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Crossword-maker Merl Reagle on index cards

YouTube - The Hipster PDA in Wordplay

In the Will Shortz crossword puzzle documentary, Wordplay, Merl Reagle discusses how he uses index cards to collect and track ideas on the go.

[ via: The Hipster PDA in Wordplay - Lifehacker ]

I love two things in particular about this.

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Ideamatt on GTD with support staff

Matt's Idea Blog: Best practices for GTD and administrative assistants

Matt Cornell has posted some useful notes on emerging best practices for doing GTD with an administrative assistant. There's some practical and thoughtful stuff here, and I recommend having a look.

While I have a gut feeling most 43f readers probably don't have/are not a dedicated admin, I know that most of you do work on teams and do have support staff (or are support staff). And one of the constant themes I hear from people is the need for more advice on how to implement GTD practices outside one's own half-acre (here's my interview with David Allen about just that issue). Articles like Matt's can be useful in considering how information might flow with less friction in your workplace. Great way to get the conversation going, for sure.

I think the theme I like best here may have virtually nothing to do with GTD, strictly speaking, but has everything to do with informal standards, team culture, and divisions of labor. As David said numerous times in our recent interviews, you want to get to the point where you don't need to interrupt one another to trust that any new input makes a responsible entry into a team member's world. But that requires certain shared expectations and, in many cases, a physical external system that everyone understands and utilizes.

To this end, I like Matt's notes on collection:

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Kati Kim's life-saving ingenuity

I swear, if my family and I are ever in a situation like the Kims went through, I hope to God that one person in our group has the clear thinking, make-do ingenuity, and life-saving cleverness of Kati Kim:

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David Seah on wall-based productivity pr0n

David Seah explores a treasure trove of lo-fi productivity pr0n, as provided by the vertical-surface-loving folks at Magnatag:

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Merlin on David Allen TechGTD Panel

GTD Connect [TechGTD]

TechGTD panel

Members of David Allen's GTD Connect membership program can login to hear a technology panel that David conducted with tech über-geek Eric Mack, DavidCo CTO Robert Peake, and myself down in Ojai a few weeks back.

We talk about all kinds of stuff related to tech in general, and how we use GTD and technology in particular. One nice thing you learn: Robert, who is the wildly gifted tech stud at DavidCo, is a big Mac user. Pretty cool.

Note that this is made available as part of the GTD Connect for-pay service, so I don't have a way to preview this for folks who aren't a member. But for Connectors who are joined up, I think you'll enjoy the conversation. It was a lot of fun to do.

Patrick Rhone: Excellent productivity whitepaper

I'm a little late to the party on this one, but if you also hadn't spend much time with it yet, I suggest you check out Patrick Rhone's whitepaper on his version of a GTD system.

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Michael Angeles: Hipster PDA gear

The evolving configuration of my LowFi PDA | urlgreyhot

Michael’s Hipster PDA

Michael Angeles on his super-slim lofi setup and a very cool-sounding pen:

I now carry around the Fischer Space Pen I got for Christmas a few years ago, a Nick(it) wallet I got for free in the goody bag from MAD Museum's Mad About Dance event, and a small stack of index cards.

Problem is that I often take the pen out and throw it in a bag or something so I find myself on a subway train with an idea, but nothing to write with. Tina pointed to the Inka Pen, which looks perfect.

If I attach it to my keys, I'll never be without it. Sweetness.

Ooooo...Daddy like. Anybody else tried this Inka Pen? Looks like a very clever design. (See also: Gizmodo: The Inka Pen Lets You Write Underwater)

Life Clever: Secrets of the Tidy Desk

10 tips for keeping your desk clean and tidy

I linked to this very swell Life Clever article via del.icio.us the other day, but there's so much savory goodness in here, I feel like revisiting it.

Like a lot of good stuff, this article is about more than it first seems, since a tidy desk can be a MacGuffin; this is ultimately about a tidy approach, or, if you prefer, a tidy mind.

It means that you can create a physical workspace that supports your style of thinking and your approach to action, rather than having it be a purely aesthetic artifact of, say, your OCD or your secret fetish to work in an operating theater. Most importantly, you know where stuff goes because you know where your brain will want to look for it at the right time later on, right? And, as you eventually learn, if you can't immediately grok whether a given piece of paper is trash, actionable, or just for reference, you will be, as Walter Sobchak says, "entering a world of pain."

Like Martin Ternouth's excellent paper-based system, Chanpory's tips encourage you to build fences between projects and tall walls between statuses. For example, think about how a frequent usage of an "Incubate Box" might change the chaotic state of your thinking (as expressed in the mystery-meat piles on your desk):

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2 fun sites for home and productivity pr0n

Two sites of potential interest to fellow lovers of home and productivity pr0n (both via Mrs. Mann and her humiliatingly addictive Domino Magazine).

The Museum of Useful Things is a Cambridge MA-based store and site with sexy, IKEA-esque tools for an organized and interesting home life. I mean who couldn't use a diner-style napkin dispenser, new wave potato masher, or kitchen timer on a lanyard? Prices generally look pretty reasonable, too, making this a good place to hunt for gifts for a housewarming or for students heading off to college.

If MUT is similar to IKEA, then russell+hazel is a little more Design Within Reach-y (in terms of dollars). But they carry a ton of nifty, good-looking products for a design lover's home and office. I like the looks of the Three Subject Notebook, the Notebook Jacket, and this foxy Leather Stash Sack. Plus they let you shop by color, which you gotta love.

Got a favorite source of home and office pr0n you've been ogling lately?

Back to GTD: Do a fast "mind-sweep"

This post is part of the periodic “Back to GTD” series, designed to help you improve your implementation of David Allen’s Getting Things Done.

Whether you learned GTD from the book or heard it from The David himself (via one of his excellent seminars), you know that the vital first stage of Getting Things Done is Collection.

As laid out in Chapter 5:

Basically, everything is already being collected, in the larger sense. If it's not being directly managed in a trusted external system of yours, then it's resident somewhere in your psyche. The fact that you haven't put an item in your in-basket doesn't mean you haven't got it. But we're talking here about making sure that everything you need is collected somewhere other than in your head.

And, as David succinctly states elsewhere in the book, if you don't use a dedicated inbox in the context of a healthy collection habit, your whole house or office turns into your inbox. And that just doesn't scale. Failing to do so in recent weeks may be why you've fallen off the GTD wagon.

So, just as you learned Collection as the first step in implementing GTD (and to subsequently maintain your system), it's precisely the place to start when you're trying to properly get back into it.

And for the errant GTDer, I feel like the most powerful collection exercise is what DA calls "the mind-sweep."

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

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