Friday, April 25, 2008

A week off from preaching...

Well, with the youth leading worship this past Sunday, and my Wednesday night lessons already prepared, I had a chance to play catch-up last week. Keeping more than 3 things in my head at a time has never really worked for me, so I've had to do some investigating into organizational methods. I did the Palm Pilot thing for almost a decade, and did the Franklin Covey planner on and off alongside it. But those things were tools, not methods. And as a Methodist...well, I need methods! ;-)

It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I discovered the Getting Things Done (aka GTD) methodology, set out by David Allen in his book by the same name. The flow goes something like this:

  1. Collect-Get all of the thoughts out of your head, your email, your various post-its all around the office, and get them into one big bucket that you sort through on a consistent basis. For me, this entails use of my cell phone's voice recorder, and my handy-dandy Hipster PDA.
  2. Process-Ask some basic questions...Is this actionable or not? Is it a single action or a project? Is it for me or for someone else? Is it something I can do in 2 min right now, or do I need to do it later?
  3. Organize-Get them in the right files, on project or task lists, on your calendar, etc
  4. Review-Go over your calendar and lists, and make decisions about what to do this week, today.
  5. the thing!
I've heard-tell that Allen's spirituality is a little on the creepy side, but then again, so is that of my favorite chess guru, Jeremy Silman. So I don't get into a lot of his side stuff. I've actually found my best resource for applying GTD has not been Allen, but another guy (and a Floridian at that) named Merlin Mann. His site, 43 Folders, is good for both organization and technology. He's the guy to (tongue-in-cheek) popularized the Hipster PDA, which is a fancy term for a stack of index cards in a binder clip.

It's been a long learning curve for me, and I've changed the system 10 million times in the last year or so, but it's been beneficial for me. Of course, once I get a good system, then I have to deal with the worries and fears in me that make me want to procrastinate all the things in these wonderful lists.

But that's for another day. Hope this is helpful to somebody!

No comments: