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Poojan (Wagh) Blog

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My GTD Setup

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In this post, I’ll present what I’ve been using for the last month or so to facilitate GTD. My conclusion is that GTD is meant to be customizable, and it’s sometimes better to develop your own (fully custom) solution than trying to adapt someone else’s to your values.

I recently posted about both what I was doing wrong in my previous GTD systems and what I learned from a recent David Allen seminar and promised this description.

I do use a computer for this system. This post doesn’t contain the technical details: that isn’t for everyone and I’ll detail that in a follow-up post.

I finally bit the bullet and came up with a system that’s computer-based. I didn’t use any pre-packaged software to do it. I wrote my own “computer program” (a very short and simple python script). The important lesson—that took me a couple years to realize—is that GTD is meant to be customized.

That’s why all the pre-packaged software solutions I tried didn’t work: there’d always be something that bothered me that I wanted to fix. I’d spend lots of time trying to fit a square in a circle hole and it wouldn’t work. The ones that were customizable ended up being time-consuming, because modifying them to do what I want still took a lot of time.

In short, there are things about GTD that you care about that I don’t. Adopting something that emphasizes someone else’s values can prove more laborious that developing your own.

Anyway, here’s the high-level of how I collect and process:

First, the buckets:

  • A metal mesh “inbox” at home
  • A small eco greenroom notebook that I picked up at Target (and then ran through the washer/dryer) spiral-bound pocket notebook from Wal-Mart (~$1). I also really like the Pilot G2 Mini pens. (Also available at Walgreens at ~$1 apiece.) These pens write smoother than just about anything else out there, in addition to being very portable.
  • I maintain an “Inbox” bookmark folder in Firefox, I use the SyncPlaces Firefox extension to synchronize my bookmarks across all computers (country and western work and home).
  • Work and home email accounts.
  • When I’m driving, I use Jott (and the free alternative, reQall) so that I can call a number and have a transcribed message sent to my email address. I could carry around a voice recorder (or use the one built into my phone), but I know I won’t be disciplined about reviewing my voice recordings—and I don’t need to since there is a functional alternative.

In addition to these inboxes, I realized I need some “Action-Support” collections for stuff that’s immediately relevant to my next-actions:

  • A mesh orange plastic bag that I got from the David Allen seminar (for my at-home action support)
  • “Follow-Up” folders in my work (W-FU) and personal (P-FU) email accounts
  • Follow up bookmark folders in Firefox (FF-FU).

My latest setup is based on text files: One master set of text files handles the tasks and project lists. A second set (derived through computer automation from the first) merely organizes these tasks by context. I’ll detail it further in my next post.

Written by PoojanWagh

May 29th, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Posted in productivity

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  1. […] it. In the next instalment (or maybe the one after), I’ll post what’s I’m trying next: a text-file GTD system. Share/Save Posted by PoojanWagh on Monday, May 4, 2009, at 8:08 am. Filed under productivity. […]

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