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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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So I’ve been using the Getting Things Done system for a few months now to a varying extent. I think it’s time for an update on my progress. Am I getting things done?

Overall, it’s helped me to be much more focused on what I need to be doing at any given time. The system is pretty unobtrusive and it’s really easy to keep up with it. Previous attempts at getting organized have always degenerated into time spent maintaining the records whatever system required.

That being said, I’ve still got a long way to go. I mentioned earlier that I was using the Hipster PDA described by Merlin Mann. I’ve developed quite an assortment of 3”x5” index cards. In a comment left on Merlin’s update on the Hipster PDA, I described my system thusly:<blockquote>Next Actions (one card per context)
Divider (orange, labelled Projects)
Projects (cards for Personal and Work)
Divider (pink, labelled Calendar)
Calendar (one card per day, with times indicating appts)
Divider (green, labelled Waiting For)
Waiting For (list of people and what I’m waiting on)
Divider (bright yellow, labelled Someday/Maybe)
Someday/Maybe (one card per list)
Divider (muted yellow, scaled version of Advanced Workflow diagram)
Blank cards (five or so cards)

The labels for each of these cards (@Home, Jan. 15th, Personal, etc.) are at the bottom of the card with a horizontal rule separating them from the content. Thus, I can flip through the PDA quickly and open up the clip only when necessary.

Further, my next actions are immediately accessible. I generally pull out the context card for wherever I am and move it to the top for more efficiency.</blockquote>Another gentleman has taken the Hipster PDA and crafted PDF templates for the various index cards you might need. You print them on card stock as necessary and then you get a nice, standardized look. I may have to create some of my own since he doesn’t have the same types of cards that I do.

I’m currently on a GTD hiatus because my work has lately consisted of putting out fires. It has largely been reacting to bugs as they come in and solving larger problems; this has temporarily reduced my need for a time management system. Things have finally calmed down and it’s time to get back on the wagon. I need to start scheduling the weekly review since it currently happens rarely. I also need to work on applying the system to my personal life, where I’ve recorded the projects though I haven’t really focused my energies on them.

Oh, and Merlin Mann has posted a three-part series updating his progress. He does an admirable job at analysis and it is worth scrutiny (as is most of his site).