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Times When Tracks Does Not Work

I previously wrote about how Getting Things Done (GTD) and Tracks have been useful in keeping organised at work. When GTD is working, things generally feel good. Even when there is a high workload, there is also a sense of control.

There are a couple of areas when I tend to 'fall off' and let things get out of control.

Overloaded during shutdowns

During a unit shutdown/maintanance period, I spend most of my time away from my computer so am unable to enter tasks. Also during a shutdown, I have a very high number of small tasks constantly coming in.

During the last shutdown, my method was to accept that I was going to have to use paper but to avoid my normal problems with paper systems.

  • I carried an A6 notebook around in my pocket at all times.
  • The front was for general notes/working
  • The back was for tasks.
  • At the start of each day, I would review the active todos (from both the paper book and tracks)
  • I would write down the active todos that had (or at least could) be done that day in the back of the book.
  • During the day I would score off any completed tasks and add new tasks at the bottom.
  • At the end of the day, any incomplete todos would be sorted:
  • Any todos that were for a future day would be copied into tracks and deferred
  • Any that were still active were copied onto the next page
  • The old page was then ripped out so the active todo's were always on the back page.

This got around my main problems with paper systems: - Handwritten notes never lasted more than 24 hours - They had to get rewritten at the end of each day. - This meant I could always read/remember what I meant - Kept organised - The old stuff is always getting ripped out - Kept what I was actively working on clear.

Underloaded during quiet times

During quiet periods (over holidays etc when the office is quiet) the problem can often be that it is too quiet and I only have one or two tasks to worry about. The problem arises when I don't bother to use the system because 'it is so quiet, of course I can remember to carry out that task'. Inevitably I then forget about said task until it is overdue and someone is asking why I haven't done it yet.

I need to trust the system and keep using it even in quiet periods to ensure that I am actually working on the most important task at each time.

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