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  • How Do You GTD During The Day? (Specifically the tool that gets you through the day)

    My issue is not dealing with lack of motivation, procrastination or anything of that sort. I read DA's GTD book back in late 2008 and began implementing the method in early 2009. As 2009 progressed, so did my GTD habits. I continued to try new things/methods to see what best fit my interest. I went from being a complete lazy college student that barely passed with low "B's" to an "A" student. I have the whole inbox, filing system things happening along with the read/review stuff...etc etc etc. etc.

    MY situation currently is how to be my most productive when i'm out and about throughout my day. For the past few months I was using the OmniFocus iPhone app on my iPod Touch, which allowed me to carry all of my projects, action steps, etc, all according to their context as well. It was more than beneficial but the truth was I did not fully utilize it. I enjoyed tapping away at completing NA's but it wasn't the best at capturing new items, messing around with ideas or even creating projects. My Macbook @ home (w/ OmniFocus) bares the full load of all my projects, contexts, etc.

    I've always preferred a more intimate approach with pen and paper. Before I had the iPod Touch I would grab a small 3x5 cheap Office Depot notebook I had and I would write in the next free page all of my NA's that I would want to tackle for the day. I enjoyed this approach a lot more considering I enjoyed the satisfaction of being able to click my pen open, and crossing out an action I had just completed. The problem with the cheap little notebook is that it hardly lasts. It has about forty pages in it but by the time i'm on page 20, the spine is tearing off due to it being in my pocket everyday. (I've been thinking about getting a Moleskine little pocket notebook which look and feel great, i'm just not too sure on which one specifically yet)

    I enjoy the pen/paper approach however the iPod Touch OmniFocus app has the advantage of being able to see all of my projects at any given glance, while pen/paper has only allowed me to see the simple bare bones of what's next.

    I'm asking You

    What is your approach to all this? How are you most productive throughout your days? What simple tools do you use and need to perform your best? What do you always need to have with you? What helps you tenfold?

    Edit: Allow me to mention that before I had the iPod Touch I utilized Merlin Mann's Hipster PDA which was an incredible tool for capturing new ideas for my inbox (I loved how I could easily write something down in an index card and toss it into my portable plastic inbox folder) but it was the greatest being able to write things down or cross things off when walking or standing up. That's why i'm secretly eyeing the small Moleskine notebook.
    Last edited by HappyDude; 01-03-2010, 11:33 PM.

  • #2
    re: GTD During the Day

    I use the Ready-Set-Do! approach I designed for the Mac to get things done during the day. Usually I'm at my computer and I crank through the @ Computer and @ Online tasks I need to finish on my computer. But RSD also allows me to export to paper so I can work off of my lists from paper; I especially like how it allows me to print up a "Meet with…" and grabs all of my @ Agendas and Waiting fors for a particular person I'm going to meet with in the next few minutes.

    However, there is definitely something about the Hipster PDA - 3x5Cards that has value over other things—as good as those other things are. 3x5 cards are easy to keep on you, way faster to capture your ideas on than a smartphone, and they force you to keep a limited bit of information on each card, which helps with processing and focus. I've found that having something like 3x5 cards on me at all times (regardless of my other tools) is a necessity for quick capture and one-at-a-time focus and processing. Levenger has some nice "pocket briefcases" that keep the cards together and organized.

    Not sure if that helps, but it's what works for me.
    Last edited by Todd V; 07-02-2011, 12:08 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Todd V View Post
      I use the Ready-Set-Do! approach I designed for the Mac to get things done during the day. Usually I'm at my computer and I crank through the @ Computer and @ Online tasks I need to finish on my computer. But RSD also allows me to export to paper so I can work off of my lists from paper; I especially like how it allows me to print up a "Meet with…" and grabs all of my @ Agendas and Waiting fors for a particular person I'm going to meet with in the next few minutes.

      However, there is definitely something about the Hipster PDA - 3x5Cards that has value over other things—as good as those other things are. 3x5 cards are easy to keep on you, way faster to capture your ideas on than a smartphone, and they force you to keep a limited bit of information on each card, which helps with processing and focus. I've found that having something like 3x5 cards on me at all times (regardless of my other tools) is a necessity for quick capture and one-at-a-time focus and processing. Levenger has some nice "pocket briefcases" that keep the cards together and organized.

      Not sure if that helps, but it's what works for me.
      i'm definitely making a new hipster pda tonight, at least for the time being. The Ready-Set-Do! app seems okay, but I already have OmniFocus which is like my godsend tool I use daily.

      I'm sure you've seen how you can print out customized looking index cards with "project, waiting for, etc" titles on them but my printer just can print index cards which I hate (dell 1110 laser printer). But I guess for now it is hipster PDA.

      for the past hour i've been looking more in Moleskine products which look great. Especially the 3x5 size ones. The fact they contain a little pocket at the end is really calling my attention, as i'm thinking that little pocket could house my few credit cards and cash i may need to carry around, and will allow me to lose this bulky wallet i have now.

      Comment


      • #4
        I use a... thingy. It sorta looks like a small notepad with the binding at the top, sort of like the ones you'd expect to see a meter-maid using when they're writing you a ticket.

        It's kicked around in my back pocket for a long long time and there doesn't seem to be any danger of it falling apart. I got it at some generic big stationery store.

        Maybe I'll take a picture of it.

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        • #5
          Printing, Planning, and Doing

          I'm sure you've seen how you can print out customized looking index cards with "project, waiting for, etc" titles on them but my printer just can print index cards which I hate (dell 1110 laser printer). But I guess for now it is hipster PDA.
          @HappyDude: You might consider getting a little 4x6 photo printer designated solely for the purpose of printing out your contexts onto 3x5 cards. I've seen people use them for this purpose.

          I'm also really glad you raised this question because I'm beginning to think that having two separate mediums (e.g., Omnifocus, Ready-Set-Do!, etc. for planning/processing; and paper/3x5 cards for cranking through tasks) may aid the mind in making the distinction between planning and doing. Consider how often the computer becomes a vortex to distraction and endless organizing and tweaking of your tasks. The hipster PDA does not have this problem; it keeps your focus where it needs to be when you need to just crank through your tasks.

          Comment


          • #6
            Great question!

            I use a Hipster PDA as my Ubiquitous Capture tool, and for a few lists (groceries, @Parents agenda, @Friends agenda, garden items to buy, and manga owned).

            I keep my NAs and Projects lists on a clipboard. Portable and easy to update.

            I do a lot of brainstorming in a 6x9" Moleskine-style notebook.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Todd V View Post
              I'm also really glad you raised this question because I'm beginning to think that having two separate mediums (e.g., Omnifocus, Ready-Set-Do!, etc. for planning/processing; and paper/3x5 cards for cranking through tasks) may aid the mind in making the distinction between planning and doing. Consider how often the computer becomes a vortex to distraction and endless organizing and tweaking of your tasks. The hipster PDA does not have this problem; it keeps your focus where it needs to be when you need to just crank through your tasks.
              Exactly! OmniFocus is great for honing all of my projects, organizing them and more..but unless an action is under my "Mac:Offline" or "Mac:Online" context, it is easy to get distracted. OmniFocus is impeccable for holding my 300+ actions and 50+ projects but its very easy to just feel comfortable at that point without actually doing any tasks.

              That's where the pen/paper relationship comes in. Being able to write things down, specific things for the day/hour/location will help me, the GTD'er, more in control.

              I have a Dell 1110 laser printer i've had for about 3 years now. Cost about $70 on eBay and I purchased a 3 toner replacement powders for $10 on eBay. I think they're like $30-$45 for each replacement if you buy it in the store, but under $3 each if you put in the powder yourself...

              Perhaps its a good time to look into a new laser printer...suggestion for a low priced one that does print out in small index cards?

              Originally posted by Brent View Post
              Great question!

              I use a Hipster PDA as my Ubiquitous Capture tool, and for a few lists (groceries, @Parents agenda, @Friends agenda, garden items to buy, and manga owned).
              If I had a printer that could print out index cards I in no way would mind carrying around a hipster PDA, perhaps even place the index cards in that little small moleskine with that panels.

              Comment


              • #8
                I think you can also get 8.5x11 sheets that are perforated into index-card-sized pieces.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Roger View Post
                  I think you can also get 8.5x11 sheets that are perforated into index-card-sized pieces.
                  Yeah but then i gotta cut them up, glue them to a real index card and go. Even then it adds more bulk to the index card itself w/ the gluing.

                  There was a time when i did this and then actually taped real index cards to a regular sized piece of paper so the printer would think its printing on a regular big piece of paper but in actuality there were index cards taped to that piece of paper....but it was short lived. the printer would jam up and problem arose.

                  The printer works fine but when im printing out like a 20 page essay it always jams up.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by HappyDude View Post
                    I'm asking You

                    What is your approach to all this? How are you most productive throughout your days? What simple tools do you use and need to perform your best? What do you always need to have with you? What helps you tenfold?

