Reviewing my planning

I am currently using a hacked version of GTD. The aim of this system for me is to get things out of my head and onto lists that I can then action. I am quite good at getting things out of my head and onto lists, however my lists are currently a little confusing and I think this needs a little thought.

In GTD, David Allen suggests that anything that requires more than one step to be completed is a project therefore a projects list should be created. Then each project has a next action, requiring a next action list. These next action lists are divided into contexts, a context is a where you are. Therefore you will have an at the telephone next action context list, or commonly referred to as @calls (or similar). These contexts are completely up to you how you arrange them. The important thing is that you have a list of actions you can perform wherever you are; you always have something to get done.

The ‘things’ that go into your projects and next actions, arrive in one of two ways. They are either self-generated or come from an external source. External source items I find easy to deal with and progress through the process neatly. They are also mainly generated from the ‘day job’ environment or from people asking for money :-).

It is the self-generated items that have caused me issue and are most important for this post. As I have stated elsewhere this blog forms the chatterings of my creative output and thought. I have this last year tried to balance the GTD process, which is essentially a bottom-up concept, eg something needs to be done so how do I do it, with a top down process, or goal and mission oriented process, eg who am I and where do I want to go, so what do I need to do. I see these two process as opposites with one being reactive to ideas and input and the other being proactive fuelled by vision. David Allen talks about this a little when focussing on goals but it is a small chapter in the book, and much of my thinking on it follows Stephen Covey and his 7 Habits of effective people.

Therefore, any project I have is linked to a goal. Each goal should have SMART objectives.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistis
  • Time related

This is also true, though to a lesser extent, for each of the projects. Currently this leaves me with three main lists.

  1. Goals
  2. Projects
  3. Next Actions

I am now working at how to record these. Currently I have my planner and an A6 book. The planner contians my Goals and projects and the book my projects and next actions. It does mean I am doubling up and this is what I would like to eliminate, I am just not sure how to at the moment.


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