The pursuit of looking for a way to sort out my overheating to-do list has absorbed a lot of my thought over the past week with the main aim of freeing up my thought time for more productive and/or creative activity.I have been a list keeper for a number of years now. I’ve generally have a general to do list on the go for day time activity and any number of jog lists for things I need to pack, buy, research, try, read, watch, eat, write, shoot, design, etc. etc. etc. A lot of these were mental lists, some were on paper and my main one was in my trusty notepad (a moleskine at the moment).
So, it starts off with me observing a colleague maintaining a focus list. I start digging around and find some obvious concepts – that I’d already picked up and a whole bunch of new concepts. My own system was a hybrid between notes (brainstorms, ideas, observations) and tasks / actions – with a priority system built in all in my phsyical notebooks. It had its limitations. You couldn’t shuffle things around for one. I’ve also been using corporate tools such as Sharepoint and Redmines which are essentially very fancy pants list management tools.
I went on to discover a super bit of kit called Remember The Milk. It’s an online / lives in ‘The Cloud’ (Internet based data) type application which I access all the time via phone or browser. (It can work off line as well thanks to google gears) . It does all the hard work of tracking your stuff, helping you capture every thought, and putting it into a meaningful format. It’s based on the work of David Allen who came up with the concept of Getting Things Done (or GTD as it’s refferd to by its deciples) . You brain dump everything and it finds connections between abstract concepts such as Places. Context. Associations. Groups. Time. Projects. Priority. and more.
I’ve sprinkled a liberal bit of Merlin Mann’s (43folders) thinking into the equation who says don’t spend too long working your list. Go create something awesome.
So far, so good. I have got loads done. Yesterday for instance, I set two eBay auctions up which involved research and photography, fixed the toilet, sorted self assessment out, sent some important email and still had tile for a snooze and an episode of Pole to Pole, watch a film (MOON – very good) and write a blog draft.
GTD is good. Life hacking is good.