Getting Things Done (again)

My first experience with David Allen’s Getting Things Done was in July 2001. I went to the two-day course. I got an inbox, filled it and emptied it. I emptied my e-mail inbox. I did a brain dump. I made notes and put them in files. I made lists — that is to say, better lists. I bought a PDA.

Ultimately, I fell off the GTD wagon . . . several times. I had no idea what to do with my lists or how to tie them to triggers to ensure the important things “got done.” I had trouble believing in the system. Now, five years later, I once again have piles (but not so many, and they mostly contain reading). I have more to do than in the past, as we all do, but I’m getting better at recalling what I need to do — mostly because of the bits of GTD that I did adopt.

But I need to get back into a GTD-esque groove. I’m intriguted by the extensions to GTD that appear in Thomas Limoncelli’s Time Management for System Administrators (as reviewed on 43Folders). In particular, Limoncelli includes a method for determining what to do next:

  • Create your day’s schedule — Outlook makes this trivial
  • Create your day’s to-do list — What’s on the list that needs to be done
  • Prioritise and reschedule — prioritize by deadline
  • Actually do the work — avoiding distractions is key
  • Finish the day — manage unfinished tasks
  • Leave the office — Yippee!
  • Repeat — *sigh*

I’m rereading Allen’s GTD, but I remember last time around thinking that it required a lot of customization for people working on software development projects. Or perhaps I need a lot more instruction on how to manage software projects. Let’s see if anything new comes to me this time, or if there are hacks/advice others have written about (perhaps here).

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