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Author Topic: Getting Organized in 2007  (Read 16715 times)
nudone
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« on: September 01, 2007, 04:51:22 AM »

it's september again, so that must mean it's time for... yes, wait for it...

yes, it's time for the Great Donation Coder Getting Organized Experiment of 2007.

if you participated in last years push to get things done then you'll already know how well the group worked. if you didn't join in with the fun then how fortunate it is that we're running the experiment all over again.

the idea remains simple. declare to the group that you'll commit to finishing something that you've been putting off and then get on with it. it might be something trivial that you are procrastinating over - nevermind, if you are annoyed at  yourself for not doing it then i'm confident that you'll complete it within the next three months - if not a lot sooner.

to help you, there will be a variety of tips and techniques that will be discussed - many of which will have the luxury of hindsight from those of us having tried them for a year. perhaps there have been new GTD like ideas developed since last september - if you know of any then please post about them.

the group will succeed. i can say with certainty that i am not the procrastinator i was this time last year and that is almost entirely down to being part of the last experiment.

as before, your input is essential. experienced GTD'ers are very welcome, as are the greatest procrastinators on the planet. together, we'll work it all out as we go along.

so, if you are ready (take a while to procrastinate over it if you wish) will you, please, announce yourself below.

i'll start off:

although i learnt a lot during the last experiment and found that it changed the way i work, i have recently started to put things off for no good reason. it's time to get back on track with things...
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TucknDar
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2007, 05:27:22 AM »

I'll try to take part this year, if I can find the time tongue

Seriously, I REALLY NEED HELP! I'm an excellent procrastinator undecided , but I'll do my best at this. Even a little change would help. I did start to follow some of Mark Forsters ideas (Do It Tomorrow really has some good points), but eventually I just screwed up... I want DIT to work for me, and with the aid of this great community (and a little more discipline) I think I can be a more efficient me Cool

In short: I'M IN, nudone!
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nudone
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2007, 05:38:12 AM »

great!

i will be providing short tips from my current reading material - which i believe may provide a better method for dealing with procrastination - all will be revealed soon.

mouser should be along soon too as i know he has some things up his sleeve.

edit:
TucknDar, i'd like to just say that you don't have to follow the experiment religously - there isn't an award for doing everything that is advised. the aim is simply to help you realise a way of doing a bit more than what you are currently doing - or, if not a bit more, then just less of what you shouldn't be doing.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2007, 05:43:39 AM by nudone » Logged
TucknDar
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2007, 06:19:04 AM »

TucknDar, i'd like to just say that you don't have to follow the experiment religously - there isn't an award for doing everything that is advised. the aim is simply to help you realise a way of doing a bit more than what you are currently doing - or, if not a bit more, then just less of what you shouldn't be doing.
Yes, I know, and that's what I hope this'll help me realise. That would be the best award!
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2007, 07:13:49 AM »

Ok, not to be the 'complaining' smurf here, but...
Wasn't last year edition aborted half-way through?
I thought most people who participated never even bothered asking for new tasks, because they were too busy doing other things...
I took it like it is: sticking to one time management system is incredibly difficult. You have to have iron willpower.

Even though DC got to interview the two superpowers back then (Allen and Forster) and we reviewed plenty of time-management systems and applications, I'm not sure we got much out of it. I, for one, have abandoned the system I was using in 2006.

Thoughts?
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nudone
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2007, 08:05:40 AM »

good point. i suppose that this shows what exactly each person took out of it or expected to take away from last years experiment.

i merely wanted to stop procrastinating. i wasn't really concerned how it would be done or whether the systems really worked - i still consider it to be a matter of belief - the system is pretty irrelevant. the whole experiment provided me with something to believe in and so it was a personal triumph.

i appreciate that you were a lot more serious about it and wanted to really obtain some useful findings from it all. it's a shame that didn't happen.

i think we can do this experiment again (perhaps experiment is the wrong word). it's a bit of fun. i think it will help motivate a few people. will it be a life changing experience - probably not, but if it just creates a bit of a positive belief for a while that's no bad thing.

it would also be a shame if you felt like refraining from taking part. it might be good to know why you abandoned your system (sorry, i can't remember if you've already posted about it) and it would certainly be interesting to hear if you've a current way of dealing with procrastination.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2007, 08:07:45 AM by nudone » Logged
app103
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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2007, 08:23:38 AM »

I am going to pass on this year's experiment.

I never realized just how productive I really was till my personal failure with last year's experiment. I thought I needed help in the area of productivity...thought I could be doing much more with my time than I was.

What ended up happening was the opposite.

