Tuesday, August 23, 2016

GTD Update #3 - Collection and Context

I keep telling myself that once I get the GTD system set up that things will get better.  But for now - I'm feeling SO overwhelmed - and STUPID!

The thing is . . . I have ADHD . . . sorting actions into categories is something I struggle with.  I don't mind filing (ok - I mind a little) but I HATE trying to decide where to file something.  For example, stuff for my car could go under


So sorting things into contexts is like filing but on steroids.  And it's stressing me out.

I spent yesterday going through all my stuff and doing a real brain dump - the kind David Allen talks about in his book. Before I was doing the brain dump and collection process halfway and that's the kind of results I got.

So I decided to do it right.  I set aside the afternoon and went through all my emails, text messages, stacks of paper and notes in my phone.  I couldn't bring myself to use a piece of paper per item, as David Allen suggests, so instead I used some card stock I had and made a bunch of cards (8 per sheet) and wrote actions on those.  Here's the completed stack:

I've been trying to sort them into categories but I keep getting frustrated and giving up.  Some of them are easy - like waiting for, errands, calls or agendas but others are tough..

To further complicate matters, I'm a full-time homemaker so some of the standard contexts don't quite work for me or sync with the way I function.

So that's where I am at the moment - deciding what contexts work for me and then sorting my tasks into those contexts.

I'll be back when I get this sorted out.  Until then . . .


  1. Can you have very few, but very broad contexts so that you won't be paralysed with indecision when you have to assign a context because you won't have very many to choose from. For example: @home @errands @computer @phone. That way car/automobile/jeep can only fall under one of four contexts. @errands if you're taking it in for service, @phone if you need to book a service appt, etc.

    1. That's a good idea and one I'm probably going to have to implement in order to move forward.

  2. Do you really need contexts? Ok, maybe the home, errands thing makes sense, but too much more I don't think so. What if you don't do exactly the GTD?
    (When I saw your cards, I almost got laughing. I made yesterday also cards hihi :D Other thing that you, but... I will make a video today.)

  3. Errand, Computer, Phone - make sense for me.

    Everything else is one list.

    When I was a full-time lawyer, things were different. Court, school, office, home, errands...the list was long.

  4. Even though you're not as busy, your Franklin Covey system looked like it worked for you for years. Is there a reason why you just won't stick with the day on 2 pages? Reading this post I sense nothing but stress trying to force yourself into a new system. If it's causing this much stress already and you haven't set it up yet, then maybe ask yourself if this really IS the right system for you. Your prior post stated that you spent almost the entire year switching planners. It seems the FC system was your comfort zone as I've seen in some of your videos (which I'd wish you'd do more of - not a lot of videos out there on basic functional planning) Bottom line - if you're forcing this to work, but it's causing you stress, then don't fight it and go back to what does.

  5. I use very few contexts. I have Home, Office and Errands. That's it. GTD is a great system, but is can be easy to overcomplicate it. I took the ideas from it, and simplified it for my own life. Good luck!