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GTD: My View – Thoughts on GTD and Students

GTD: My View

This is Part 3 in a series of posts on getting things done. “GTD: My View” covers how I implement GTD, specifically focusing on being a student. Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

The last post in this series received a great comment, seeking to understand more about students and GTD. I posted a reply, but I also want to highlight some more thoughts.

Students do more than class

A common thing people forget is that being a student is more than just going to class. Students must juggle a variety of demands on their time, and GTD helps accomplish this.

For example, most students are involved in some type of extracurricular activity. These usually entail responsibilities that can be managed with GTD. Maybe you have objectives to pursue as the president of a club. Perhaps you just need to buy snacks for an upcoming meeting. GTD will help with both of these!

Students are people too

On a similar note, students must perform the basic tasks required within society of all people. We need a place to live, must pay bills, maybe get a part-time job, etc.

Thus, if GTD works for non-students, why shouldn’t it help students too? There’s a certain base-line set of things that everyone has on their mind. The point of GTD is to get them off our minds, so we can focus on the task at hand and just crank widgets.

GTD can help everyone

The final point to make on this topic is that everyone can benefit from GTD. Whether your work takes you to the construction site, classroom, or office, GTD can streamline your life. That’s one beautiful part of the system!

The Series – “GTD: My View”

[tags]legal andrew, gtd[/tags]

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2 Responses to “GTD: My View – Thoughts on GTD and Students”

  1. Editor of Top Law Student
    February 18th, 2007

    Do you have any advice on the paper vs. computer dilemma for law students? I’ll explain.

    I get many e-mails and files sent to me on computer (too many to print out), which is great for doing GTD on computer. However, I also get many class handouts at school, documents at work, and letters in the mail (too many to scan into the computer) that require a paper GTD system. This resulted in two problems:

    First, it is hard to keep track of the GTD system because every time I act on a task, I have to check the paper file and computer file (an additional problem was that e-mails didn’t save well in folders on the hard drive and files that didn’t arrive in e-mail didn’t save well in Outlook, but maybe that is making this question too complex). Having to check both paper files and computer files is annoying and time consuming.

    The second problem was that the paper file system for GTD (42 folders) was more than could be stored in my school backpack. So if I used the GTD folder system, I wouldn’t have important files with me when away from home.

    Any advice? How do you handle this dilemma? Thanks.

  2. Andrew Flusche
    February 18th, 2007

    You bring up some very good points. Here’s a couple of my opinions on these matters:

    The main thing that comes to mind is the distinction between a GTD system and project materials. In my mind, GTD lists are an index of things I need to do. Many of those tasks require other materials & tools to accomplish them, such as papers, computer files, a vacuum, etc. But the materials are stored separately from the GTD lists.

    With that said, we all still need an organized way to keep up with supporting materials. This is where a simple filing cabinet comes in. Follow David’s advice and put things in files, ordered alphabetically, and you’ll always know where that document went. For digital files, a powerful desktop search (such as Google Desktop) can solve the problem.

    My own method is to file papers away as soon as possible, then get them back out when needed. Fortunately, I don’t have lots of paper crossing my desk these days, so that definitely helps.

    As for portability concerns, that’s a whole separate issue (in my mind). But I suppose that will influence the system you select to handle your project support materials and your GTD lists. However, my big question here is whether you actually have papers that you routinely need at school? Perhaps you need a 3-ring binder for class handouts. This is portable and easily organized. You’ll always know that class materials are in there. Other school docs (such as admin stuff, billing, financial aid, loans) would probably be fine left at home in the filing cabinet, right?

    I might be way off base from your real questions here. If so, please let me know. I’m curious what you think of all this.

    Thanks for commenting,

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