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Author Topic: ZTD and transitioning to using GTD  (Read 1863 times)

ewemoa

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ZTD and transitioning to using GTD
« on: November 06, 2015, 07:11:20 PM »
Started re-reading GTD recently and am finding:

-Appreciation for certain aspects has grown
-Many seemingly important points didn't stick the last time through

So it seems like it's going somewhere useful.

OTOH, last time through, failed to successfully set up fully and maintain a running system, and this time through I get the sense that the book is almost designed to lead one to ask for help for the implementation stage (specifically from... :) ).  This pattern seems to exist elsewhere in other materials, but perhaps that's for another post...

Anyway, after some consideration of transitioning / adoption and looking around, came across ZTD and Minimal ZTD at ZenHabits.  (I found mention of ZenHabits in the forums here, but not ZTD -- please share pointers if any.)

Still working on digesting them, but so far they appear to be close to proper subsets of GTD with Minimal ZTD being close to a proper subset of ZTD.  Started wondering if trying to adopt a series of well-defined subsets of GTD (or other system) might tend to lead to more successful transitioning.

Any thoughts or reflections?



On a side note, considered adding to:

  http://www.donationc...ex.php?topic=34699.0

but ended up posting here per mouser's suggestion.

mouser

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Re: ZTD and transitioning to using GTD
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2015, 03:33:32 AM »
Thanks for sharing the minimal links -- I agree with your assessment that books like this are designed to "sell" a system, and that you can't sell an organization system unless it has been inflated to the point of needing assistance and accessories, and you can't write a full book about a system unless you bloat it up with unneeded stuff.

Simpler is better!

Going to go check out the ztd stuff now..

mouser

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Re: ZTD and transitioning to using GTD
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2015, 03:37:07 AM »
Ok so i read the minimal ZTD.. i think it's ok and close to but but not quite the minimal gtd i would/do use.

ewemoa

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Re: ZTD and transitioning to using GTD
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2015, 05:29:05 AM »
So...what's the system you'd use? :)

mouser

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Re: ZTD and transitioning to using GTD
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2015, 05:44:02 AM »
I thought you'd never ask  ;)

The minimal system I use is:

1. Ideas and Potential ToDo items must get written on (3x5) INDEX CARDS, one card per idea, with date written prominently on the card).
(a notebook is NOT a viable alternative; only an index card will work because only index cards may be easily and independently shuffled, sorted, laid out neatly).

2. Never try to keep anything in memory -- immediately log ideas/todo items to a card to get it out of mind.  Ideally you should not act on cards immediately -- give yourself time to decide the idea is not worth pursuing.

3. Keep TWO collections of cards -- one should be easily accessible at all times, and consist of cards still under active consideration.  The other is a storage collection for cards that have fallen to such low priority that they could be thrown away (just throw them away if that doesn't bother you; i find keeping them in storage less traumatic).

4. Occasionally go through your active consideration collection and organize cards by project/theme, and move cards to the storage collection.  Paperclips can be useful to group cards logically.

5. When working on a project, grab the cards related to the project and lay them out and decide which ones you can tackle.  When a card is completed it can be thrown away.

tomos

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Re: ZTD and transitioning to using GTD
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2015, 04:36:50 PM »
a notebook is NOT a viable alternative; only an index card will work because only index cards may be easily and independently shuffled, sorted, laid out neatly

I was reading ewemoa's links and thinking index cards would be better --
when you're on the go mouser, do you carry some index cards with you?
If so, how -- do you have some sort of box or protection for them ?
Tom

mouser

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Re: ZTD and transitioning to using GTD
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2015, 05:09:34 PM »
Quote
when you're on the go mouser, do you carry some index cards with you?
If so, how -- do you have some sort of box or protection for them ?

There are all sorts of tiny portable or big permanent index card boxes.

But then, i'm not opposed to jotting things in a notebook while traveling and then TRANSFERRING to index cards.

Getting back to why a list on paper is such a bad (non-transitional) solution, one of the counter-intuitive (to me at least) lessons from the original GTD book was the idea that "neatness" can make a difference in terms of mental load.  I have found that viewing attention and mental capacity as a limited resource makes sense for me -- and it's one that is taxed by messiness.  Trying to work with a list where half the items are crossed off is just too much noise for me.. Being able to spread out cards in a grid and physically remove the ones i complete is a noticeable reduction in mental load.

ewemoa

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Re: ZTD and transitioning to using GTD
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2015, 05:38:26 PM »
Thanks for sharing.

