La Casa del Lazo Abierto

This blog is mostly about experiences implementing GTD (Getting Things Done) as a married couple (with children and pets), both of whom work from home much of the time.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Productivity whether you want it or not

The dog knocked over a large object at about 3:30 this morning. The Maid was sawing wood five minutes after it happened, but I'm still awake two hours later (GRUMP!) Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, I have passed the capture stage and emptied my inbox; with about 100 index cards sorted into 10 contexts I am not lacking for things to do. Instead of puttering aimlessly, doing a crossword puzzle or turning on the TiVo, I filled out two online surveys and finished an optional, but valuable, bit of work on a demo I've been working on.

I'm also sitting in a brightly-lit room, looking at a cabinet that has all its doors, and seeing what's in my yard courtesy of some landscape lighting. All of which are the result of finihing piddly little home maintenance projects which had been languishing for a year before I gathered them all up and realized that a single trip to Home Depot and an hour of elbow grease could knock them all off.

Keep this up, and our families might actually consider visiting to be a pleasure and not a chore. :-)

Technorati tags: gtd, Getting Things Done, organization, productivity

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Never attempt a Kitchen re-org without plenty of Rachel Ray's Carbonara

Under the power of most excellent pasta, we jumped in and pulled things from all edges of the house into the Kitchen so I can actually (for the first time in 6 years) have a desk area all to myself. Re-purposing is most satisfying: the library table (from the family room), empty two-drawer filing cabinet (reclaimed from family room as well), IKEA inboxes (see Urchin's last post), a bin for my tickler file, a stack o' 3x5 cards,a couple of boxes of manila files and my new label maker. The best part is that I'm facing out, with the utter chaos that currently is the Kitchen behind me (as in "Get thee behind me"...).

Am I really ready to collect EVERY open loop at home? It's a daunting proposal. My office, which I only set up a few months ago, really is easy to tackle -- I'm gonna take care of that next week. But home??? I'm planning on doing a room at a time, and, having checked out the nifty things out there on Hipster PDA's (I jettisoned the Pilot about two years ago -- I'm a fuzzy, not a techie, and I really prefer paper)I'll be implementing my own. I had a wake-up call just today when I waited too long to pick up some mail I need for a class I'm teaching tomorrow -- the reminder to pick it up had been floating anxiously around in my brain all week, but since I don't have a system, let alone a trusted one, to hold that stuff for me yet, I crashed and burned. So if I was waiting for a sign from the universe that GTD is a good idea for me, I think it came today.

So here I go, placing my trust in Rav Allen....

Technorati tags: gtd, Getting Things Done, organization, productivity

Just back from IKEA...

where we bought his-and-hers inboxes. In Getting Things Done, David Allen talks about people who use their whole desk as "IN." I have them beaten, with my noticeable habit of using every flat surface in the house (vertical as well as horizontal). Within arms reach of my laptop as I write this are:
  • a cryptic note I wrote yesterday during a rare day at the office
  • unpaid bills (gas, electric, 2 medical)
  • two refund checks dated 3/7 and 4/21
  • childcare statements, one of which has an unpaid balance
  • a can of "Dust-Off" which I used last week when I spilled lemonade on the keyboard
  • a brochure on YMCA Aquatics
  • a hat and sunglasses left by an out-of-town visitor which need to be mailed back to him
  • insurance ID cards which need to go into my car and wallet
  • a spare house key, surrendered when the out-of-town visitor went home on May 25
  • a couple of drinking glasses
  • a mechanical pencil
  • the remnants of a child's gift that I helped unwrap
Most of the house looks like this, most of the time...hence the need. The wife has finished reading the GTD book and is raring to go; I'm still reading it and trying to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the number of excellent suggestions he has to offer.

One thing I have done to help alleviate stress already is to empty my work email inbox; a lot of it went under categories
  • @ACTION
  • @PROJECTS
  • @READ
  • @WAITING
I leave everything in @ACTION, @READ and @WAITING unread, so that the unread item count gives me the size of the lists at a glance, and without opening the mailboxes. Most of the remainder of my mail is subfolders of either ARCHIVE or MAILING LISTS. The first is a mandatory name for things that are supposed to be immune from date purging; the second is a master folder I created that contains subfolders into which every mailing list I am on is auto-filed using the mailer's filtering capability.

When I have some energy, I'll set up similar auto-filing for my personal email (ouch).

OK, back to reading the book!

Technorati tags: gtd, Getting Things Done, organization, productivity