Implementing GTD (Getting Things Done) — my first steps

I've just started reading the book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. I don’t want to dwell on this point too long right now but I will say that it is just complex enough for me. That’s important to me — to not oversimplify my life and miss out on a deep enough experience — I have a great need to do so many things. I’m not the type content or happy doing things like IMs, Facebook, watching Hulu, catching up on my weekeday work. When I do things like that, I usually regret it later on…resulting in stress and unhealthy living.

Much like school, I've decided to do practical exercises interspersed with reading. I have started taking the first steps implementing the system into all of the tasks and things that I do — work, doctor’s appointments, social media, money, social appointments, creative projects, career development, home and house work and anything else I can think of that can make sense. That’s right — all, everything — that is the only way to really get anywhere with this. This follows much reading online concerning the GTD method — especially at http://43folders.com, http://i.doitim and studying curious things like “the hipster PDA.”

I've been studying the first of the five phases — collect, (the others are clarify, organize, reflect, and engage). Part of what is needed to collect is a tool or set of tools. I first tried written notes & books but it seems that as much as I don’t want to admit it, I need to use my smartphone and other electronic means. Access to a good writing surface is not always possible commuting on trains and things like voice-to-text have made taking notes easier PLUS much of what I have already been collecting has been with electronic tools. Here’w what I already do.

  • I use Do It to collect and keep track of my doctor’s appointments, meds, bills and creative photography projects with pretty good results.
  • I keep track of much of my work life using Outlook.
  • I collect mostly music and writing ideas in notebooks books & Google Drive.
  • I save my internet items to look at “later” in the cloud-based tool Pocket (with zillions of things saved that I have only barely gone back to),
  • I route much of my social media with IFTTT (to keep myself away from the ever-distracting Facebook). I also use IFTTT to connect things from the iPad/Apple world, weather, quotes & RSS/XML feeds.

I am somewhat involved already — making my title of “first steps” above a bit untrue…however it is true that I am making more deliberate moves here…so I started by gluing these things together…

I decided that Do It was the most desirable tool to base everything on because the workflow is heavily influenced by GTD.

Here are a few things I have worked on so far -

  1. Transferring my appointments to a Google Calendar (GCal) to facilitate the use of IFTTT, my Android phone and other tools — their architecture is much more open than Do It’s and I can (and have) set up a two-way sync between these.
  2. Trying to figure out how to get Outlook appointments to forward over to the GCal so that they would end up on Do It. I can forward manually but I’d like the process to be a bit more automatic.
  3. Now that I understand why it is there, I started using the Inbox in Do It.
  4. I added/changed my “email” Channel on IFTTT to point to the DoIt task-adding email. I also added this email to my unified Android contacts — figuring that it could be used for things like emailing myself a receipt of something I bought to remind me to carve out some time to use the thing.
  5. I created a new IFTTT recipe to send all adds to Pocket to my Inbox — this includes not only those which I add with Google Chrome’s button and the share feature on the Android phone but also any tweets I make (usually things I want to look back at later).
  6. I set a reminder up to blog here on each Tuesday

I’ll continue next time with more…

Written by

Jim Lemanowicz (Jimmy Lem) has been producing works of sound, word and visual art ever since he can remember.

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