Field Notes: Getting Things Done

Field Notes : Getting Things Done

I came to "Getting Things Done"(GTD) by way of 43Folders. I read both of David Allen's books on the subject, "Getting Things Done' and "Ready for Anything". I read all of the "Hacks" on 43Folders and WiKi.43Folders. I have my "Next Action" list and my "Projects" lists. I have a grid pattern, 3x5 index card in my pocket at all time, I write on it with my Lamy, Pico (matte black) pen, which I humbly assert is cooler than the Fisher Space Pen, as I have little need to write under water. I carry my Mont Blanc fountain pen. The rest of my 3x5 cards I carry in a Moleskine card file, the shape and size of the small notebook. I have not incorporated the seemingly de regur Moleskine notebook. I do, however, have a Roaring Springs Compositions notebook in my bag, as yet still in pristine condition. I carry a Palm, Tungsten E and an Apple PowerBook G4, 12.1.

I am admittedly new to the cult of GTD. I find the GTD techniques, tools, and hacks to be very useful and they have improved my workflow. However, and you did see this coming, didn't you?...I have some questions and comments.

I take the "Dump the Stuff into the Inbox" and "Weekly Review" commandments to heart. With so many "input devices" where is the Inbox? What is the final respiratory for all of the cards, notes, napkin scraps, Post-it Notes, notebook entries, and however else one collects bit of daily data? Where is the final inbox? If I choose a paper system, 3x5 index cards and notebook, there is the bound verses loose-leaf question, the plain vs structured system, Filofax, Day-Timer, Franklin Covey, et al. It seems the loose-leaf notebook, in concert with index size Post-it Notes is best for ease of moving data, organizing, brainstorming, info mapping, etc.

If I choose the electronic system, Palm type device and laptop, there is the system failure issue, backups, syncing of data, dead batteries, the fragility of the machines, on and on! I like my Palm and love my PowerBook, I want to do more and more with it. I use Quicksilver, Notational Velocity, OmniOutliner, Mail.app, I am fully assimilated by the 43Folders force field!

And yet, nagging questions. What becomes of "Next Actions" if they are not done? Do they move to the top of the next days list, this system is not supposed to be priority driven,? Do they become the next, Next Action item? When accomplished do "Next Actions" just vanish? Is a history file not important, how do I know what I've done and how I did it? Do "Project List" next action items move to the "Next Action List"?

The Weekly Review...I am not overly busy, but a weekly review is far too infrequent for me. I seem to require a daily review of my lists and notes to maintain some sense of direction and purpose. How many input devices?...where is the alpha Inbox?...how often to Review?...what of unfinished items?...how do Projects evolve?...and I haven't even touched Context List Names!

The GTD method must become a way of life, a habit, ingrained so as to relive one of trying to remember everything, to relive one of caring everything around in your head and on your shoulders. The system is highly tunable within the bounds of the primary techniques. Ultimately one must come to a system that works in their life. The workflow and life-flow are morphing and evolving constantly. I believe this is what makes all of the people involved in the exchange of ideas, hacks, and techniques such an open, creative group, I am glad to be included.

Stop the presses!! This just in. Now we have Backpack ! It is one more place to "park" our stuff and forget about it. I know it is available from any web browser and how it hooks into Panther and Tiger and all.......but the point of this is to streamline and simplify our workflow so we don't have to think about where all the stuff is, so we can be creative, free, and go on to think and dream because we know what we have to do when we have to do it, not always wondering where all of our data is stored. Go in Peace.