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GTD: My View – Pick a System



GTD: My View

This is Part 1 in a series of posts on getting things done. “GTD: My View” covers how I implement GTD, specifically focusing on being a student.

I love getting reader feedback! In fact, I’m writing this series specifically because several of you have asked about my personal system for GTD. Thank you, Andrew L., for the most recent request!

More importantly, you guys are interested in ideas to tailor GTD to the needs of students. Thus, here’s my attempt to help out.

This first post will cover the basics of my personal GTD system. Next, I’ll post some insights on managing those nagging school assignments. After that, we’ll just have to see what happens!

Things I don’t use

Paper – Pen and paper are the bane of my existence. Paper gets lost, ink gets on your hands, you can’t easily re-arrange lists, etc.

Outlook – I used to be addicted to Outlook. My life was stored in there. But I’ve been clean for about 5 months now. It’s slow, too complicated, and made by Microsoft. Enough said.

Thinking Rock – (a free GTD management program) Thinking Rock has potential, and I did use it for about a month. But it required me running another application all the time. My machine can handle it, but I usually ended up neglecting to check my GTD system at all. Bad idea.

Text file – A lot of people swear by this system. The basic method is to just maintain your lists in a big text file. You can also get geeky and use command line kung fu on it. I tried it for a few weeks, but it was too inflexible. Text just didn’t jive with my style.

PDA – For several years I’ve been tied to a Palm PDA. I finally ditched this a few months ago. I got tired of lugging it around, and I realized that my iPod Nano could do just about anything I needed anyway. It’s smaller and lighter!

My current system

I recently adopted MonkeyGTD as the cornerstone of my system. It’s a system based entirely in a TiddlyWiki. (If you have no clue what that means, don’t worry.)

The genius behind TiddlyWiki is that it stores all the content and display info in one page. Thus, you can use your MonkeyGTD online, on your own computer’s hard drive, on a thumb drive, etc. And it will sync back and forth between them!

To see what the newest version of MonkeyGTD is like, check out the alpha demo. You’ll immediately see the dashboard, which is a cool way to view your life at a glance. You’ve obviously got contexts, actions, projects, etc. It’s all there, and very intuitive.

A completely digital system works for me because my laptop is always with me. Well, I do go out some without it, but I rarely need my GTD lists in those instances. If you do need a mobile system, MonkeyGTD might not be your solution.

For mobile note-taking, I have a great system. I call it my “iPoDA.” I have some “super sticky” post-it notes on the back of my iPod Nano. Even though I’m not a pen fan, I stick my Cross pen in my pocket too. Then I can take notes whenever I need to. When I get home, I peel off the sticky note and stick it to my desk for later processing. I’ll definitely write more about this at another time. I love it!

Gmail

The final two pieces of my main system are Gmail and Google Calendar. They aren’t so much part of the GTD methodology as they are part of my work-flow. I tried GTDGmail, but it didn’t work out for me. I don’t like living in email. The calendar is crucial to productivity, but it really helps by getting date-sensitive things out of the main GTD system.

Thanks for reading this first post in “GTD: My View.” If you liked this article, you can read the rest of the series below.

The Series – “GTD: My View”

[tags]legal andrew, gtd[/tags]

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Comments

14 Responses to “GTD: My View – Pick a System”

  1. The Frugal Law Student
    February 15th, 2007

    Great post! One of the things I like about GTD is how flexible it is. While a paper system is the bane of your existence, I hate using the computer to organize myself. I’m a pen and paper man. GTD works for both.

    I have GTDGmail right now, but I really don’t use. I’ll probably be taking it off soon.

    I like your idea for the iPoDA. Very creative and efficient.

    I’m looking forward to your next post!

  2. Andrew Flusche
    February 15th, 2007

    Thanks for pointing out different preferences. You’re absolutely right that GTD works, regardless of the type of system you pick. That’s one thing I love about it too. It’s really a way of thinking, and you can use an endless variety of things to help you think in this way.

    GTDGmail has some real potential. However, the real killer for me was the extra work involved in adding a next action. You have to compose the email, send it, open it, label it, and then archive it. Way too many steps! Maybe I was doing something wrong, but I couldn’t figure out a practical way around this.

    Thanks a ton for commenting,
    Andrew

  3. [...] This is Part 2 in a series of posts on getting things done. “GTD: My View” covers how I implement GTD, specifically focusing on being a student. Be sure to check out Part 1. [...]

  4. After reading GTD, I decided to create a workbook in Excel. Each worksheet is a separate list. Once a month I create a next action list for each day. At the top of the worksheet are my monthly goals, Next my weekly goals (Read Peter Drucker’s The Effective Executive.) I have 5 hardwired things I do first each morning. These are formatted on the master next action list I use to create the dailies. I then go through a daily workflow using my master to do list, tickler, etc. and list the next actions I will do. Then, I number them. Then I sort so they are in priority sequence. Next I assign a time for each since I like to compete with myself. Then, when completed, I record the time finished. I’ve been using this systems since June when I read GTD and it works like a charm.

    BTW, I have a shortcut on my desktop for the workbook. It’s the first thing I open in the morning. Second is e-mail (Lotus Notes) because I can flag e-mails and check the calendar. Lotus Notes To Do functions are not compatible with GTD no matter what David Allen’s e-book says.

    I like your blog. I’ll be reading…

    Regards,

    Glenn

  5. Andrew Flusche
    February 17th, 2007

    Glenn,

    It sounds like you’ve found a pretty good system to use. It’s always the big key with anything to find what works for you, and I think you’ve done it. Awesome!

    Thanks for the comment,
    Andrew

  6. [...] covers how I implement GTD, specifically focusing on being a student. Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part [...]

  7. AgentSully
    May 19th, 2007

    MonkeyGTD looks really cool. It’s too bad it doesn’t sync with a palm….or can it?

  8. Andrew Flusche
    May 19th, 2007

    AgentSully,

    To my knowledge, MonkeyGTD cannot sync with a Palm. I wouldn’t see how it could.

    Ironically, I’ve since abandoned MonkeyGTD and am now using Vitalist. But it won’t sync with a Palm either. Although Vitalist has a mobile version (I think).

    Andrew

  9. AgentSully
    May 19th, 2007

    Thanks for that info. I’ll check out Vitalist. MonkeyGTK is cool but I notice that you can specify priority of next actions. Is that why you switched?

  10. Andrew Flusche
    May 19th, 2007

    I switched for a variety of reasons. Mainly I kept having problems with MonkeyGTD. It was a little buggy for me. And entering an action isn’t as intuitive as I’d like.

    Vitalist is better, but still not perfect. But what is perfect?

    Andrew

  11. [...] Legal Andrew [...]

  12. [...] a while I used MonkeyGTD. Then I switched to Vitalist. I was pretty happy with Vitalist, until they announced a [...]

  13. Dan
    May 20th, 2008

    For implementing GTD you might try out this web-based application:

    Gtdagenda.com

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    A mobile version is available too.

    On the first page there’s an article of how it can be used by students.

    As with the last update, now Gtdagenda has full Someday/Maybe functionality, you can easily move your tasks and projects between “Active”, “Someday/Maybe” and “Archive”. This will clear your mind, and will boost your productivity.

    Hope you like it.

  14. Nick Bomford
    June 6th, 2008

    I’ve signed up to Nozbe – it suits me fine, web based, easy to learn. Still growing and no calendar or archive as yet, but I can work around those.

    Each top his own GTD, but it might be worth a look for some: http://www.nozbe.com

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