Just a little observation: I’ve been working on a spare-time project for a while that, while involving a lot of coding, is relatively focused on learning / research (of a sort – certainly not professional research).
On any given day there are a lot of things I could do, and since it’s all new ground, at least to me, it’s hard to know what will yield results and what won’t.
I’ve found at some point I ended up making new daily to-do lists every day I work on the project, without necessarily referring all that much to previous days’ to-dos. Things often change every day, so I just start a new list from what’s in my head right then. Often I’ll go back and pull out old ideas from previous days’ lists (I keep a journal of them in an org-mode file) – but I don’t do that routinely, and I don’t try to avoid “letting things fall through the cracks” – because, since this is about exploring and learning, that’s just not a problem I need to solve.
This seems to have been working well for me for this project, though I don’t apply it to other things. Of course I used to work this way in the past with everything, making little paper lists, before I discovered GTD and org mode, and I fall back to that when I periodically, still, lose my “GTD cleanliness” – but in this case it’s turned into a deliberate decision. In particular it helps me spend a bit of time every day thinking what direction I should be going in rather than just dumbly heading in the same direction as yesterday.
Anybody else work like that?