GTD Day 19. Last day with Chapter 7. Hallelujah!
Didn’t Mr. Allen mention in an earlier chapter not to put anything on your calendar that you don’t have to do that particular day? Now he says you can use your calendar for parking “reminders of things you might want to consider doing in the future.” You can use your calendar for plugging in “triggers for activating projects, events you might want to participate in, and decision catalysts.” I think it’s a great idea. I just think he’s trying to confuse me is all.
Triggers for Activating Projects
Triggers are just plugging in those reminders about projects in your calendar on a certain day (not a certain time slot). When you see the reminder, you can then decide if you are ready to insert that item in your active “Projects” list, or perhaps transfer it to a later date to be reminded of it later. You might not have the time to work on it right now but you don’t want to forget about it, either.
“Typical candidates for this treatment are:
- Special events with a certain lead time for handling (product launches, fund-raising drives, etc.)
- Regular events that you need to prepare for, such as budget reviews, annual conferences, planning events, or meetings (e.g., when should you add next year’s “annual sales conference” to your “Projects” list?)
- Key dates for significant people that you might want to do something about (birthdays, anniversaries, holiday gift-giving, etc.)”
Events You Might Want To Participate In
Do you get notices constantly about seminars, and social and cultural events that you might consider attending as the time gets closer? Figure out when that “closer” time is and put a trigger in your calendar to remind yourself of that event, such as: “Chamber of Commerce breakfast tomorrow?” “Tigers season tickets go on sale today.” “PBS special on Australia tonight at 8:00 P.M.” “Church BBQ next Saturday.”
At times, we have a decision we need to make but can’t or don’t want to, at that moment. Sometimes, we need to give it some thought. We’re waiting for that internal source. When we are waiting for an external source/data, that should go on our “Next Actions” or “Waiting For” lists. If we need more time to make a decision (internal), we should plug that in to the calendar to be reminded of in the future. Examples would be:
- Change job/career”
The “Tickler” File
I love my pending file. That’s what I call mine. Mr. Allen suggests one way of setting up your tickler file. You should set yours up in a fashion that is comfortable and user-friendly for you. I have an expandifile on my table beside my desk, an arm’s length away. It’s separated with days 1-31, so I can stick reminders, papers, notes, memos into any particular day I need during that month. I also have 12 file folders in my filing cabinet, labeled with each month (January-December).
On the last day of the month, usually in the evening, I take whatever is in my monthly file and distribute it between my 1-31 pending file. Then, each morning, I take out the corresponding number for the day and put those items into my inbox, go through them and decide how I’ll handle that day.
Such as: today is March 3, 2011. As I drink my first cup of coffee, I go to my pending file and pull out everything that’s stuck in #3 and go through each item, deciding what I’ll do this day and plug these items into my calendar if it’s not already there. Tomorrow, I’ll take out #4, as it’ll be March 4. 😉
In order to make this system work, it’s imperative you check it each morning and handle the information inside. If you are planning to be out of town for a week, be sure to check those folders for the days you’ll be gone, before leaving.
Checklists: Creative Reminders
As I’m a huge list-maker, I love creating checklists. I’m senile (scatter-brained, forgetful, whatever you wanna call it), so I must write it all down and having checklists around can be quite handy. These checklists are “recipes of potential ingredients for projects, events, and areas of value, interest, and responsibility,” as Mr. Allen puts it.
Examples would be:
- Exercise more regularly.
- Spend more quality time with my kids.
- Keep the client billing process up to date.
These memos are “fuzzy,” so let’s Clarify Inherent Projects and Actions.
Instead of “Exercise more regularly,” it should be on your Projects list as “Set up regular exercise program,” and “Call Sally for suggestions about personal trainers” (real action step).
Blueprinting Key Areas of Work and Responsibility
You should have a “complete inventory of everything you hold important and are committed to on each of” the (at least) six levels of your work (referenced on pages 51-53 of the book). That “would represent an awesome checklist.” It might include those items listed on page 177:
- “Career goals
- Health and energy
- Financial resources
- Creative expression”
It would be great to acknowledge and evaluate each of those items, if you want to better plan your daily life, and each of these areas is extremely important.
To spark your creative thinking, use that list on page 179 and get those creative juices flowing. Checklists are wonderful aids in your personal and professional productivity.
Happy Friday Eve again. Make it a productive, safe and fun Thursday. Oh, and an update on my home office? One more row of stacks has been gone through, stuff is filed, much of it filed into the garbage, and many things were calendared and tickled. It didn’t laugh, although I got a little tickled after I realized those spaces on the floor were clear! Weeee-hooo! Just 4 more rows to go. I can do this! *long, deep sigh*
Love you guys! *hug*