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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Classic GTD set up in a planner (Filofax)

In GTD, the productive workflow looks like that:
1.collect everything that is capturing your mental energy, and it literally means everything,  not just a part that you think that's worth collecting, 
2.process it to decide what is it and what to do with it, 
3.organize it, it, it.

Paper is the best tool for collecting all thoughts, ideas, things to do. It's the quickest tool ever. Try to open up an app, and write several words on paper,  what would be the quickest?  Paper!

To collect things on paper, the GTD advices an inbox tab or divider, whatever you prefer.

After that, you have to process it, or to clarify what is it and what to do with it:

-If it is a note that you will/might need in the future,  it should go to the "Reference" section. "Reference" section consists of an information that stays in your planner if you are referring to it often or will be referring in the near future (I.e. your children's school's bells schedule). In GTD, reference material also is needed to support the projects that you're working on currently, I.e. for a Vacation project, it might be geographical maps, my different brainstorming notes on where to go, schedules for planes, trains, busses, etc.,

-if it's a note that you won't need, just cross it off (or trash it as GTD refers to it), 

-if it's an idea that you might need in the future,  it goes to a "Someday/Maybe" list in the list section or to Tickler Files (it's a system that consists of 43 folders that are 12 folders for a year plus 31 folders for the days of a month, they are actual folders with papers that you will need in the future, and that stay at home or office, these folders do not live in your planner!),

-if it's something that you need to do, and it takes less than 2 minutes,  do it now!,

-if it's something that could/should someone else do, delegate it (the sooner, the better imho), and write it to calendar pages to the expected deadline. The classic GTD advices to put it to a "Waiting For" list, but, in my experience,  it should go to the calendar because you do have an end date in your mind by which you expect something to be done (I.e., a package to arrive), or you might miss a deadline, as I did several times! Don't forget to inform the one who does this to do to understand what kind of the end date you have in your mind!, 

-if it's something that you can't do now, and can't delegate, it goes to:

○"Projects" section (a project in GTD is any outcome that require more than one action step to achieve it. For each project you need one or several sheet of paper,  I write clearly the name of the project on the top of each page and number them, for instance, "Vacation-1" on the first page, "Vacation-2" on the second, etc. In the project section you describe this project in terms of the what is it, why you need to do it, how much it will cost you in terms of resources (time, money, people, etc),  how you will do it (actual next actions/steps/to do's), when you do it (a deadline) , where you do it,  contacts, etc.),

○"Calendar/diary" section (in GTD, you put there only things that HAVE to happen on this particular date, everything else goes to the "Next Actions" list or to the "Projects" section), 

○"Next Actions" list (any ONE step actions goes here. For everybody, it's the longest list, so you want to organize this list further and divide it by category: 
* by context in which you need to do it: @home, @work, @computer, @ the internet, @errands, etc.,
*by time required to do it (if you have just 15 minutes,  then choose only to do that requires 15 or fewer minutes to do), 
*by energy required to do it (for instance,  at the evening,  after work,  I most often don't have a lot of energy,  so I do tasks that I absolutely have to do only, and the things that don't require a lot of energy, as a computer work,   and on Sunday mornings,  I do physically demanding tasks, as cleaning the whole house.
I switch between having one long "Next Actions"list , where I write the next actions together with categories,  and the date when I have written them, and I also have tried to write them on separate pages by categories.  Try both methods and choose what works for you!).

Chances are, your head is spinning around by now, so I will summarize all sections in a planner in a logical order:
•Lists ("Someday/Maybe", "Waiting For" divided by the person or company who do the task, "Next Actions" divided by category),
•Reference divided by project reference pages and stand alone reference pages,

"Waiting for" list might describe everything that you expect from others in details, while "Calendar" have the deadlines for those to do's.

"Contacts" are phone numbers or addresses that you need most often. 

You might include your projects into the lists section because they do include your next action steps, but I prefer to keep them separately just to have a clear distinction between sections.

Also you might keep the "Reference" section pages, the ones, to which you need to refer in order to do a particular project, together with this project in the  "Reference" section.

 If you've been focused enough in reading my post, then you notice that "Next Actions" lists exist in two sections -"Projects" and "Next Actions". It's your preference, where to keep "Next Actions" list from the projects pages that you have - right in the "Projects" section , without rewriting them, or in the "Next Actions" lists, then you need to rewrite them there.  In my opinion,  rewriting them works better because this way you have ALL of your actions in one place!

Live doesn't stay in one place, it goes and changes, no matter if you are doing what you suppose to do or procrastinate.  So, to keep this system alive, you need to review it. 
You have to review your "Calendar" and "Next Actions" list, and "Inbox" every day. You have to review everything else weekly.
I do have a certain procedure for that, that I will describe it my later post because this post is already too long. (Update:  please require it if you want to read it!)

In terms of DOING part of the system,   GTD, in my opinion,  lacks the actual process. It's the weakest chain link in the whole system! David Allen describes that in order to do your next actions, you have to rely on your intuition, and then  choose between your next actions steps.

That's not all that I have kept in my planner. In GTD system, there are the levels of perspective,  on which you choose what to do first, what to do next, and what not to do at all:
 _ life purpose
_vision of yourself in the future, 
_medium-term goals
_areas of responsibility
_your current projects,  
_the actions you need to do every day.
 But about it in later posts also.

I do have a video that I made a while ago about a Classic GTD setup:

I hope you find my post useful. Please contact me if you want further explanations from me!
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