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Central Information Reference (CIR)

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  • Central Information Reference (CIR)

    Hi all.

    I'm calling this CIR in order not to call it CIA

    I'm in the process of adapting ideas and the process (Collect, Process, etc...) of "Gettings Things Done".

    Recently, I've started using Contexts in Toodledo (of which I've been a user for about 4 yrs now).

    I'm at the stage of clarifying my "sources": my paper Inbox, my Mail Inbox, regular snail mail, ideas that pop up in my overactive mind, etc.

    At the same time, I realize that I have two kinds of "information stores": one kind is for reference material that may be useful in the future and should be kept (somewhere) and one kind for project material that is useful for the duration of a specific project and probably won't need to be kept once the project has been completed.

    Here's my problem:

    Those information stores, I have in several places. Some are in physical paper file folders. Some are in computer folders on a hard disk. Some are in a Mail folder. Some are in a NoteBook (the Mac-only app by Circus Ponies) document. Some are in Toodledo task notes.

    I would like to have a way, when looking at a task, for instance, to know whether there is a physical folder for the project this task is part of, or that there is a computer folder or emails, etc.

    I remember, a while back, looking at a task I had to do and not being able to find reference material that I simply knew I had somewhere, because I couldn't remember if it was in a physical folder or a computer folder or a browser bookmark, etc.

    Lately, I've been thinking of using the "Folder" field, in Toodledo, to carry a code that would alert me to the fact that there is one (or several!) of those information stores in existence.

    I already use a FileMaker Pro database to keep track of my physical reference file folders. I was thinking, as one other alternative, to expand this to keep track of all the information stores.

    But I was wondering if someone has a better idea.

    So. What do you think?

    Thanks for all your comments, suggestions, etc.

  • #2
    Originally posted by jakenava View Post
    At the same time, I realize that I have two kinds of "information stores": one kind is for reference material that may be useful in the future and should be kept (somewhere) and one kind for project material that is useful for the duration of a specific project and probably won't need to be kept once the project has been completed.

    Here's my problem:

    Those information stores, I have in several places. Some are in physical paper file folders. Some are in computer folders on a hard disk. Some are in a Mail folder. Some are in a NoteBook (the Mac-only app by Circus Ponies) document. Some are in Toodledo task notes.

    I would like to have a way, when looking at a task, for instance, to know whether there is a physical folder for the project this task is part of, or that there is a computer folder or emails, etc.
    ….

    I already use a FileMaker Pro database to keep track of my physical reference file folders. I was thinking, as one other alternative, to expand this to keep track of all the information stores.

    But I was wondering if someone has a better idea.
    I don't know or use Toodledo so what I say may not be applicable, adjust as needed.

    I too have pure reference material and project support material. Some of my project support material is not files or information but stuff.

    My first task was to limit where that material is stored. For files and information I keep it either in a paper folder, an electronic folder, as noted attached to the task in Omnifocus or in DEVONThink. I never store that in mail folders but I do keep all mail as last resort reference. All electronic folders are in one location on my hard drive called Reference File Cabinet. I have a single folder called Active Projects, that contains the folders of electronic information for my current active projects. When done those folders go into the reference cabinet,. They also move there if I put the project into someday/maybe (on hold) so the reference cabinet holds a mix of pure reference and on hold items. I do the same set up with physical folders, most are int eh 35 file cabinets but the ones for current active projects are in the drawer where my tickler file resides.

    Second was to ensure that items are named consistently. So paper and electronic folders match if they have stuff relating to the same project.

    Several years ago I tried to have a database document that stored where everything was. It got cumbersome to update and keep current. I found I was spending more time updating the database of where stuff was than I was using the data I needed to get things done. I ditched it in favor of doing an indexed database in DEVONThink for all my electronic stuff. So once a month or so I update indexed items for that particular DEVONThink database and that gives me an automatic index and search capability for my entire electronic system. I also use DT to store smaller sets of data that I sync to all my devices, iPhone, iPad, MacBook and Mac desktop.

