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How Do You Deal w/ Stuff, When Things Are Blowing Up In Your Face? Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
After doing a massive mind sweep and an attempt at a weekly review i'm still swamped with incoming projects/events/tasks that are coming so fast I need to focus on them right now rather than organizing my OF, which has prevented me from finishing my Weekly Review.

It sucks too cause I'm sure you as well love the feeling of being in control, or Master in Commander as DA would say after wrapping up a Weekly Review.

I'd say about 1/3 of all things in my Inbox this weekend were processed though new things kept coming my way that desperately needed my attention. For example, right now I have to cram for a Math exam that is less than 12 hours away. Admittedly I should've studied before hand and not waited till the last minute, but that experience of falling of the GTD wagon is a prime example and sure reminder if I get close to falling off again. (Perhaps the beginning (again) act of getting back on the GTD horse explains to some degree the numerous items needing immediate attention.)

Fortunately the past few days i've been finding solace jotting down almost every thought that carries importance. With my new iPod touch and OF app I feel great whipping it out, writing a note in the inbox during any part of my day. I feel great knowing the thought wasn't just lost. The only times i've found myself without a capture tool are: In the Shower (Solution ideas?) & Right before falling asleep in bed. I find it very interesting that i'm flooded with great ideas and thoughts at these times. Anyways, back to the point of this thread...

Having still not finished processing all my inbox items, though still adding my in the inbox everyday I stunned myself with that thought that capturing thoughts and processing ideas isn't just a weekly review task. It's not just a once a week thing to process notes and sort out projects and NA's.

Fortunately upon constant reading in the OF Forums i've implemented some great tips from fellow OF users. Personally one of my most favorite tips came from (& I hope you come across this) curt.clifton where he posted what was in his morning, evening and weekly review.

(http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=10626)

This has helped me a great deal, having now very similar (almost exact) steps in my own OmniOutliner. For those mornings where I run out the door quickly or arrive home too late I got some random note taker app on the iPod Touch with the same bullet points for Morning and Evening Reviews. Well, back to realizing all this note taking, mind capturing, processing stuff occurs everyday I can't help but feel a bit overwhelmed as to how to be in complete control of my game.

I genuinely love capturing all my thoughts during the day, allowing me to be present in the moment in class now and when conversing with friends...but I can't help but feel there isn't too much time to devote to organizing my day when set times and events must be met, adding with that the last minute must-do's.

I'm sure to a degree this is just me starting up GTD after falling off the wagon, and to a degree feel i'm starting to spin the plates again, with only maintaining the already spinning plates in the future (its easier to maintain them once already spinning.) Though the crucial thought of self-realizing this is a daily thing really stuck with me; thinking I really need to be able to set time in the morning and evening to process and organize not only my days out, but the overall system itself.

How do you do it?

I remember reading somewhere on the forum where someone stated they spend at least about 60-90 minutes a day in just morning+evening review mode; processing captured stuff, glancing at possible "about to blow up" items, etc. Personally I feel rushed in the mornings just to get to school on time 20 miles away. Days don't always go according to plan and by the time 7pm comes i'm either too tired to go on, or 40 miles away from home.

Rather than keep the rambling going i'll open it up to discussion; feeling better progress and a better thread will evolve that way.

:]
 
I'm glad my review approaches were helpful. The only counsel I can give when you're feeling overwhelmed is
  1. hang in there. Even incremental progress on reviews will move things back into shape. Don't be afraid to put stuff on hold and renegotiate commitments when you have to.
  2. carve out some time on your calendar for a catch-up review as soon as you reasonably can. That may be a week or two out if you're in crisis mode. But having it on the calendar should help set your mind at ease that you will get to the review. But if you do this, make sure you keep the appointment with yourself to do the review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyDude View Post
The only times i've found myself without a capture tool are: In the Shower (Solution ideas?) & Right before falling asleep in bed. I find it very interesting that i'm flooded with great ideas and thoughts at these times.
I keep a whiteboard marker in the medicine cabinet for jotting shower ideas on my mirror. I keep a small notebook and pen by the bed for falling-asleep ideas.
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post
I keep a whiteboard marker in the medicine cabinet for jotting shower ideas on my mirror. I keep a small notebook and pen by the bed for falling-asleep ideas.
Ah, perfect suggestions.

The small notebook and pen beats turning on the the iPod Touch screen in complete darkness while attempting to fall asleep, and the shower thing is just genius. Thank you for that.

Fortunately it seems I have tonight free with nothing urgent ahead for the next day so will attempt to process my inbox. Little by little, but i'll get there.
 
I've been implementing GTD for about three years now, and using OmniFocus since its early alpha testing days, and I still haven't quite mastered a review routine that's as regular as it should be. Like you, I've found Curt's advice to be valuable.

There's a chicken-and-egg problem here: the more regularly you do your daily and weekly reviews, the less time they will take. I'll second the advice to carve out an appointment with yourself to catch up, and add that you might also schedule 30 minutes per day in your calendar for the week or two after the catch-up session, so you don't fall behind again.

It's also useful when processing your inboxes to be fairly ruthless about whether an item goes into your active project and context lists or whether it gets shunted to a someday/maybe list that you review every couple of weeks. One of the most useful features of OmniFocus for me is the ability to set different review intervals. Some projects or lists are critical and need review every day; others need a review every few days; still others can be reviewed every week or every month. Part of my review process includes glancing at the review interval for a project and adjusting it if necessary. Save frequent reviews for the projects that need it.

