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Six things from GTD

Well, it’s been just over three months since I read Getting Things Done by David Allen. Some things have worked, some things just aren’t for me. Part of the why is how I function, which is usually isn’t particularly detail oriented. Part of it is just how my life is right now. I don’t have to go sit at a desk everyday, and being underemployed most every day is different. (The ability to take off and spend a half day at Big White or SilverStar is awesome…) Anyways, here are six things I’ve learned from GTD. 1. The basic GTD-style workspace is awesome. I made a desk from an old piece of countertop and two sawhorses. On the left is a spike for receipts and two trays (an inbox and a ‘to read’). On the right is a stack of index cards, a cup full of writing instruments, post-it’s, a date-stamp, and other desk-like things. Behind the desk is an old cubicle panel which is serving as my cork-board. I like to have a place to stick things. 2. For me a tickler file is useless. I think it will be used more often when I’m doing more, but for now it’s collecting dust. If I need to diarize something I make an appointment in Outlook (which I synch to my phone and to Google Calendar) and include a note for where any associated materials are (tickets, readings, notes). 3. The basic processing workflow is great for me. When I sit down to do a review, this is a great way to empty my brain. It’s as close as a muggle like me can get to having a pensive. 4. I have to print out my tasks from outlook, sorted by category. I assign categories like "home" or "computer" or "phone call" so I am more apt to actually get some of the next-actions done. 5. 43 Folders is a great resource, and links to some great resources. I’ve started a cycle of increasing the relevant things I read, and then simplifying them so I’m sticking to important/relevant/useful things. (My del.icio.us is a little bit like my virtual inbox, and I use Google Reader to keep track of things like blogs and some news feeds.) 6. Using an idea from Merlin Mann (and 43Folders), I’ve taken to carrying around a Hipster PDA. Trying to unpack as many tools as possible from the GTD toolkit has been an enlightening experience. If nothing else, I’ve become more creative, more task-oriented, and better able to keep track of the details. My calendar continutes to be my lifeline, and I’m going to end up getting a real PDA eventually…..but I think I’ll wait until the iPhone comes out.

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