apel: (Default)
OmniFocus $80 + $20
Pricy but seems very robust. Need to run WebDAV on my Mac or use MobileMe. There are instructions for WebDAV. MobileMe is expensive crap. Very positive reviews from GTD devotees.

Easy Task Manager $20 + Free
Simple and structured. One to try. Syncs via the company's web server. Quite buggy, according to the iTunes reviews. Also the interfaces on the Mac and Touch are very different and it's too hard to capture tasks.

Next Action, Personal Edition Free
Demo was buggy.

Ta Da List requires active web connection.
Tracks needs to run on a web server.
EverNote seems to be more of a note taking service.

iDB Datamaster is a native iPhone application. It runs a web server on the iPhone, so you can browse the data on the phone/PDA. It's a database application with 7 templates, including a to-do template. There can be multiple to-do lists but for it to work with GTD, the user needs to be able to see all to-dos in a given context and/or project. I'm not spending $13 dollar to find out if the app has that ability.
apel: (California)
I've just got off the phone with the letting agents for my flat. They say that the notice period is a month from the rent day as stated in the contract. The rent day is 24. So I have a choice between giving notice for 24 August or 24 September.

That's a bit of a bummer because I'd prefer 24 August but I've just extended my contract till the end of August. So in that case, either GT let me go a week early or they let me work from home, i.e. Cheltenham for the last week. It would also mean I'd have to clean out the flat in the 5 weekends between getting back from my holiday and 24 August. With Kieron's help that's not impossible.

On the other hand if I go for 24 September, I'd have a lot more time. I'll have to talk to Kieron and see what he says before I make up my mind. There's a possibility that I could negotiate with the landlord too. He's fairly easy-going.

The letting agent also said that when I send them the notice, they'll respond with a letter that tells me all about what's required of me wrt cleaning the flat, handing over keys etc.

To Do
  • Ask cleaning people how long do the carpets need to dry after the shampooing before they can be walked on?
  • With the 24 as the hand-over date, when would they recommend that they come in?
  • Put outstanding tasks from Moleskin and LJ into Life Balance
  • Make print-out of tasks to be done before holiday and put in Moleskine
apel: (GTD)
When my move fell through in October, I fell off the GTD wagon. My system mostly worked but it was now working toward a goal that was no longer in sight. If I was going to stay for another winter in London, I'd better not give my winter clothes to charity, to take one example. I was extremely disappointed and looking at my GTD list in LifeBalance only made me feel it more keenly with all the reminders of what wasn't to be.

Since then I've sort of muddled through without GTD but at the cost of increased stress levels and things falling through the cracks. It's not like I can't live without GTD but that life is unnecessarily hard without it. Or at least some sort of system.

I decided early on that I was going to start with a new database and that there were some things I wanted to tweak about my system. What bothered me most was that I had all these things on my to do list that were really Some Day/Maybe items. They were clogging up my to-do list and making me feel guilty for not getting done. That was particularly irritating for things that I normally enjoy. Stuff like creating web pages for my landscape photography.

My new database is in LifeBalance, just like the old one. To avoid the problem with the Some Day/Maybe items clogging up the to-do list, I've created a place called Some Day/Maybe. It's always closed, to keep it out of the to-do list. Now I can put as much things in there as I like and only see them when I choose to.

Right now my database has only a few items. That's OK, I need to build it up slowly. For now it has the following categories:

  • Job Search

  • Money & Finances

  • Health & Wellbeing

  • Support & Maintenance

  • Garden

  • Travel

Some of these are very broad, others narrower. In the previous version the categories were all rather broadly defined. I think I'm leaning toward using the more narrowly defined ones for now.

Something else that needs to change is my inbox. I used to use my PDA for that but since I got an iPod I often don't bring the PDA. I'd like to replace it with a paper-based system but it has to be simple and lightweight or it will stay at home too. The Hipster PDA seems convenient but the bulldog clamp is just too awkward. I think I'll poke around a stationery shop on my way to work one of these days. A moleskin book or a credit card holder with white cards might do.


