dog-ear that page.
I read more of the magazine. One of the articles is particularly inspiring. I dog-ear the page.
I read the magazine further. There's an article suggesting a neat project. I write it on an index card, which will get tossed in my inbox for later processing (at which point, I'll add that project to my Someday/Maybe list).
I finish reading the magazine. If it's dog-eared, it goes back into my inbox for processing.
When I next process my inbox, I see the dog-eared magazine. I visit each dog-eared page and process appropriately -- rip out the article, load the website for later review, create a tickler reminder to attempt the project in the future, etc.
[QUOTE] So each read-review item/ article is really a 6-7 step project in itself depending if I want to properly and thoroughly utilize the information.
Doesn't have to be. Reading a magazine is really no different than a good conversation that triggers lots of good ideas. You just have to feed those back into the system, using whatever you use now to update your system.
If you're sitting at a restaurant and have a neat idea for a Project, how do you record that? Use the same method when you're reading a magazine.
Does that help?
12-31-2008, 09:41 AM
I have difficutly knowing what I do or don't want
Some projects I added to "projects" or NAs with a tremendous amount of zeal, but that may have been months ago, maybe years and their relevance could have dissipated or be non-existant. I don't want to trash a good idea, but don't want my maybe-someday, na, etc reading list etc to be jampacked with crud that's outdated that I go numb to it. Additionally I could have added things and kept readding them because I couldn't accomplish them (like finding xyz person's email and it can't be found but I still want to do it somehow but it keeps getting cycled back and forth between NA and maybesomeday).
I'm working on crafting the solution and on Reading your potentially helpful responses. THANKS!
Will likely post breakthroughs etc. :D
12-31-2008, 10:17 AM
In my experience, a shorter project list is more effective than a longer one because a shorter list makes it easier to focus.
A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. If you can't decide what to put on your lists, you might be better off just drawing an arbitrary line under the first 10 or 20 items. Do those, even if they weren't The Most Important, and you'll still be further along than if you'd spent an equivalent amount of time struggling with prioritization.
I think that's part of the reason why DA's approach de-emphasizes prioritization. Once you get past true Must Do It Now fire drills -- which tend to make themselves known -- the order in which you do things doesn't necessarily matter all that much.
Edit: FWIW, I've found it helpful to keep an idea file separate from my Someday/Maybe list. I'm a writer, and many ideas start out pretty vague. They need to percolate a bit, often merging with other ideas, before I'm willing to even define a possible Someday/Maybe project. At this stage, they resemble reference materials more closely than anything actionable.
12-31-2008, 10:27 AM
I think the biggest source of stuckness is the porous-hard-edge boundary between MAybe-someday and projects.
Find Rob's email address" is a mini project that's floated between maybe-someday and project bakc and forth b/c I couldn't find it
"go to this location/spot" has floated between active projects and maybe someday etc
I guess I need more criteria for checking off triggers that cause me to know that "okay this maybe-someday is now active and I want to focus on it as a project".
Because DA talks about hard-lines between all the sub-categories: NAs, projects, maybe-somedays, etc. BUT, but, but, but. The line between maybe-someday and projects and and maybesomeday and next actions is not "necessarily porous" but some of those items HAVE TO eventually cross over to active projects or next actions.
A lot of ambiguity on the fate of MAybe-someday items.
I have a an "ideas category" with tons of brainstorming categorized into ideas like "career", "finances", "health", "people connection", "travel-adventure" which are basically fragments of an action or project. THose can then evolve into a project or action that goes inot projects, nas, or maybe-someday.