Some points that appear similar include:

-Creation of external representation soonish (for lessening mind burden?)
-Index card use (required in one, alternative in others)

On first glance, this feels mostly like the collect/capture portion.

Any thoughts on the other 3 portions of Minimal ZTD (process, plan, and do)?

ewemoa

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Re: ZTD and transitioning to using GTD
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2015, 05:41:42 PM »
But then, i'm not opposed to jotting things in a notebook while traveling and then TRANSFERRING to index cards.

There is something similar to this mentioned in the collect step:

Quote
When you get back to your home or office, empty your notes into your to-do list.

At least there's the idea of there being a capture tool that is with you as much as possible -- presumably so it's more likely that things get captured more often -- and the idea of transferring to some other structure at an appropriate opportunity.



Have been thinking that for some things "double entry" can be a feature.

mouser

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Re: ZTD and transitioning to using GTD
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2015, 05:45:58 PM »
Quote
Any thoughts on the other 3 portions of Minimal ZTD (process, plan, and do)?

Only to the extent that i don't view them as being important or universal enough to make them worth talking about.

To me, the key is getting ideas and todo items out of the head and into bite-sized chunks (index cards) that can be conveniently organized and extracted for processing with minimal mental load.
From there you can figure out what works best for you in terms of allocating your time working on them.

dr_andus

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Re: ZTD and transitioning to using GTD
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2015, 06:42:01 PM »
The minimal system I use is:

1. Ideas and Potential ToDo items must get written on (3x5) INDEX CARDS, one card per idea, with date written prominently on the card).
(a notebook is NOT a viable alternative; only an index card will work because only index cards may be easily and independently shuffled, sorted, laid out neatly).

2. Never try to keep anything in memory -- immediately log ideas/todo items to a card to get it out of mind.  Ideally you should not act on cards immediately -- give yourself time to decide the idea is not worth pursuing.

3. Keep TWO collections of cards -- one should be easily accessible at all times, and consist of cards still under active consideration.  The other is a storage collection for cards that have fallen to such low priority that they could be thrown away (just throw them away if that doesn't bother you; i find keeping them in storage less traumatic).

4. Occasionally go through your active consideration collection and organize cards by project/theme, and move cards to the storage collection.  Paperclips can be useful to group cards logically.

5. When working on a project, grab the cards related to the project and lay them out and decide which ones you can tackle.  When a card is completed it can be thrown away.

Any reason why you wouldn't want to use a software tool for this? (e.g. an online tool that would give you mobile and cross-platform access?)

mouser

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Re: ZTD and transitioning to using GTD
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2015, 06:49:39 PM »
I've thought quite a bit about using a software tool for this task, and about custom coding one..

The truth is that there are very good reasons to use a software solution -- a major one being the power to tag and search items.  There are tons of advantages to using notes in digital form.

But the bottom line is that the tactile advantages or being able to physically handle and lay out cards, separate from what's on the computer screen, is non-trivial.  The physicality offers some unique advantages that I have not been able to give up so far.


dr_andus

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Re: ZTD and transitioning to using GTD
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2015, 07:04:46 PM »
I imagine the analog nature of cards may act as a filtering device (to only record thoughts or tasks which are worthy of using up an index card for and going through the motions of creating a record), as it's more hassle to create a paper card than to type a few lines into a software (?)

I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, as software tools can make it all too easy to end up with massive lists of not necessarily important todos, and selecting what's important is a skill in itself, so the analog barrier may turn out to be useful in filtering out the junk.

ewemoa

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Re: ZTD and transitioning to using GTD
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2015, 07:37:19 PM »
But the bottom line is that the tactile advantages or being able to physically handle and lay out cards, separate from what's on the computer screen, is non-trivial.  The physicality offers some unique advantages that I have not been able to give up so far.

Where's my immersive VR environment?

cranioscopical

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Re: ZTD and transitioning to using GTD
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2015, 09:30:12 PM »
there are very good reasons to use a software solution -- a major one being the power to tag and search items.  There are tons of advantages to using notes in digital form.

But the bottom line is that the tactile advantages or being able to physically handle and lay out cards
Create your online notes using a template for printing on index cards?

mouser

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Re: ZTD and transitioning to using GTD
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2015, 10:25:48 PM »
Create your online notes using a template for printing on index cards?

this was one of the things i was thinking about in terms of coding a custom app for this -- making it a digital notecard system with good features for printing out notecards.