Aug. 12th, 2006 08:37 am
apel: (GTD)
Meh, this sleeplessness thing has got to stop. While I can't control the major reason for my anxiety, I can do the footwork that is going to make me worry less about the stuff in the periphery.

This weekend I'm hopefully going to whip the garden into shape. Although the Met Office is forecasting rain. Oh well, I can at lest go to the garden centre and buy some cyclamen and more tomato fertiliser.

There are also plenty of things that can be done inside to lessen my anxiety. I'd better make a list. My Sweden holiday is approaching fast. If I want things to run smoothly, I'd better get my butt firmly planted on the GTD wagon again.
apel: (GTD)
From the [livejournal.com profile] altfriday5:

1. How many things do you have on your "to-do list" (mental or physical) right now?
34 here at home. At work it's fewer.

2. How many things do you generally have on your "to-do list"?
It's probably in that range.

3. How do you keep from forgetting the things on your "to-do list" (e.g. keeping a written list, using software or a PDA, relying on your memory)?
I use Life Balance from Llama Graphics. The at-home to-do list I synch to my PDA and the items I've ticked off get archived in Natara Day Notez. That z may have been cool five years ago but I bet Natara regret it now. The work to-do list isn't synched anywhere. It stays at work when I go home. At work I use Notes to keep track of scheduled tasks so the Life Balance database is only for things that could be done whenever or before a certain date.

4. Are you generally good at staying organized and focused enough to get the things on your "to-do list" done? Do you get them done with lots of time to spare, or just in the nick of time?
Since I started following the Getting Things Done process with weekly reviews I've gotten much, much better. Hardly anything slips through the cracks anymore and I'm less stressed because I have a system I trust for keeping track of things. I'd love to go to the GTD Roadmap seminar in London in July. If it weren't for my plans for a holiday in August I think I would. The price translates to less than UKP 300 for a whole day of personal productivity coaching. I highly recommend getting the book if you want to stress and procrastinate less. For some reason it's particularly popular among people in technical professions.

5. Have you ever forgotten something important that you were supposed to do? What was it? What were the consequences of forgetting?
I know I have but it can't have been anything earth shattering. Although I do remember that I paid one bill twice and another not at all after leaving the US. That will have messed up my credit rating because it went to a collection agency. I got a check for the overpayment but never cashed it.
apel: (fluffy)
My inbox is empty. I just have to gloat a little about that. :-) I followed the advice in the 43 Folders series Inbox Zero. Particularly the Articles of Faith entry was good. So now my inbox has been at zero since yesterday evening. It's amazing. Almost a little scary, in a good way.

I've also put up some photos on Flickr. They're from my walk near Chenies on 28 January.

Fluffy has spent the afternoon here with me. It's really hard to tell if she wants a cuddle or if she's begging for food. I gave her some tuna but she wasn't all that hungry and only ate half.

Anyway, it's bedtime for me. Work tomorrow, including a chat with my manager about goals for next year. I've got a contractor to supervise too.
apel: (GTD)
GTD is working pretty well in my private life but I still haven't managed to set it up at work. That's causing me unnecessary stress. The "system" I use right now is a combination of a notepad and remembering things. Very un-GTD-ish.

A big part of the problem is that we use a moldy, old version of Lotus Notes. None of the Notes templates I've come across in my search work on 5.0. I don't want to mix my private to-dos with my work to-dos either so it's good that I can't synch LifeBalance on the Palm with the version I have installed at work.

So today I've been looking for another software solution that would allow me to organise my job in a GTD fashion. As a result of my search I've rejected wikis and mind mapping software. They're just too alien for my way of thinking. Besides all the wikis I found required you to enter mark-up and manually flag up next actions. Not what I want.

I have however found one web-based service that may be helpful. It's Remember the Milk. Another solution that uses web technologies is NextAction. However, it runs on your local machine using JavaScript and HTML. It needs Firefox to work. Both of those are worth checking out.

Finally, if I can't find anything else, I may use LifeBalance with a different database name than I use at home. I've got it installed already, although I'm not 100% sure that I won't have to pay another license fee. Again, worth checking out.

