Getting Things Done (GTD)
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Getting Things Done with KnowledgeWorkshop

This note describes how you can 

  • organize your "to do" items, and eliminate a major source of stress
  • determine what you need to do next
  • avoid forgetting about tasks that you could easily have done
  • work efficiently


1. Organize your "To do" Items

We generate a lot of ongoing stress for ourselves by trying to remember so many things that we have to do, and punishing ourselves when we forget things we should have done, and have disappointed others.

KnowledgeWorkshop offers you a way to eliminate this stress. Enter your to-do lists into KnowledgeWorkshop, and then don't worry about forgetting them.


With KnowledgeWorkshop, you can separate personal and work related tasks. The sample knodule contains "Personal" and "Work" folders for this purpose. Within each folder you can create subfolders to represent your projects. Inside these project folders you can create your tasks.

Tasks which do not belong to any project can be placed in a "Miscellaneous" folder.

For example:


Personal (folder)

    |_________ Plan a holiday (folder)

    |                         |

    |                         |          (Tasks)

    |                         |____ Choose a destination

    |                         |____ Identify interesting places to visit

    |                         |____ Book accommodation

    |                         |____ Reserve flights

    |                         |____ Book car hire

    |

    |

    |_________ Miscellaneous (folder)


Work

    |_________ Work Project 1

    |                         |

    |                         |____ Task wp1.1

    |                         |____ Task wp1.2

    |

    |

    |_________ Work Project 2

                              |

                              |____ Task wp2.1

                              |____ Task wp2.2


To create a subfolder, right click on a parent folder and select New  Folder, and then name it.

To create a task, right click on a parent item and select New  Task, name it, open it and fill in its properties (start and finish date, priority etc.)


As you think about how you will do your projects, you will break the work up into tasks. As you identify new tasks (or action items) create tasks for them in the appropriate folder.


Tasks which are not urgent, that you may do someday can be recorded in the "Someday/Maybe" folder so you don't forget them.


2. Determine What You Need to do Next

2.1 Review

It is recommended that you review your task lists once a week. Mark as completed the tasks which have been finished, and update the status, start & finish dates and priority if needed. Completed tasks will be shown as greyed-out and struck-through. You can delete these when they are no longer required, or you can move them to an archive folder should you wish to access them again for reporting or annual appraisal purposes.


2.2 Using Keywords and Searches

Items stored in KnowledgeWorkshop, including tasks, can be assigned keywords. These can be used to filter tasks, so that you can easily see what work tasks you should be doing next, for example, or if out about town, what shopping you have to do. As part of the Getting Things Done sample items, you will find some Searches named: @errand, @home, @phone, @work, @work high priority, etc. These are used to show you the next actions to do.


They rely on you setting appropriate keywords for your tasks:

The @errand keyword indicates that the task can be performed while in town.

The @home keyword indicates that this task is to be done at home.

The @phone keyword indicates that this task involves making a phone call.

The @work keyword indicates that this task is to be done while at work


They typically indicate a location where the task is to be performed. They help optimize your time by enabling you to easily see all the tasks you have to perform while at that "location".


Assigning keywords can be done in two ways:

1. Right click the task and select Properties from the pop-up menu. Select the "keywords" tab, and add the keywords.

2. Ensure that the split-view window is showing (by clicking the "Hide/Show Split-view"  tool from the tool-bar, or View  Split-view Position  Bottom from the main menu.). From the split-view window, click the "Keywords"  tab. This shows the keywords for the selected item in the navigation tree or task list.

Note: You can copy and paste keywords from the keyword list for one item to that of another.


Once the keywords have been assigned, you can use the Search Items to view you next action tasks by location. Double-click the @home item, and run the search. The results show the next tasks to be performed at home.

The @work search shows the next tasks to be done at work which are due now or due to finish within the next 30 days.

The "@work high priority" is similar to the previous one, however it looks at tasks which are due now or due to finish in the next 7 days and are marked with high or very high priority.


These searches can be customized by editing the search criteria on the advanced search form which is shown when you open the search, and of course, you can create your own. Note that in the search criteria list, "AND" takes precedence over "OR". You can add parenthesized sub-expressions if required.


3. Avoid forgetting about tasks that you could easily have done

Has it ever happened that you get home from a few hours in town only to realize that there was one more thing you could have done or picked-up while there (and now it will have to wait, or you'll have to waste time making another trip?) By using the task organization and searching capability of KnowledgeWorkshop you can avoid this situation. It takes just a few seconds to create a task and assign it the "@errand" keyword. Before going to town, run the "@errand" search, print out the results and you can relax knowing that you haven't forgotten anything.

    

4. Work Efficiently

In addition to task management, KnowledgeWorkshop also enables you to organize information resources related to those tasks. You can store or reference project documents, web pages, notes and e-mails related to your tasks right beside them in your KnowledgeWorkshop navigation tree. When you set to work on a task you don't have to waste time looking for this information on your computer or on the internet.Drag in files and web pages as needed, and they'll be there for you, where you want them, when you next need to refer to them.


For more advanced users, templates can be used for task creation, which automatically assign chosen keywords to the new tasks (e.g. "@work"). To do this, create a task in the "Templates" subfolder of  the "Administration" folder. Call it "@work template", for example, and assign it keyword "@work".

Then, when you next require a workplace task, right click on the parent item and from the popup menu choose New  Item from template  @work template. You could also consider adding a project-specific keyword for tasks (e.g. a project name or code), and producing project specific Search Items, and producing project-specific templates.


If you delegate a task to someone else, you can enter his/her name as the owner of the task (in the Task properties dialog), and make a Search Item to produce a list their tasks (see the @George Search Item as an example of this). In a work situation where there can be many such delegated tasks, it can be very useful to be able to produce, for example, a list of George's tasks before you go to have a status meeting with him.


In Conclusion

KnowledgeWorkshop's ability to manage a wide variety of information resources, as well as its support for tasks, keywords and Search Items enables users to be productive and efficient in ways which other more narrowly focused software applications would allow. If you are interested in applying the "Getting Things Done" principles, promoted by David Allen, and described by various references (e.g. http://www.davidco.com and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_Things_Done ) then KnowledgeWorkshop is ready to provide the support to make the process successful and rewarding for you.

The sample items knodule which comes with KnowledgeWorkshop contains a folder structure to support the GTD methodology. It contains some sample tasks and advanced searches as described above. This is also available as a separate knodule for download from GTD Knodule.

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