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       COMMENT PAGE FOR:
   URI   A Pragmatic Guide to Getting Things Done
   DIR   text version
       
       
        fairity wrote 2 days ago:
        I’ve been using GTD with Evernote for a year now and it’s been a
        huge help.
        
        One thing that really surprised me was that David Allen doesn’t
        recommend a specific digital app to implement the GtD system through. 
        The lack of a singular recommended app surely decreases adoption of his
        system.  And, I imagine there’s a 9 figure opportunity in becoming
        the officially endorsed gtd app.  My guess is he’s uncomfortable with
        technology and doesn’t care about the economic upside.
       
        100011_100001 wrote 3 days ago:
        When I found GTD I thought I found a life changer. I sat down and tried
        to reduce my overwhelm. For my work alone I had 111 projects.
        
        It helped a lot, but then 1 year old I stopped using it. The problem is
        GTD is too heavy process wise. There are a lot of little actions you
        have to take, which at times end up taking as long as next action items
        since action items will continue to grow.
        
        All GTD web apps always left something out that I did. I lost count how
        many different websites I tried.  I count that as a net productivity
        loss.
        
        There are a few solid GTD ideas that I have stuck with, but my process
        has become a lot simpler that it's almost a non process.
        
        Things that GTD is right about
        
        1. Inbox zero
        
        2. Doing a todo dump in a list
        
        3. Having a small number of "in" work
        
        I still follow these three ideas. The rest of my process is a lot more
        present oriented.
       
        giomasce wrote 3 days ago:
        Any suggestion on a (possibly self-hosted) web application to manage
        GTD lists?
       
        KlatchianMist wrote 3 days ago:
        The thing that really made task management stick for me was the
        creation of a personalized task management meta-model: What workflows
        do I wish to follow and which task attributes and views are needed to
        enable those workflows? After thinking through that, it became easy to
        find and configure a task management app in a way that it got
        consistently used.
        
        Here is the reference I used for creating my own task management
        meta-model:
        
   URI  [1]: https://sagar.se/blog/a-task-management-model/
       
        mfrankel wrote 3 days ago:
        Here's a 4 minute video intro to GTD:
        
   URI  [1]: https://brevedy.com/getting-things-done-3-minutes-video/
       
        CoffeeAfter2pm wrote 3 days ago:
        I've often thought that GTD needs a prioritization system (apparently
        discussed in chapter 9 of the book, but rarely seen in such
        posts/blogs/writeups). I've tried to make a hybrid system using a BuJo
        with GTD and a modified Eisenhower-matrix style priority system, but I
        haven't used it long enough to recommend it. (I hope to post it here to
        HN once successful.)
       
        garrickvanburen wrote 3 days ago:
        I’ve adopted the “Someday/Maybe”, “Waiting For”, “Next
        Actions”, and “Weekly (P)Review” portions of GTD, beyond that,
        all my commitments are in my calendar, as I found a decade ago that my
        biggest impediment to getting things done was answering ‘When?’
       
        metacritic12 wrote 3 days ago:
        The big problem I have with GTD is that there doesn't seem to be a
        concept of prioritizing tasks or even deleting bad tasks.
        
        What's the part of the process where I decide the time ROI of Task A is
        10x and the ROI of Task B is 0.5x?
       
          Jtsummers wrote 3 days ago:
          It's been years since I read the book, and I was surprised I still
          had it (my wife had me do a major purge of the library a couple years
          back, this one apparently made the cut).
          
          Priorities are discussed in chapter 9. Deleting tasks is discussed in
          chapter 8 (along with the weekly review).
       
          steveklabnik wrote 3 days ago:
          The {weekly,monthly,quarterly,yearly,whatever} review is where you do
          this sort of work. It's true that in GTD itself there's no concept of
          "priority" directly; it does exist implicitly in the difference
          between a "project" and "someday/maybe" lists. Prioritizing a project
          means it's a project, not on the list, and deprioritizing one means
          moving it to the someday/maybe list. Same with deleting tasks, if
          it's not useful, just delete it.
       
            BeetleB wrote 3 days ago:
            > The {weekly,monthly,quarterly,yearly,whatever} review is where
            you do this sort of work.
            
            That's true, but it doesn't tell you how to prioritize. It likely
            can't, as there are many different methods to do so, and none stand
            out over the others. However, I wish the book had made it clear
            that this is not covered, and you should consult other resources
            for this.
            