I really need to find something soon. I can remember things that need to be done the same day if I write it on a to-do list on paper but anything that's more long term, there's a big risk that it will slip through the cracks. That's not good enough.
apel: (sweden)
Or so Vincent D'Onofrio's character said at the end of today's episode of L&O:CI. I miss Jerry Orbach. D'Onofrio's character is not very likeable.

Anyway, this has been a day of mostly rest. I've even taken several naps. That's something I really needed. I was inspired by a blog entry by Bob Walsh about Friday Fatigue.

How stressful my job is, isn't always something I can control but I do need more sleep, that's for sure. Lately I've had a hard time going to bed in the evenings. It's a problem with GTD -- I always know exactly what I have left undone so it's tempting to do just one more thing so that I get to tick one more box. But really life's too short to drag through it half awake all the time. That's no fun. So I'd better try to get better about going to bed. Maybe I should put it on my daily to do list.

Between naps I've worked a bit on my France pictures. I've been starting to think about where I want to go this year and I'd rather have the photos from last year finished before I take off again. There's still a lot left, though. The decision to only publicise the pages when all of them are done, was not a good one. If I can announce them one by one, I'm more motivated.

The week of 15 May looks good. I'm thinking of going to Sweden. Maybe. There's always France too. I've never been to mainland Greece either. I wonder if the walking is good there.

Bed time!
apel: (fluffy_paw)
  • I'm taking a backup of all the data on my PC. It's taking time but it's going to give me more peace of mind if I know that it's all tucked away safely on CDs.

  • The washing machine is on the second load of laundry for today.

  • I look fearful with the Dead Sea Spa Magik mud mask on my face.

  • In between the other stuff, I'm reading GTD blogs.

  • My couch is cuter than your couch*  )
apel: (star_thoth)
I have 42 feeds in the list on my user info page. My friend Hans Persson went through his list of feeds this morning, so I thought I'd do the same. I'll probably clean up in my list too while I'm at it.

Looking over the list, I have a pretty good mix of usability, productivity, general information and entertainment blogs and personality-based blogs. The vast majority is in English but there's a smattering of Swedish and German-language ones too. I always mention if the feed isn't in English.

There are quite a number of feeds that have very few readers. In some cases that's because I've created the feed and not many people have found it yet, in other cases it's a niche feed such as a a German-language blog about managing a supermarket. Apart from the kind of feeds that everybody and their aunt reads, the number of readers is not a reflection of how much fun it is to read the feed. I've marked my favourite feed in each category with ***.

usability )

information and entertainment )

productivity )

personalities )
apel: (GTD)
Procrastination is failure and the forerunner of failure, to paraphrase Crowley. If we could harness all the anxiety and nervous energy caused by procrastination, we'd solve the energy crisis once and for all. But it doesn't have to be like that. Here are some links to tips about dealing with procrastination rather than just beating ourselves up for it.

My friend [livejournal.com profile] drjeff has written some very useful tips in the Wellness Blog he writes together with [livejournal.com profile] sistermaryeris. It's worth reading even if all you take away from it is that you "Remember that your self worth is not determined on a project by project basis."

In 43 Folders, Merlin Mann shares his primary technique for breaking the procrastination cycle of anxiety, paralysis and shame. He makes a pact with himself to work on whatever it is he doesn't want to do for a limited time only. Limiting the contract to 8 minutes tends to work particularly well for him but he also recommends other units such as one garbage bag cleaned out of the messy garage, two paragraphs written on a dreaded report, or only the easy fields on one page of a form. 43 Folders also has a Wiki about procrastination.

Steve Pavlina has also tackled the topic in his inimitable way. He goes through the thought habits that lead us to procrastinate, e.g. thinking about the effort it will take to finish a task, and tries to show other ways of thinking that lead to effortlessly choosing which tasks we want to do without the tense, frantic avoidance that characterises procrastination.

Mark Taw's take on beating procrastination is rather different than the others. His main strategy is to create a sensual context that you associate with work or whatever it is that you're resisting.
apel: (GTD)
43 Folders. Personal productivity with a Mac bias by Merlin Mann. Syndicated as [livejournal.com profile] 43folders_feed.

