Linksfest for David Allens’ Getting Things Done. I deal with organization issues every day, and honestly I don’t think I’ve succeeded. Here are thorny organization issues for me:
- How clean is clean? For me I never “catch up” with my cleaning. Often when I travel or become sick, I get totally behind on housekeeping, and never quite catch up.
- Prioritizing technical tasks. I have oodles of things I have been meaning to do, and often I end up putting things off for a considerable period of time as a result.
- Arranging out-of-home tasks wisely. I try to minimize visits to the supermarket or library. With the library, I just accept that some of the books I check out are going to be a few days late once in a while. I try to arrange my visits and social time in 4 hour blocks, and try to do everything within those blocks. And then reduce the number of 4 hour blocks for each week.
- Prioritizing writing. I left my recent job to work on creative writing. That is my main focus, so I’ve curtailed the blogging and use my writing time wisely. For example, articles take a lower priority to revising which takes a lower priority to original writing. One of my most “shocking” insights was realizing that podcasting needed to be given a substantially lower priority. I needed to focus instead on the self-editing process and making anything I podcast in final form. Rest assured that when I start podcasting, I will have good polished scripts. I don’t feel hurried.
- Delaying sysadmin tasks. I’ve learned to ignore some basic sysadmin tasks until I have the time for them. Then, I try to do them at once.
- Reducing involvements in organization that have too many meetings.
- Keep a single box of the freshest bills. Then take old bills (usually credit card statements), staple together and file to archive.
- Get away from the PC if all I’m doing is random surfing. (I like to tell myself I’m trying to be productive).
- Weekly reevaluation of tasks priorities. Every week, I have new tasks, new priorities. The key is not bumping certain tasks indefinitely. Also, there is a danger of bumping long-term tasks in favor of short term tasks. Remember, long term tasks are more important. Nobody is going to care that you have kept your kitchen clean.
- Organize eating schedule and diet. I have been working on a cookbook project, and one challenge is devising a recipe rotation which I can cook fairly often and easily. When working fulltime, I found I was having no time for prepared food. Instead I was eating frozen pizza, takeout, etc. It drove me crazy. I can’t tell you how much happier I am now that I eat better.
- don’t spend PC time responding to emails. Occasionally I indulge, and I recognize that as a literary person my correspondence is often very important, especially for making contacts and fleshing out ideas. But sometimes I go overboard. My rule is one email per person per day. Ok, a one line reply is ok once in a while, but my energies shouldn’t be wasted on producing emails.
See also my post 2 Brains and Too Productive and Albert Balengo’s long list of things that prevent you from getting anything done.