            > Prioritizing a project means it's a project, not on the list, and
            deprioritizing one means moving it to the someday/maybe list
            
            Yes, but it does say that weekly/monthly you should move items from
            one list to the other. As I said in another comment, my
            someday/maybe list is hundreds of items long. How do I choose which
            one to put into the active projects list? It's not feasible to look
            at hundreds of items and just decide which ones are important.
            
            I've been using GTD for 15 years. Even if you put 30 items in the
            Someday/Maybe list per year (and this is conservative for me),
            you're looking at over 300 items by this point - especially given
            that of those 30, you'll probably be able to do only 3-5 in a given
            year.
       
        morninglight wrote 3 days ago:
        This is an advertisement for yet another self-help book.
        
        .
       
          BeetleB wrote 3 days ago:
          Not sure why you're downvoted. Even if GTD is a great book, it is a
          self help book.
       
            kevinmgranger wrote 3 days ago:
            The idea that the post is an advertisement is ludicrous, and they
            are being downvoted accordingly.
       
        BeetleB wrote 3 days ago:
        Some notes from someone who's attempted GTD for 15 years. My trouble
        with it is that it really hasn't worked when your lists become large.
        
        > When you first start to use GTD you should take an hour to write down
        all things you want to—or have to—do.
        
        An hour is not even close to being enough. A whole weekend may get you
        to 50%.
        
        > If it’s something that you want to remind yourself about later
        (“I really didn’t understand this article, I should have a look at
        it again in two weeks”) it should go into your calendar or your
        tickler file
        
        The problem is that my tickler files become bloated with these, and it
        becomes a daily burden to open that day's file and try to decide. If I
        deferred something till later "because I couldn't decide what to do
        with it", there's a 90% chance I'll defer it again. These are items I
        want to work on actively, and not put in the Someday/Maybe list.
        
        > This is where the some day/maybe list comes it. ... This list should
        be reviewed weekly along with the rest of the system as described in
        the weekly review section below.
        
        Perhaps many people don't have as much aspiration (or imagination), but
        my Someday/Maybe list is huge - hundreds of potential TODOs/projects.
        Reviewing that every week is a huge burden, so it's not done. I treat
        Someday/Maybe almost as a garbage dump - I don't look at it, but my
        brain takes comfort that I've captured it somewhere.
        
        It's got to the point that I now have an "intermediate" list in between
        my active and someday/maybe. This list contains items I must do, but
        I've placed them there because I lack the bandwidth. Whenever I finish
        a project, I move items from this list to the "Active" list. I need
        this intermediate list because I know once something goes to
        Someday/Maybe, it's practically lost in all the noise.
        
        One of the problems with GTD is it doesn't address how to focus or
        prioritize, nor what to ask yourself during the review. I've found
        making a Do Not Do list to be far more effective (as in, at the
        beginning of the year, I list projects that I commit to not doing until
        I'm done with the ones I do want to do). Listing goals for the year and
        asking myself weekly/monthly what work I did not tied to those goals is
        helpful during the review.
       
          euroderf wrote 2 days ago:
          > It's got to the point that I now have an "intermediate" list in
          between my active and someday/maybe. This list contains items I must
          do, but I've placed them there because I lack the bandwidth.
          
          In an Eisenhower matrix, this sounds like "Important" but not
          "Urgent", i.e. the upper right quadrant. Things that are not getting
          done this week, but are likely complex, so they can benefit from
          providing details.
          
          The Eisenhower matrix relates to my main beef about most productivity
          schemes, which is that every task has not less than half a dozen
          attributes to set. With a 4-corner matrix, just drop it in a corner
          without having to give it a lot of thought or fiddle with a lot of UI
          widgets. Maybe fill in more widget-level details after your
          subconscious has had a chance to mull it over.
       
            coutego wrote 1 day ago:
            I had a similar experience and concluded that the most important
            thing is to learn to drop as many things as possible.
            
            If the list are getting too big it just means we are trying to do
            too much. The objective should be to trim those list down as much
            as possible. Too many someday/maybe things? Well, time to decide to
            move them to never/surely not category (i.e. delete them or put
            them in the "won't do" category).
            
            Too many things in the TODO/Next/...? Well, it's time to think
            whether they absolutely need to be done. If they really, REALLY do,
            do they need to be done by you? Delegating, asking someone to do
            them or just externalizing them to some service can be a
            possibility.
            
