Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.
Getting Things Done
Merlin Mann | Feb 27 2006
A favorite topic of GTD'ers is the contexts that we each choose to identify the times, tools, or locations by which a given task can or must be undertaken. This is a highly personalized decision, and I've learned a lot from seeing how other people are doing it.
Since I see it's been a while since I've talked about how I'm using contexts, here's an update that reflects how I'm now using Kinkless GTD and iCal to keep things wrangled.read more »
Merlin Mann | Feb 14 2006
Two polls over on the 43f Board:
My own answers?
Merlin Mann | Feb 13 2006
There's been some interesting activity lately on two of the productivity tools that a lot of our readers like to follow.
D*I*Y Planner 3.0
Douglas Johnston has recently released v 3.0 of his Classic/A5 D*I*Y Planner. If you haven't seen this before, Douglas has put together a Creative Commons-licensed version of the plain-paper templates usually associated with Costly Paper Planners. But he's added some lovely design touches as well as some creative templates that are meant to support GTD and other popular productivity systems. Douglas says, of this version:
While, in my opinion, the recent 'net obsession with "things you can print at home" has gotten out of hand -- y'know they have graph paper in stores now? -- Douglas has added a lot more than blue quadrille lines here. This is thoughtful stuff, and if you love the immediacy of paper but don't want to spend a fortune on a big folio from Staples, this may be right up your alley.
GTD Tiddly Wiki Plus
Although I'm a little confused over exactly who's doing what to which version (why does my brain freeze up whenever I see words like "wiki" and "plus"?), it appears that GTD Tiddly Wiki Plus is a project to revive the popular (but stalled?) GTD Tiddly Wiki. According to Ted Pavlic, on the 43F wiki:
I haven't spent much time with this new release, but I'm intrigued by the idea of "plug-ins" as well as the idea that Ted plans to afford a "kGTD-like usage" for the GTDTWP.
I played with the last release of GTD Tiddly Wiki last summer, and I think it's a fascinating chunk of functionality. It's not really my particular cup of tea for everyday usage, but I really recommend you have a look for yourself. I get so much mail about the best way to "live" on two or more computers, and -- at least from a "GTD system" standpoint -- this seems like one novel solution.
Merlin Mann | Feb 9 2006
A few good links and snippets on Flow -- a topic that's come a couple times before here and on the group, but which seems more germane than ever given a lot of what [the royal] we have been talking about lately. More deets on buying the book at the end, although there seem to be plenty of chewy resources on the web if you just want an introduction.
Online places to pick up a copy of Csikszentmihalyi's book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience:
Merlin Mann | Feb 3 2006
Getting Things Done has occasionally been criticized for lacking a focus on what I call Capital Letter Nouns -- as an action-based, tactical toolset for managing life's verbs, it was never intended as a top-down treatise on generating Big Life Decisions. I happen to think that's a big part of what makes it so appealing to people (esp. the techies who crave "actionable items") -- it takes you as you are and says "Okay, let's get to work."
But, funny thing: the folks who stick with GTD past the experimental try-on phase often discover it gives them sharper insight into their goals and values than some of the theoretically more lofty systems that are out there.
Get those verbs under control, folks, and it's a shitload easier to even see the big nouns.
Merlin Mann | Feb 1 2006
Not all tasks are created equal. Our to-dos all differ in priority, complexity, time requirement, and context, so it’s probably daft to always capture and expose them in an identical way. I have a little trick for dealing with this that’s been working really well for me.
Back in the day, my to-do list was an egalitarian nightmare of inefficiency — verb-centric “next actions” through they all were, I commonly faced a task list that looked something like this:
Now, the problem here might be self-evident to you smarter people, but I was missing an important concept: there is such a thing as too granular a task to track as its own event. In this instance, I was cruftifying my landscape with items that were way too detailed or tiny and, consequently, I’d turned my task list into an undoable roller coaster of un-focus. Just as “projects” are composed of “tasks,” I like to think that “tasks” themselves can often be collected into silos of small “mosquito tasks.” And my solution, as ever: text files and alarms.read more »
Merlin Mann | Feb 1 2006
Merlin Mann | Jan 31 2006
Merlin Mann | Jan 30 2006
The beauty of kGTD lies in its single-minded focus on managing your tasks in the context of the projects with which they're associated. Add too much else (or get lazy with your level of commitment to what you've added) and the system starts to fall apart. And yet it's so useful to have easy access to the people, websites, and documents that you'd like associated with your tasks and projects. OS X to the rescue, because OmniOutliner makes it very easy to drag and drop virtually any kind of Mac data object into a given OO document -- and, consequently, to keep the non-task corners of your world never further than a click away.read more »
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