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Practicing Simplified GTD


fonte: lifehacker

Whenever I talk to someone who knows anything about Lifehacker, whether
it’s a reader or a journalist, this question is inevitable: “Do you
follow Getting Things Done?”
My answer is always a whole-hearted “Sorta.” I’ve read David Allen’s
productivity bible a few times, and The David is onto something with
his methodology. But as far as I’m concerned, full-on GTD is too
complicated and slippery for simple-minded civilians like myself.
That’s why I’ve whittled GTD down to its barest bones: picked away the
jargon, acronyms, and extras and installed one single habit into my
work life that’s made all the difference. In short, I can describe my
GTD system in eight words.

Make three lists. Revise them daily and weekly.

Those eight words are what I got out of three years of reading and writing about Getting Things Done.
In addition to my usual email inbox and calendar, which I used pre-GTD,
I added three lists to my work life, that I look at, edit and re-edit
every day and every week.

The Three Lists

These are my three lists:

  1. To-do list. The equivalent of David Allen’s “Next Actions”
    list, my to-do list is about 20 small, highly doable things I’m
    committed to doing in the near future (like the next month.) My to-do
    list is how I assign things to myself, so I’m really careful about what
    I put on it and how. Here’s more on the art of writing a doable to-do list.
  2. Projects list. Allen defines projects as undertakings that
    have several sub-actions associated with them. (Like, “Clean out the
    hall closet” is a project because it involves many sub-actions: “Sort
    books into library drive boxes.” “Empty unlabeled boxes.” Etc.) While
    Allen says most people have about 100 projects (!), I’ve got less than
    10 going on at one time. Perhaps I lack ambition. Maybe I’m
    commitment-phobic. But for me, a short projects list keeps me feeling
    light and nimble. A long project list, on the other hand, becomes a
    heavy laundry list of crap I need to do before I die, and when I look
    at it, I want to crawl in a hole and suck my thumb instead of live
    because I think things like “I’ll never get this done.” And that’s not
    the point.
  3. Someday/Maybe list. The name of this list is pretty
    self-explanatory. This is the stuff I haven’t committed to doing yet,
    and may never. Things like “Learn Italian” and “Build BSG fan web site”
    and “Run a marathon” go here. Here’s where I let my imagination go
    wild, and add every and any kind of possible goal and task I might want
    to complete someday. Someday/maybe is for dreaming big without
    committing.

Note: WHERE you keep these lists is up to you. I love text files and
my favorite text editors, so I just keep these in three .txt files. You
might use Remember the Milk or Outlook or Tada-Lists. It’s up to you:
just make sure the tool you use isn’t too distracting and that you
enjoy using it.

Once you’ve got your lists, they only serve you if you actually look at them.

Daily and Weekly Revisions

Each day I work from my to-do list, adding items and marking off
tasks that are complete at about the same rate, if things are going
well. This is the list that I look at and change the most. I keep my
to-do list pinned to my computer desktop,
so every day, when I sit at my computer, it’s staring me down, telling
me what to do next. If the things I need to work on aren’t on the list?
I put them on the list before I start, just to give myself the
satisfaction of checking stuff off as done for the day.

Once a week, on Friday afternoons, I open up my three lists and look
them over. Generally, this is the only time I open and revise the
projects and someday/maybe lists. It takes about 20 minutes to update,
prune, re-shuffle, and add to the lists. This weekly meeting with
myself is what Allen calls the Weekly Review. You can see more details about how I do my Weekly Review here.

Email as Inbox (and the Importance of Emptying It)

In Getting Things Done, Allen recommends setting up a
physical inbox: a paper tray where stuff you need to deal with gets
dropped. I’m to the point where 90% of my incoming “stuff” is email,
not pieces of paper. So my email inbox is my virtual paper tray. When
Allen talks about processing the items in your inbox, he’s referring to
emptying my email inbox. Using my three-folder “Trusted Trio” system outlined way back when,
I do empty my inbox about three times a workweek, if not every
afternoon. I won’t start my weekly review until my email inbox is empty.

Not everything comes to me via email, but since I know I’m emptying
my inbox on a regular basis, I funnel whatever incoming bits I can
there. For example, my GrandCentral voicemail
comes in via email. Any to-do that is due in the future, and I don’t
have to think about until then, goes on my Google Calendar with an
email reminder. When it’s due? I get an email saying “Hey, put this on
the to-do list.” If I’m out and about and have an idea, I send an email
to myself from my cell phone, and know that I’ll do something with it
next time I process the old inbox.

The times I do fall behind on processing my email inbox to empty,
the whole system falls to pieces because there’s “stuff” I haven’t
decided what to do with yet. Even though Allen barely talks about email
in his book, the reality is that anyone who gets tasks, projects, and
reminders via email, consistently processing incoming messages is an
essential part of working the system.

Dealing with Paper

The little paper that does come into my workday is usually via snail
mail, and it gets entered into my system as soon as possible. Reminder
postcard from the dentist? “Call Dr. M to schedule cleaning” goes on my
to-do list. Bank statement? “Balance accounts in Quicken” is a monthly
recurring calendar item that shoots off a reminder email to me on the
15th of each month.

Most of my work is digital, but I haven’t quite moved to an entirely paper-less existence. I still keep a filing cabinet, and even stow away things like receipts in little yellow envelopes.

This Way—or Any Way—Won’t Work for You All the Time

There’s no perfect productivity system. This is a fact one must
accept before taking on any new habits. Even when I stick to it like
glue, this method only works about 95% of the time. There are still
holes, and I’ll make small adjustments to patch them when I can. You
should do the same.

David Allen’s complete GTD methodology, as he writes it, is still an
elusive ideal for me. I regard it kind of like I do Buddhism: a big,
mysterious, and wondrous way of living and thinking that you really want
to get, because the people that have seem so bright and fulfilled. But
you keep falling on your ass no matter how many inboxes you set up or
mind dumps you do. The perfect is the enemy of the good, as the saying
goes, so instead of giving up on GTD completely, take the parts that
work for you and work them.

Are you working a modified version of GTD in your life? Tell us about it in the comments.

Gina Trapani, the editor of Lifehacker, is a simple person. Her weekly feature, Geek to Live, appears every Monday on Lifehacker (even though today’s Tuesday). Subscribe to the Geek to Live feed to get new installments in your newsreader.

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abril 28, 2008 - Posted by | Dicas, Dinheiro, Gerenciamento, GTD |

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