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My experience has been that overcoming the trauma of "oh no, not another big list of things to do" was the hardest part of getting started on GTD.

So I turned it into a "temporary project planning thing." Every time I had an idea for something else that needed to be done, it went into my "temporary project planning thing." Then I'd just make myself work through the inbox the way Dave said to - with a bit of self discovery along the way.

"Why did I think it was important to put that on the list?"

"Why do I feel that this task is more interesting than that one?"

"What is important to me?"

Now I'm adding things to the list with the giddy joy that I can forget about it without feeling guilty. The task is remembered by a system more permanent than my short term memory.

Now I'm just working on the routine of actually doing my daily review instead of rushing through it five minutes after I arrive at work, realising that my camera is half full because I didn't transfer all the photos to iPhoto the night before, yada yada...
 
Spiral, you've hit on one the the biggest reasons OmniFu isn't working for me.

Frankly, I hate the overhead time of maintaining the system.

Capture: if I'm on my Mac, and not engrossed in something else, I'll do a Quick Entry. But other times, forget it. I don't have an iPhone, and don't have a system (or physical place for one) to capture paper notes. I suppose I could use Jott and my cell phone, but the idea of having people in India transcribe my tasks bothers me.

Review: This is my biggest obstacle, even bigger than capture. I need a way to integrate a daily review into my life, I've tried but it isn't working. Weekly reviews are even harder to schedule.

OmniFocus Itself: If I don't see a task, I forget about it. [Saint David says this is OK :-)] But I can't figure out how to set up OmniFocus to show me items that are coming due soon, AND all the other next actions that have no due dates. So my "little to-do list" just shows me due date items, and everything else falls into a big black hole.


So, I go back to ignoring OmniFu, and just doing whatever comes to mind -- if I feel like doing it.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LizPf View Post
Frankly, I hate the overhead time of maintaining the system.
Yes. I go back and forth with thoughts wondering whether I am putting too much time into maintaining the system. For me, it isn't wondering about the overhead time of OmniFocus, it's wondering about overhead time of GTD.

I think OmniFocus has some great time savers with the maintenance... especially in the review section. Being able to set my review times for different projects is terrific. If a project doesn't need to be looked at every week, I can set it to review every month, or every three months or every year.

One of the time savers OmniFocus does not yet have, is the ability to create the project as you go. OmniFocus favors planning everything out before starting a project. The problem with this method is projects can often change as I am working on them. Some new information comes to light that I wasn't aware of, or someone else changes a facet of the project. When this happens, I loose all the time I spent carefully crafting every detail of my perfect project. (In defense of detailed project planning, planning something out helps me to think it through and that process can be important in discovering how the project will really be done.)

Instead of planning everything out in the project, I will outline a project, and at least create the next actionable item to move the project forward. When I have completed that action, I think about the parent item and ask myself: can I complete this item? If not, what's the next thing that needs to happen to move this item toward completion.

OmniFocus doesn't favor the second method of planning as you go because it hides the parent in the context view. OmniFocus also now allows a parent to auto complete.

Another timesaver of OmniFocus is the keyboard shortcuts. Especially the auto search for assigning projects and contexts. This is a huge timesaver compared to other applications I have used. It's one of those small things that make a great deal of difference.

The quick entry box on the desktop is another big timesaver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LizPf View Post
Capture: if I'm on my Mac, and not engrossed in something else, I'll do a Quick Entry. But other times, forget it. I don't have an iPhone, and don't have a system (or physical place for one) to capture paper notes. I suppose I could use Jott and my cell phone, but the idea of having people in India transcribe my tasks bothers me.
I experimented with Jott also and felt the same way about the transcribing. Plus, it was often not accurate. However, if I didn't have an iPhone, using Jott would be very attractive for me.

One inexpensive system is using 3x5 cards. Just carrying around a card and pen may help with capturing thoughts. When you get home, paper goes into the inbox for processing into OmniFocus later. Having a physical inbox is crucial.

OmniFocus allows printing out a task list. The trick is filtering it down to a manageable size. This can be accomplished by selecting multiple contexts, searching, creating tags or creating start dates for actions and using the available filter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LizPf View Post
Review: This is my biggest obstacle, even bigger than capture. I need a way to integrate a daily review into my life, I've tried but it isn't working. Weekly reviews are even harder to schedule.
Here are some suggestions that may help you.

I have a project called, process collection buckets. It has a default context of process collection buckets. I have actions in that project that repeat daily with a start date and a due date. The actions are things like:
process physical inbox to 0
process email inbox to 0

When I am looking at the context view, I am almost always looking at the actions with the available view filter on. This view will not show me any actions that have a start date in the future.

I have a due date on my process collection buckets actions because this is something that must happen in order for the system to work.

Everyday, I go through my process collection buckets context and make sure I complete everything in that context. When I complete the action, it disappears from my view and won't show up until it is time to do it again (the next day).

The theory is, I need a maintenance project to help me stay in the system. This is where you can put your daily review action, set it to repeat every day, give it a due date and even if there is nothing else you do that day, do that one action.

For me, I have a weekly review project with a weekly review default context. This project is set to repeat every week for me. It also has a due date.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LizPf View Post
OmniFocus Itself: If I don't see a task, I forget about it. [Saint David says this is OK :-)] But I can't figure out how to set up OmniFocus to show me items that are coming due soon, AND all the other next actions that have no due dates. So my "little to-do list" just shows me due date items, and everything else falls into a big black hole.
If you set your view filter to Remaining tasks and sort by due date. All your actions will be shown and the ones that are due soon will be at the top.

