Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Getting Things Done
Ethan Schoonover | Sep 24 2007
GTD is all about rapid, intuitive selection of what you need to be working on now. Whip out your context list appropriate for the time-place-opportunity-space you are in now. Scan through it, then do.
For the longest time I was having a problem with this. I'd scan through my context lists and I'd see things like:read more »
Merlin Mann | Aug 4 2007
Merlin Mann | Aug 3 2007
Jesse Grosjean from Hog Bay Software has just begun sharing the first releases of a new task-tracking app which adopts a refreshingly stripped-down approach to managing action on a Mac. TaskPaper starts with the simplicity of text files then adds just a bit of Mac magic to make it both smarter and prettier, but without giving up portability and ease of use. Jesse says:
read more »
Merlin Mann | Jul 27 2007
Interesting article here by our old pal, Keith Robinson, introducing GTD to creative types. This is a fascinating topic for me, particularly since I sometimes find it difficult to "crank widgets" when it comes to anything creative.
Keith's an old hand with this stuff, so it's not surprising that he's developed his own tweaks for Getting Creativity Done. Here's a novel idea:
That's an interesting way to think about contexts. Ordinarily, you'd think of contexts as representing access to a certain kind of tool or as a physical or temporal limitation, whereas Keith is using it almost like a project.
This is challenging stuff that my buddy, Ethan, and I end up talking about all the time. We both agree that you can use GTD to "clear the decks" for creative work -- to move aside all the mundane workaday tasks that might keep you from focusing on blocks of time for creative stuff. But we, like a lot of people, both struggle with how (or even whether) to put truly creative work into our GTD systems. What do you think?
How are you using GTD for creative work? What do projects and next actions look like for a painter, a screenwriter, or a dancer? What's your best trick for getting creative stuff done?
Merlin Mann | Jul 25 2007
Merlin Mann | Jul 3 2007
While this is difficult for me to understand (I know it's something I'd expect in even a Gen 1 smart phone), it's cool to see that web- and Mac-based developers are stepping up to the plate in the absence.
A few of the apps I've seen so far (and in varying states of reality and vapor):read more »
Merlin Mann | Jun 28 2007
Terrific article on David Allen and his company. Although the perspective is heavy on the business and money (well: after all, it is Business 2.0), there's lots of interesting history and insight in here as well.
Merlin Mann | Jun 28 2007
In the last entry I put the emphasis on getting my tasks written down quickly and out of my focus into a system I could trust. I could choose to spend some time later to review my tasks and do what I like to call "iGTD gardening", where I check up on all my projects and do a bit of weeding of duplicate or irrelevant tasks, and fortify those tasks with whatever information comes to mind as I'm looking at them.
Since I'm now in the habit of pushing new tasks to iGTD and immediately forgetting about them I have the refreshing ability to work on a task without ever thinking about anything else. iGTD then becomes my set of instructions to follow when I need guidance, and if I've tended my task garden well, it's a rich set of instructions with a lot of tedious thinking already finished.
This system works out alarmingly well until you're possessed by SSD (severe stupidity disorder) and delete your iGTD database without even a whiff of lingering vapors. Immediately you'll be consumed by a profound and unshakable dread as you realize your tether has been severed from the mother ship and you begin to drift into outer space, your Tang to be divided up amongst your colleagues (even the ones you loathe).
Luckily for most of us, iGTD makes database backups upon starting up the iGTD app and for a couple of other events, and luckier still, most of us don't suffer from SSD very often.
But I often do, and don't leave anything to chance.read more »
Merlin Mann | Jun 19 2007
Michael Buffington is a pal of mine who's a talented developer and all-around swell fellow. I got to work with him a bit on the Stikkit project and, in some of our offline talks on productivity stuff, I was intrigued to learn about some of his ninja geek skillz.
I asked Michael to write up a series on some of his favorite tricks to get his stuff done, and he kindly obliged. Here's part one.
How I use iGTD
This is the first part in a multipart series about using iGTD with Quicksilver and how it's changed my life, allowed me to grow hair where I never thought it possible, and more importantly, spend more quality time with my children (who are, as you might know, super humans with indescribable special abilities).
I'm a recent and somewhat enthusiastic convert to GTD. I have had the good fortune of starting to manage my digital life with GTD the same day Merlin first mentioned a great application for OS X called iGTD.
I have to admit though that I'm not a very hard core GTD follower yet. The most important parts of GTD for me are getting my tasks out of my head the moment they pop into existence, and putting them into some sort of system I can trust. iGTD allows me to do exactly that in a very intuitive way, but if I'm having a good day I only ever bring iGTD into focus when I'm not sure what's next on my list.read more »
Merlin Mann | Jun 4 2007
(Disclosure: I am a contributor to the OmniFocus project)
According to OmniGroup, about 2,500 people are now participating in the "sneaky peak" beta of OmniFocus, and new folks will continue to be added as capacity for support allows. But even if you're not yet using the app and are just waiting to get your hands on a finished version, it's not too early to start thinking about making a smooth transition from wherever you are now.
Moving your world of action into a new application is like moving into a new house (and can be almost as stressful). This is your chance to throw away crap, rethink how you've been doing things, and just give yourself a fresh start. So before you ever fire up OmniFocus for that first time, do yourself a favor and get sorted out with your current system first. Believe me, you're much more likely to handle this well before the temptation of having the app in your hands sends you diving into using it full-time.
In short, I recommend you start by conducting a thorough review that's focused on bringing all your tasks and projects up to date and in line with reality.read more »
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