One of the feeds I subscribe to made a mention of a system called Getting Things Done, which is based on a book by the same name. I did a bit of reading, and ended up borrowing the book from a coworker.
GTD, as it’s called on the ‘net, is a personal organization system. I’m almost done the book and am eager to try it out. The basic idea is
- Having to remember things causes you to be distracted
- You should have some well defined areas, including a calendar, in baskets, and series of lists that hold everything you need to do
- Separate things that are actionable from those that aren’t
- You should be primarily concerned with “the next action item” rather than all the tasks you need for a particular project or thing
It seems to be really popular with the technical crowd because of the classifying and workflow that goes on to organize your life, it specifically includes processes for working with email, and it lends itself to PDAs.
I often find myself forgetting things because I’ve got a lot on my mind. This system appeals to me because of the novel use of lists (separate lists for each context rather than function, ie a “while I’m at my computer” list vs “personal tasks”). It also seems doable in that it doesn’t impose much overhead, it seems to address some problems I have now, and work with methods I already use.
So, I’m going to use my company issued Blackberry to track the calendar and action items, and use some of my Post-it Note tracking systems. I’ll give it a couple of months (assuming I last that long), and see if it helps.