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Initial Capturing
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Posted: Sep 13, 2009
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For the initial capturing step, do a lot of you really just sit down and "try to" jot down every single possible task that comes to mind? I imagine that could take forever, no? I may be misunderstanding the book though.

This message was edited Sep 13, 2009.

Posted: Sep 13, 2009
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It is worth the effort. Initially it does take a number of hours and you start off with a huge list. (I had 200+ items.) Whilst it is time consuming you do get a sense of relief after you have finished. From that point on you capture things as you think of them. I have a series of notepads around the house and work. I write things down as I think of them. Put them in Toodledo either via the iPhone or online and through out the bit of paper.
Dump your thoughts first then go back and sort them into folders and add contexts.

Posted: Sep 13, 2009
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Yes and since I didn't keep up with it, I've had to do it twice and am about to do it a third time again this weekend.

For myself, I manage to have to have 400+ actions/projects but really less then half are actionable (lots of some day maybe's) and seventy five percent of the actionable items could be knocked out in a few put my nose to the grindstone months.

So then I think "I have plenty of time to get all this done" and sit back and let it all fall apart.

But the fourth, the fourth castle stayed up!


Posted: Sep 14, 2009
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This is one of the fundamentals of GTD and once you truly implement it on a consistent basis, it will make a HUGE difference.

I felt great after my initial brain dump. (Trying not to make a joke here....) OK. made it.

The important thing is to make this a habit. Not a daily habit or weekly habit, but a real time habit as much as possible. If you have the iPhone and Toodledo, you have a great way to always dump what's on your brain at any time.

If you don't have an iPhone, you can carry a small notebook, so that you can jot things down quickly. You can then toss this into your in-box and process it later.

When you have a trusted system, you know that the things you get out of your head and into this trusted system will always be addressed in your weekly reviews.

This is how you get a clear mind that no longer has a bunch of thought that you are trusting to your subconscious mind. You are able to focus better since you are not going to get interrupted by a subconscious thought.

This does not happen right away and will take some time. The more of a habit you make it, the more you trust your system, the more you trust your system, the less you rely on your subconscious mind.

When you get to the point where your subconscious mind does not contain hundreds of small thoughts, you will find that you can think clear.

I process any thought as soon as it enters my mind.

Posted: Sep 14, 2009
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Has there ever been any fear that it might develop to some sort of obsessive habit where you jot down more than you have and spend too much of your time capturing?

This message was edited Sep 14, 2009.

Posted: Sep 14, 2009
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Personally, I find that it is impossible to capture too much. It only takes a second to file something into the trash when processing, but if that thought never makes it to the inbox, it will generally keep bugging me.
I do have a problem with over-processing sometimes. For instance, I don't always know when to say, "okay that's enough to get started and as much as I really have established for this project at this point". I tend to want to flesh out every possible detail even when a lot ends up being conjecture that requires subsequent editing.

Posted: Sep 15, 2009
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Posted by johnnywheels:
Has there ever been any fear that it might develop to some sort of obsessive habit where you jot down more than you have and spend too much of your time capturing?

I don't try to always process every single possible detail. I get stuff out of my head and decide during processing, if more details are needed at that time.

Even then, I don't try to think too deeply into everything I would need, but focus more on the main points and start moving the project forward.

During the process of completing my Next Actions and moving things forward, I can always add more steps as they make themselves clear to me.

This keeps me productive and sane at the same time.

If you are the type that likes to throw as much into something as possible, you can use a mind mapping app. to help with this.

I use Mind Mapping to look at a larger project from many angles and get others involved.

Posted: Sep 15, 2009
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I think you've identified how fluid GTD really is. Very similar to what you experience, when I'm working off NA's of a project, more steps will come to light. Some of them to other projects. And I just capture them in the moment. If I have time during the day I'll process them the same as everything else in my in-boxes. However, I know I'll process them during my weekly review.

I've been a GTDer for almost 9 years. In that time I've fallen off the GTD bandwagon several times. The common denominator has always been NOT capturing everything - thinking that I'll remember it later, and doing a weekly review.

I think some people at first feel overwhelmed at the sheer number of projects and someday/maybe's they have. Several hundred for most. But I would rather manage it on paper on in electrons (Toodledo) than in my head.

I'm glad you brought up mind mapping. It has tremendous benefits and I'm teaching my son how to use it. As always, great posts on GTD.

Posted: Sep 16, 2009
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I have not heard of the GTD before, but I am a Palm Baby, thus I have always had a habit of capturing every single thing in my planner or palm. My rules in my home/office were if it isn't written down, it won't happen. Everyone I know makes sure that when they ask me to do something, they make sure I write it down.

