V Review of Five stages
* collect
* process
* organize
* Reflection and Review
* Do
* Feedback from last time is that finding the edges and stability is important to feeling secure in the system.
* Don't feel awful about hesitation in collecting - you do need to start and make yourself confident.
V Some quick questions from last week
V Q: re folder naming - what about filing by date
* A: not as useful upon reflection - hard to do consistently, so not really worth the effort. Gardening the files (annually?) to cleanup regularly does help recall where things are. Some things are well dated - notes, ideas, etc.
* Filing is somewhat critical in processing - can be a bottleneck.
V Q: having removed the hanging files, how do things keep from falling down?
* A: not much of an answer, blocking and so forth helps. Maybe someone will invent the ultimate filing system (they should call DA.
V Processing - tonight's focus
V Filing is critical. If you don't have a good filing system, can tend to stack and delay.
* True for both physical and electronic artifacts.
* Simplicity eases the takeup, and reduces the friction. It's important that it work for you.
* Everyone needs an adhoc general reference catalog in their system
* DA advocacy of alpha system - again, simple
* Meg - does like to build nested AZ systems with hard edges
* Get a good set of supplies - labeler, extra folders, etc
* Give yourself permission to invest in a good system
V list management in general
V first piece - hard landscape calendar
* should be appropriate (view types) to your workstyle
* general reminder to use speedup tools like key accelerators.
V List management
* can be a new tool or old. What you are comfortable with
* Anything that does lists - outlook, notes, notepad, paper, anything.
* anything but keeping it in your head!
* Be careful not to make learning the tool a project while you are organizing. Get youself comfortable with the process before moving, or vice versa
* Focus on practical questions in choosing your system. Speed of input for you, speed of access.
* Caution with electronic - access everywhere is important for most users
* Can be viable to make different systems for personal and professional (this feels like a poor breakdown point to me)
* Processing is behavior, Organizing is form. They can be very closely related.
V Some basic list categories
* Calls
* Errands
* Office
* Home
* Lists should be fairly discrete. They may change over time as you tune your system
V Agendas as lists to maintain for particular people
* boss
* partner
* direct reports
* etc
V DAs mentor on this - Dean Acheson.
* Originally actions on single sheets in piles, which then got sorted. Over time users became more comfortable with lists in categories
* Key thing is that lists be available where you need them and represent valid categories.
* Soft advocacy of online vs offline computer categories
* Use the categories that work for YOU, not some arbitrary model
V Processing
* Sometimes works best to have cleaned lists before beginning a new system.
V Basic Rules of processing
V Start with the top of the inbasket, one item at a time, nothing goes back in
* Very tough to do. The next thing always looks easier to handle.
* Make the decision whenever possible.
* An exception is emergency scanning - this is not actually processing, and should not be rewarded as such
* Remember - though our inclination is to deal with what is most important first, we are processing to that end.
* 2 minute rule. The goal is to get to empty as quickly as possible as accurately as possible, not to get sidetracked into items taking longer than 2 minutes.
* "Allow youself to slow down so you can speed up"
* Note your energy level that works best for processing - usually a high energy activity.
* Often takes 1-2 hours a day to process consistently. Some people need it at one time, others find it viable to do in smaller chunks.
* Discipline to know when you are stopping processing to get distracted into long activity. Sometimes this is necessary, but again is to be avoided.
* Know that at some point you WILL get to zero (until the next thing comes in)
* If you have a backlog, can be helpful to make project to get things up and running. Capture all the issues together so you can start.
V Processing Process
V What is it?
V is it actionable?
V Do it Now (2 minute rule)
* Most empowering element for many people
V Delegate It
* Should you do it, or someone else?
* Often just the project is not delegateable, but the next action is.
V Need a handoff mechanism, and tracking of the delegation
* Waiting for list. Who, When, What.
V Defer
* Move the Next Action to the appropriate list
* Trash It
V tickler it for future consideration
* can use calendar for tickler
* The Processing is simple, but complex. Give youself time to learn how best to do it for yourself and your normal projects. Eventually becomes clearer to understand
* Let yourself get into a zone, where you can roll with it. Enjoy the creativity and fun.
V Remember that you have multiple inboxes. Paper, email, voice mail.
* some good articles on the website.
* nobody does it the same way
* In email processing, an @action folder should be processed. Consider modifying the subject line.
* Using email in is a poor substitute for processing.
V Read and Review - collect these in one place
* Review and Respond can be a subtype of this and can be considered separately (editorial, approval etc)
V Project Lists
* No specific rule for how best to do it.
* Is generally good to aggregate actions into projects (bottom up) on occassion
* Important to maintain a listing of projects, obviously.
* Remember to make it a project list, not a trigger list. What does done look like?
* The importance of verbs in project lists and NA lists
* Sometimes learning what done is can be the next action
* Learn to focus on what a successful outcome is (not on what failure is!)
V Think about what you can do to ease your collect/process/organize drill.
* importance of a good workspace.
V Question Segment (skipping some q's in transcription)
V Q: When categorizing in Outlook, not sure how much detail to put in the project? Do you list all the current actions that come to mind even if they are not the next action?
* A: define the successful outcome. Then mindsweep the project, listing some of the ideas and issues. Once you've completed this, look at the items and choose the very next action. The rest retain in support materials.
* A: be careful that you don't use categories as project names. Poor Outlook design.
* A: Longer actions sometimes work well to get stuck into the hard landscape - form a commitment to that activity. But KEEP that commitment.
V Q: Some further confusion on managing tasks in outlook.
* A: moving items into next actions lists is the way to go. These may get listed in contexts, but some people don't need to have the contexts (a larger folder list)
V Q: Advice for bracketing home and office.
* A: DA likes one system that allows you to focus on the things you can do now. Somewhat a matter of personal preference. You may not need everything in the same place, but indicators of them in your system. You do your work in context.
V Q: Filing.... how do you name you folders so you can find them again
* A: Practice and familiarity - pruning the folders and using the folders regularly keeps the org fresh
* A: Focus on simplicity. What kind of car is it? Subaru? S!
V Q: Lists getting longer and longer. Some are current actionable, but some are in an indeterminate future. How to focus on the nows, and how to gain traction on the future items so they don't get stuck
* A: Make sure longer term things are actual discrete actions. Sometimes things do stay on lists for a long time.
* A: Consider giving yourself permission to spend time on these undone items that have been stuck behind 'urgent' actions (a free day, or a second-level day)
* A: Some of these may be S/M items until you can make a proper commitment