Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The art of getting things done

OK, I still haven't managed to post those photos I promised, but my latest excuse is that I've gone down with a cold and am feeling a bit lousy. This kept me at home today, but I was still working, finishing a board paper that needed to be in by the end of the day. How on earth did we cope with such things before email? The pace of life must have been slower. Twenty years ago I remember writing reports longhand for my secretary to type up and my boss resisting splashing out on a fax. Thankfully, the boffins have not been idle in the meantime.

Anyway back to those photos - yet another thing that I've failed to get done. Now if like me you tend to procrastinate and are not very systematic or organised, you eventually look around for something to help you. And suddenly you discover a whole new industry out there. Firstly there's a book called 'Getting Things Done' by David Allan, that has spawned countless variations on its basic theme. Look on Technorati and endless people are blogging about GTD, planning and organising systems. I've been particularly taken with some of the homespun, low-tech approaches that people take to personal orgnisation.

The tool of choice rejoices in the name hipster pda and there are multiple variants of it, from plain old index cards to trendy Moleskine notebooks as used by the likes of Chatwin and possibly Hemingway. People have devoted whole slidesets to sharing their personal variations on this theme. Best of all there's this japanese guy with his Pile of Index Cards - fascinating stuff!

So, being a sucker for new distractions I intend to get a Moleskine reporter's notebook and a Moleskine concertina notebook, plus a whole heap of index cards and clips, and I'll muck about with them until I have my new life enhancing organisational system.

Here I am after a few weeks of dedicated GTD...

If this stuff catches your imagination take a look at this ultimate GTD index of resources. Among them you'll find a great blog called Zen Habits, written by a guy who has six children and is in training for a marathon. He has some great no-nonsense advice on GTD, including ridding yourself of clutter, being a great parent, sorting your investments and getting a flat stomach. No wonder one of his success strategies involves a 4.30am start to every day!

Willpower must be a wonderful thing - what about those photos?

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