Zen to done: 2nd weekly review


So I owe you another post on my Zen to Done experiences of the last week. Well, what to say? There is some positive news as well as some negative news.

So let’s start with the positive ones.

Positive experiences

I finally pushed myself on working on the processing. And it is not only me that is pushing me. My girlfriend also starts telling me to do it, and also looks at me reproachful. Still I haven’t managed to empty my physical inbox yet. Although I really improved – I guess it’s about 20% left of what was in there at first.

Still that is only one inbox, that shouldn’t be forgotten. Another positive news is that I finally started working on my mail box at work. I guess I just eliminated approx. 500 Mails. They where not only in the inbox, but also in a lot of subdirectories that I used to sort mails automatically into (with the help of rules) – which actually is a quite bad habit. You shouldn’t get started with it, because not always a mail get’s into the directory it should. So whenever you get something wrong, you’ll start moving them by hand, and then fine-tune the rule set. You can manage to get a pretty neat rule set, something to be proud of (at least I was 😉 ) – but on the other hand you spend a lot of time with it, and instead of having one directory to check for new mails, you’ll end up checking ten of them. So do it by hand if you have to, or else, just throw it way. I also eliminated a lot of directories there. I guess I had about 30. Now there are only 5 left – 3 of them I still want to get rid of.

I decided to save my mails as text version (ASCII TXT file) in the corresponding project/reference directory. Or delete it. Just one directory will be left in Outlook – that’s the “private” one, for private mails.
And then there is “todo” for mails with tasks in them, that still need to be processed – or for mails I want to

All in all pretty much that I archived here – I am pretty proud of myself. Now I just need to make sure, that I keep going on. The problem is that I am not pretty good in that, take this week for example: there are about 11 new mails in the inbox. Some of them are still from last week. I read them (usually as soon as they arrive), but then I leave them where they are – which shouldn’t happen.

Negative experiences

Negative experiences I made:
First of all, the processing step isn’t working as smooth as it should. I know, taking out one thing after another, right as they are ordered (LIFO method), deciding what to do and then do it.

But still I have some problems. First of all, I have a lot of bits and bytes as information. Say little articles form a newspaper, little flyers, etc. Everything’s stuff that you can’t really decide what to do with. E.g. I found some flyers from a medieval market I went to. Actually it’s interesting information. It contains a list of the next markets and events that will take place throughout Germany. Besides little advertisements for more or less interesting stuff there’s also some information on bands (some of them I don’t know yet). All in all it is stuff I would like to go through every now or then, but it is not worth to e.g. create a new folder in the Classei system. Not only that the information is only valuable for some months and then goes to the dustbin anyway – I will also only look into my reference system when I search for something specific. Get the information into my digital calendar? Where should I take the time from to do this? Leave it on my desk? It will be the start of new piles growing there, and I do not want that to happen.

So what to do with such kind of information?
Until now those kinds of things let me to just disregard the rule of LIFO – if I saw one of these things coming, I just took the next one… Something that shouldn’t have happened. Right now I am trying to find a solution for such problems. So if you have any suggestions, please tell me 🙂

Then, I made the experience that GTD is perfect, if you actually do it. All the notes taking, all the context lists, all the other things are for… if you don’t keep on doing them.

I had a really bad incident. Actually it was all settled beforehand, but to make everything sure, I just wanted to do a double check. I wrote it down into my Moleskine – some weeks ago. Actually it was there even longer, since a month. I didn’t do it, and finally I transferred the point to a new point, as it was the last thing that wasn’t crossed out on that page.

Now it’s too late, the thing started and totally backfired. And all there was to secure it, was to write a single little mail. It was an approx. 5 minutes task, low mental and physical requirements (to speak in the categories of ThinkingRock). And I blew it.

My conclusion for the week

Concentrating on one thing is a fine thing. I realize that it is important for me, as otherwise I won’t get into the habits, and nothing will ever change. Still on the other hand there is the problem that you might overemphasize that certain point you are working at, pushing all the other things (that are not less important!) into the background. And that is quite dangerous – and was one reason why until now I hesitated

The second thing: I really need to stay focused while processing. And I really need to learn to process my things fast. Faster. I just need to long, and that’s not the sense of it. So it is: fast decisions, less distractions, and really do it.

I’ll definitely need to further concentrate on this step, even in the next month. But luckily next month’s task will be one, which will mostly take place at the evenings of a day, as well as every week.

Forecast for the next week

I’ll definitely finish processing my mailbox at work, as well as my inbox at home – both as soon as possible – which could actually mean today. Then I’ll focus on keeping them empty, while processing the next inboxes – that are: private mailboxes, Digital inboxes, superbook & moleskine and the bookmarks.
I hope that I’ll manage all of that during the next week. I’ll try to keep on working at least one hour every day on it. And then there’s the month to come.

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