Here's the GTD approach I've been following lately, which I'm very happy about. It's based in the tool Trello.
I have several boards (for personal stuff, for my main side-project, for work, for another project, and long-term goals). They all have four lists: Backlog, To Do, Doing, Done. Every Sunday, "Done" is archived into "Done (2012.04.08)" and I create a new, empty "Done" list. Then I bring tasks from the Backlog into To Do, in a way that everything in this list is what I plan to get done during the one-week sprint.
For projects I do with other people, we follow a similar approach, it's working great.
I wrote a toy script that parses the Trello JSON output into text format that I use for the weekly progress reports at my day job.
My productivity has overall improved. But, even more importantly, I feel less overwhelmed by all the different tasks I have in the pipeline.
I'm planning to improve this over time, purely as an exercise to get more fluent in Python and Git.
This was actually a good excuse to get started with GitHub :)
Dunno if you accept Bitcoin, but I'd be happy to spare a few coins :)
I just stopped using GTD after 5 years on the system, including 3 years on OmniFocus. I respect David Allen and GTD a lot. But I found a better solution: daily outcomes.
Say you are building a social network startup called FaceSpace. Here's what your daily outcome list may look like:
Help people communicate more quickly -> Launch beta of FaceSpace -> Call Jason for programmer recommendations
We're going after the "why" -- instead of just doing tasks.
You'll have maybe 5-8 of these for the day.
How is this different than GTD?
1) No long queues of things to do. Start fresh every day. What persists is the outcomes we're after
2) Aware of the "why" behind a task gives you feelings of motivation and purpose
3) Focusing on the "why" forces you to do 100% necessary tasks
4) If life throws you a curve ball and you change the task, it's okay... We're focused on achieving outcomes, not tasks
I think GTD is great but I feel it focuses on tasks at the expense of focusing on the big picture. You shouldn't be waiting for a weekly review to see the big picture -- that's just way too long. For me, staying focused on realizing my outcomes all day has led to more directed and forward-driving tasks. As many great men have said, it's not about which tasks you do it's about which tasks you don't do. Focusing on the outcome helps you choose the best tasks.
Outcome lists FTW.
But the actual outcome (task) for that day would be "Call Jason for programmer recommendations", right? I mean the "Launch beta of FaceSpace" seems more of a long term or strategic goal, and the "Help people communicate more quickly" more of a purpose, or like they say nowadays, a mantra.
So if you repeat this every day, isn't this overwhelming?
And there are a lot of intermediate steps between the "Call Jason" and the "Launch website", so how do you keep track of these?
Finally, how do you see this as a substitute for GTD? (Since GTD is a practical approach to keep track of everyday's bits of todos, that appear from everywhere.)
Being able to cross-reference projects/contexts with easy filters for next action or ticklers is invaluable. Repeating events and automatic review scheduling are the icing on the cake. I believe in GTD enough that I would still do it in pure paper format if I needed to, but OmniFocus can remove most of the overhead which makes it all the more attractive.
It's a good enough program that I'm contemplating switching from Android to iPhone just to have it on my mobile.
- Identify big problems
- Split big problems into small, manageable tasks
- Assign tasks to others if necessary
- Complete tasks -> solve problem
Yeah, it sounds simple, but it's an extremely effective and lightweight solution.
I use remember to add tasks as they come up so that I can quickly get back in to what I was working on. For me it all has to do with dealing with the little interruptions from people throughout the day.
Ideally this wouldn't happen at all, and I could focus 100% on what I'm supposed to be doing. But in the real world, people people interact, a phone call/email etc.... When I'm coding and someone arrives at my desk and says something like "Sorry to bother you this will only take a minute...", it triggers my fingers (C-R n) and once the conversation has ended I hopefully have notes of action items I need to address maybe even with a due date if i'm lucky.(C-c C-c) Or if it was pointless/not actionable (C-c C-k) and my cursor is right back where I was before being interrupted.
If you stick with it you'll have enough data to generate some really nerdy reports on what you do all day, or if you are freelancing, a format that goes a long way towards a proper invoice. I've never had a client ask for more information about what I was doing by applying this technique.
Like with everything emacs, I've barely scratched the surface on what is possible.
emacs + org-mode + remember = a process that can scale from macro to micro and is very adaptable to your needs.
One thing about org-mode is that it's a single-person tool. I'm not aware of any way it could really work with multiple updaters.
Just curious. I switched from remember to the org-capture stuff recently, and haven't noticed any difference in my workflow.
## C-c C-c "~/.org/tasks.org" -> "* "
## C-u C-c C-c like C-c C-c, and immediately visit note at target location
## C-0 C-c C-c "???" -> "* ???"
## C-1 C-c C-c to select file and header location interactively.
## C-2 C-c C-c as child (C-3: as sibling) of the currently clocked item
## To switch templates, use `M-x org-remember'. To abort use `C-c C-k'.
Go back to GTD, I do it mostly with pen and paper. Absolutely painless and make you focus on things. Basically I use one sheet of paper every week, it always lies on somewhere on my desk so I can see it and write on it immediately. And it is no more than 54 sheets per year. Not a bad news to forest.
I think the spirit of GTD can be summarized by a quote: "Every deletion is a triumph."
Concise, logically divided, and refreshingly free of excessive hyperbole, witticism, and "insider" language that is all too common in pieces written "for hackers". Well done.
And the ePub: http://mario-kart.net/GTDForHackers.epub
(Sorry the formatting is a little weird)
Plain text: http://mario-kart.net/GTDForHackers.txt
Seconding taskwarrior for being a great todo handler. It has a minimalistic interface, but doesn't lack any features that you (might) find yourself wanting after a while of use. The IRC channel (#taskwarrior on Freenode) is active too. The command-line tools are perfect and let you make your system as minimal or as complex as you want. Over time, I've:
1) Set up a cron job that pumps my current list out to a text file behind an .htaccess'd directory. This way, I can see my list without needing SSH access.
2) I've also got a little Dashboard widget that pulls that text down, so I can swipe to the top-left hot corner and see them at a glance.
3) I'm using Alfred (http://www.alfredapp.com/) on my Mac, so I wrote a simple trigger called "task add" that connects to my box and adds it there. There's also a few posts out there for DropBox integration if you use that.
4) I didn't write this, but if you use oh-my-zsh, there's a plugin for Taskwarrior. I've learned about a couple options by pressing tab.
This site does seem to be dynamic though. Maybe a custom engine, or simply cached correctly.
Edit: He's using http://ikiwiki.info/
Is it open source? That would be great to hack on it. Or does it atleast have an API? That way I could script some more functionality.
Maybe you just doing fake work, getting some fake motivation from a list of GTD advice which you will lose while you continue reading HN, twitter, etc.
In my opinion, getting things done is just 3 simple step.
This read is part of the big family of "self-motivation" seminars and "find your inner strength "bullshit. I hate to break it this way but drive is something you cultivate yourself, no generic "method" will do it for you. The irony is in those lists and methodology is most of the time people are motivated to do the setup for it: buy the books, the special furnitures, plan on organizing their time and in the end, when it's supposed to start the method falls flat and you realize that you aren't changed. Slacking is still a big part of your life, losing time on the internet, looking at Facebook etc... still eats a large portion of the time you get everyday.
Oh and please can we cut down on the term "hacker" ? I know it's called hacker news but it's a bit presumptuous to name it that way for almost everything that is posted here.
But the whole thing is a paradox.
The things those people are getting done is write/talk/think about the "getting things done" stuff.
But if they do, they are no getting things done.
It's fun to think this way XD.
Indeed. It cheapens the term. (And it's already diluted enough.)