Sunday, June 04, 2006

Doing GTD

It's been a while since I wrote.

I've actually been doing what's in Getting Things Done. I started reading the book around Christmas and, ironically, it had been one of the things I couldn't get done. I put the book aside when it started to explain the high-level view of how to get organized. That would have been fine if I had known that we would get into specifics in later chapters.

When I finished the book, I knew what to do but there were 2 things I needed:
  1. to reread the appropriate sections
  2. to set aside a whole day to do my inventory
That's what I did. And I thought it was pretty painful. :)

I went around my apartment and my car writing down every single thing that needed doing. I tried not to "limit" my brainstorming, I wrote everything that sprung to mind. It took me 2-3 hours and I collected ~200 items.

At that point, I sat down and went completely through my "inbox". I decided on using plain .txt files and managing them with a TextMate (of RoR fame) project. Incidentally, I could go on and on about how great TextMate is, but that's not the subject of today's post.

I ended up dividing my items into the following files:
  • waiting for
  • agendas
  • at home
  • car
  • errands
  • phone
  • read/review
  • research
  • projects
  • someday
Tomorrow I'm doing my first weekly review and I might reorganize some of the categories. For example, "research" and "at home" are messy right now and might turn into "at computer" and "at home" when I'm done cleaning them up. I understand the need to "work" with the system a bit and iteratively make things better - I won't get it perfect the first time around. Consequently, I accept to live in my imperfect system.

I can testify that after you start using the system, your brain starts to trust it. But it doesn't happen instantly either... You keep checking your lists to see if you are not forgetting anything. Then you start realizing that some lists don't need you to check them constantly. Especially if you divided your actions appropriately.

Things that I want to address are:
  • time required
  • energy needed
I already have "context" taken care of. Maybe I also want to puts "tags" on my items. We'll see... that might require something more complicated than my current setup , and it might not be worth it.


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