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Re: [Orgmode] Re: my GTD setup

From: Pete Phillips
Subject: Re: [Orgmode] Re: my GTD setup
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2007 22:38:50 +0000

>>>>> "Rustom" == Rustom Mody <address@hidden> writes:

    Rustom> Well... This saw cuts both ways.  My own position is the
    Rustom> opposite of David's.  Ive read the book (and the next one:
    Rustom> Ready for Anything) and I keep reading this list in the hope
    Rustom> that GTD will magically happen to me.

Hmmm.  I can *almost* guarantee it won't happen magically.  :-)

Let's make one thing clear - GTD is not difficult to understand.  GTD is
really a combination of techniques and habits to make sure you write
everything down, review it regularly, and make sure you have the
appropriate lists with you when you can actually do something on them,
and then DO THEM.

Let me repeat that last bit - 

    you must, at some stage, DO THE ACTIONS!

If you don't, GTD and org-mode and everything else just becomes an
exercise in moving things from one list to another, and frankly there
are better and more entertaining ways to waste your time.

GTD it is a technique for doing your thinking in advance (at the weekly
review), so that when you actually get into work you can just
concentrate on 'cranking out the widgets'.  David Allen uses the analogy
that a widget cranker doesn't go into work and procrastinate or worry
about what to do - he just has widgets to crank. Therefore the idea of
GTD is that once a week you do your thinking and planning, and the rest
of the week, you look at your list and crank widgets. (a bit of an
over-simplification of course as you have emails, letters etc coming in
constantly which may change your priorities).

In my experience, implementing GTD is an initially rapid change in the
way you work (implementing your main lists, sorting out a capture
system, buying a labeller, setting up your 48 folders, trying to
remember to do a weekly review) followed by much slower incremental
improvements to the system as you 'get' GTD. And I certainly think that
you won't do it without reading the book. Everything you need to
understand the principles are in the book.  Yes, some of the mailing
lists are interesting (the GTD one on yahoo is pretty good), but frankly
the book is all you need. Very difficult to implement GTD by looking at
websites IMHO.

(One reason people try out GTD is because they want to get more work
done, because they feel they are drowning in a sea of information,
emails, projects etc, and want to get it all under control.  It is
therefore an exquisite irony that some of these people then spend half
their time surfing the net to try to find out how to do GTD better!)

Now, implementing GTD in your tool of choice (mine is org-mode) is a
different matter - there is more than one way to skin a cat, and
org-mode gives you a huge choice in how you de-fur your particular

So, don't confuse *understanding* what GTD is all about with the
specifics of *implementing* it in org-mode, Outlook, HPDA or whatever.
The mailing lists are great for the implementation phase, but until you
grasp GTD it probably won't happen for you.

The book is very readable. You can read it over a few days. In my
opinion, it also bears re-reading.  I also bought the set of CD's (which
is a recording of David Allen giving his GTD seminar over 2 days) and I
listen to those once a year or so just to refresh things in my mind
whilst travelling on the train. I pick up new insights and tricks
every time I read the book or listen to the CDs.

I haven't found the second book to be very helpful. Interesting, yes.

    Rustom> But not quite there yet :-(

Use the book, Luke.....

    Rustom> In addition to setting up my emacs for org usage Ive even
    Rustom> made made myself a hipster pda. Whats not quite clear is how
    Rustom> to sync it with my stuff under org.

I use a HPDA - I tend to sit down every Sunday and add stuff from the
HPDA to my org-mode file, then chuck the cards away. I also have 14
'diary' cards - 1 card per day for the next 2 weeks, with my
appointments on them, and anything I *have* to do that day (eg: deadline
for sending off a report) on them.   I use this Sunday morning time over
a cup of coffee to add such deadlines to the cards, and then review the
next 2-4 weeks to see what projects I need to make progress on.
I then use org-mode to 'schedule' some of these NEXT actions which are,
at the time, important.

I used to print out HPDA cards with my different contexts on them
(Shopping, Phone, Home, etc) but I found i rarely read them - I am more
likely to scan my lists under org-mode as I have a laptop available all
the time at home and in work, with emacs open. 

My advice would be to keep trying new ways to manage your lists. If you
find syncing between HPDA and org-mode is too much hassle, you just
won't bother, and you will eventually get cheesed off with it as it
becomes unmaintainable. If it's not working for you, try another method.

For me, HPDA is great as a capture tool and diary tool. plenty of people
on GTD-Analog on yahoo use HPDA as their only tool.  Horses for courses.

Overall, I find I use the HPDA less and less, and rely on having
org-mode available on my laptop most of the time. Org-mode is what has
really enabled me to get GTD working for me better than any other tool.


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