Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Getting Things Done

When I was a child, my mum used to say that procrastination was my middle name. Here I am over 40 and the same label is still a comforable fit! Having had a weakness for notebooks, new pens and organising systems for many years now and still finding myself disorganised, I'm wary and tend to look the other way when a 'new method' intrudes upon my consciousness. Partly because I don't like the guilt factor, and partly because when I find a method I like I've tended in the past to spend more time setting up pretty folders than actually getting on with what needed doing.

DIY Planners is a great site for templates and instructions for putting together your own paper based organiser. [Click here for their beginner's guide to setting up a planner, and here for their handbook on the same topic which has a GTD bent.] It's through this site that I came across Getting Things Done, by David Allen.
Click on the link in the last sentence to download his FREE articles (you do need to register, but there's no cost) on personal productivity, written in real english with not a hint of patronisation in sight. This man is like Jamie Oliver with his Ministry of Food; he has some simple but brilliant insights, and he's willing to give a whole chunk of it away free. Just because.

So this week I've had a lovely cool and sweet smelling breeze blow through my brain as I put together a paper based organiser in the leather (*yes!*) organiser folder that someone threw away last week. Rescued it after it'd been in the rain for quite a few hours, but it still seems fine. Thank you to my anonymous neighbour (kind of hope I don't find out which neighbour it is, I think) for this fine addition to my organising efforts!

I love what I've seen so far of the GTD things because they aren't telling me what to do. They're explaining what's happening when I'm disorganised, and suggesting ways to capture and tame information, that won't strain my brain. I love the idea of the InBox, this is the first thing I've set up and it's helping me to springboard to the rest of the principles. Flexibility is so important to me in any organising effort; if I can't make it fit the way I do things, if I can't make it change from day to day or minute to minute, then I won't use it for long.