                    Edit: Allow me to mention that before I had the iPod Touch I utilized Merlin Mann's Hipster PDA which was an incredible tool for capturing new ideas for my inbox (I loved how I could easily write something down in an index card and toss it into my portable plastic inbox folder) but it was the greatest being able to write things down or cross things off when walking or standing up. That's why i'm secretly eyeing the small Moleskine notebook.
                    I love the feel and the idea of Moleskines, I've had a few for different purposes at different points. But they're not 'tear out the page' kinds of books for me.

                    I capture with my iphone (just into the native Notes or with the voice record if I'm driving, and occasionally taking pictures) mostly when I'm out and about. Then I have pads of paper anyplace that I 'land' frequently. I had been using whatever old or freebie pads I had lying around but I disliked the messiness of the different types of papers and seeing the ugly pads all over. I bought a package of 6 jr. legal pads and have switched to those. I like that they're yellow and a particular size. That makes those papers 'important'.

                    As I just went through in this thread I've been using paper (forms I've created in Excel, kept in an 8.5x11 binder) the past couple months. I've got NA lists, project pages (active and on-hold...a practice left over from using OF), someday/maybe, and higher perspective sections.

                    But I've just switched @errands and @calls over to OF so I can have them on my iphone. I thought it would mostly be to work from and check things off, but at work today, I added some things that I need to purchase right into OF.

                    It's really tempting to jump back into OF full force, but I find that I like to take individual pages out of the binder to focus (yes, I could make perspectives and could focus etc. in OF). And I too just like the physical-ness of it. I also am better at reviewing with the binder.

                    I didn't follow everything that you were wanting to accomplish by going back to index cards, but one option in that regard would be to buy card stock and print what you want on it and cut it up. (I like making forms just a little too much.)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      re: Printing 4x6 or 3x5 cards

                      Here is a good thread on printers to print to 3x5 cards; it's a bit dated, but I'm sure there are new printers being offered that could do the job. Recommendation is to just go with a photo printer dedicated specifically to printing 4x6 (but can handle 3x5 cards):

                      The Selphy series by Canon look pretty good for this, but perhaps others have some better suggestions?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Todd V View Post
                        Here is a good thread on printers to print to 3x5 cards; it's a bit dated, but I'm sure there are new printers being offered that could do the job. Recommendation is to just go with a photo printer dedicated specifically to printing 4x6 (but can handle 3x5 cards):

                        The Selphy series by Canon look pretty good for this, but perhaps others have some better suggestions?
                        Thanks for the recommendation. The printer is a bit pricey though, and i've been spoiled by the use of laser printers and never having to purchase ink.

                        As for the templates, those are the same I attempted to print out into index cards with my laser printer about a year ago....that GD laser printer is holding me back.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by HappyDude View Post
                          Yeah but then i gotta cut them up, glue them to a real index card and go.
                          I mean they're perforated cardstock. Maybe a bit lighter weight than a 'real' index card, but not by much.

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                          • #14
                            Mac Treo Paper & Camera

                            I check my Mac Omnifocus lists regularly during the day. Because I work at home I can check them on bathroom breaks, when we come in for lunch or whenever I feel like walking over when it's winter and I'm working inside. During summer I am more likely to make sure my Treo phone is synced with the lists and just work from there. Ditto for lists in the various at town contexts. If it's raining or snowing hard out and I know I will be working in it and need access to my lists I print them on paper so I don't risk ruining my phone with the wet.

                            I do almost all capture on paper, a cheap spiral notebook 3 x 5 inch size. Some capture is via photos with my camera. I process several times a day on breaks, after lunch (when we are usually resting a bit before major afternoon work), before dinner etc.

                            I carry my phone, notepad, 2 pens, camera and a sheep inventory list in a belt pouch so I always have it with me. It's on my left side and my leatherman is on my right. Those are the absolutely must have with me at all times things. Even when I carry a purse I still wear my belt pouch with my stuff and still have my leatherman on my belt.

                            Winter has my big pocket knife on a coat pocket. In summer I also add an epipen to my belt on the right side and sometimes stuff one of my bigger knives in a pocket or occasionally put on a belt knife (I have a USMC bowie that I love) I only carry a big knife when I think I may need it. My leatherman has a medium size knife blade that covers most needs in summer.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by HappyDude View Post
                              What simple tools do you use and need to perform your best?
                              The file folders on my computer. They are my computer-based capture tool. They are my filing-system (obviously), they are the atomic unit of my lists. This makes jotting-down info, sorting and creating lists, archiving and organizing materials very fast, because it is all the same currency: file-folders. There is no "mechanical" friction between capturing - processing - organizing - retrieving and reviewing, that makes it ultra-simple for me to keep on top of tons of inputs.

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