Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Getting Things Done Is Hard When You've Completely Forgotten Everything

Now, I definitely remember this. We take the left one... I think.

By Jon:

Here's yet another look into the world of
GTD in relation to being proactive. I've got a really bad habit of using some parts of GTD and ignoring others. After all, the whole point is to be more productive and effective, but I've only been trying to make my job easier and free up more time.

Lately I've had a nasty problem of checking off a task and letting it leave my mind. Don't get me wrong, that's certainly an aspect of GTD -- getting your tasks out of your brain and into an organized list -- but I'm implementing it wrong.

Normally when I finish a task I just let it go and my mind moves onto something else. Weeks or months later, details about a task might be needed; instead of recalling the situation, I'll make some incorrect assumption and look foolish.

It became obvious that in order to cover my bases, I needed to become more proactive. Here's what I'm doing:

  • Keeping detailed handwritten meeting notes (in a Moleskine, of course)
  • Creating a folder of organized text docs of unique situations that come up in my somewhat repetitive work
  • Send myself or others reminder emails for upcoming to-dos
  • Set far-off and distant reminder tasks in my GTD app of choice
  • Adding a "notes" column to an Excel spreadsheet I frequently work out of to help maintain my projects

  • Obviously there's a lot of failsafes there -- I'm pretty forgetful. I've considered memory aid apps like
    Mental Case, but I'm not so sure I'm ready to subject myself to flash cards yet. On the bright side, there's something really inviting about the smile on that suitcase, don't you think?


    Michael Henreckson said...

    I hadn't thought of that as a downside of GTD before. Something is going wrong if you're not able to do follow up though. Good luck finding a system that works for you!

    Jon @ The Corporate Hack said...

    Hey Michael,

    It's a little sad isn't it? Kind of a forest-for-the-trees phenomenon, I guess. My new failsafe system has been working so far, although adding some extra work. It helps to be backed up though!

    Thanks for stopping by!