Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

ZTD- Questions for ALL &Journey!

Hi Journey!

I read about the work you've done on building habits!

"So far, I have built the habits of 1) collecting all my to-dos in a trusted system "

Can you tell me more about the "trusted system" that has worked for you? I get lost with lists and tools. I have read the ZTD stuff on the ubiquitous capture and the simple trusted system including the context lists. I guess I do the capture of info but then don't know how or where to get organized in a SIMPLE way for the context lists and/or action list. What do you use in your daily life?




I'm considering using ZTD but have only half-read about it.

What are your thoughts on it compared to GTD. Are there significant benefits? Any drawbacks against the original GTD system?

re: ZTD vs GTD

Here's a link to the blog post that answers all your questions!


"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." 

re: question for Journey

(Journey blushes becomingly at being asked for advice)  

I use Action Outline from

It's not free, but it's cheap.  This is where I keep all of my lists and my lists of lists lol.  Every couple of weeks, I export it and email it to myself so I always have a backup, and I can read it from home, or on the blackberry.    Anything that's not on my daily list goes in Action Outline.  

On work days, I make my daily list using Outlook Task Manager, and on non-work days I just use paper.  The thing that has helped me the MOST though, is every day start anew with a brand new list JUST FOR TODAY.   Everything else goes into Action Outline.

Any tool would work, though, if you make a commitment to use it consistently.  A notebook would even work, if you make photocopies once in a while.  If it's not backed up, then you can't really trust it to be there when you need it.

It took me a couple of months to really make this a habit, but it really helped to get all that "stuff" out of my head and into AO.


Sign in a gift shop window: "Unattended Children will be given a Cup of Expresso and a Free Puppy"


I'm an action outline fan too!

I love that program!

I mainly use it for taking notes on magazine projects. I'll create an AO for the project and then list all the potential contacts, each as separate entries. I love the check off and flagging options.

But I also use Outlook, and when I use it conscientiously find it really helps.

I'd love to know more about how you move between Outlook Task list and AO.

Never mind, I see you address that below. I'm going to print out your description and read it over!

More ? on ZTD for ALL & Journey!!

Thanks for this great info...I checked out the link but I think that I am more a paper person so this may not be the best tool for me. I agree though that anything would work as long as I use it consistently which is the problem for me! Ha!!

I had not thought about the importance of keeping a copy...thanks.

I am wondering though how you go through your multiple lists to make a Today list. Doesn't this take forever every time? Also, in your system, is there a difference between your lists and action items? I hope I am making sense here!

In the past, I have made lists but then never really looked at them to take action so am trying to avoid same trap. What do you think about the context lists that ZTD or GTD talk about?

How to keep it simple yet functional and how do I avoid getting lost in these context lists / action lists?

Thanks a all and Journey! 


re: ZTD/Action Lists/GTD, etc.

I never quite got the concept of Action Lists so I don't use them.  Does anyone else use the GTD Action List?

I have found that now all my myriad lists are in one place, I spend much less time keeping up with them and reviewing them.  I love my lists, and I used to spend a lot of time on them!  

Everyone has to figure out what works best for them, of course, but here's what I do in my 20-min. daily "getting started" time:

1.  Do a "mind sweep" of all todos, ideas, etc. that are in my head.  I do this on paper in my notebook/journal.

2.  Check my calendar and work email.

3.  Check yesterday's task list.  Cross off, reschedule for today, or move to AO (Action Outline).  I'm brutal about this part.  If it's not planned for today, it's gone.  This is a critical step for me.  Otherwise, I get bogged down thinking about things that should have been done in the past, or that need to be done in the future. 

4.  Prioritize today's task list and choose the top 3 most important tasks.  Those are my MITs.   If I do them all, I feel successful!   I do other stuff, of course, but if those top three are done, I'm golden.  Even if I have a bad day and only do MIT #1, at least I know it was the most important thing. 

5.  After that, the daily task list is my working tool.  Anything I think of during the day goes on the end of today's list no matter how trivial.   Tomorrow morning it will get prioritized, moved, or deleted.  If I don't have access to my list, I email my work email from my cell phone.  I check my work email daily, even on weekends, so that makes a good central capture point.

