How I Get It Done

To be like the cool kids I want to play in the [GTD Meme]( setup by gtdfrk. I’ve been juggling this article amongst a number of fireballs recently and while it’s taken a little while to get out it wouldn’t have gotten this far without GTD.

As a good geek I’ll automate as much of my world as possible. Being that what it may, I really drove away from paper for years. Many, many, stupid, years. It wasn’t until the [hPDA]( emerged and my mentality being deeply unsatisfied with the state of the lack of GTD digital system; paper was embraced.

Everyone has said it and will continue saying it until a solution is really developed; there is no single solution. I swear, I know [nothing]( about any [solution](

Somehow at that moment of discovering the simplicity and actual creativity one could have with paper–I transcended the agitation for the right tool. I got very curious about what I could do. I threw out the notions of digital, sharing, and fancy ways that a geeks desires for what could be are.

Hipster PDA 1
I decided to shape my own little private sunshine. I stumbled then upon my next greatest paper find, [DIY Planner]( With the early resources of an active community we built and used some of the first template pieces. I was really in heaven. Making notecards that served little pieces of the puzzle; a Project card that also worked as a Next Action list, Weekly/Monthly Calendar, Someday/Maybe’s, Workflow reminders, etc.

I used this system for a few years. Picked up little folders, indexers, card boxes for housing my supply. I have card stands around the house that I can keep some @context specific items at still, or messages and reminders my wife might put in my queue. This all worked well until I washed a few important cards…repeatedly. Who knew my simple system would meet it’s biggest challenge, the washer machine!

GTD’rs are iterative creatures or at the vary least on the look out for ways to get more out of the things around them. No system will be the same for long. We’re adapting.

What’s also changed over the years is my need to have such specific criteria on each card and how the cards–or paper–get processed. I’ve grown to like [Levenger](|PageID=5021|Level=2-3|Link=PI|special=search|ID=SearchClicked|i=5) note cards. Finding myself more in a mood to mind-map, sketch, and detail than always ready to map the project I’ve allowed myself the creativity that paper affords.

These cards slowly make their way through the day–from note card wallet, note card Jr. trapper, or David Allen’s portable folders–to the Inbox next to my desk. Meanwhile bills enter a billing inbox and reading materials enter a reading bin next to my desk as well.

The note cards are then processed at a whim through the day (maybe driven by a need) or during the next morning’s coffee & wake up session. The cards are usually one of three things, a list of things to do–project, next action, or idea (Someday/Maybe–maybe), a mind map, or bits of information–phone numbers, people, restaurants, etc.

Omnifocus Snap
Lists are added to [Kinkless](, a Mac specific tool that’s like an advanced outliner. Unfortunately I never fell into the right usage model and have been bastardizing the tool to behave how I want and I tend to forget advanced functionality due to it being buried. It serves the purpose though. I’m glad to be seeing the [Omnifocus]( beta. It is definitely a step in a better direction.

Mind maps are redrawn in [Novamind]( or [Curio]( depending on what’s being done with the information. Mind mapping or brain storming is very important. It has the ability to shine a light into the unanswered darkness. Perspectives or connections that might have otherwise been missed can be gleaned. This practice along with optimal questions can take you far.

The last of the cards are filed–digitally or physically. We have a home [wiki]( we use internally that collects a lot of information, shared iCal’s ([webdav]( In addition to a multitude of filing cabinets that are A-Z, to a specific Context A-Z.

All of this is sorted, reviewed, iterated, cleaned, as we move around the board game. Some weeks are better than others; chaos is as chaos does.

Over the years I learned that you can make due with a lot. Getting the experience through past/current solutions to the flexibility of a blank piece of paper; I feel that I move through the world a little saner than some of my counterparts. It’s not the perfect system by a long shot, but it’s not a perfect world. We will continue to trial and error ways of succeeding better tomorrow than we did today, this I am sure.

Stay flexible by having a good foundation of understanding on what productivity and organization are, what has been working for you, and you’re emotional states. Never stop seeking answers to what ails you.

If I can be of assistance, or you want some further granular answer since this was a fairly broad piece let me know.


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