Now that I have traded the palm for the iPhone, Toodle and GTD has been what I spent 3 months looking for to emulate what I had in my other system. During this time however, I have gotten so "'overwhelmed" trying to keep up with everything.

Thus, the gathering has been difficult since I have to find all the lost items. I have employed my daughter to go through all my desk and sewing business projects to check due dates and the like. The iPhone on my hip is not new for me and everyone is used to me stopping to notate items during the day, including shopping list, errands, quick thoughts, etc.

My next purchase will be the Notebook from appigo. I'm use to combining and sending my notes and todos to others to delegate, be it family or professionals in my line of work.

I am a Dressmaker/Designer and "projects" and Due dates are a matter of staying in business.


Posted: Sep 16, 2009
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The initial brain dump seemed like a lot of work when I first tried GTD but it's very rewarding. It took a couple hours and ideas kept coming, one after another. It was more fun than I expected. There were hundreds of Tasks by the end.

Take David's advice and just do that step on some big 8.5x11 white paper. Don't bother putting it into your notebook or computer yet. Everything has to be resorted into Projects and this can be frustrating and repetitive, especially if you start off with a nice moleskin notebook because you didn't think you'd do it twice (like me!).

This list is a bit overwhelming at first. Who wants to scan 400 reminders of your laziness just to find the Next Action? It's much more manageable as these get sorted into Projects. When I moved to digital GTD the best I could do was syncing Projects and Lists in text files between my desktop and (palm|winmo) device.

The toodledo site really shines here by letting me sort and filter my views by both Folder and Context. Now you get the choice of either the huge high-level All Tasks view or zooming in tight to the Next Action on the current Project at current Context view.

The Add multiple tasks... page is also great for the Dump session. Many times I'll stop in to record something and end up recording six or seven Tasks at a time.

The iPhone app comes into play whenever I'm away from the keyboard and makes a great Capture device. It helps me to Review my Inbox and sort Tasks into Projects while I'm on the train or idling in the lunch line.

The obsession question is important, especially after a rant like my own above :-) Don't worry about it too much if you follow the two-minute rule. If you find yourself reaching for the todo list to remember to send an email, it's probably faster to just send the email.

Posted: Sep 17, 2009
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You always feel great after a good dump....


Posted: Sep 24, 2009
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I use Launchy for gtd capturing
Found a vbs script for adding to remember the milk and converted it for use with RTM.
i stashed it here if you wanna use it.
when you add it in launchy, go to options->plugins->runner and add the script path+filename and in arguments type "$$" "$$" and in the name i use gtd, but you can use any name. the reason i use gtd is it's writable with left hand while my right hand is still on the mouse.
then type gtd, press the tab key, write the name of the item, and if you want press tab key again, and write the notes for that item.
like: <alt-space> (brings up launchy; gtd <tab> remember to call doctor <tab> order meds for pollen allergy <enter>
then it's mailed to my toodledo account.
on my toodledo account i have a search set up for "no action" and there i have all the notes i just put in, so i can assign next actions and projects.

this enables me to just have a stray thought and have it captured in a matter of seconds.
when im out and about i have a itty bitty pen and a small notepad that fits in my back pocket to write down on. when i get home i fire up the comp and write them in.

hope this helps you.

PS: I'm very sorry, but i forgot who made the initial script so I can't give props.

PPS: I know it's not directly answering your post, but I feel it's important to note stuff down as soon as you think them to free up your mind.

This message was edited Sep 24, 2009.

Posted: Sep 24, 2009
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I'm pretty sure I could write for days and days, and possibly never stop, if I recorded every single idea I have, every single way in which I'd change the world, starting with my personal self and expanding outwards to humanity in general.

I'm a broadly educated, and, it would seem, a highly opinionated person. My unedited list would include some rather ambitious projects, such as "reform Christianity" and "redesign the way we do amateur and professional sports all over the world", and "Make it possible for every neighborhood to have a pub" with all the tasks and subtasks those goals imply.

I'm only recording things I might actually do, not just things about which I like to think and opine. This also lessens the chance of looking like a delusional megalomaniac, should anyone see my complete lists. And there's still plenty of silly stuff in my someday/maybe folder.

Posted: Sep 29, 2009
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Yeah, I have perfectionist OCD, so writing EVERYTHING out would make me sit on a chair for days. I am thinking of setting a time limit on myself for the initial step and just using my iTouch as a place to dump things that just come up.
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