Thoughts on Getting Things Done

by Robert Nagle on 11/10/2006

in General,Personal

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Reducing involvements in organization that have too many meetings.
  7. Keep a single box of the freshest bills. Then take old bills (usually credit card statements), staple together and file to archive.
  8. Get away from the PC if all I’m doing is random surfing. (I like to tell myself I’m trying to be productive).
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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

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