Challenges to implementing GTD/how you overcame
I am curious--what challenges have you had to overcome to implement GTD and what did you do to overcome them? Also, what benefits have you accrued as a result of GTD? Any surprises along the way? For me--the sheer volume, boredom with going through stuff and getting fatigued and getting interupted. Listening to the FAST tapes I am working has helped a little. I am challeneged by the number and kinds of context buckets (I'm not always right) about what I can do where. Projects to next actions is a devilish problem. I keep spawning more and more projects as I try to tackle the existing ones (they truly have babies). My weekly reviews which I am now doing several times a week because my hard landscape changes have boosted my productivity. I am putting lots and lots of trash out!
Getting the Lists under Control
At first I micro-managed the maintenance of the system and spent too much time on it. I stopped obsessing about keeping perfectly up-to-date and would rely on the Weekly Review for catching up. Now I use a notepad for my daily activities and notes (and keep my GTD data handy in my Palm) and update my GTD system only once a day for history and new Processed items.
In the initial enthusiasm, my ToDo list got out of hand. I dumped off a lot into Someday/Maybe and then that got out of hand. So I simply deleted everything in Someday/Maybe on the assumption that if anything was important it would come back into my head again.
I made my Projects list more manageable by not creating a Project unless it is ongoing and unfinished and there is no current next action. I write the Outcome and the First Action as a ToDo and as long as the Project remains active I just move it through the categories of next actions. If it gets stalled, I park the Project in the Waiting For list; if it becomes suspended, I put it in the Projects List. My Projects List is now a short list of things I would otherwise be in danger of neglecting or forgetting.
It took me about 9 months to get the system to where I was no longer anxious to change it.
Re: Challenges to implementing GTD/how you overcame
Boredom/Volume: I had that problem. Soln was to move Projects -> Someday-maybe and Wait lists and Tickle/Cal. Keep your Projects lists down to things that actually benefit from weekly review. Otherwise, put it somewhere else. Keep Comm list down to people you'll actually contact w/in the next week.
Originally Posted by Jamie Ellis
Don't know anything about the FAST tapes.
Sounds like you have way too many projects. I keep my list on a single page.
Part of your xweek review should be to toss projects into other lists as appropriate. You have to categorize someday/maybe's.
Problems I've had are "Staleness". Is it stale? Tighten up. Make sure acts are ALL really FIRST acts. Toss projects into wait/cal-tick/some-maybe.
Had difficulty w/ recurrences. Solved by creating signoff sheets for dailies. (Works up to x-2weeks). Works great.
I'm a paper person. I think those 'lectric people are goofballs. Not a luddite; I'm a programmer. My sys is quite different than what was written in GTD, but the GTD is GREAT and marked a major change in my life. I had a thought-tracking sys before, my sys is now hybrid GTD/thought-sys. Benefits are clarity, piggy-backing, FREEDOM, and, (if you limit your projects), focus.
This post wasn't on my list, but thanks to freedom granted by GTD, it's here. Todo's wouldn't permit this. I can't live with a system tied around my neck.
What is a thought system?
Lionkimbro - What is your thought tracking systems and what kind of hybrid system did you develop? How do you have things set up? I would like to hear more about this when you have the time, sounds like something I could use.
Avoiding Linking of NA's to Projects
The rationalization came from analyzing 2 ways that the book describes Projects:
1. Prospective definition of Project: A Project is any Outcome that WILL require more than one step - this was my initial GtD application and and I accumulated a long list of Projects, including unstarted Projects. Unless I immediately noted the next NA when one was completed, the process of matching NA's with Projects and making sure that each Project had a NA became cumbersome and I had the natural tendency to try to link NA's with Projects because it seemed logical. But linking merely led to a time-consuming electronic substitute for the lower-tech comparison of Project and Action lists.
2. Retrospective definition of Project: If when you complete the NA the Outcome has not been met, then you have a Project. This definition, along with the principle that a Project can only have one NA, led me to assume that a Project need only be set up after at least one NA has been completed and the Outcome has not been met and there is no NA that can be allocated to an Action List or WF. So now I set up an active Project by integrating the Outcome into the NA text, which goes into a Context Action List, and then I work through the NA and any subsequent NA's in the same time-frame/Context. When I leave the Project, I note the next NA and move it into the appropriate Action List or WF. Only if I choose to suspend the Project do I create an entry to the Project List. To summarize: no linking is required. A Project is unstarted (Someday/Maybe), active and moving (Action Lists or WF) or suspended (Projects List). The Projects list is short. The only other entries in the Project List are Master Projects dependent on the completion of active sub-Projects.
I believe that if I Review my lists thoroughly, then it shouldn't matter whether an item is on an Action List or the Projects List, as long as I pick up and think about all items. When I review the Projects List, I only have to decide whether to re-activate a Project by writing a NA and transferring it into an Action List, to reaffirm my commitment to re-activating it later, or to abandon it. I don't want to consider Someday/Maybe as an option because I already have some active investment in the Outcome.