Getting things done

Luminox flare

After multiple recommendations, I started reading David Allen’s Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity. So far, most of what he sets out is familiar to me. I already deal with emails using an algorithm almost identical to the one he suggests. Likewise, my calendar and to-do list usage is closely akin to what he describes. What I am most hoping to get from the book is the ‘stress-free’ part. I have spent enormously more time worrying about the thesis than actually working on it (because I worry about it every minute of every day).

Hopefully, the nuts and bolts of his approach will help in the completion of the thesis, during the course of the next five weeks. I still have about half the book to go, so I am hoping it proves worth the time and money spent reading it.

[Update: 18 Mar 2007] As part of the ‘collection’ phase of GTD organization, I have started making project lists and reading lists on the wiki.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

12 thoughts on “Getting things done”

  1. Regina Spektor is growing on me.

    To begin with, I didn’t think much of Neko Case. My mind has changed.

    This may prove a similar progression.

    Her bio is certainly very interesting.

  2. There’s a decent chance her label either put that on YouTube or tolerates its presence there as a form of free publicity. It’s not as though someone who really likes the song is going to watch it over and over there, rather than buy the track of album.

  3. I have removed all items from the To Do list in Entourage and moved them to other places. The process of consolidation continues.

    Likewise, I removed To Do items from my hardback notebook and shifted them to the Moleskine organizer.

  4. Tonight, I deleted more than 1500 messages marked ‘SchoolSpam’ in Entourage. That is to say, messages that seemed to have no bearing on me when I glanced at them.

    With all their PDF attachments and the like, it cleared 800 megs of disk space. Also, it made Entourage run noticeably faster. And, just in case I ever need them for some reason, they are still in GMail.

  5. In keeping with the guru’s teachings, I got a bunch of office supplies today:

    Three trays (inbox, pending, to read)
    Scotch tape (normal and double sided)
    Paper clips
    Binder clips
    3×5″ cards

    Now to get this thesis written…

  6. I am giving this GTD thing a real run for its money.

    I already had a Moleskine 18-month calendar.

    Now, I am trying out the Hipster PDA. I just need to wait for my Fisher Space Pen to arrive…

  7. The alternative to the feckless to-do list is what I call “living in your calendar.” That means taking your tasks off the to-do list, estimating how much time each of them will consume, and transferring them to your calendar. (Don’t forget to leave time to process your email. And leave some empty space — one to two hours — each day to deal with the inevitable crises that will crop up.) In essence, you’re making a production plan for your work.

    Deciding which item to handle at what time overcomes the paradox of choice, compensates for the intrinsic heterogeneity of your work, provides the context of deadlines and other commitments, and provides a (soft) commitment device to help you do the right thing at the right time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *