Getting Things Done
Merlin Mann | Dec 29 2004
I recently realized that this month marks one year since I started using Getting Things Done in earnest. With the calendar year closing, it seems like an apt time to look back at what’s worked, what hasn’t, and where I’d like to see GTD heading in the future.
(This is part one of three in a series that runs through Friday.)read more »
Merlin Mann | Nov 30 2004
Sciral Consistency lets you track repeating tasks using fuzzy intervals.read more »
Merlin Mann | Oct 18 2004
Merlin Mann | Oct 5 2004
A confession. I’ve been reloading this page every 3 minutes for the last week. I’m totally fixated on obtaining a copy of TextMate and have already mentally ascribed it powers that include many of the miracles described by Saints Matthew and Mark. Setting my saliva and expectations aside for just a moment, this has me thinking a bit about my “waiting on” list and just how effectively (or not) I’m using it to get things done.read more »
Merlin Mann | Oct 4 2004
Over the desperately long drive home from southern CA yesterday, we were listening to a bit of the Getting Things Done audio book, and something really struck me—something that seems paradoxical but ultimately kind of profound. My paraphrasing here:
Looking at other sorts of productivity and organizational systems, there’s often a pronounced focus on the middle- and higher-level aspects of planning, with a premium on things like Values and Mission Statements, and other laudable motivational stakes in the ground. I definitely see the appeal, because it induces you to paint mental pictures that represent significant improvement over where you are now. Nothing wrong with that. We all need it. But I think some of these systems promote Capital Letter Nouns a lot more effectively than the hard-working lower-case verb. And verbs are really what your life is made of, isn’t it?read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 29 2004
From time to time in the middle of an interruption-driven week, I’ll find myself in the weeds and struggling to think where I should park an item. My brain speaks informally with itself:
I’ve finally learned to diagnose these odd dialogues as a symptom of a simple problem: I’m mired in seemingly important details, I’ve fallen out of touch with my “stuff," and, damn it, I need to do a quick mini-review.read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 27 2004
"Next actions" are the cornerstone of Getting Things Done. In the same way that you can't have a great band with a shitty drummer, you'll never master GTD until you get yout next actions straightened out.
I’ve noticed that there are often items on my “next actions” list that hang around a lot longer than they should. I scan and rescan and sort and add and delete, but there’s always a few stragglers who hang out there for a week or more. Eventually this starts to vex me, and I try to debug why things aren’t getting done.
For myself, I’ve discovered that most of the items are just in the wrong place, or, if you prefer, in the wrong time or context. It can be instructive to pull each straggler out of line and try to figure out whether he really belongs someplace else. Here’s my usual suspects, ordered by how often each is the culprit behind my unintentional slack.read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 22 2004
The new public beta of Shadow Plan 4 for OSX came out today, and it looks pretty neat.read more »
Merlin Mann | Sep 20 2004
Anil's post was swell, and I think I agree with almost all of it (esp. the meeting-up part), but it did freak me out just a little. So, I think it's time to do our exercise that helps keep the line between reality and fantasy a little less blurry; I'm glad everybody's digging the site and checking out the GTD book, but I feel like I should clear a few things up before this gets too weird.
First off, to paraphrase Clarke’s Third Law, “Any sufficiently advanced system that makes you re-examine your basic assumptions is indistinguishable from a cult.” GTD makes people enthusiastic because it satisfies their lizard brain and gives them an outlet for turning anxiety into action. There are no robes, no secret handshakes, and the most important article in the liturgy is arguably a modestly priced Label Maker. People just get into it because it freaking works, and because it returns a modicum of control in a world where handles on life can be slippery to grasp. That’s really it, I swear.read more »
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