My AO is a jumbled up, disorganized, messy bunch of lists, and a master list of lists.  I have headings called:  Daily, Weekly, Work Short Term, Work Long Term, Personal Short Term, Personal Long Term, Goals, Books to Read, Wish List, Speech Ideas, Someday/Maybe, etc., etc.,  As I'm moving stuff from the daily list to AO, I organize it a bit, but I find I don't need it to be super-organized as long as I know everything is there somewhere.  And backed up.  

I don't usually go to AO to find tasks that need to be done, although I do occasionally find things that I had forgotten about.  I usually know what needs to be done today wothout even looking at the "big list", but it is very comforting and freeing to know that everything is there just in case. 

Now, I do NOT mean to imply that I do this every day perfectly!  I fall off of every one of these wagons here and there, and I have some supremely unproductive days.  But I am much better than I was a year ago, when I joined this forum.  

I hope some of these ideas help you!  Take what you need, and leave the rest. 


Sign in a gift shop window: "Unattended Children will be given a Cup of Expresso and a Free Puppy"

One question RE Action Outline

Do you use multiple files or a single file?


RE: One question re Action Outline

Sorry George!  I just now saw your question.  Glad to find another happy user of the green parrott!

I use just one AO that has everything in it.  It has big "categories" like WORK, PERSONAL, and MISC LISTS and then all the other lists go underneath those categories.

I signed up to beta test the new version which is supposed to have some networking capability.  It would be nice to be able to access the same AO from home and work computers, without having to remember to make a copy.   For now, I only update it on the work computer and then send a copy to my blackberry and my home computer.  I don't really have to refer to it all that much, but knowing it's there really gives me peace of mind. 


"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." 

PS. about action outline

Oh yeah, and if I'm actually working on a document or a speech outline, I do make a separate file.  It's an excellent tool for me to to outline the big ideas and then go back and fill in the details.  Guess that's why they call it Action OUTLINE hehe.

It's just such a great tool.  I can't say enough good things about it :)

I use Outlook Task Manager too on work days.  On non-work days I just use paper most of the time. 


"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." 

Big thxs to Journey!!

Happy Tuesday Journey!

Thank you soooo much for your response. This was exactly what I needed. A detailed example of how someone else does it daily! Also, somehow, what you describe really hits home for me in terms of the way I function with my paper/clutter issues and eternal LISTS lol!!!

Thanks for taking the time.


you're welcome takeachance

My ex used to call me "Miss List"

Sign in a gift shop window: "Unattended Children will be given a Cup of Expresso and a Free Puppy"

too-long to-do list, again

this is good stuff.

Unfortonately, for me, no list mechanism online or paper or otherwise has ever become the 'trusted' list for me, because they all grow to enormous proportions and then i have either:

spend hours sifting/organizing them


ignore them.

And if i ignore them, and i know that i'm going to ignore them, then i dont get that feeling that they're "somewhere safe". Because i'm still going to lose track of them.

This is one of my biggest problems these days.

So, how am i getting by? Well, with the idea of progress and not perfection, i just suffer the pain of letting all those 100s of tasks go. I just turn them over to HP. That's HP's problem, because i can't do it. And i trust HP to take care of it.

I work similar to Jo, in that most of my MITs come out of my brain that day, or last few days. Most of the tasks that are a few days old are lost to the too-long to-do list.

I hope to have a soln for this someday, but for now, i'm just stumbling along.

Which, of course, is huge progress because the fear of losing tasks has often been debilitating in my life.

letting go and one more very important daily step!

Clem said "letting all those 100s of tasks go"  oooh, that's hard to do!  I still think I can do everything, someday.   I know it's not really true, but I satisfy myself by setting priorities and doing the most important things.  All those hundreds of things are still on the big list though lol. 

But somehow, having the big list and knowing where it is and that everything is there, allows me to forget all that stuff and concentrate on the things that I have chosen to do today.

And this reminds me of a BIG STEP that I left out when describing my daily ritual to Take:  As I contemplate what I have planned for today, I ask HP for help, support, and guidance so I can do the right things at the right time today.  I can't say enough about how much this helps.    


"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." - Douglas Adams