Before last year I had a system that worked for me, even if it left areas of my life quite neglected for awhile. I just never realized how well it worked.

It allowed me to hyperfocus on a major task a day and stick to it till it was done, and actually enjoy the time I spent on them.

I seem to have lost the ability to do that by trying to cover all my bases in all areas of my life at the same time. It forced me to think about too many things at once and distracted me, leaving me unable to focus on one single thing and get it done. Instead of 30 projects finished in 30 days, one at a time, I ended up with the same 30 projects never completed and hating any of the time spent on them.

It's a damn shame when things you once enjoyed, that felt like play, become work that you get no pleasure from. I nearly gave up programming, web design, digital art, and most of the things I used to love to do. It all stopped being fun.

It also forced me to think about things I never thought about before...or didn't want to think about, just adding more on my plate when I already felt full. My life works better when I am focusing up close and in detail, taking it one day at a time, rather than stepping back to look at the big picture and thinking about 6 months, a year, 5-10 years from now. It's how I keep my sanity...just get through today and don't worry about tomorrow.

All of this GTD stuff tends to focus on a longer time span than 1 day, making you plan ahead, set weekly, monthly, yearly, lifetime goals. I can't do that. It interferes with me getting through today.

The more I tried to do, the less I was able to do and it was quite depressing. I feel like I have damaged my attention span somehow and taken all the fun out of my life.

I am still recovering from last year's experiment...trying to get the old me back. This past year has been the least productive in my whole life. It hasn't been easy to reverse and go back to the way I used to do things.

No, I won't be trying this again. I have things really want to get done some time soon...or at least get started with before the end of this year. And I want the fun back in my life so that I can enjoy the things I used to love.
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nudone
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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2007, 08:36:24 AM »

oh dear.

so that's two against and two for.

i wasn't expecting the experiment to be so controversial. nor so serious.

perhaps we are reminding everyone what a load of rubbish these GTD things are. not a bad thing in itself.
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mouser
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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2007, 09:08:24 AM »

I'm definitely in.
I developed a great system during last years GOE 2006, and i can't wait to refine my system and create version 2.

I don't think we should do the whole big interviewing thing, and we've already done a lot of different approaches last year, so maybe this year we just focus on each of us trying to find a system that works for us, and refining it.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2007, 09:10:30 AM by mouser » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2007, 11:08:27 AM »

I think we DC people all have the 'damaged attention span' App is talking about. I think it's a problem with people who spend a long time on a computer with internet an are naturally curious smiley

@Mouser: the 'tweak virus' is another bad habit. In my view, the system should be so simple that you don't even pay attention to it, and you should train yourself to make it a habit. If you have to think on how to improve (read: tweak) it, that's bad news.

Sorry to be so negative.
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« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2007, 05:08:16 PM »

First, I'm in  Wink
will have to think about things a bit first which in itself is a helpful thing...

Ok, not to be the 'complaining' smurf here, but...
Wasn't last year edition aborted half-way through?
I thought most people who participated never even bothered asking for new tasks, because they were too busy doing other things...
I took it like it is: sticking to one time management system is incredibly difficult. You have to have iron willpower.

Even though DC got to interview the two superpowers back then (Allen and Forster) and we reviewed plenty of time-management systems and applications, I'm not sure we got much out of it. I, for one, have abandoned the system I was using in 2006.

Thoughts?
I dont know,
I definitely got a lot out of it, but at the same time I know I need to change/evolve self/habits/whatever a lot more in order to be "successful"
Which is why I in again  smiley

EDIT:
PS urlwolf, have you a new system in place?
« Last Edit: September 01, 2007, 05:10:24 PM by tomos » Logged

Tom
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« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2007, 05:32:42 PM »

I wasn't here for last years but i read a lot of what went on, got some good ideas, got to admit tho I've gone from being a disorganised procrastinator to someone who now knows exactly what i haven't done, so I'll be in it, see what i can pick up   smiley
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« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2007, 07:26:31 PM »

Time to clean up my Windows desktop...lots of old unnecessary stuff.
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Armando
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« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2007, 08:09:18 PM »

I think I’m in too… 

I already have many goals on my plate. But I,ll listen to what happens here and participate.

I am still recovering from last year's experiment...trying to get the old me back. This past year has been the least productive in my whole life. It hasn't been easy to reverse and go back to the way I used to do things.

No, I won't be trying this again. I have things really want to get done some time soon...or at least get started with before the end of this year. And I want the fun back in my life so that I can enjoy the things I used to love.

I really empathize. One has to be careful with any systematization. It's easy to fall for an ideology, fall for a map, and forget about the territory, the importance of direct experience, spontaneity, personal needs, etc. One must not mutilate or stretch oneself unduly to fit an arbitrary and external structure...



