Remainders 05.25.2007: The Rambling Edition

I know it has been a while once again so this will be an attempt to catch back up and share with you all of the informative little nuggets of wisdom I have run across.

Apologies up front. My brain is kind of all over the place today so this part of the series might come off as a bunch of senseless rambling.

Leo at Lifehack.org shares some great tips on pairing down your todo list to it’s bare essentials. He introduces the idea thusly

>”Do your days seem to be crazy busy and your to-do list filled up with an endless supply of tasks? Is your calendar full and your work day a non-stop rush from one thing to another?… If so, you may have too much on your plate. It’s time to step back, take a few minutes, and pare down that to-do list to just the bare essentials”.

Basically, the idea is to only focus on those things that you absolutely need to get done and defer the rest. I have noticed an increasing number of movements along this line as of late. David Seah’s Emergent Task Planning sheets being one elegant example of this. As someone who has been very overwhelmed as of late with a mind-boggling amount of tasks on my plate I can say that such methods have had an alluring appeal. And now that you have used these techniques to win back some time, Leo also has this list of productive ways of using it.

The 37 Signals Product Blog highlights some blogs posts on how to use Backpack to get your GTD on… And my post on my GTD Implementation ideas is one of the ones featured! So cool to be recognized.

Wondering what this whole GTD thing is I speak of and how to get started? Well how about this massive list of GTD resources?

My iChat buddy list is nowhere near the number where it is in need of organization. That being said, when it gets there I plan on using this method promoted by Chanpory at LifeClever. Simply divide them up into groups based on the frequency with which you chat with them. They also suggest some other groupings that, depending upon your usage, may prove more useful. The root of it all is to use the grouping features in your chat client to tame that list, enhance the signal and manage the noise. Interesting ideas for sure. Much is written about taming e-mail but (IMHO) not nearly enough is written about getting control over your IM.

For those of you who are fed up and really want to go radical on the distraction cutting front, checking out what Brian Oberkirch did to trim his attention sails is awe inspiring. In fact, I am literally afraid of some of suggestions but there are some true gems in there too.

While we are at it, how about a no meeting day for your place of work?

Personally, I would like a no anything day every once in a while.

OmniFocused

OmniFocus, the long awaited Getting Things Done based application from the fine folks at The OmniGroup, is currently in alpha and has been made available to a few brave folks, of which I am one, who are willing to put up with the potential bugginess of it all. Therefore, there is not too much I should say about it quite yet. Here is what I can say:

* I have been actively using it for for all of my personal and work related projects and next actions. I have run into a couple of bugs but that is to be expected in an alpha build. Having had a former job in software QA, I have had experience in such matter and I have been making sure to back up the database regularly. That being said, nothing yet has made me nervous about actively using it for my GTD system.

* It is a very solid GTD application. It is really effective at encouraging you to focus on next actions and working your plan in contexts. It has it’s own built in quick entry panel and Quicksilver integration to make adding items quick and easy. It is, in my humble opinion, going to be the GTD app to rule them all once it is released.

* Short of 37 Signals pulling any rabbits out of their hat soon, I very well may use it permanently for my GTD system.

Even though it is not widely released, The Omni Group has been very forthcoming with video previews and other information about the application. If you are interested check out Ethan Schoonover’s OmniFocus videos here and here for a good overview of the product.

Remainders 05.02.2007

Wow, long time since a post. Life has been crazy. Hopefully, the offerings of today will make up for it:

OmniFocus looks like it is coming along just fine. Although it is still in Alpha and has not yet been made available outside The OmniGroup, Ethan Schoonover provides a long detailed video of the sorts of things we can expect. Needless to say I am chomping at the bit to get my hands on this.

Unclutterer has a great post about a new organization system for files called Freedom Filer. Basically, they give you the tabs for your hanging files and a system, you implement it and they promise you will never have paper in a clutter in your file cabinet again (or be afraid to even get that far). Looks intriguing. I have had “organize filing cabinet” on my someday/maybe list for a while now. Therefore, this solution is tempting.

Whitelines is a new concept in paper. Instead of a darker ruled page that we have become accustomed to, it actually has a white rule. Some of the advantages to this is that your writing stands out more and the lines do not show up if you make a photocopy.

Zen Habits is quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs. Not only due to the middle path solutions to life that are on offer but the posts are regular and the content is well written. Take, for instance, the recent series on ZTD (Zen To Done). It is a modified version of GTD with a focus on forming habits and simplicity. Brilliant ideas and suggestions here, especially if you are having trouble staying on the productive saddle.

Lifehacker comes through once again on the Google GTD tips. This time, the walk you through using Google Notebook to get your Org-fu on. Google Notebook is a very useful tool in it’s own right but this brings it to another level. Ya dig?

Speaking of Fu… Merlin Mann drops the knowledge on some handy ways to use Smart Mailboxes in Mail.app… His fu is strong.

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