I'm always curious about how people organize themselves in this day and age - e-mail, tasks, contacts, etc... - so I can continue to fine tune how I do things myself. I once heard the term 'productivity pr0n'. I don't think it applies to me, but almost... :-)
I decided to break down this post in two:
- a high-level overview of key concepts.
- a description of tools I use to implement my system.
I have read - and heartily recommend - David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD). Some people treat it as gospel - it does have a cult-like following - but I took some things from it and that was that. More than anything, I liked the concepts of:
- Recognizing one's "Inboxes".
- Breaking tasks down to actionable items (define what the "next action" is)
- Having a specific method of handling incoming things: Do now, Delete it, Delegate it, Store it for Reference, Treat it as a Project, move to a "Someday" area of your system.
- Doing periodic reviews.
I also embraced the concept of 'Inbox Zero'. This is extremely liberating - I know that anything not in my Inbox is properly captured elsewhere in my system and I can clearly see what is new.
Finally, I need somewhere to keep the information I accumulate. I would like to build something like a Personal MemEx, but my system is far simpler.
So, to end this post, the key concepts I use are:
- I have multiple (but clearly defined) Inboxes: personal and work email, social media (FB,Twitter,RSS), personal and work voicemail, my own ideas, etc...
- For everything that comes in I process it the same way, deciding what I need to do with it.
- I keep track of things on a somewhat coherent personal knowledgebase.
More stuff on the next post.