What is GTD?
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
I'm a little late to the party as far as linking to this page, but credit is due where it's due. Here is the official David Allen Company definition of GTD (Getting Things Done)
Can't... stop... clipping...
Okay, so I've already weakened in my resolution to stop clipping things from the web
. Based on this finders/keepers article
someone pointed me to, I think I fall in the camp of trying to get the cost of a keeping mistake to zero rather than missing out on the benefits of having a personal information store completely.
With Ultra Recall
, I can drag/capture pages or selected content pretty easily, so the cost isn't that high.
The office is for, like, you know, work
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
People generally view the ability to work from home as an ideal or luxury. I may seem odd for going the other way after working from home for many years. I sometimes miss a few of the benefits of working from home, but for the most part I've found the clearer distinction between contexts to be a boost to my productivity.
It has been easier to eliminate distractions at the "real" office than it was in my former home office. I don't have a lot of distracting physical stuff at the office (unlike my home), and I've also started modifying my machine's config at the office to support only work. First of all, I redirected all of my mailing lists to Gmail, and I don't check Gmail at work. Second, no checking RSS feeds at the office. Very simple, and it's amazing how much of a time waster lists and feeds can be. It may sound like I have made my time at the office boring, but I'm not there to be entertained.
In the past, I've tried to eliminate distinctions between physical contexts by attempting to always be connected to the same sources no matter where I am. There is something to be said, however, for having different physical contexts and controlling what's in them so that the physical space supports the purpose of the context.
Do the thinking
Sunday, July 03, 2005
I think I am going to stop clipping from the web. I have this idealized (read: imaginary) scenario in my head of building a personal, local, easily searchable reference library of things that interest me (or have interested me in the past). So I clip articles with gusto as I surf. And yes, there are times when I actually find something interesting in the virtual reams of information I've clipped.
I realized, however, that clipping actually offers very little value and is really a productivity drain. The problem with clipping anything that looks vaguely interesting is that there is little thought given to how the information integrates with my goals or actions. No mental connections are made, as I am relying purely on storage and retrieval for the benefit. One day, software may help connect some personal conceptual dots, but we are clearly a long way from getting any real assistance from software in this regard.
Why assume storage duties when it's much easier to offload storage onto others? As long as I have Google, do I really need to store copies of articles and other tidbits of info? True, it's highly frustrating to not be able to locate something you know you've seen before, but the times when this happens are pretty rare. The cost of clipping every interesting thing is probably not worth it.
Storing tagged pointers to resources (à la del.icio.us) may be a better approach than trying to store content itself. But even this is perhaps worthless. The real value in information comes from applying it to actual events. The application seems to come from thought, so I must do the thinking.
Before I was heavily invested in digital information, I did much more high level thinking. Now, I always assume that I can "put it together later" as long as have the source material readily available. The thing is, I never put it together. I rarely even search through my collected articles. I simply continue to harvest more source material.
And let's face it, I don't have time to think about every interesting article on the web. That would be like trying to savor every granule of salt in the sea.
So my new resolution is to decide at the moment I come across something whether it is worth doing the thinking right then and there. What does this entail? For me, it means absorbing the material, taking notes and considering the relationship between the information and my life and work; in other words, deciding how I can actually apply the information. Depending on the material, this could take a couple of minutes or a couple of hours. But if it's not worth doing right then, the reality is I will never do it. And I can always do a new web search later if I'm doing some planning and want some specific information to be used at that moment.
There is something to be said for having a subset of information that you know you care about that can be quickly searched. However, I think there is a lot more to be said for focused thought. We'll see how it goes.