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Following quotes are picked out from the GTD book of David Allen:

Day-Specific Actions: These are things that you need to do some-
time on a certain day, but not necessarily at a specific time.

and

No More "Daily To-Do" Lists Those three things are what go on
the calendar, and nothing else! I know this is heresy to traditional
time-management training, which has almost universally taught that
the "daily to-do list" is key. But such lists don't work, for two
reasons.

First, constant new input and shifting tactical priorities reconfigure
daily work so consistently that it's virtually impossible to nail down
to-do items ahead of time.

Second, if there's something on a daily to-do list that doesn't
absolutely have to get done that day, it will dilute the emphasis on
the things that truly do. The way I look at it, the calendar should be
sacred territory. If you write something there, it must get done that
day or not at all. The only rewriting should be for changed
appointments.

Currently I am studying my past official work related to software
development. There are around 7 projects. I have broken down one project
as follows:

  1. Study the handling of cancel event message on provider component's side.
  2. Study the handling of update event message on provider component's side.
    ....

This list contains 6 items as shown above.

This does NOT need to be done on any specific day, but since it was on my
TODO list for today so I thought of doing it today. I could not complete
4 items of them for some reason today.

The way I see it, it IS basically a daily TODO list which the author forbids,
us to make!

How should I fit these activities on my GTD list?

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3 Answers 3

The GTD system is all about contexts and fitting in various actionable items into those contexts. I am therefore confused about your mention of

since it was on my TODO list for today

Indeed, as noted, the only things in your actual daily list should be things critical to get done that day. Given that I use Outlook to manage my GTD, these appear as day-long calendar tasks at the top of my page.

Everything else should be in one of various other actionable contexts. I happen to use a set of contexts like

  • Calls
  • Computer
  • People
  • MyBoss
  • WaitingFor

While my Computer context tends to get the most stuff, and therefore somewhat acts like a TODO list, they are all actionable items of work that are more-or-less self contained and align with a project. But they are not a TODO list, so that I know I will not get them all done in a day and that does not bother me.

On the other hand, if I get towards the end of the day, and there are still items at the top of my calendar page - my actual daily Must-TODO, then I know that I have not been using my system effectively.

Good Luck

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There are three separate concepts in GTD:

  1. The calendar is sacred territory (defines the hard edges), not an actual list, and contains those things which must be completed that day and/or at that time.

  2. The Tickler File is setup to remind you on a specific day about something.

  3. Next Actions, of course, are things you need to do next to push something toward completion.

I'm not sure what platform you are on, but I use 2 and 3 almost in tandem via Reminders.app from Apple; it lets me capture all my next actions in one place - one of the most important parts of GTD.

I work with a lot of clients in my day job doing development as well. Usually, during those office hours, it really feels like a to-do list that I'm just going down one item at a time. But, my main restriction is context...given my office environment, I would feel really bad if I bailed and went grocery shopping - even if it was the next thing on my tickler list for the day.

If you are looking at your "Next Actions" lists and automatically going through line for line, then it has become a to-do list for that day. This is not actually inherently bad, because you are not waking up in the morning with the specific intent of creating a "daily to-do list" - at least I'm assuming you're not. However, if you are "scanning the terrain" and choosing what to do next based on "context, time available, energy available, and priority" then you're okay.

I typically start deciding what to do next by looking at "Today" (both the Calendar and the Tickler File, which I use Reminders.app for). If I've been keeping up with refining my next action lists, I should see only those things I could possibly get done that day, but are not required to get done that day.

For example, I have Sprint Reviews with my business partner every month. When I think of something I want to talk with him about between meetings, I write it down and set it to tickle me before that meeting...it's in the system I trust and out of my head - the most important part of GTD. (This is the digital equivalent of the 43 Folders concept.)

Another example, would be my Saturday ticklers. I am reminded every Saturday to take out the trash, do laundry, and get some serious cleaning done in at least one room of my apartment. But, sometimes, I have plans on Saturday that don't include these things. Sometimes I'm not feeling well. Sometimes I may have to go into the office instead. So, I get reminded, it's in the system I trust and know I will look at again, but I have to tell myself "Not this time" (Ha! Not this week - as it were) and move those ticklers to a different day.

One other thing I've done, is to create Next Action lists at the project level (which it sounds like you do a little as well). While I'm in "work-mode", where all I want to do is work on my various projects, I can scan over all the next action lists and keep picking off things to do based on the four step process.

To sum up. Capture everything. Have the ability to renegotiate any action (on a list, not the calendar) if need be. When doing predefined work (from the three types of work), pick your next action based on the four steps of choosing your work. Scan your calendar and next action lists throughout the day during breaks. If you end up just going through the "today" list in a somewhat robotic fashion - no big deal - not all of our lives are crazy and filled with drama; meetings; interruptions from secretaries, investors, and e-mail...and, I would argue, once you get really good at getting things done (GTD or no), you will have less and less moments of tension and more moments of blissfully moving through your day getting things done.

Hope that helps.

ps. It's not how you maintain the system that determines whether it turns into daily to-do lists; it's the mindset and approach you use when determining what to do next.

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For Day specific action which doesn't need any specific time of the day it's better to use jerry seinfeld chain method which is once you finish an activity follow next activity immediately and don't stop until you reach the end.

There are plenty of tools available for chain method, I did lot of research and finally narrowed down on two best apps For webapp my recommendation is Chains(dot)cc enter link description here It has a simple and appealing interface and some lovely icon customization and for Android I recommend MyChain enter link description here It has the most awesome feature of reward system, that is if you finish the chain for some fixed consecutive period you can reward yourself with something, for e.g I reward myself with some chocolates every time I complete the chain. This is the best and the most awesome thing that I like to do. other things that MyChain has feature to import & export the chains in csv file (unfortunately rewards can't be exported or imported)

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