November 3, 2008

Managing a Someday/Maybe list with Viira

Filed under: Viira, gtd — Tags: , — dev @ 12:55 pm

A Someday/Maybe list is an important but often times overlooked feature of any solid GTD system. The list consists of all those actionable items that we want to get to at some later point but that cannot be acted upon now.

The idea is to record all the Someday/Maybe items and, while getting them out of our busy minds now, to review the list later and decide if the time to act on a particular task or idea has come or not.

The way I handle Someday/Maybe items with Viira is by using contexts. I have two contexts - a ‘Someday’ and a ‘Maybe’ - largely to keep a clean separator between things that I know I will have to get to eventually (”get going on tax return”) versus wish-list items (e.g. “learn French”).

Once I have assigned a task to the Someday or Maybe context I do not assign a project or date to that task. This effectively keeps the Someday/Maybe items cleanly separated from the other tasks in Viira. This makes intuitive sense: if a task has a due-date associated with it or is part of a larger work-in-progress project then it probably isn’t a Someday/Maybe item any more.

Once captured, the key is to do a scan of the Someday and Maybe contexts on a periodic basis - perhaps during the Weekly review. Here is a shared email to David Allen from a person who successfully leveraged his Someday/Maybe list in his GTD system and got things rolling at the right time - and was very happy that he did.

The topic of Someday/Maybe lists is a big and open-ended one and there are many tips on how to make the most of it while avoiding some of the pitfalls (like turning it into a procrastination list). Andre from Tools for Thought has posted a great article on dealing with some of the challenges and how to overcome them - an excellent read!

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