3,833 reputation
11833
bio website wuerl.calepin.co
location Seattle, WA
age 34
visits member for 3 years, 1 month
seen Jun 28 at 16:11

aerospace engineer, Star Wars nerd, PowerPoint hater, and family barista, @wuerl


Jul
2
comment Is there a proven method for managing emails?
@Tom I agree in principle that defer is a dangerous category--and Merlin says the same thing in the original Google Tech Talk. But I've found it to be hugely helpful in practice. I get emails that are going to take more than 2 minutes to read and review before I can even determine a next action. I find it simpler to place these in a defer folder to tackle at the end of my processing burst than to put into my GTD system. I've also found this helps me process faster. When I'm in the mode of quickly determining next actions I don't link transitioning to thoughtful reading of dense materials.
Jul
2
comment Is there a proven method for managing emails?
@Tom For the record, Merlin's original Inbox Zero talk discusses delete and archive as flavors of the same decision. Now obviously that doesn't mean it's the best solution, but I was trying to summarize and embellish his original points. I agree many things (attachments, PWs, etc.) are better stored out of email--so good point. That said, I keep lots of email where the important content is the email and its associated meta-data (e.g. recipients, date sent, etc.) This applies if email is used for electronic approvals; the emailed approvals need to be kept for the record, even if never needed).
Jul
2
comment How effective is the Dvorak keyboard at improving productivity?
+1 for your second point. You obviously can't count on other people having their keyboards setup in Dvorak (or any other customized format) and switching it--even temporarily--would often be a breech of social etiquette. Unless you literally never use a common computer or setup your time would be better spent learning keyboard shortcuts or other time-savers that are standard across the applications you use frequently.
Jun
27
comment How can I bring productivity techniques that work for me to a new employer?
As a consultant you have to be wary of backlash. The best way to help is to lead by example and as Alexandre says ask the questions that cause others to wonder why you care and how you'll use the information. The people who will ultimately have the capacity to implement your productivity/GTD techniques will take the next step of following your lead on their own, the others may not care enough to try so pushing isn't going to help.
Jun
27
comment What tools/techniques are useful in managing notes in different physical/digital locations?
TJB makes the most important point. Capture however you need to but process into a single system.
Jun
25
comment Where should I file my Next Actions from Projects in Freemind?
If you rename something but don't change its essence, then by definition the names are synonymous. Since you point out that Next Actions != Today, a change was intended, which I see now upon more careful reading. I think you're suggesting that when building the today list someone decides what next actions to accomplish today. David Allen recommends against this in his book (and against putting things on a calendar that don't really have to be done today) because if you don't get to them for some reason you've broken an agreement with yourself. I think a today list is akin to calendar misuse.
Jun
25
comment Where should I file my Next Actions from Projects in Freemind?
@Tom: I don't advocate getting rid of projects. I said that once a task becomes a next action, it doesn't really matter what project spawned it. All that matters is that it's something you've decided you want to do, that it can be done whenever you're in the correct context. If you're putting what you call "next actions" in a list for things that you can't do until the "next or some day" then they're not next actions, they're future actions--by definition. GTD doesn't want people to decide when to do tasks ahead of time, only decide if they can be done. Task selection is done in the moment.
Jun
25
comment Where should I file my Next Actions from Projects in Freemind?
@Tom: Agree, most GTD systems allow storing tasks in projects and tagging by context, but the screenshot implies things have one home. Given this restriction, the most useful place for a next action task is in the right context list. If they're stored in disparate projects it is not "a single click" to see all next actions that can be done @web, it requires traversing every project. If someone has so many actions they could do "right now" at a computer that it's scrolling off the page then the system is not the problem, rather the number of open projects and unaccomplished tasks.
Jun
25
comment How to capture everything when work stuff and home stuff need to be kept separate?
@John: One way to eliminate sending yourself email would be to use a large post-it note. Make your list of personal tasks that occur to you while at work on the post-it. During the day, keep it in your notebook and then just peel it off at the end of the day. Now these tasks can come home with you to be processed in your personal system without the need to email yourself and without needing to bring home your work binder. (Thanks Tom, I forgot)
Jun
25
comment Where should I file my Next Actions from Projects in Freemind?
I disagree completely that "next actions" and "today" are synonymous. In fact, blurring this line can cause more harm that good. Today implies that you've made a bargain with yourself that the action needs to be done today. Next action means that (assuming you're in the right context and have the time/mental energy) you can do the task now. Defining something as a "next action" makes no statement about when the action will be accomplished; that's your job to determine whenever you review your context lists.
Jun
25
comment Where should I file my Next Actions from Projects in Freemind?
Also, next actions should absolutely not be grouped by project, they should be grouped by context. The important thing to know when you have time to complete a task is not what project it supports but if you are actually equipped to perform the action. A calls list is only useful by a phone, a work list only useful at work. Seeing all the things to be done on project X, when half of them you can't do anything about right now isn't useful. This distinction is the entire point of GTD.
Jun
25
comment Where should I file my Next Actions from Projects in Freemind?
Of course you can have multiple next actions. First, each project should have at least one next action, so if you're grouping next actions across all your projects then you would have at least one next action per project. Second, a single project can have lots of next actions. Anything that needs to be done to move the project along that does not have a predecessor action is a next action. Next action doesn't mean the next thing you plan to do, it means anything that can be done next to make progress.
Jun
24
comment How to capture everything when work stuff and home stuff need to be kept separate?
Do you have internet access at all (i.e. are your work computer and e-mail account on a closed network)? Can you get to other sites beside email like RTM or Google documents? Is there a reason you cannot take your work notebook home?
Jun
23
comment What is the linkage between “next actions” and “projects” in GTD?
Yes, I think that would work. The project title you use in your task names can be a shorthand, perhaps even an acronym. The key is that it's unambiguous and means something to you without requiring a decoder ring. Just remember the more complicated your system the more time you'll spend fiddling with the taxonomy and the less time you'll spend executing tasks.