Finally, limit the number of inboxes you have to process. I have email, voicemail, a notebook, a DevonThink Pro inbox, an Evernote inbox, my Delicious.com bookmarks, and a notepad next to my bed. (I have a pen with a built-in LED for jotting down those thoughts that occur after I turn off the light.) I keep thinking I should get rid of a couple of those collection points to simplify things.
 
It's worth noting that the people at DavidCo 'fall off the wagon' quite a bit too. Getting the review as a habit is a killer difference. It means that you are 'aware' of those things.

I ignored the OF review process...and now have embraced it. It's a 10 min quick review of those things that I need to glance to see that they're moving forward. Some of them are set to every 2-3 days; some are set at 2-3 weeks.

In the mornings I do my OF general review...

In the evening, I have stuff grouped into folders and look at one folder. I can miss a day, but not two.

Really changed my '100 foot' look at life (Allen doesn't really have a 100 foot level, but that's how I think of my reviews)
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post
I'm glad my review approaches were helpful. The only counsel I can give when you're feeling overwhelmed is
  1. hang in there. Even incremental progress on reviews will move things back into shape. Don't be afraid to put stuff on hold and renegotiate commitments when you have to.
  2. carve out some time on your calendar for a catch-up review as soon as you reasonably can. That may be a week or two out if you're in crisis mode. But having it on the calendar should help set your mind at ease that you will get to the review. But if you do this, make sure you keep the appointment with yourself to do the review.
Curt, I have a question concerning the morning reviews; when you list if there are any projects you should put on hold (being draconian..) do you this only for the day? The impression im getting is every morning you'll go ahead and put all the projects you won't work on for the day on hold so during the day you'll only look at the stuff you can/should/need to accomplish...and then later in the evening at the end of the day or the following morning do it all over again...is this correct?
Quote:
Originally Posted by filmgeek View Post
It's worth noting that the people at DavidCo 'fall off the wagon' quite a bit too. Getting the review as a habit is a killer difference. It means that you are 'aware' of those things.

I ignored the OF review process...and now have embraced it. It's a 10 min quick review of those things that I need to glance to see that they're moving forward. Some of them are set to every 2-3 days; some are set at 2-3 weeks.
Its becoming evident to me the daily/evening reviews are essential to keeping the GTD/OF framework going.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyDude View Post
Curt, I have a question concerning the morning reviews; when you list if there are any projects you should put on hold (being draconian..) do you this only for the day? The impression im getting is every morning you'll go ahead and put all the projects you won't work on for the day on hold so during the day you'll only look at the stuff you can/should/need to accomplish...and then later in the evening at the end of the day or the following morning do it all over again...is this correct?
Nope. If I put a project on hold, it generally stays on-hold until at least the end of the month.

Here's my rationale. I'm not reviewing every project every day; each project has its own review frequency based on the relative importance/urgency. If in my morning review I notice that I've reviewed a project repeatedly without making any progress, then that's a clue that I'm not really committed to moving the project forward right now. I tend to put those projects on hold until I'm ready to recommit. I find that better than beating myself up for not making progress. I can only make progress on so many things at once.
__________________
Cheers,

Curt
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by curt.clifton View Post
Nope. If I put a project on hold, it generally stays on-hold until at least the end of the month.

Here's my rationale. I'm not reviewing every project every day; each project has its own review frequency based on the relative importance/urgency. If in my morning review I notice that I've reviewed a project repeatedly without making any progress, then that's a clue that I'm not really committed to moving the project forward
right now. I tend to put those projects on hold until I'm ready to recommit. I find that better than beating myself up for not making progress. I can only make progress on so many things at once.
That's very interesting that you mentioned this. Currently I have about seven different projects dealing with school, each project having a couple of childs within them. What I'm getting at that of the numerous things I need to do, my math project just doesn't get touched by me (I hate math). Yet it needs to get
done and what I hate most is that this math project is and has been affecting the productivity of my other projects, seeing as it needs to get done and is
always in the corner of my eye when progressing in the other school
assignments.
 
HappyDude,

I also hate math =P (I'm also not terribly fond of homework, so I'm pretty sure I'm done with school for the rest of my life).

As far as getting things done that you don't like doing, David Allen clearly learned a thing or two from another powerful influence in my life... my mother =). Both of them recommend breaking down your big tasks into smaller tasks. "Clean out the garage" is a huge task that you'll probably never feel up to doing. But "coil up the hose" or "throw away 3 things" feel quite doable. I'm sure you can break down your math project into many smaller pieces, and even break some of those pieces down into smaller pieces. If the pieces are small enough, and you just take one bite at a time, you'll start making progress. "Read chapters 3-7 of the textbook" is a monster task that most of us would put off until the night before it's due. "Read the first page of chapter 3" is something you can easily accomplish before lunch, or while you're waiting for a bus. And if you're anything like me, you're very likely to read pages 2 & 3 while you're on the bus, because once you get going on something, it's much easier to go a little further =).
 
A cautionary note about the "break it all down into little pieces" approach: for some of us, it's easy to get caught up in making a list of all of those little pieces, organizing it, and spending so much time deciding on the right approach that very little actual work ever gets done! Probably you already know if this is an issue for you... Sometimes it's better to just figure out what a few of the little pieces are and get started, rather than attempting to decompose the whole project.
 
 


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