The Death Of The Deadline As We Know It

I was a big fan of deadlines. Chasing them. Crossing them off of my todo list. Striving to meet them. Spending countless hours just to prepare myself for this date with my deadline. Oh, the feeling of pride when I was there in time to make it. The inner power and fulfillment… Yes, that was … Read more

Assess Decide Do stages – Do

ADD comes from “Assess Decide Do” and it’s a life management framework, initially described in this introductory post. As opposed to the regular productivity approaches, a life management framework focuses on a higher level integration and rejects the task checking approach as the only metric for measuring productivity performance. In ADD, each individual can have … Read more

Assess Decide Do

GTD is a wonderful methodology. I’ve been using it for more than 3 years and the benefits are unquestionable. I implemented it in several formats, from pen and paper to digital, and I can confess it really works. I’m productive and more efficient. But – you know, there is a but here – being productive … Read more

The Productivity Trap

No more than 2 or 3 years ago I was a productivity freak. Back then I was in charge of my own business, an online publishing company started 10 years ago. I was managing all the aspects of that company and that built a fantastic pressure on my health and time. I had to be more productive, … Read more

Staying GTD Over The Hype

Two or three years ago, a strange topic about organization skills, de-cluttering and mind like water exploded on the Internet. It was about GTD, or Getting Things Done, a methodology for boosting productivity invented and shared by David Alled in his book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity [aff link]. This phenomenon lead to a sudden surge of new blogs, with 43folders.com of Merlin Mann becoming the icon blog for this trend. Soon, other useful and very popular blogs appeared. At that time even yours truly was a GTD wannabee and one of my very first posts in this blog – and one of the most popular, I must say – was about GTD for people in transition countries. GTD posts and blogs where spreading over the internet at light speed. It was the Golden Era.

But now the hype is over. Merlin Mann has switched his 43folder.com and we must re-learn how to use what was once the Internet Bible of the common GTD’er. Icon GTD blogger Brett Kelly handed over his popular GTD property Cranking Widgets Blog to a new voice, Andy Parkinson and in recent posts claim he cured his addiction for this technique.

GTD hype is over for good. But the benefits are here to stay. In this post I’ll outline what was left from GTD in my productivity rituals after the drop of the hype.

GTD Leftovers

There are at least 4 different things that somehow survived the golden era of GTD in my organizational behavior. Let’s take them one at  time:

Emptying your RAM

And getting rid of  “open loops”. In GTD terminology an “open loop” is a thought that is not solved, hence keep popping up in your head all the time. Solving this “open loop” is a matter of taking it out of your head and storing it in a trusted system, for further processing. This is something I kept and found extremely useful.

I don’t know about your brain, but my brain is not a rolodex for sure. I prefer to use my brain for doing creative stuff like writing, coding or something like that. I also use it for learning, either by absorbing information, either by experiencing. I don’t want to be bothered in these processes by unsolved “open loops”.

Next actions

I kept the habit of breaking projects into “next actions”. In GTD jargon, a “next action” is the next physical action required to move forward a project and it doesn’t have nothing to do with the logical structure of the project, most of the time. For instance, if your project is to change your plumbing, the next action will be “look up phone number of the plumber in the agenda @phone” and not “call the plumber”.  “Call the plumber” comes next to “look up the phone number”. Pretty logical, of course.

Next actions are a fantastic glue to my flow. After I created and constantly sustained the habit of breaking my projects into next actions, something nice happened: I started doing stuff instead of organize my day all day long.  It’s not rocket science, but it’s effective.

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Exclusive 25% Discount On Mariner Software Products For DragosRoua.com Readers

OK, this is a commercial announcement and I’ll be very open and direct: as of today, you have 25% off for any Mariner Software products until December 31st 2008 via DragosRoua.com. Yes, you read it well, it’s 25% off for ALL Mariner Software products, not only the flagship product MacJournal. I’m so happy that we … Read more

Time Management For Mac OS: reviewing Slife

I’ve been a GTDer for more than 2 years but I have never ceased to look for new and better ways to improve my working process. The other day I received a comment from one of my readers on the post Manage Your Time As You Manage Your Money. It was something about a new time management application for Mac (and Windows, meanwhile) for time management, called Slife. It was a free download and I gave it a try.

The application is somewhere in the same league as time tracking services like Wakoopa, but there are some subtle differences that make Slife a very interesting baby. So, what is this Slife doing anyway?

Well, it basically tracks your time spent on your computer, with a higher granularity than other applications, letting you know not only with which applications you are spending the most of your time, but also which documents or web pages your are visiting most often (attention, twitter users 😉 ). So you will end up with some sort of report of the most used applications during your working sessions. The reporting is done in real time, with a clear, iCal-like interface (click for larger picture).

Time Management With Slife
Time Management With Slife

Did you see those little points and dashes? That’s where the granularity I spoke above takes place, if you click on one of those spots you will see the exact document on which you spent time, in my case, of course, twitter :-).

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Mind Mapping Online: Mind Meister at version 3

My first post about Mind Meister, an online mind mapping tool, was written more than one and a half year ago, and at the time the product was just about to be launched. In the last year Mind Meister has dramatically evolved from an experiment to a mature online collaborative suite. The other day I … Read more