Managing Someday-Maybe's


GTD has been working well for me, but there is one problem it has mitigated, but not solved.

All the ideas for things I can't do anything about right now, but might want to do someday: the someday-maybe list. DA only ever describes it as a "list", but a list is far from sufficient for organizing and keeping track of too many things spread out over too many categories.

I'm currently playing around with a category-and-subcategory file system, where I can just stick ideas in the file for the (broad) categroy. There is no way I can review every idea in every category every week, but I'm hoping that if I can get this system set up, I can at least review all the categroies and subcategories, and only dip down to the actual ideas for those sub-categories there's a chance I'll pursue in that coming month. But I'm having trouble making the idea quite fit: the categories need to be broad enough that I don't need to re-work them every time I come up with a new idea, but not so broad as to be useless for review purposes.

This is in addition to my "pending" file, which is for someday-maybes that I'm thinking I might start in the next month or so: the ones I don't want to get lost in the morass of the larger someday maybe system.

How do you all deal with someday-maybes? Does the "list" mentioned in the book suffice, or do you have a more elaborate system? Has anyone found anything that works well?

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Some list, some not


I have had a basic list of household projects for a while now. Things like "pave a walkway to the garbage can" and the like. It's actually a fairly long list, and mostly I haven't been able to do anything about it since my kids were born nearly 2 years ago. :) It's good just as a list of things not to forget, and I generally don't think about them after I write them down in this list. At one point I added time and rough cost estimates to each, but since I'm not actually doing any of them, this doesn't really assist my decision making process.

I have a list of projects at work, some of which can't be started until something else happens. I review the list weekly alone and with my boss to consider the current status of each. This list is separate from the household list above, for practical reasons..

For personal wannas, I've had a christmas wish list for years that includes whether the idea was given to any family members and if so, when. This also is separate from the other two lists, and gets reviewed frequently from October to mid-December and then left cold for 9 months or so.

I am not really a follower of GTD (reading it now, just bought it), so I don't have any lists of personal wishes other than the ones above. Usually wish and action are closely coupled for anything I want to do--like buy a book or rearrange my files or scrapbook or whatever. So there's not really a 'pending' list there because I'm a serial projector..that is to say I have one subject that I beat to death, learn all I can about, and then drop like a stone. Then I pick up another, learn all I can, beat it to death, and drop it. I don't really think about another thing to go learn about until I'm done with the one I'm on now.

But I think, based on other people's summaries of GTD, that my various someday lists loosely correspond with the "Context" concept. There's no point in reviewing my household list when I'm in a meeting with my boss, and no point looking at the Christmas list until fall, so those are separated out so I can 'not' look at them when I don't need to.

But 'context' seems like a pretty loose concept itself. I could have a someday list with context "$1000" and separate out all the items I would like to do if I had an extra grand lying around. Or a "week" list of items that will take a week to complete. Category and subcategory would be too much detail for me at the moment because my job is not really visionary and neither is my life. I don't have so many wishes that I need to separate them that granularly. But if you've got that many wishes, more power to you.


I use 43Things--I can keep

I use 43Things--I can keep notes on my progress, print as I see fit, and get cheered on by others. :)

1 list or a page of lists

Hi Linda,

I'm also starting out with implementating a GTD approahc in my planning system.

One thing that has hit me with the Next Action & SomeDay MayBe (SDMB) lists, is that if your not careful you end-up trying to either a) try and find an item in a mega long list or b) having manage a whole heap of separate lists, and equally lose the overview.

Where i am at the moment is that I have 1 master NA list, this is an A5 piece of paper, on the front side it has 15 small @____ Lists each with 6 lines (the page has 3 of these lists across, and 5 lists down; 3x5=15). I use these mini-lists to track the most common next action contexts that I have (the empty heading "_____" lets me change these as I need to from week to week.)

On the reverse side of the page I have a @_____ Notes page where I can simply track other one-off next actions that don't fit into a standard context on the front side.

re: the SomeDay MayBe lists, intially I setup a SDMB page at the back of my weekly to-do section of my binder. What I have since found is that there are a few catagories that represent 80% of my SDMB's. So what I have done is create a seprate list or page for those main area's and then a general someday/maybe list. This has worked well for "work" (excuse the pun).

What I am thinking of doing for my personal SDMB's is to create a similar page to the Next Actions page that I described above. This time I would probably divide the A5 page into 4 separate lists (2 across , 2 down) for those "top-hitter" categories and then as ingle full page list for the reverse side of the document for every other SDMB item.

Rather than create a list of gazillion SDMB item's I'm going to try and review this list quarterly, see what is aligned with my goals and put 2-3 items in each category on my current goals list.