I know it is not orthodox GTD thinking, but I find a Today list to be really invaluable. Each morning I go through all of my next action lists and add between 3 - 5 things to my Today list. I think this is helpful in two ways, 1) it reminds me to review all of my next actions each morning and 2) I feel like I've always completed the most important tasks for the day. It is now 12:45 PM and I've checked off the 5 items on my Today list. I feel like I've done the most important tasks for today, plus I have another 10 hours to tackle other items on my next action lists or just goof off the rest of the day because I have already done what is important.
Everyone doing GTD does that. It's just that most don't write it down.
The psychology of writing it down is important. If you think you're doing it to narrow down your options then that's not so bad. However, if you get disheartened when you don't get through the whole list in a day then it sounds more harmful.
My Two Cents
I do exactly what you do. I wouldn't call it unorthodox or non-GTD thinking either. I've heard even David Allen does this, at least sometimes. I just don't want to have to sift through my various lists all day long, looking for the next thing. I think it makes sense for some people.
Originally Posted by gnugrep
I am the Party
This is exactly why I do it. My next action lists are too long to have to read through them each time I finish a task. I also have the most energy in the morning so I will make the best decisions about what is important or not.
Originally Posted by Barb
I'm totally onboard with making those decisions in the morning. I'm not as appointment-driven as so many others are and my lists are my guideposts for the day. I pick from them carefully and they become like blinders for the day. In fact, I call my daily list my "focus" list. If something changes during the day, I can always recalibrate.
Originally Posted by gnugrep
I am the Party
A list for the day
I do this too. I find that I read over my lists much more carefully and that I really think about my next actions if I make a list of things that I want to accomplish each day. The key is making sure that I don't ignore some crisis that comes in because I'm so determined to get through my daily list.
Same concept modified even a little further . . . .
I do the same daily list, but I also take it one step further (a hint from 1MTD system). For perspective on the adapted GTD "process", here's the "system/logistics" I use:
Ultimate ToDo List on an Android phone synced with Toodledo.
A la GTD, next actions/tasks only get a due date (at least initially) if they are actually due on that date. Everything else goes into ToodleDo by context and priority (I know, I know .. .. .. but frankly some things just ARE more important than others so I use priorities).
During the weekly review, I go through my lists and identify those non-dated tasks that I would LIKE to accomplish in the next week. For those I assign a "Star" in the Toodledo system which also transfers to Ultimate ToDo List on Android. I try to keep this list limited to about 20 items, but certainly no more than 30 items if many of them are small enough.
So each morning, I look at my dated list to see what's due today and tomorrow. Then I look next at my Starred List and select those items that I want to accomplish that day and assign them today as a due date. If/when I get the dated items done during the day, I next look at tomorrow's items and back to the Starred List for additional items to accomplish. My Starred List is sorted by context so it's pretty easy to ferret out those items I can accomplish in the moment while still focusing my efforts on what I've pre-determined to be most beneficial to accomplish this week.
So .. .. .. as they say, "It's not rocket surgery " .. .. .. all I've done is provide some additional focus to scanning my context based lists so I can do that more quickly and efficiently.
I recently switched my task list to Wunderlist and love that the web and mobile versions have a Today and also a Week list.
It allows me to know what's upcoming in both of the areas and shows me the context it came from as well.
It also automatically moves the things that I didn't do yesterday on to the today list and shows the original due date so I know things that need my attention the most.
I feel like I can sit down with my list and my calendar and know everything that I have to deal with and what I'd like to work on if I have the time