Atypically for me, I start the new year with ideas to change this and that. Then several weeks later I seem to go back to my usual habits. So recently I started reading ‘Getting Things Done by David Allen‘. Getting Things Done (or GTD) is a bit of an internet phenomenon (some might say cult). To me it’s a bit of a decision making process or discipline in order to ‘manage’ the atypical volumes of information in our lives today. Anyone who has an out of control inbox full of thousands of disorganised messages will understand that there is probably a ‘better way’.
It’s not even computer centric … so it equally applies to the masses of printouts and bills I have lying on the floor. The simplistic view of GTD is;
collect … process … organise … review … do
Like a lot of these self help books, it all seems quite obvious … but personally I find I need 1) A reason to try something new 2) evidence that something works 3) practice and discipline. There sure are a lot of sites devoted to this GTD stuff. 43folders is the first that comes to mind. But lifehacker also talks about it and I see there is even a lifehacker movie being made. The latter has a short interview with David Allen, the author of GTD. The interview is done in David’s office, so it’s interesting to see what he uses. I liked his process of throwing everything in his (physical) intray.
Of course, being the geeky type I’ve been looking into all the GTD computer programs out there. There are heaps (zenhabits has a list describing a few GTD apps) especially for the Mac. At the moment, I want to finish the book first before I start playing with any app. However, I have started looking at Mailtags for Mail.app. This adds a fair bit of extra functionality to Mail.app including the ability to attach keywords to messages. So far I haven’t done much more than install it, though lots of people swear by it (it’s odd that its about the only availble plugin app for Mail.app that does what it does)
One thing I do want from an app is some kind of hotkey functionality, so that I can note something down quickly. Often I remember something or have an idea, but otherwise don’t want to completely interrupt what I’m doing. I still find ‘paper’ is hard to beat so far as jotting something down …. but I find it so easy to ‘lose’ the piece of paper.