    In my list system Omnifocus when I have a project there are project notes. I put the locations of all reference materials in there. If I have specific stuff related to a specific action it goes in the notes for that action. For physical project support (ram harness, broken bolt for tractor, egg cartons etc) I have a place by the door for things that we'll need when we run errands and we have a sort of "inbox" in the main hay barn where we put stuff that we need for most outdoor projects. If the thing is small enough and relatively clean I often stash it in my purse (the broken bolt for example) so that when I am out shopping and near the parts store I can get one to match it.

    So my suggestion is to limit the location, use consistent naming practices, and put a ntoe in the project itself where the material is.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by jakenava View Post
      Those information stores, I have in several places. Some are in physical paper file folders. Some are in computer folders on a hard disk. Some are in a Mail folder. Some are in a NoteBook (the Mac-only app by Circus Ponies) document. Some are in Toodledo task notes.

      I would like to have a way, when looking at a task, for instance, to know whether there is a physical folder for the project this task is part of, or that there is a computer folder or emails, etc.

      I remember, a while back, looking at a task I had to do and not being able to find reference material that I simply knew I had somewhere, because I couldn't remember if it was in a physical folder or a computer folder or a browser bookmark, etc.

      Lately, I've been thinking of using the "Folder" field, in Toodledo, to carry a code that would alert me to the fact that there is one (or several!) of those information stores in existence.

      I already use a FileMaker Pro database to keep track of my physical reference file folders. I was thinking, as one other alternative, to expand this to keep track of all the information stores.
      If you need a Filemaker database to tell you where action support is, you need something better. Sometime I put a [folder] or something in a next action to remind me where to look, but this is mostly unnecessary. A huge pile of browser bookmarks is a really terrible place to store an action support url. You can put it in the notes field in Toodledo, and there you go.

      Comment


      • #4
        My experience has been that excessive complexity is a recipe for failure when it comes to GTD. If you have to come up with a meta-system to manage your systems, I feel your systems are too complex. They should serve you, not vice versa.

        I believe in another post in this forum you mentioned that you use Evernote, which you could very easily use to streamline your reference systems. Evernote is great at capturing data from a variety of sources (email, electronic documents, paper, plain text notes, and more) and making it easily searchable.

        I primarily use just two notebooks for reference: Project Support, and Archive (for long-term reference). Anything I put in Project Support gets one tag: a one- or two-word code that denotes the project the note is associated with. Anything that goes into the Archive gets one or more tags. I like tagging because it gives me flexibility in how to search. I use tags as an index system. I also make sure to stay fairly consistent in how I name notes, which makes the titles easy to search.

        Speaking of which, Evernote's search capabilities are amazing. You can search by note characteristics including title, create date, modified date, and more. You can search within attached documents including PDFs and image files. Evernote OCRs all text, so if you take a picture of a street sign and get a good image of it, the name of the street will turn up in a search.

        I use Evernote for my GTD lists (next actions, projects, etc.) and find it works well. Evernote's note linking feature lets you insert a link to one note into another, which is a handy way of linking a next action to the appropriate action support note. The Evernote Web Clipper for Chrome lets you clip emails from Gmail, and the resulting note will have a link to the original Gmail.

        My setup may not work for you -- I'm just offering it as an example of how you can leverage Evernote.

        Whatever you do, whether it's with Evernote or not, I would suggest you consider streamlining your system. It sounds like you're putting more effort into managing it than is necessary. YMMV.

        Comment


        • #5
          One more thing: if you haven't already read it I recommend Evernote Essentials by Brett Kelly. It's an e-book only available through his web site. It's excellent. It doesn't hurt that he's an Evernote employee (although the book is not officially endorsed by Evernote).
          Last edited by bcmyers2112; 01-30-2014, 12:25 PM.

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