            Focusing is not as much about deciding what to do as to decide what
            not to do. I know, they are logically equivalent things, but the
            main issue is that most of us are not psicologically well prepared
            to accept that we just won't do many things we would like to do, so
            we invent complex systems to keep track of what we won't have time
            to do and unnecessarily stress us in the process. Learning to just
            let go is one of the most useful things I learnt in life.
       
          zeitlupe wrote 3 days ago:
          > An hour is not even close to being enough. A whole weekend may get
          you to 50%.
          
          This is one problem I have with GTD: It talks and talks about
          collecting and sorting tasks but does not care much about whether you
          should do them in the first place. It invites overloading yourself
          with tasks and want-to-dos instead of thinking about if that tasks
          are truly important to you in the light of a perpetual shortage of
          time to do all the stuff you would like to.
       
            Jtsummers wrote 3 days ago:
             [1] The five basic steps of GTD:
            
            1. Capture
            
            2. Clarify
            
            3. Organize
            
            4. Reflect
            
            5. Engage
            
            (2) and (4), in particular, deal with whether the actions are worth
            doing along with the when and where of doing them. Which is covered
            in all the decent summaries I've read and the book itself.
            
   URI      [1]: https://gettingthingsdone.com/what-is-gtd/
       
            dougskinner wrote 3 days ago:
            I don't think this is an accurate assessment. Yes, GTD wants you to
            get everything out of your head and onto the "paper" in front of
            you. And yes, this might take a long time for some people, up to
            hours or days. But the key thing is it's all written down. Once it
            is, then you go through the collected inputs and actually figure
            out what to do with them. But you can't do that while your brain is
            still going "did I write this other thing down?" You need a clear
            mind before you start processing.
       
          d0mine wrote 3 days ago:
          One trick is to schedule a fixed block of time e.g., an hour before
          launch every morning and work on these maybe/someday tasks (you can
          choose the next task using whatever criteria you like e.g., "what
          looks the most interesting dopamine-generating right now" or "boring
          but important even if without a fixed date"  depending on your needs
          (or a combination of the two: start with interesting, and persevere
          through the boring parts by using the fixed time slot)
       
            BeetleB wrote 3 days ago:
            It's a nice trick, but what is it trying to achieve? Also, if I'm
            going to spend an hour daily on Someday/Maybe tasks, then those
            tasks really are not "Someday/Maybe", right? Are you really
            suggesting I look over that list daily?
            
            I think people are misreading my comment as saying "I have so many
            things I want to do, and there isn't enough time to do them, and
            GTD doesn't help."
            
            This is not my problem. My problem is:
            
            "I have a lot of items on my Someday/Maybe list, over 90% of which
            will not be done, and that's OK. Reviewing this list every week (as
            GTD tells me to) to decide if I should move any to the 'Active'
            list is a huge burden"
       
              d0mine wrote 3 days ago:
              If you believe you can review your list everyday, then your list
              is not large enough ;) 
              Obviously, it would defeat the purpose to try to review it
              everyday -- classic quadratic algorithm -- nothing will be done
              and a lot of anxiety may be generated.
              
              If you are stuck and can't choose in a reasonable time, pick at
              random, and work on it: avoid multitasking (if it "maybe/someday"
              task, then you can afford it).
              
              If 1000 hours over 4 years is too much for  your purposes, pick a
              different frequency -- having the habit should help either way.
              If there is no amount of time you are willing to reserve for your
              list than call it "Never" (that is fine -- as one data hoarder to
              another).
       
              packetslave wrote 3 days ago:
              One thing I did to address exactly this (way too many items in
              Someday/Maybe to review effectively every week) was to separate
              the list into two:
              
              - Someday (I'm 90% sure I am going to do this, but I'm not
              actively working on it right now). This gets looked at during my
              weekly review.
              
              - Maybe (I might do this at some point, but I'm 90% sure I won't
              do it in the next month).  This gets looked at during my monthly
              review.
       
                BeetleB wrote 3 days ago:
                Yes, this is similar to my intermediate list above (probably
                should call it "Backlog"). These are things I must do - just
                not now.
                
                For the "Maybe", to be frank, I just stopped updating it.
                Instead I now have a sort of bucket list: Things I'd really
                like to do before I die. Even if I can't do all, I should be
                able to do quite a bit of these. It's basically a "higher
                priority" Maybe list. The idea is when a random thought pops up
                into my head ("Write a blog post on X"), I ask myself "Does
                this belong in the bucket list?" If not: "Wouldn't my time be
                better spent on the bucket list?" If yes, I just discard the
                thought. Sure, it'll pop into my head often, but why bother
                adding it to my "Maybe" list if I can't be bothered to review
                that huge list?
       
          manholio wrote 3 days ago:
          Sounds like you are an overachiever. The big implicit assumption of
          GTD is that, while it makes you more productive, there is still a
          limit on how much you can take on. Workload is not specifically
          addressed, but implicitly the overflow will go to the Someday folder.
          
