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Doing Done

Filed under: General — Thomas @ 23:23


It feels good to get on top of my TODO list and take back control over my life one task at a time.  I finally got round to finding out what Getting Things Done is all about (stop yawning in the back there) and it seems to help me much more than the ad-hoc methods I've used before.

I think the reason  it works so well for me up to now is that the book actually explains *why* simple time   management systems fail.  The book takes the time to explain this and this resonates with my experience.  For example, lots of tasks can indeed be done within 2 minutes.

Keeping your INBOX completely clean and moving things out that are in fact action items to do later is a lot better than having them sit around in your INBOX  (broken window theory at play again).  And the idea of contexts (I feel tired, give me some phone calls to make) is so natural I wonder why I didn't think of it myself.

Getting tasks outside of your head and into a system helps wonders to sleep at night and not lie awake thinking about stuff to do.  I should put a notebook by my bed though.

It was going well before my two week tour of Europe (task on my todo list to BlogAboutIt), achieving zero mail INBOXes at the end of the day.  And it only took me three days to catch up again after two weeks of only skimming them.  A great feeling to be able to go to bed with all your open loops captured.

God, I'm prodporning.

The only thing I'm trying to avoid really hard is rewriting this python-based GTD tool I'm using, and slapping a GUI on top of it.  Really, I don't need more tasks.


  1. I know you’re a python dude, but resist the temptation. Use (and hack on) tracks instead. :)

    Comment by Luis — 2007-07-31 @ 00:31

  2. Luis,

    I looked at tracks. A web app is a 110% no-no for me in this case – I need something that works everywhere, whether it is at work, at home, or on a plane.

    Comment by Thomas — 2007-07-31 @ 02:13

  3. hah, sounds like the method I’ve used for years, and I sleep like a baby :D. Let alone that my email client is so quick to use and load ;P

    I’d be interested to see your program as something similar was on my list to write over these next few weeks.

    I also tried tracks and was unsatisfied.


    Comment by jaime — 2007-07-31 @ 11:40

  4. Look a little harder at Tracks. It is a web app in the sense that it runs in a browser, but you can and probably generally do run it locally via WEBbrick.

    Comment by Matthew — 2007-07-31 @ 14:53

  5. I am using the planner mode of emacs.

    Really nice, especially the multi mode allowing you to put tasks in different categories at the same time. Like your @phone + YourProject.

    Comment by Loïc d'Anterroches — 2007-07-31 @ 15:16

  6. I’m curious, what IS the python tool you’re using? :) I’ve been trying to use Tomboy…

    Comment by Steve — 2007-07-31 @ 15:47

  7. By “Getting Things Done”, are you referring to the book by David Allen? If not, which book?

    Comment by Ian Romanick — 2007-08-01 @ 01:10

  8. @Ian: yes he is

    Comment by Dieter_be — 2008-07-22 @ 20:21

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