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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 des

    • 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' offices and live out of a bag much of the time. I have a work laptop and various home computers. I often have hours to kill on an airplane with no connectivity. All those things lead me to slice my "contexts" in particular ways.

        The files: I have two files for projects -- one for personal, one for work. The other files are context files, based on either a location, tool or person I need to do them. E.g.: calls, computer, errands, home, online, office, wife.

        "Online" is where computer tasks go that require a network connection. "Computer" gets subdivided a bit inside the list. E.g. "laptop: upgrade workrave" or "pc: backup photos". I used to keep separate lists but combined them because I didn't have so many entries that I wanted to waste space on a virtual page when I print. "Office" gets subdivided the same way for either my office or various clients' offices.

        I also have a "mobile-personal" and "mobile-work" -- things that I can do pretty much anywhere. I'm not very happy with these -- it's a little too fuzzy as to what should be here versus elsewhere, which is a GTD warning sign. (I shouldn't have to *think* when I look at my lists -- I'm supposed to think ahead of time to populate the lists.) There's a lot of "brainstorm topic X" kinds of entries -- where I could do that on a computer or I could do it on a pad of paper or a whiteboard. I keep personal and work separate because I don't bother looking at the work list on the weekend.

        I have a "waiting for" file where I keep things I'm blocking on because of others. The nice thing is that waiting for, say, a callback means just cutting/pasting the "call" entry to the "waiting" list.

        All files get synchronized via SVK and subversion so I can work on it on any of my computers. I print on paper as my "working list" because it's always at hand and doesn't require me to have any particular piece of tech with me. I used to use some outlining software on the Palm, but I found it too slow. OK for entering things, but terrible for reviewing the full lists from time to time. So I just use vim with each file open in a buffer and switch between. And I have a handy macro to sort everything alphabetically with nice capitalization.

        -- dagolden