Some time ago I stumbled upon this thing, the Getting Things Done thing, aka GTD.
How do you wanna call it ? A geekish obsession ? A lifestyle idea for nerds ?
Anyway, the Hipster PDA post was pretty cool (and fun to read). I have experienced myself the pleasure of having a toy like a palm (used to have the transparent Palm IIIe, upgraded with a IIIx motherboard, then switched to a Sony Clie), only to realize it was a useless and timewasting piece of equipment, and switched back to post-it notes and my trusty old mobile (6310i) to keep the phone numbers and passwords.
Now I read all these things on GTD (I’ll give you only a link where to look at: 43folders, enough said !), and even though I’ll never plan my life according to a book, I still like some of the ideas that float around the GTD concept..
Just for the purpose of sharing, here’s a list of my tools to do the lowlevel italian implementation of GTD, let’s call it iGTnD (italian’s getting things nearly done):
- gmail: invaluable to keep my personal ife separated from my work. I always have my browser opened on gmail even when I’m in the office, so I can distinguish between work and pleasureand when I’m back home I wait 8pm (my broadband flat rate goes from 8pm to 8am), launch BitTorrent, then Safari, point to gmail, zap.
I use labels a lot: have some filters to automatically label ebay messages and emails from my best buddies, others that archive the rss feeds coming from novatorrent so I’m updated on the new torrents available; an “info” label is for messages with information on my online accounts (forums, photo.net passwords etc.), “foto” is for emails containing photographs, “banking” is for my e-banking needs, “blog” to hold the posts that Blogger automatically sends me whenever I update this site.
I then use the Drafts to keep a series of messages with to do things, blog drafts, web links to follow, and so on. To create these posts you only need to compose a new mail, leave the to-field empty, write a descriptive subject (e.g., “blog: my own gtd implementation”, or “movies to check” and then fill in the body).
- gigantic todo.txt: following something read on an O’Reilly weblog, I decided to get rid of my HTMLs, my tiddlywiki, my sticky notes, my info stored as Excel or Word documents, and get back to text files. At the same time I also deleted all the fancy power-user text editors that I was trying (Textforge, BBEdit and so on), and rely on the very basic Text Editor that is part of OS X (same thing as Notepad, for you Windows folks out there). So now I have one todo.txt to keep everything, and I’m thinking to keep information already consolidated in separate files (e.g., unix.txt for everything related to the command line, such as scripts, tricks and hints). Other useful discussion about the big-ass text file:
- mini hipster pda and assorted pieces of paper: I’ve absorbed the idea of collecting together pieces of paper with a paper clip and then tear the notes off when I’ve completed the tasks, that’s right. Since it’s difficult to get hold of the 3×5 sheets as originally suggested in 43folders, I use either a stack of my old business cards, or something similar which I usually “borrow” from my office. The good thing is to lay these papers on my table back home and “fill in the blanks” (inserisci la foto qui).
- post-it: well, difficult to get rid of these yellow things ! The grocery list is for example something that invariably comes up in my mind while at work, so I write down on a post-it which I then put into my wallet for later use.
All of this is pretty simple and straightforward stuff, but to actually read how many people are bothered by these side-issues and the way they deal with them was a little revelation and a big help to sort out my problematic approach to “do things”.