          I think the answer to this problem is not any productivity trick, but
          to aim for exponential growth of your business, career, etc. so that
          Delegate becomes the primary workhorse instead of Next Actions.
          Prioritize actions you perform and projects you start so that they
          are conducive to a long term self-sustaining increase in your
          productivity. And accept that you may have limited success/luck in
          unleashing the exponential and that some projects will forever stay
          out of your linear reach.
       
            BeetleB wrote 3 days ago:
            > Sounds like you are an overachiever.
            
            Not at all. I'm not trying to achieve all, or even most of those
            things. I know I won't even be able to do a tenth of them.
            
            One of the core ideas behind GTD is to get these things out of the
            mind and into a trustworthy system. My Someday/Maybe list is huge
            because I get it out of my mind and put it somewhere. How many of
            them I get to do in my life is not at all a concern I have.
            
            > Prioritize actions you perform and projects you start so that
            they are conducive to a long a self-sustaining increase in your
            productivity.
            
            When your list is hundreds of items long, and GTD tells you to
            prioritize every week, that is unsustainable.
            
            For my work GTD, things are simpler. The scope is limited, and
            there's not attachment to any project. The job dictates most of
            what needs to be done and it makes prioritizing almost trivial.
            It's the GTD for the non-work stuff that explodes.
       
              bachmeier wrote 3 days ago:
              > When your list is hundreds of items long, and GTD tells you to
              prioritize every week, that is unsustainable.
              
              One of the nice things about GTD is that you make everything
              explicit. It quickly becomes obvious when you have too many
              active projects, nudging you to decide which project are really
              worth doing. The same goes for having too many next actions.
              
              > It's the GTD for the non-work stuff that explodes.
              
              Great if you're actually getting all that non-work stuff done,
              but I just can't imagine you're doing hundreds of non-work items
              each week.
       
                BeetleB wrote 3 days ago:
                > It quickly becomes obvious when you have too many active
                projects
                
                The issue I'm discussing isn't the number of active projects,
                but the number of someday/maybe projects.
                
                > Great if you're actually getting all that non-work stuff
                done, but I just can't imagine you're doing hundreds of
                non-work items each week.
                
                See paragraph above.
                
                The issue I'm complaining about is that GTD tells you to review
                the Someday/Maybe list often (e.g. every week). I'm pointing
                out the infeasibility of that. Culling the Someday/Maybe list
                is fundamentally problematic in GTD, as the whole point is to
                get these ideas out of our head and into a list somewhere.
       
                  bachmeier wrote 3 days ago:
                  I don't agree. You're describing tickler items. If you make a
                  decision that you should revisit the potential item in two
                  months, it goes in the tickler for that time. Indeed, that's
                  exactly why the tickler exists.
       
                    BeetleB wrote 3 days ago:
                    No, I'm describing Someday/Maybe. If you're not sure when
                    or even if you'll do a project, it goes into Someday/Maybe,
                    and you're supposed to review this list regularly.
                    
                    Tickler file is for when you'd like to be reminded of
                    something. So yes, if indecisive about a project, you can
                    let it sit there. However, if you decide you won't do it
                    any time in the near horizon, you move it out of tickler
                    files and into Someday/Maybe.
                    
                    The two are not mutually exclusive, of course. One could
                    treat the Tickler file as equivalent to Someday/Maybe, but
                    for me that would be horrible. I can't imagine having to
                    deal with hundreds of items spread across only 43 folders.
       
                  notaclevername wrote 3 days ago:
                  My strategy to handle a too-long someday/maybe list is to
                  clarify how often I want to revisit the list. I have a list
                  to review weekly, a separate list to review monthly,
                  quarterly, etc. I have separate lists for someday/maybe date
                  night ideas, vacation ideas, professional development ideas,
                  and so forth.
                  
                  Someday/maybe exists to get something out of my head and into
                  a trusted place where I know I’ll see it again at an
                  appropriate time. If I know that I only need to see something
                  quarterly (or when planning a date night), I don’t need to
                  revisit during every weekly review.
                  
