Chris Coyer of CSS Tricks fame wrote an excellent piece about being an introvert to the Pastry Box Project. I’ve never thought about things that way, but after reading that I instantly got an “Aha!” -moment. I have no problem interacting with people, but I also very rarely find myself in crowded places, such as a bar. I just rather spend time at home with my wife and cats, fooling around with computers, guitars and whatnot. It’s nice to see I’m not alone (no pun intended).
I’m a huge fan of Lego and this really hits the spot. (Also, this post is an excuse to test the Tumblr bookmarklet.)
I’ve been more or less doing this Getting Things Done1 thing for about 18 months now. I learned about it first from my friend Mikko and remember my initial feelings being very skeptic. Isn’t this a way too complicated system for simple geeks like us, isn’t this just a self-help system for really busy big company leaders?
Turns out that’s not the case. I also have plenty of projects to keep track of, both in my personal life and in my two simultaneous work lives.
I kept hearing about the system from Merlin Mann’s podcast and my curiosity rose. I have to admit at first it was the productivity porn aspect that got me interested, tinkering about what’s the best todo-list-app available. Ended up in OmniFocus, mostly because during the time I got it, it was the only serious tool with good syncing available between the Mac, iPhone and iPad clients. I’m not totally satisfied with the Mac client, but the 2.0 is just around the corner and it looks way better (both feature- and just plain lookswise).
So in the last 18 months I’ve also been trying to read the Getting Things Done book by David Allen. I’ve kind of got the grasp of the system by reading and hearing tidbits of information about GTD from here and there, but never got around reading the book. That changed lately, when Merlin Mann had a trilogy of five episodes talking about Getting Things Done (those episodes were 95, 96, 97, 98 and 99). Inspired by Merlin I picked up the book and started reading.
Boy is it ever a boring book! Filled with 10 year old business jargon, it really takes some imagination to get to the meat and potatoes, as Merlin would say. Nevertheless I managed to struggle through and I am glad I finally did. I thought I’d jot this blog post about the three key takeaways I got from the book.
The three key points in GTD (for me)
- If a task takes less than two minutes, do it immediately.
- A trusted system is really invaluable (but only if it’s reviewed regularly).
- To actually get anything done, it’s extremely important to define a “next actionable step”.
Let me open them up a bit.
If a task takes less than two minutes, do it immediately
A gamechanger. Instantly makes me feel a lot more productive and better about myself. Quick replies to emails are sent, dirty dishes get in the dishwasher, Photoshop layers are organized and properly named. When not done, these tiny things keep nagging even though you might not think so. They stack up.
A trusted system is invaluable
It feels great to dump stuff from my brain to a system (OmniFocus) that I know I’ll be constantly reviewing. To know that nothing will be forgotten feels amazing.
Define next actionable steps
Just as the next guy, I have certain goals in my life. For instance, I want to learn how to play the piano. Thanks to GTD I now know “Learn the piano” is not really a good task to have on my todo list, since it’s just daunting to have such juggernaut things as single tasks. It’s far more likely to happen if I make it a project and think of the first concrete step I can make. In this case, it could be “Google piano courses near where I live”.
So there you have it, the main three things I got out of the book. I guess I’d still recommend reading it, but I strongly suggest doing it in parallel while listening to the five Back to Work episodes.
- ©DavidCo, 2001. ↩
I live and breathe in Google Reader. Sometimes (quite often) there arises a need to save a webpage for later, either because I don’t have the time to read it or I just want to save the page for referencing to later. Here’s how my process used to go with Google Reader:
- Find an interesting article
- Hit the star button to trigger IFTTT
- IFTTT would then send the starred article to Instapaper so I could catch up later
- Instapaper would post all articles sent to it to Pinboard.in for more permanent storage.
Then when I consumed the saved pages:
- I’d hit Instapaper ~weekly and process at least part of the queued pages
- processing meaned “read and possibly move to a more persistent storage” such as local bookmark or re-add to Pinboard.in with appropriate tags
Then referencing to a previously saved article went like this:
- Start typing somewhat relevant words in Chrome’s Omnibox hoping to find the page from history
- If not found in history, googling it.
Why googling when the article is always pushed to Pinboard.in in the end? Because I find it far easier and way faster to just google the page, instead of opening a new tab and browsing to Pinboard.in, (possibly) logging in, and then attempting to search my bookmark library there.
So now I’ve found a better solution for these certain kind of higher quality / more important (yet not so important they’d live in browser bookmark bar) to me bookmarks. In fact, the solution has been staring me in the eye for quite a while now, but I’ve discarded it as “just another read it later -service”.
So, Kippt. For high quality web content. Also, it’s super pretty!
I’m anttti on Kippt.
Cons: Does not show date in home screen icon. No, badge hacks do not count.
Sidenote: It’s crazy why the current date is displayed only in Calendar.app icon and lock screen. Why not at least in notification center?
I only started using Macs in the System 7 era. But this is still very cool.
I’ve been hiding the iOS Newsstand.app on the very last of my iPhone screens, just because I cannot shove it into an Apple folder (where I put all of the unnecessary-for-me-yet-impossible-to-delete apps such as Stocks).
So yesterday Marco Arment released his New Thing, The Magazine, a Newsstand publification about technology. I do recommend you to check it out, based on the first issue it’s golden.
Which means no more hiding in the back, Newsstand.
Marco Arment on the new Kindle Fires:
> Who’s going to care if a vending machine shows ads?
Sure, nothing wrong with that! I personally hate ads, but I certainly can see most people opting to save a couple of bucks on the list price.
Nicholas C. Zakas:
It seems funny to look back at the browser that has become a “bad guy” of the Internet and see that we wouldn’t be where we are today without it.