Simplify your life!

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A humble "Getting Things Done" primer for beginners!

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  • Hi Everyone - I’ve updated this deck and posted it on SlideRocket. I welcome everyone’s feedback and thanks so much for all of your support!! http://portal.sliderocket.com/ABTOW/simplifyyourlife.
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  • @Theresa - thanks so much for the awesome comments!
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  • Great tips - Thank you.
    PS: I love Evernote too!! (Funny thing, sometimes I mistakenly call it 'Everclear', but that's a whole other slide deck.)
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  • @sanjeev: Thanks for the great question. One of the things that I love so much about GTD is that the focus is more on … well … “getting things done” regardless of whether you apply the principles in the analog or digital world. The most important aspect of GTD is leveraging some Ubiquitous Capture Tool (UCT) to clear your mind of all of your next actions broken down by context (i.e.: @calls, @computer, @errands), projects, someday/maybe, and reference lists to create balance and a mind like water. That being said, I’ll answer your question by explaining how I applied the principles of GTD in both the analog and digital worlds.

    Going analog is as simple as a 79 cent notebook and pencil from your local office supplies store. Or, if you’re like me and so many others, you yearn for the sweet smell of a brand new Moleskine notebook! Perhaps I just bought into the hype, but to me, there is nothing sweeter than taking my Pilot Gel Pen and letting my mind go free and emptying out my thoughts in my Moleskine’s beautifully crafted notebook pages. It could be hype, but I love them! Since I started doing GTD, I must have purchased over a dozen varying different types of Moleskines, just because I couldn’t get enough of those little guys! If you do a Google search for “hack Moleskine GTD” (without the quotes), you’ll come up with 1.7 million results! How do you “hack” an analog notebook you may ask? Well, that’s what I wondered and the setup I liked best is laid out well in this post. Basically, use Post-it tabs to create your Inbox, Next Action items, Projects, Someday/Maybe and Reference sections. Personally, while the Moleskine notebooks still hold a very dear place in my heart, what I found was that there was no easy way to search through all my hieroglyphics. I couldn’t easily search through everything to pinpoint exactly what I needed and when I needed it. Thus my desire to go digital.

    If you do decide to go digital – a word of caution. There are a lot of websites out there proclaiming that they are GTD apps. When in reality, they are more like “GTD-like” applications. In other words, it’s great for marketing to lure folks in, but it’s just not true to the very principles that make GTD such a great methodology. Without question, the best digital application out there is Evernote. Period. It’s my Second Brain and frankly I just don’t know what I would do without it. It’s amazing. I use it to store all of my reference files for all of my Areas of Responsibility: Home, Office, and Blog. I send everything from web clippings, e-mails I’ve forwarded relevant to a particular project or customer, to notes I input manually during conference calls. Everything gets tagged. I talked about the merits of it in an earlier blog post found here. I don’t use Evernote though for my Next Action items. There are folks who do and it’s detailed in a great blog entry by the folks over at 40tech.com and it could be a great system … just not for me.

    For my Next Actions, I started out using Remember the Milk, which is detailed in my blog post called “Getting Back on Task.” The problem I found was that the interface was very slow and it wasn’t quite sophisticated enough for me. So, I switched to Toodledo, and while I thought it was nice, I was quickly lured away by Nozbe. The real draw was the integration between Evernote and Nozbe’s alleged GTD platform. The reality is, as the founder of Nozbe states, it’s GTD-light. Basically, it’s his interpretation of GTD mixed in with actual GTD principles. So, back to Toodledo for now.

    What’s really helpful is reading the user forums. For example, in Toodledo, a fellow by the name of Proximo has some really amazing tips on applying GTD principles in Toodledo. You can read all of his posts here. Proximo ended up leaving Toodledo to help start a new GTD web application called NirvanaHQ. Personally, I think there’s really great potential here but because its in beta still, it doesn’t have offline access, which renders it useless to me since I have an iPod Touch and will be purchasing a non-3G iPad soon. That said, Proximo has really great comments up and running on NirvanaHQ.

    The main takeaway though for you is that you need to do what’s most comfortable for you. The real benefits to the GTD methodology is that you can create balance and a mind like water by applying the principles in either an analog, digital, or a hybrid of the two. The most important thing is that you stay true to the principles no matter what format you choose to help you get things done!
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  • @Daniel...what tool (software vs. pen/paper) do you recommend for GTD implementation? Can you please share your experience?
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