                  What I find is that, when I have more distance between
                  reviews, it is easier to call the list organically. After a
                  quarter, I haven’t thought about some of those items for
                  months and I can easily say, “Actually, that doesn’t
                  sound interesting any more.”
       
                  quesera wrote 3 days ago:
                  A simple (if impure) solution is to add a secondary
                  "Someday/Maybe" list. Call it something like
                  "Eventually/Remotely-Possible".
                  
                  Limit your S/M list to a comfortable number of entries, and
                  drop the ones that don't make the cut to E/RP. Review S/M
                  regularly, review E/RP only when curious, or when one of the
                  items becomes of renewed interest.
                  
                  I'm an archivist by nature. I don't like to delete items.
                  E/RP can grow to thousands of items, and that's OK.
                  Occasionally one will be revived. The rest will be keep each
                  other company.
       
                    pessimizer wrote 3 days ago:
                    I think the complaint isn't that one couldn't try different
                    ways to manage the problem, it's that the system doesn't
                    address it at all.
       
                      quesera wrote 3 days ago:
                      I don't see this as an issue.
                      
                      I don't think I've ever met a system that fully addressed
                      all requirements of all participants -- in any category
                      of systems.
                      
                      There's no pretense to divine scripture here. Adopt the
                      good bits, avoid the dogma.
       
                      BeetleB wrote 3 days ago:
                      Yes, precisely. I've found solutions similar to the other
                      commenters. My complaint is:
                      
                      1. This is a common problem - I'm not unusual.
                      
                      2. GTD's approach to this problem doesn't really work -
                      hence everyone here listing how they solved it in a way
                      that differs from GTD (i.e. not reviewing it weekly).
       
        rodolphoarruda wrote 3 days ago:
        "GTD—or “Getting things done”—is a framework for organizing and
        tracking your tasks and projects"
        
        GTD—or “Getting things done”—is a framework created by David
        Allen for organizing and tracking your tasks and projects.
       
          toma_caliente wrote 3 days ago:
          You seem to be implying the author is trying to claim this as their
          own. They mention David Allen's book not too far into the post.
       
            rodolphoarruda wrote 3 days ago:
            No, that wasn't my intention. But it's interesting that you've got
            that impression.
            
            It's just good practice to indicate the author of a given
            theory/framework/etc. right at the top of the article.
       
        CraigJPerry wrote 3 days ago:
        GTD has a concept of a tickler file - [1] - something i have zero use
        for but i need the same idea for digital artifacts.
        
        I tried different approaches over the years but i’ve settled on the
        PARA method - [2] - Very complimentary to GTD and similarly pragmatic.
        
   URI  [1]: https://facilethings.com/blog/en/the-tickler-file
   URI  [2]: https://fortelabs.co/blog/para/
       
        nstart wrote 3 days ago:
        Quick thoughts I’ve had for years on this article and about the book
        Getting Things Done by David Allen.
        
        Not trying to put this article down btw, since this was the article
        that introduced me to gtd in the first place. That said, if you do feel
        like trying gtd based off this article, I have a possibly helpful heads
        up for you.
        
        Try out the whole dumping things into an inbox and processing it bit
        for a short while. Just the bit of building a habit of unloading
        anything on your mind into the inbox. Don’t worry too much about
        projects and ticklers and whatnot. Once you’ve done that for a few
        weeks, you should pick up the book by David Allen and read it. And then
        implement the rest of gtd.
        
        As someone who tried gtd but didn’t get it for many years, the book
        has so much context behind the thinking of each concept (next actions,
        projects, tickler, weekly review, etc). Every single summary of the gtd
        method feels pale in comparison to that.
        
        Now, everyone’s journey might be different. But just know that if GTD
        doesn’t work for you after trying it based on a post like this,
        it’s completely natural. It’s a rare case where the source material
        is really where all the gold is at.
       
          andai wrote 2 days ago:
          I'd like to mention there is an audiobook version, and also a "live
          seminar" recording (Getting Things Done Fast) which presents the
          ideas in a more informal, concise format (though I agree the full
          book is well worth the read).
       
          Loic wrote 3 days ago:
          What I like from the book is that you have many small but really good
          tips on the way to manage your stuff.
          
          For example, getting a label machine to label your folders and store
          them in alphabetical order. Really simple but works very well (at
          least for me in the past 15 years of doing it).
          
          Some were harder for me, I was not able to implement a nice "TODO
          list I can take everywhere" and I am not really formalizing the "next
          step" of my project.
          
          But, for me, from the past 15 years, the best personal productivity
          book by a large margin.
       
       
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