I am all for maps though. But carefully, without ever loosing touch with the territory, the basic needs, the important goals, the self. It can be tough to find the right balance between abstract structures and organic flow.

I've been using the same system for the last 6 month (used different versions of it in the last 10 years) and I like it.
The main improvements I've seen in my life are :
- I keep track better of my main projects and goals (especially those that have a tendency to get forgotten because they're harder to achieve or because they fall outside my comfort zone, so to speak)
- I never forget an appointment
- I never forget important tasks
- I feel that I have a better "control" over my life and it feels good (don't worry : there are plenty of areas which I have not control at all -- which is great. Convergence needs to be balanced with divergence).

Have to admit hat it took me a while to set my system up. A long while — but it was worth it. Even if its principles are simple and coherent (a mix of S. COvey and D. Allen), I'm sure it would be fairly difficult for somebody else to implement it and get use to it (I use Outlook 2003, almost exclusively -- tried at least 15 different other PIM and organizers and came back to Outlook; I borrowed some ideas in the process though...  embarassed). And I would NEVER try to convert anybody to it!!! It’s really MY system tailored to my territory.

Tracking all my tasks, projects, etc. meant also developping a "new" skill : the ability trash or put away stuff more quickly than before (tasks or projects tend to accumulate and, yes, App, it'S easy to get caught in the multitude of unimportant details)!

Anyway : You seem to be happy with the way you work and handle your life now, so your decision to leave it as it is certainly a good one!!


Even though DC got to interview the two superpowers back then (Allen and Forster) and we reviewed plenty of time-management systems and applications, I'm not sure we got much out of it. I, for one, have abandoned the system I was using in 2006.

Thoughts?

I didn't participate to the experiment, so I can't comment on it.
But I'd be interested to know why you abandoned the system you were using and not just adapted it to your needs?


@Mouser: the 'tweak virus' is another bad habit. In my view, the system should be so simple that you don't even pay attention to it, and you should train yourself to make it a habit. If you have to think on how to improve (read: tweak) it, that's bad news.

Sorry to be so negative.

IMHO it,s just a matter of equilibrium. Tweaking can be counter productive when it makes you unhappy, deeply unsatisfied, when it slows you down and makes you less productive, when it’s just bad procrastination... But if it makes you happier, satisfied and doesn't slow you down, why would it be bad ? It can actually be very beneficial.

When I was a professional musician (in another life), studying in UNiversity, even if my basic "system" (my drumming technique) was pretty good and allowed me to play very well, it was necessary (essential...) to pay attention to it. Don't pay attention to a habit, whatever it is, and soon you’ll realise that it,s not the same habbit you thought you had developed… It transformed, it changed, and sometimes... not for the best!! Don't pay attention to a system (even if it’s simple and basic), and it falls apart (a problem in many companies).

I agree that the system needs to be simple, but just enough so that you can integrate it relatively easily. Simplicity is of course subjective, and something "simple" for someone can be "complex" for somebody else. so, anyway, IMO, the "need to pay attention" shouldn’t be the hint of a bad system -- especially in the beginning, when you're learning. Of course, if you need to think too hard -- even after many weeks of learning --, if your organizational system slows you down and can't be transformed into helpful habits... That's another problem. Than, it's just a matter of adapting the "map" or changing it! No?
« Last Edit: September 01, 2007, 10:26:17 PM by Armando » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2007, 03:26:23 PM »

I also am in.

Last year, i developed a system that lasted for a while during the experiment and then just ended up forgotten/ignored because, i believe, i was just generating way more tasks than i could really acomplish.
What i hope from this experiment is to see other people's methods and maybe redefine mine. With the new knowledge aquired in the previous experiment, i hope i won't do the same mistakes, and maybe (don't think so), get a system as good as mouser's! tongue

As for the task, currently it isn't started yet, but it'll be one of my school projects (which starts next week).
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« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2007, 09:15:19 AM »

I think Mark Forster (IIRC) was spot on when he said in the interview that the experiment had a flaw in that there were new methods every week. A method needs work over time to be of any help.

What I would like this year's experiment to do for me (yes, I know it's really up to me), is to be a motivation to adapt ONE method. Not that DC or anyone needs to tell me which method, because any method can be good I suppose, it's all about motivation.

