Getting more Things Done

It was about a month ago when I bought the Getting Things Done book and began trying to implement it as an overall productivity system.

And I’ve gotta say – it’s working out pretty damned well. I’m certainly not any sort of crazy program evangelist, or going to start a productivity blog, but for my personal needs (getting stuff out of my head that’s driving me crazy, getting things done, keeping track of the bajillion balls I generally have in the air all at once), it’s working out pretty well.

Plusses so far:

I achieve inbox zero at least weekly. If not at zero, it’s at around 30 messages. A lot of this is because I’m already a neurotic email archiver, and I also purchased the GTD Outlook plugin to manage emails and tasks.

I’ve stopped worrying about forgetting things. I do still think of things at moments when I’m ill equipped to do anything about them (mostly in the shower), but those thoughts are usually followed up by “oh, right, it’s already on the list.”

With a portable file system to separate and hold items that are In, for Home, for Office, to Read/Review or are Action Support (all GTD file name suggestions) for the project I’m traveling for, dealing with things on the road and once I’m back now take a fraction of the time (and crazy-making brain real-estate) that they used to.

The Minuses:

It’s still difficult, and occasionally frustrating, to think of things in terms of the “Next Action.” I will often procrastinate processing my inbox because of this.

Overall though, I think it worked so well for me because I’m already a list and calendar person.

I kept lists of ongoing projects and tend to live and die by my calendar (outlook on my computer and my smartphone). Implementing GTD just expanded that particular tendency and helped me with a mechanism to put all the tasks associated with projects in appropriate places so I wasn’t thinking of and trying to remember them at inopportune times.

Next Steps:

Finding a good mobile solution to integrate with everything else. I tried Jott, but am not really keen on phoning in my random to-do list while I’m on the bus, etc. Next try is Remember the Milk which (if you get the paid version) syncs with Outlook tasks.

I also definitely need to work harder on my home solution. Part of the delay is the lack of storage in the office (which will be remedied by the end of August) for files, etc. And also just the time to be home and really get into it. I’m sure it’ll all come together soon.

In the meantime, I’m pretty happy with GTD as a system. Has anyone else’s experience been similar? Drastically different?

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3 thoughts on “Getting more Things Done

  1. bobvis

    If you don’t mind, what tools do you use for capturing things, e.g. next actions? Are you using a Palm? I think I mentioned before that I’m trying the Hipster PDA, which works great, as long as I don’t forget to put both it and a pen in my pocket!

  2. peechie Post author

    At the office I use the tasks app in my outlook calendar. On the go I use a Windows Mobile 6.0 Smartphone (HTC S621 if you’re super curious). I’m planning on getting an iPhone in the next couple months.

    Also, I’m trying to use remember the milk mobile, but I often scribble stuff down on napkins or scraps of paper while I’m out and dump them in my inbox when I return. (I have asked more people to borrow a pen now than I can count).

  3. Sue

    I’ve done the “collecting” stage for my office, but it has yet to be done at home which is creating stress for me because the home is SUCH an organizational black hole. I’m interesting in this GTD Outlook plugin… I’ll have to check that out. I tried Xobni but it just slowed down Outlook and did a bunch of really obnoxious things like tried to email a previous client to tell them they are the 16th fastest person to respond to me. Like they need to know that. From my email program. Not.

    My next step is trying to work on a general reference system that I like (I know DA recommends just plain file folders with a labeller, but I am a hanging file aficionado, and I also like things in sheet protectors in a binder).

    In my collecting stage at the office I went through a whole notepad of Directis stationery – that’s 50 pages – just trying to empty my head. And I don’t even have any projects really right now. That’s pretty daunting. I’m kind of scared to move into “processing”.

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