I’ve Been Assimilated

A few weeks ago Anil mentioned the semi-cult that is the book and methodology ‘Getting Things Done’ (GTD). I don’t know how I’d never heard of this 3-year old book, but I guess it’s better late than never. After researching the book I knew I had to read it. I ordered it along with the author, David Allen’s, new book ‘Ready for Anything’, which is sort of an extension of GTD. I finished ‘Ready for Anything‘ during my vacation last week and was very impressed with it. So I was very ready to dive into GTD when I got back home. The basic premise of GTD is to get everything out of your head and into a system. The goal is to clear your head to allow you to relax, focus and think more clearly and creatively.

Right now I’m half way through the book and I’m ready to start implementing the system. My goal is to use my Treo 600 as much as possible. Last night I stumbled across a very interesting Palm application called Life Balance. Here’s a little bit about it:

Life Balance is a time and task management program that helps you focus on what’s really important to you and actively balance the often conflicting demands of career and personal life. Life Balance emphasizes the intrinsic importance that you’ve assigned to your projects and life goals, rather than arbitrarily filling every slot in your calendar. This helps you to spend your time and energy on what matters to you the most. You can be self-directed, and know that you are working toward long term goals while still managing your day to day routine.

It seems to be very well suited to GTD’s methodology so I decided to try it out instead of another program I was leaning toward. In fact the sample data they have in the app has given me several ideas for areas that I need to define as projects, tasks or goals. For example they’ve got a top-level goal called ‘relax and enjoy life’ which has subtasks of ‘listen to music’, ‘take a bubble bath’, ‘get a massage’ and ‘plan my next vacation’. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in my shower looking at my bath tub and thought ‘I need to take a bath and cool out’ but I almost never do it. So that area really stood out to me. Some of their other top level goals are ‘earn a living’, ‘keep life organized’, ‘interact with family and friends’ and ‘take care of myself’. Each of those has subtasks that I probably wouldn’t have thought to put into the system but I’m certainly going to use them now that I’ve ‘discovered’ (Christopher Columbus style) them.

So back to GTD — like I said I’m now at the point where I’m ready to go around my house (and my head) to collect all my things that aren’t the way I want them to be. Some examples of my things that aren’t right and nag at me on some level:

  • Stacks of unread books, some that I’ve had for more than 10 years.

  • My unfinished Trading 101 series on my other blog.

  • The CDs I still haven’t burned for EJ.

  • Tons of ideas that I’ve had for my sites (design, functionality and content) that I’ve never written down, of which I’ve probably forgotten more than half.

  • The 592 messages in my email inbox. (A critical part of GTD is keeping your inbox(es) empty.)

  • The stacks of receipts, bills and mail that constantly clutter my desk.

I’m really looking forward to gathering all this stuff and processing and/or purging it as appropriate. I may just take the day off tomorrow and bang it all out. If you’re interested in GTD I suggest you check out the 43 Folders Blog, especially the “Getting started with ‘Getting Things Done'” article.

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