So, last week I was supposed to blog about my first week practicing GTD (Getting Things Done) but I got sidetracked by my annoyance with sickly green WhatsApp. Apologies comrades, I’m back on track.
So the first time i heard about GTD and how it works, I am pretty sure i skipped the part that said i needed to work on finding, building, trusting and liking my GTD system. Maybe i was too excited about the concept, i simply went on a GTD spree, downloading apps that all said time management, productivity, taking notes, to-do lists. Yup, those were my key triggers. And in the past year, i have had over 30 apps at one point or the other in a pathetic attempt to get more organized. Boy, was i wrong.
A. The Importance of having a trusted system
i think the import of what i am trying to say is that, it is important to find a trusted system; One that works easily with your lifestyle and one that you like. I gotta tell ya, its something that you must like using. For me, i realize that
- I like to write stuff down
- I must have an e-platform that can absorb all that writing. For me that is my Evernote
- A calendar that keeps track of places and times
This is going to be my trusted system. Depending on where i am, my inbox, where i damp all thoughts, work stuff, ideas, and reminders could be the notebook i carry around, my @inbox folder in Evernote, or straight to Google Calendar.
It took me a while to decide on Evernote, not that i had not used it before. I made a mistake of throwing too much stuff in there without really organizing it. This time however its organized quite differently and i must say i am loving the effect this time. The trick is to keep it simple as a beginner.
What you see up there with the red arrow is where all the damping happens or capturing as most people call it. This could be grocery lists, business cards, vacation plans or even remembering to the trash out. Before the week begins, i process all things captured in the @inbox ( this includes writing that happens on paper, receipts, invitations etc.) in to the @next_action folders below. The folders below represent the contexts under which the tasks or things i have to do will be done. For instance, I’ve got three things left to do in my at @computer folder, which means these are things that can be done while on my computer.
B. The Thrill of Centralization
Look, i suffer anxiety. I can admit that now. I easily go into freak mode real fast and i stay there pretty much through out the process. It is painful because when i have something to do, i immediately start thinking the certified bad outcome and never about the strategy that could actually work. Practicing GTD, knowing that everything can be planned and done by just following through with one single action after the next, significantly makes me feel better and erases the illusion it can’t be done. Having my go to place where I store my thoughts, plans and all resources provides some sense of calm.
C. The right way to process
I am still learning how to properly put things in the right context as well as practicing the mental conscious effort to not switch out of context. Of course this can happen if the context is not well defined. For example, @blog means where i damp my ideas and write my blogs in this folder. However that doesn’t really state where to write. Will that be at home, a restaurant or office?? So i guess another round this, will be to use tags instead, as context while the folders become topical. This way, I can search notes of relevance by tags.
Ok, so i will say my GTD experience has been a quiet wave. For managing my day to day activities, I am yet tomanage more complex projects this way. VIM