Having said that, I know I can't really expect anyone to be my personal motivator and creating perfect tasks that are adaptable to my or anyone's system or method. But if we work together in creating tasks or challenges that are more or less universal, I think that could be helpful, if you know what I mean. So point is that a successful experiment to me, is one that lets me stick to a method (I think I'll go for the Do It Tomorrow approach) but provides me with some guidance and challenges that let's me focus on actually adapting this method.
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« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2007, 03:30:35 AM »

My experience is that no one method alone can work long term. It can help, but eventually some parts of the method that don't suit us will start causing problems. Pick bits from methods that help you overcome your own weaknesses... my method is a patchwork!

Most systems are flawed - hey all assume that cataloging a huge list of tasks and prioritising them then some method for going through them is all we need to become effective productive and shiny people... when it can simply make us better at being busy. Of course this is because as a system they focus on tools to manage things and don't tackle the issues behind it - the planning and decision making that should make us only take on what can reasonably done...

These system might have worked well for people who are in a hierarchical system with clear lines, where the source of "todos" are few and clearly defined (our boss, ourself, our clients) and therefore you can assume that these sources can be aware of what else you have to do, and possibly self limiting (your boss will know she gave you a deadline and not throw something else in the mix without thinking).

But for anyone who is self employed, or an executive, or in the flatter companies we seem to operate in lately (where people report to a dozen different people for a dozen different side projects etc.), or for projects where we have to self motivate... for any of us then just cataloguing the todos and putting a system is not enough. You just end up spreading time thinner and thinner between a lot of different and all urgent things.

I like Mark Forster's pragmatic - decide what you do and don't do, focus on a few things at a time - approach. And even in business it can work, because thinking "do we really need to do this now, whats the cost if we do, what's the cost if we don't" is a very useful exercise that can save a lot of money.

Anyway, I have a few personal projects that need completing and this experiment might just provide the "name and shame" pressure for them
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« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2007, 03:41:55 PM »

OK, count me in.  I have a novel I have just not been getting to, and I could stand some motivation.  Also, I really loved the 2006 version, and I am using some of the tools we were all introduced to still.  That experiment really taught me that the real purpose of GTD or any other methodology is to keep track of what you should be doing instead of what you are doing.   smiley
Thanks for resurrecting it
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« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2007, 04:05:23 PM »

OK, count me in.  I promise to finish two more blogs for DC before the year is over.  In one, I will be focusing on Minidiscs, and the other one will be a review of the software Transkriber.
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« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2007, 04:11:25 PM »

Minidiscs huh? I loved those!
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« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2007, 07:11:56 PM »

minidiscs are/were awesome.  Sony screwed it up in typical Sony fashion.
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« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2007, 05:44:02 AM »

I am new here, found this community when googled for gtd apps. I am trying Mylife Organized pocket pc, and hopefully will stick with this app. I have enjoyed reading posts about the previous experiment. Will join this experiment.
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« Reply #22 on: September 19, 2007, 05:52:06 AM »

Welcome to the site and this great community, Arura!
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« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2007, 08:09:40 AM »

Thanks for the welcome.

When will it start?
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« Reply #24 on: October 06, 2007, 07:10:46 PM »

I think I'm in as well.

Last year, I discovered the experiment a little bit too late, although I was on a similar journey myself by that time, mainly focussing on GTD (which was the biggest hype at the time and probably still is), which never worked well for me, due to (1) the initial implementation being a bit too much to handle - there's not a lot of guidance in that system how to handle a huge initial overload - and (2) the concept of "contexts" never worked for me, as there still were way too many tasks in a handful of contexts, and having a-hundred-and-something to-dos in your "work" context is only insignificantly better than having several hundred to-dos in a general to-do list, and (3) the lack in daily guidance what exactly to do.

I recently bought a lot of time and self-management books, all of them of US and British origin, although I'm from Germany, but local authors generally keep repeating ideas from American literature. Among those are classics like the books from Charles Hobbs (a book and concept blatantly copied by Hyrum Smith and the Franklin Planner folks), Alan Lakein, Alec Mackenzie and Neil Fiore. Really interesting reading, but I'm not even halfway through yet.

Mark Forster (yes, I have his books no. 1 and 3, too) has a very good point when he says that changing your "system" every month is counter-productive. However, I don't believe in "systems" anymore. The only "system" that could possibly work for you is something that you custom-made for yourself, nothing pre-made for a general audience. You certainly have to adapt those concept for your real life situation and pick ideas from here and there. Edit: Sorry, noticed a little bit too late that iphigenie said essentially the same thing. So all I can do is agree. But I also think that some of the concepts visited last year deserve another - and closer - look.

I'm looking forward to how this will work out.

BTW: Minidiscs? Cool.

--
Alex
« Last Edit: October 06, 2007, 07:22:54 PM by alxwz » Logged
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