GTD at OfficeZealot. Personal productivity using MS Office. Syndicated as [livejournal.com profile] gtdofficezealo.

David Allen's blog from the author of GTD. Syndicated as [livejournal.com profile] david_allen_gtd.

To-Done! a personal productivity blog by Keith Robinson and Josh Pigford. Syndicated as [livejournal.com profile] todone.

Steve Pavlina's blog entries on GTD has too many ads for my taste but he sure can get things done. The whole blog is syndicated as [livejournal.com profile] pavlina_blog.

Slacker Manager blog entries about GTD. For somebody who claims to be a slacker, the Slacker Manager sure does a lot. The whole blog is syndicated as [livejournal.com profile] slackermanager.

Mark T.A.W. about GTD. He hasn't added to it since March of last year but what's there is good, some of it seminal.

David Allen's GTD forum. Technology-independent user forum with input from GTD coaches and longtime users.

LifeBalance user forums at Llamagraphics. LifeBalance is a hierarchical to-do list Palm OS application with a Windows/Mac desktop.

Summary from reading GTD at MineZone. Probably works best as a refresher, not as an introduction.

4 samples of David Allen's newsletters. They're worth subscribing to.
apel: (GTD)
I just loved this blog entry in Climb to the Stars. It combines the Getting Things Done productivity thinking with usability thinking in the living space, in this case the author's flat. It's a couple of years old but I found it on del.icio.us under the GTD tag.
apel: (GTD)
I've been keeping busy today with rearranging the file structure on my office PC to help me find things easier than now. After a couple of years in the same job things start to pile up and you need to find a way of organising it that allows you to find things quickly. The FPM has a strict directory structure by brand and project and beneath that each document goes in a folder numbered after the phase in our business process.

That serves him well but I think it would be overly rigid for me. I'd spend more time trying to figure out which phase the documents belong in than actually doing my job, particularly for projects handled by less organised PMs. So I use brand and project name only. But I've just spent a little time changing the folder icons so that they're easier to keep apart.

I've also moved the whole structure to a place that's easier to find. This is because when you are trying to attach a document in Notes, if you try to follow a shortcut, you end up attaching the shortcut instead. As far as I'm concerned that's a bug in Notes but if I'm going to wait for a fix to the problem, I'll be waiting a long, long time. So I've moved the structure to a place that's easily accessible in the file structure when I click on the paperclip in Notes.

I had a cunning plan to change the folder icons for each folder on the path of my hosts file too, as I have to change it on a daily basis and it's hidden deep in the bowels of the system folders. But my plan was foiled because neither the Windows nor the system32 folder can be customised.
apel: (GTD)
It would seem that GTD is making me not post a whole lot on LJ, at least for now, and I'm reading even less. The weekend was one big push to implement the system and today at work has just been crazy for other reasons. Now in the evening I've dealt with two phone calls instead of posting about my day. Phew!

On the other hand, I feel really good about getting those calls sorted. Normally I procrastinate endlessly about phone calls. On the way home, I took care of two errands too. All so I can tick my boxes. But of course it's not just about ticking boxes. The net result is that I have a lot more peace of mind because I've dealt with the things that otherwise would have angsted about not having done.

In fact, I just took care of another thing on my list. This feels really good.

I expect that things will calm down a bit, though, once I've cleared out the backlog. For instance one of the calls I made earlier this evening was about an accumulating debt that I have with the electricity company because my direct debit amount is too low. That's been weighing on my mind for more than a year now. But there's a limit to how many of these procrastination puppies I've got in my closet. Once they have mostly been cleared out, things should return to a more normal, but hopefully also more organised, life.
apel: (help)
Today has mainly been a day of planning and organising. I'm nearly done. Although right now I mainly feel doubt about this. Will I really keep up with this system? Or will it just be another thing to feel guilty about?

I don't know and I'm too tired now to think up an answer. More tomorrow. Bed now.
apel: (Default)
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