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Submitted by peterungvari on



This is my first comment here. I'm a 23-year-old entrepreneur from Hungary. Although not yet a manager, Manager Tools has a huge impact on my professional life. Thank you for all the extremely useful advice.

My question: you stated several times that you love David Allen's GTD methodology. I love (and use) it too and found it very helpful. However, he says that the only items that should be on your calendar are the ones that cannot happen anytime else. Appointments, meetings, but certainly not tasks. You seem to disagree with this.

What's the thinking behind this advice? Is there anything we should consider from it?

Thank you,

jazzlover's picture

If you don't plot a time to accomplish a task, one's time tends to get eaten up with other people's priorities rather than one's own. Or with email. 

I also found it difficult to remember to bounce over to Outlook's task manager from my calendar to remember stuff I've gotta get done. So I keep tasks in my calendar, since it's where I look to keep track of my commitments. 

Hope you find this helpful. 

williamelledgepe's picture
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What I have found to be effective is not putting "tasks" on my calendar, rather putting "priorities" on my calendar.  It's a bit of a semantic argument - but follow me on this for a minute.

I have a number of mere "tasks" that I do, but don't put on my calendar: review draft contracts, make sure funding in place for XYZ project, signing invoices, responding to the latest union complaint, etc.  These do not go on my calendar.  

What I do put on my calendar is "priorities."  In my case I have two priorities: 1) deliver design of water/sewer projects, and 2) advance technical standards.  Each of those "priorities" has "sub-things" needed to push that priority forward.  At the beginning of each week I figure out what the next "sub-thing" is to push the priority and put those "sub-things" on my calendar for the week.  You can call the sub-things "tasks" if you want, but I call them "priorities" and put them on my calendar.  

As Obi-Wan Kenobi said, "A great many truths depend on our perspective." I don't call them tasks; I call them priorities.  Perhaps it is no more than a semantic argument, but the difference is important to me.  It also makes me more effective.  

To square it with David Allen: If I don't schedule the priority task will get interrupted with a lesser tasks.  Can it happen any other time?  Yes.  Will it happen any other thim?  No.  If you'll allow me to get persnickety - O3s can happen any other time - but they go on my calendar because they involve other people and they are a priority.  I'm not a pure GTD disciple, but I do like it and use it.  Instead of saying, "cannot happen anytime else" I say "won't happen anytime else."  

I also like Seven Habits (again, not a pure disciple, but I use it).  I make sure Quadrant 1 of the Eisenhower Square (important, but not urgent) is on my calendar despite the fact that by definition it is not urgent and can be done anytime.  I know it won't get done, unless I schedule - so I schedule it.  

PorfirioLJones's picture

I totally agree with the above comment. I too found setting priorities has more effect than setting tasks. What do you need to complete at the earliest moment? That is what you need to be aware. 

G3's picture

It appears that they David Allen Co may go into more detail about tasks and calendars in other channels then the GTD book (podcasts, one on one coaching, and their forum). They may answered this question on their forum. I found a related post, here:

peterungvari's picture
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Thank you for all your answers, especially for @williamelledgepe's clarification between tasks and priorities.

I heard this advice during an official, certified GTD training. However, the trainer did not explain it very well. Thank you for your comment, @MidCM33.

I started logging my priorities in my calendar and it works like a charm.