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Special User Sections > The Getting Organized Experiment of 2006

Suggest Questions for our interview w/ Mark Forster (Do It Tomorrow Author)

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mouser:
as you say i dont think GTD has a real counterpart to DIT's notion of WILL DO lists.  as you say, forster advocates having a list for the day that respresents a real commitment of what you WILL do that day, which i like.

I think one of the issues that keeps coming up here is managing projects that dont have such simple discrete single-action tasks.  i think this is definitely worth asking more about, and forster clearly has thought about it as his discussion on tricks to making progress against the resistence of this stuff shows.

as nudone suggests, there is surely an element of novelty that helps all new systems work at the begining, like diets.  but most quickly lose their power, so it definitely taks some practice to see which ones hold up over time.

nudone:
at some point - if there are a sufficient number - shall we have a list of things that don't appear to fit in with these current self-motivation systems. if we can expose the areas of time management that have not been considered by DA and MF, etc. it might be useful for us to concentrate on the problems and suggest new approaches.

it may be even more valuable/fun for us to try our own newly devised techniques. i know we are meant to be developing our own systems - i just thought it might be interesting to focus on the grey areas or unanswered areas that keep being mentioned.

mouser:
i hope that we will indeed get into the discussion of these areas that are missing or don't work for us.

brownstudy:
Here is one thing that troubles me about GED.
In GED, Forster recommends to do small time slots for different tasks, and rotate them. E.g., 5 min task X, 5 min task Y, 5 min task Z..-urlwolf (September 16, 2006, 09:31 AM)
--- End quote ---

I typically use this strategy when I get back from vacation and have piles of postal mail, email, and assorted cleanup tasks to do, but the thought of spending hours tackling any one of them makes my insides dreary. So that's when I set one of my Palm timers to the 5x5x5, 10x10x10, 15x15x15, etc. pattern. Switching from one activity to the next adds a little more novelty to the game and I don't get bored as quickly. I also use the GTD precept of 2 minutes or less for these tasks. I segregate longer tasks as separate projects to be done later. But that's part of the processing.

brownstudy:
as an example: all the cody wallpapers i'm doing - none are particularly finished, nor are they at an interim stage that could be called complete. am i rushing to get back to them and finish them? no, i'm not. am i walking around with them playing on my mind? not really.

perhaps i'm belittling his idea as i know that i'll complete these wallpapers very soon so the task is obviously still in 'focus' but i'm procrastinating about getting them done right now.
-nudone (September 16, 2006, 12:30 PM)
--- End quote ---

One of the insights in DIT that struck me and that hasn't been mentioned yet was the idea of urgency. If, all things being equal, I have decided that all the things on my list of things to do are important, then really the only way I can judge what to do next is by urgency. Now, Allen uses his idea of context and the time/energy/priority criteria to triage your day. Both are valid approaches, depending on which resonates with you. I find Forster's criteria resonates with me more than Allen's at this time.

So I'd say that since you've judged the wallpapers to be important, then you'll have the passion to see the project through to its end. Forster was interviewed on some Hay Radio show (don't have the URL at the moment), and his answer to the question of what to do when you have lots of projects is to work on all of them a little bit every day. "Little and often" is another of DIT's precepts that hasn't been mentioned in this thread. So with the wallpaper project, even if you only work on them for a few minutes a day, then you're getting work done on them, momentum of some kind is maintained, and you're doing OK. And if you're not working on them daily, maybe getting them done is not a matter of urgency to you.

I find that when I'm near the end of a project, I get a burst of energy knowing I'm about to be done with it and can work hours to get it to a point of doneness. You may not be at that point yet.

Allen has the idea of the Someday/Maybe as a place to hold the non-urgent stuff; Forster doesn't have a place for someday/maybes in DIT (I think), but Forster's focus in DIT  is on  getting a day's work done. I think Allen's GTD book is the same. I don't believe Allen has written a lot about long-range goal-setting (I gather he has a special seminar for that) but that's the area where Forster's Make Your Dreams Come True book specializes. Depending on which lens I'm using to look at my life, I'll use techniques from either of Forster's 2nd or 3rd books.
 
For long-term projects: I use the aforementioned Limoncelli book's method of salting my future daily pages with tasks related to long-term projects. Or, I keep a list of my open loops (GTD's project outcomes) on a PBWiki page and I type one of two next actions beside them, and I review them a couple of times a week. I find this is enough for me to stay on top of short, medium, and long term tasks. Even if I don't do anything on them this week, they're still in front of my face.

Forster says in his book, and I think Allen would agree, that when you feel on top of your responsibilities, you feel better.  One of the reasons I moved away from GTD's context lists was that I found myself compulsing about finding a new item to put on the list when I checked one off. I felt I was tending the lists more than getting things done, and that's why I like the DIT method better. If I get a day's work done early, then I move to the next day's work that I've laid out, and I start to be ahead of the game.

That said, I still use bits of GTD, DIT, HTMYDCT, and Limoncelli's book--and other tips/tricks picked up from hither and yon--in my own Frankensteinian way and getting a lot out of them.

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