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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • I highly, highly recommend that you read David Allen's Getting Things Done. Among other things, it clarifies the purpose of keeping lists (getting "stuff" out of your brain to free your brain to be productive), gives a process for managing your lists, and has useful advice on making sure your lists are actionable (keeping it granular to just the "next action").

    Moreover, he describes himself as the laziest person in the world and his system as the simplest thing that could work -- in other words, it's designed with laziness, impatience and hubris, which is perfect if you already like Perl.

    As a point of reference, I manage my lists in 12 text files using vim (and subversion) and print them on a single page (double-sided, 6-up) using a2ps and just carry it around with me. I just did a wc on them -- 76 tasks and 31 "projects" (anything with more than one step). And I'm sane. (More or less.)

    -- dagolden

    P.S. Allen also recommends keeping a "someday/maybe" list for things you don't want to forget but don't want to commit to right now. That list of mine is 200 items long.

    • Yes, GTD is fairly widely used. Also, there are tools for every platform to help you keep lists designed specifically for GTD if you don't want the low-tech approach. I've even had GTD training, but alas it doesn't seem to fit with my brain. I just can't convince myself that I'm better off with all of that stuff 'out' of my brain.

      One other comment: I believe the common wisdom is not to select tasks based on duration (quick tasks) although it's tempting. The recommendation I've heard is to keep your list pri
      • The subtlety I've found is that once tasks are on a list, then importance and urgency is relevant, but when a new task comes up, if the time to just do it is not much longer than the time to put it into the "system", then it's worth just doing it then. A couple minutes seems to be the rule.

        The problem I've found with prioritization is that my priorities shift too rapidly due to external, client factors and therefore the energy to update priorities on a list is just a frictional loss. People with more st

    • I've read GTD and agree to the principles. I even have some GTD posters on my office walls. It's just that I still haven't gotten round to fully implementing it (so I'm still stuck in a world where I forget to do stuff).

      Could you gives the rest of us some details about those 12 files? Do you split by priority, scope (home, work), size (tasks vs. projects), etc? How are those files organized?

      • I, too, have a lot of leakage in my system -- don't let it be a barrier. I'm not good at finding regular time for weekly reviews and emptying my head onto paper. But whenever I do, I kick myself for not doing it more often. Several of the practices work well individually, though I do think they work better collectively.

        I can describe my system a bit more, but it's an evolving thing, not static, and it's based on some of the particular contexts I deal with. For example, I travel a lot to clients' offic