I love being organized. In fact I’m one of the most organized people I know. How do I know that? Well, of course, I have a graph with a list of “people I know” along the x-axis and “how organized they are” along the y-axis.
I’m kidding. But I quite like that idea. Give me a moment while I type that into my To Do list in Microsoft Outlook.
I’ve written before about how wonderfully helpful I’ve found Sally McGhee’s excellent book Take Back Your Life. She helped take my almost-there system and with a few key twists turned it into something that is incredibly effective. So that I can now manage and track all my projects and tasks with Outlook and my Psion PDA.
Downloading my head
Last night I couldn’t get to sleep, there was too much stuff going around my head. Mostly things to remember to do. So I got up, found my Psion and returned to bed to “download my head”. In other words, I wrote down all the things my poor brain was trying to remember; I typed them into my Psion’s Agenda task list which this morning was synchronized with Outlook. I wasn’t surprised to find that I had 25 things that I was wasting brain power trying to remember.
One of those tasks was this:
Blog about 43 Folders (img = folders)
Categories and contexts
Once in Outlook I then move them into a category according to where I would need to perform that task. This is what David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, calls “contexts”. My categories/contexts are:
- 1:1 Meeting
- Email (which I moved out of Computer because I can also email from my PDA)
- Waiting For
- Someday Oneday
From there I can then schedule them into my calendar, which transforms each task from being simply “something to do at some point” to being “something that will get done at a particular time”.
It might sound like a clumsy process but actually it’s not and it has now become like second nature. Like falling off a bike.
Some good sites
This week I’ve discovered a couple of sites that are dedicated to productivity:
The 43 Folders podcasts are particularly good; I’ve listened to them to and from work these last few days.