The MOST CHALLENGING thing for me is eliminating things from a maybe-someday list. How/Why/When do you do this??? Like I have "make website for xyz person". I havent' talked to the person ln a long time, have no idea if he still wants, can afford, or has a site. IT doesnt' interest me that much, but if I had a project with a contract to make a website that'd be great....It's like you can easily want to get rid of a project because it seems so far off or distant, but even though it's outcome would be desireable. What about the outcomes that I have uncertainty about? What IS the criteria for removing (deleting/trashing) something from MAybe-someday anyways? That seems like a good thing to do and necessary but i'm seriously stuck on how and when to do that b/c after all, maybe-someday can hold almost Anything if it's "maybe" or "someday".
hhmmm I guess I'm alluding to the personal necessitation of having more outlined, concrete, fomulaically defined criteria for what stays and gets ditched or pitched in my maybe-somedays area (and projects too for that matter).
I can do that by I guess asking questions "will I commit to this in 6 months or a year?" setting some kind of time frame. Or how meaningful is this to me? Or would this be a fulfilling project to undertake? I need some of those cutting questions to slice and dice and edit my maybe-someday so even there I feel there's no junk.
And for that matter...mabye this calls for compartmentalizing my read-review too. AFter all I have scores of "those books people I like recommended but I don't know much about" (are those worth saving? They could waste tremendous time or be hugely inspiring or aligning -- those seem like a gamble). IT seems like I'd have to ask myself purpose questions for reading a book. IT takes me a long time to read a book b/c I take massive notes and read very carefully. So 20 200-paged books could easily take me 5 years. EASILY with my reading style. But if I read them casually, skimming for certain ideas, 20 200-paged books could take me like 2-3 hours. So I guess I have to evaluate the intensity and energy-level of wanting to engage a certain read, watch, or listening item. hhmmm some of the items could be casual media to absorb like while going to sleep. Other reads I might want to scrutinize and carefully note-take. in any case, my read-review needs a lot more structure. half of it is in amazing wishlists and the other half in this spectacular gtd organizational app.
12-31-2008, 10:51 AM
I just realized I shouldn't have any "free radical" free-floating NAs anywhere. EVERY NA fits into an area of responsibility
call xyz person -- People Connection, Friends
do workout -- Health
call xyz person --- discuss steps to project xyz
read xyz book -- generate ideas on career
I guess THAT'S!!! The thin with read-review. It's difficult to know how read-review items tie projects and areas of responsibility and from my pesonal experience read-review items and books VERY often for me generate NEW projects and someteims areas of responsibility areas of desired focus/interest.
12-31-2008, 11:16 AM
Sorry, validatelife, but we can't evaluate when you should drop something off your Someday/Maybe list. That's an entirely personal decision.
Do note that you can package up a bunch of Someday/Maybes and put them in your tickler for, say, six months from now (or 1 month, or a year, or whatever makes sense for that group).
One other question: How deep is your level of commitment to the items in your Projects list?
In my experience, it should be very rare for an item to move off a Project list to Someday/Maybe. Once you've committed to that Project, it should be done. If you often move things from Projects to Someday/Maybe, that's a sign you may be overcommitted.
12-31-2008, 11:28 AM
The MOST CHALLENGING thing for me is eliminating things from a maybe-someday list. How/Why/When do you do this??? Like I have "make website for xyz person". I havent' talked to the person ln a long time, have no idea if he still wants, can afford, or has a site. IT doesnt' interest me that much, but if I had a project with a contract to make a website that'd be great....It's like you can easily want to get rid of a project because it seems so far off or distant, but even though it's outcome would be desireable.
I'd dump it. You're not interested in the project for its own sake, you're not pursuing the contract, and you're not even in regular contact with the potential client. In what universe is it *ever* going to actually happen? *If* you get back in touch with the client, and *if* he's still interested, and *if* he has funding, then you'll have a legitimate potential project. For now, thinking about it is a waste of time and brain space.
That's my attitude to Someday/Maybe projects in general, and probably why my Someday/Maybe list is relatively short. If I don't care whether it actually happens, I don't need to keep track of it. If I do care, then it needs to be active, if only at a low simmer. If I'm not willing to call a potential client to check in once every 3-6 months, then he's not really a potential client.