Category: "Productivity"

GTD, software and 43 Folders

GTD, software and 43 Folders

I have complained a couple of times that there was no decent GTD software available for Windows... to the point I'm actually considering switching to the Mac just for that!

People keep advising me to just fall back to the real life method of using 43 folders. For the record, that is: 12 folders for all the months in the year + 31 folders for all the days in a month. You then rotate the folders in a way that will make them pop up whatever you need on a specific day.

I so disagree with 43 folders being a replacement for GTD!

While the 43 folders are part of David Allen's GTD method, they do not replace software. GTD software presents you with a list of next actions you can do in a specific context and you can choose from them what you want to do without forgetting anything important. It has nothing to do with dates and deadlines.

The use of 43 folders on the contrary lets you easily pop up whatever needs to be acted upon on a specific date.

Granted some GTD software also copes with dates and deadlines but that is not the gist of GTD.

Now... I bet the confusion has a lot to do with Merlin Mann's site, named 43 Folders (which is a cool name indeed) and talking a lot about... GTD! :p

No good GTD software for Windows?

No good GTD software for Windows?

Unfortunately, I'm beginning to think there is no decent GTD software for Windows.

I don't want anything that integrates with Outlook. I don't use Outlook.

I want something standalone. Plain and simple. Something where I can create tasks, organize them into projects, tag them into contexts and filter them a million different ways.

Searching on the web keeps pointing me towards Tudumo, which, frankly looks awesome on paper (I mean on the web). I also feels pretty good when you install it.

Now try creating 639 tasks (basically I copy/pasted a part of my todo list for b2evolution) and the thing turns into a slow bloated .NET application nightmare.

Who needs a todo list manager when you only have 10 things to do anyway ?

Inbox Zero!

Inbox Zero!

Woohoo! For the first time in years my email inbox is empty!

It is really odd actually: now Thunderbird looks like it's frozen and stuck in redrawing the right side of the screen. It's disturbingly white!

But it feels good. The last time that happened was actually 2004! (based on the oldest email that was in my inbox...)

So how did I do it? No merit: I just moved it all into ACTION folders! :roll:

Well actually, it's more subtle than that:

  • anything that wasn't actionable got deleted or archived
  • anything that could be answered or done in less than 2 minutes got handled and archived/deleted.
  • anything that required more than 2 minutes got into an action folder.

So far, it's basically plain David Allen's "Getting Things Done".

And so far: there's a hell of a lot of stuff to do in the ACTION folders! :(

This is where I'm going to start the real optimization... inspired by Tim Ferris' "4 hour workweek". For each item I need to decide:

  • Can I *not* act on it and forget about it?
  • Can I delegate it to someone else?
  • Can I automate it so I don't get the same problem again in the future?
  • and last resort: just do the goddam thing! :p

Quote of the day - talk

“Talk does not cook rice.”
– Chinese proverb

Quote of the day - Getting ahead

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”
– Mark Twain