Tag: GTD

Off time

I’m not one for app reviews, because although I’m a nerd when it comes to technology I tend to be an indecisive nerd. I tend to switch things up, sometimes faster than I blogged. I also used to be an early adopter and a staunch Apple user. That combination especially the indecisive bit made tech reviews seem not part of my written “view”.

That will probably continue to be the case. Not just because of the aforementioned issues but because as with my handbags, my requirements seem oddly unique to the way my oddly unique body works.

This is not a sponsored post. However, I think that I found a solution to my earlier post about wanting a semi dumb phone. So I thought I’d share. The app is called (OFFtime). I’ve paid for the android pro features and have been using it for a few weeks. It’s working very well for me.

I needed (ok wanted) a way of having access to some of the online features of my phone (for example banking or google maps) without having to either turn other “sometimes useful but not now” notifications off or try and ignore them. I didn’t want it to be so fiddly. Putting it on silent, just made me hyper vigilant to every vibration and or I’d look more often so I didn’t miss the one person I might want to hear from.

For me this is the answer.

I have set up a few different profiles. Within each profile you can determine which apps you might want to use during that activity. The app will “let” you use those apps with no difference. Depending on the settings you choose, when attempting to access other apps you are met with varying levels of resistance, with snarky-ish comments. The trick is that you need to think ahead enough about what you want to do. Therein lies just enough self discipline to make it both workable (the phone can be a tool) and a challenge (I find myself looking over at it still way more than I want to admit, seeking distraction)

Same principle applies with calls and SMS. Rather than double check each vibration in case it’s so and so, or disconnect entirely, I can determine who I want to hear from whilst doing what. My parents and my dr are pretty much it for the vacuuming my head profile, a slightly expanded group can interrupt me if I’m using my writing profile for example. For the “lucky” ones, text or call will make whatever noise is “normal”. Otherwise you have silence, no change in LED and the option to send an SMS to the texter explaining that you’re busy, with an expected return time of whatever time you specified at the start of your off time. It includes a link to the website of course. Again you can do anything you want during your off time as long as you’ve planned for it.

At the end of the time, or if you have given yourself an option to opt out early (and taken it), the app will give you a run down of how long you were off time for and who said what in SMS and anything else that happened so you can reply when ready.

The only thing that I’m less than keen about is that it monitors your use seemingly all the time.

Remember when phones rang when people actually want to talk to you?

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book review: Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Work and Life

My book review of David Allen’s Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Work and Life here got me thinking about the book in more detail.

The hardest thing about the book was also its greatest asset. The fact it was an audiobook meant that it was right there with me which not only kept me moving through the book, and mindful of the principles, both good things. I am finding having a hard copy of books with me at the points that I feel like reading harder than it once was (bad for GTD itself perhaps, but there you go), so the audio allows me to use those moments when I have a gap, but when my head is too active to enjoy nothingness.

The negatives were that it was hard to get into a groove with it because in this book unlike in the audio version of the Getting Things Done book, the quotes were included in the audiobook as well as the hard copy, and the chapters are short sharp pointers; profound but not deep, and still practical enough to have you going “Now there’s a thought.” on more than one occasion

Allen claims in the introduction that after writing Getting Things Done, he started to think about the why of the approach, why the principles he was teaching seemed (at least to him it seems) universally applicable and as such started to put together principles and essays about their application. These are those essays. They are solid as an introduction, or as a review. There is depth to them which makes the format of an audiobook without chapter markers at the end of each point hard.

It is worth while as a read even if you have no direct interest in GTD. In Allen’s words;

This program will likely validate much of what you already know and do that works. But it will also challenge you to apply that awareness in a much more conscious and consistent manner and that’s where the real power lies.

In my own words it is as much about mindfulness as file folders.The spiritual angle is tangible and makes it a lot less a business book and much more a life book.. Thinking about my own choices and the impacts I have has been useful, given that really there is nothing new under the sun. As he says

If God is all and you’re part of that, just relax

This isn’t a sponsored post but my advice is if you want to buy/borrow a copy, get a hard copy.If you want to buy this it is on Amazon.

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GTD plus one week — What I’ve learnt so far.

Updated 1 pm 13th As I tweeted and wrote last week I did a re-implementation of GTD (Getting Things Done) the weekend before. Although I’ve used it somewhat over the last two years, it has been a bit haphazard so I decided a fresh implementation was in order.

I’ve now done my first real weekly review (there wasn’t a lot to review on Day 0); and I now feel clearer. I never got through assigning “Next Actions to the Projects in the List, so cracks were already beginning to appear, but that has been sorted now. After all, that is what the weekly review is for. I did a week, paper based (so others can “see” what’s on my radar). I like that logic, but until I get to actually go out and do the “buy printer ink“activity, it was fun to go back and use my old friend , OmniFocus. I know there is a risk with switching, but this morning I was excited to do some actions.

Some things I’ve learnt:

  • It is unfortunately still possible to avoid doing that which you don’t want to. This is not a magic bullet, but it means you can be more systematic and there are fewer highs and lows which is nice.
  • I tend to be blunter in my communications because I don’t have to decide what to say to Person, I tend to forget the niceties a bit. If the action is “Send Person a sms about coffee next week” My sms might read hi How’s thursday next week for coffee” then I might remember to ask how they are, or sign my name! Same goes with discussions in person, I show up with a list and off I go. Efficient, but less fluff. Ok for business but not so warming for loved ones.
  • On the flip side, I listen better
  • The Mind like Water thing is great.
  • I think being able to put social/life/relaxation stuff on the list and having it as important is so great.

A summary of GTD is here and the methodology is:

GTD is based on making it easy to store, track and retrieve all information related to the things that need to get done. Allen suggests that many of the mental blocks we encounter are caused by insufficient ‘front-end’ planning. It is most practical, according to Allen, to do this thinking in advance, generating a series of actions which we can later undertake without any further planning. The human brain’s “reminder system” is inefficient and seldom reminds us of what we need to do at the time and place when we can do it. Consequently, the “next actions” stored by context in the “trusted system” act as an external support which ensures that we are presented with the right reminders at the right time. Since GTD relies on external memories, it can be seen as an application of the scientific theories of distributed cognition or the extended mind.[1]

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making me tingly

I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for a while. I have a friend coming up from down south for the day and while that will be lovely it isn’t what is getting me all tingly. No I’m going back to basics and getting “my affairs in order” In an non morbid sense and re-instating my GTD system. I used to be quite organised and systematic in my head and not so much in my body. I used to blame the one handed wheelchair user thing and perhaps that means I need to tweak my system. It shouldn’t mean that I can’t get organised.

Indeed till about three years ago I went through several highly organised “patches”. I want that back. One the most holistic systems that I used and loved was the highly googleable “Getting Things Done” methodology.

I’m going to try that again.

I was looking for a summary to send to my friend who is coming up to be my arms and legs for the day. I found this as a start..

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Getting things done …. dude

If you know me, especially off-line¬† probably know that I am a fan and practitioner of the Getting Things Done methodology by David Allen. Here is one guys’ approach to it on a Mac. I might one day do my own explanation of my system, but for the moment this is funny and wise!

via Twitte

The Way I Getting Things Done by Jon Larkowski from Hashrocket on Vimeo.

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just as an aside

I seem to be keen on this writing thing today so

I have had until recently it seems a rather swanky diary — a day timer which i was slowly starting to rely on as my solution to organisation and generally getting things sorted. Yet somehow rather stupidly I have misplaced it. Quite seriously perhaps as it has been gone for over 2 weeks that I know of.

Bugger. I need to get some systems sorted.

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