Or set the view filter to remaining tasks and group by due date, then actions are grouped by due date so you can focus on a selection of actions that are due soon.

Long post, hope some of these things help.
 
By February or March of 2009, my GTD habit was slipping, and I think the halo effect was the number one cause. The halo effect just grew and grew, like the Blob, until I was no longer bothering to capture anything. By May, I had virtually stopped processing my inboxes and reviewing, too, because I wasn’t capturing anything to process or review.

I was back to a life of chaotic inspiration, reduced to continuous lurching in the next most appealing or urgent direction.

I plan to resurrect GTD now, because I miss it, and one of my main goals will be to deal with the halo effect. I’ll report back in a while, if I think I found a anything like a solution!
 
I know I go through cycles of adhering to the GTD system. One of the issues for me is all the things I've stored in the someday/maybe... in OmniFocus I use the on hold project status to place those items.

It's easy for me to get down on myself for all the 'great' ideas that I haven't gotten to. I'm working on learning when to drop a project, which is in the GTD book. Here are some quotes from the book on page 226 (of my copy)

Quote:
The Source of Negative Thinking
Where do the not-so-good feelings come from? Too much to do? No, there is always too much to do. If you felt bad simply because there was more to do than you could do, you'd never get rid of that feeling. Having too much to do is not the source of the negative feeling. It comes from a different place.

How have you felt when someone broke an agreement with you? Told you they would meet you Thursday at 4:00 p.m. and never showed or called? How did that feel? Frustrating, I imagine. The price people pay when they break agreements in the world is the disintegration of trust in the relationship--a negative consequence.

But what are all those things in your in-basket? Agreements you've made with yourself. Your negative feelings are simply the result of breaking those agreements--they're the symptoms of disintegrated self-trust. If you tell yourself to draft a strategic plan, when you don't do it, you'll feel bad. Tell yourself to get organized, and if you fail to, welcome to guilt and frustration.
Resolve to spend more time with your kids and don't--voila! anxious and overwhelmed.

How Do You Prevent Broken Agreements with Yourself?
If the negative feelings come from broken agreements, you have three options for dealing with them and eliminating the negative consequences:
• Don't make the agreement.
• Complete the agreement.
• Renegotiate the agreement.

All of these can work to get rid of the unpleasant feelings.
The book goes on to explain these three in details.

Here is the first paragraph from each of those:
Quote:
Don't Make the Agreement
It probably felt pretty good to take a bunch of your old stuff, decide that you weren't going to do anything with it, and just toss it into the trash. One way to handle an incompletion in your world is to just say no!
Quote:
Complete the Agreement
Of course, another way to get rid of the negative feelings about your stuff is to just finish it and be able to mark it off as done. You actually love to do things, as long as you get the feeling that you've completed something.
Quote:
Renegotiate Your Agreement
Suppose I'd told you I would meet you Thursday at 4:00 p.m., but after I made the appointment, my world changed. Now, given my new priorities, I decide I'm not going to meet you Thursday at four. But instead of simply not showing up, what had I better do, to maintain the integrity of the relationship? Correct -- call and change the agreement. A renegotiated agreement is not a broken one.
Do you understand yet why getting all your stuff out of your head and in front of you makes you feel better? Because you automatically renegotiate your agreements with yourself when you look at them, think about them, and either act on them that very moment or say, 'No, not now.' Here's the problem: it's impossible to renegotiate the agreements with yourself that you can't remember you made!
The fact that you can't remember an agreement you made with yourself doesn't mean that you're not holding yourself liable for it. Ask any psychologist how much of a sense of past and future that part of your psyche has, the part that was storing the list you dumped: zero. It's all present tense in there. That means that as soon as you tell yourself that you should do something, if you file it only in your short-term memory, there's a part of you that thinks you should be doing it all the time. And that means that as soon as you've given yourself two things to do, and filed them only in your head, you've created instant and automatic stress and failure, because you can't do them both at the same time.
This is the part I'm working with in GTD. Learning when to drop something, and when to file it for reference as 'good ideas' that I will never get to, and when to keep it on the list.

In my weekly review I take a look at completed projects before I archive. I do this for celebrate completed projects.

I find that I don't have as many projects as I would like to see there. Part of the problem is many of my projects are indefinite with repeating tasks. When I look at completed projects those projects don't show up, even if I have completed a great deal that week.

These are usually maintenance projects; maintaining the GTD system, house cleaning, errands, grocery shopping, fitness and other life projects that are habits I want to get into.

One solution would be for me to have all the actions not repeat and repeat the project. However, when I complete all the actions of a project, I feel that OmniFocus hides that project from me in the contexts. I don't know that I need to complete it. If I don't remember that a certain action is associated with a project and this is the last action of the project and then flip to the project side, search for the project in the project list to complete the project so that it repeats, then the project hangs there... stalled.

The actions don't show up the next day because I didn't repeat the project. And so I don't trust OmniFocus to show me a project with no actions (or action group with no actions) that needs to be completed. Therefore, I don't repeat projects or action groups as much as I would like because there is a risk of that project or action group stalling. And so, I repeat actions and never see my work in the completed projects list.

One of the great things about GTD is when I fall off the wagon, it's still there when I get back on. It can take some time to clear the decks again, process all the collection buckets, but then I'm right back on.
 
 


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