My Current System: The Org-fu Überpost Update

About a year ago, I wrote a very long whitepaper that outlined my Getting things Done influenced productivity system (some might even call it exhaustive) . A little something I deemed Org-Fu. That being said, like many things, systems change. They naturally grow and evolve with time and with some consistent evaluation of what works and what does not. Here, I will focus more on what has changed with my system and simply refer back to my original Productivity Whitepaper for the items that have not. Without further ado, here is my system as it stands today:

**Tools**

* Capture Device – Levenger Shirt Pocket Briefcase/Jott
* Physical Inbox- Ikea Dokument
* Next Actions/Projects and Lists – OmniFocus
* Calendar/Reminders – Backpack
* Notes/Misc. Info/Research- Yojimbo
* Vertical Mapping – OmniOutliner Pro
* E-mail – Mail.app
* Physical Notes – Levenger Circa (Letter Sized)/Large Moleskine

**Capture Device**

For a couple of years I was an avid fan of a Ruled Pocket Moleskine for capture. While it served me well for that time I often found it a bit too bulky to carry around in my jeans pockets. There was not enough room in the front pockets with other stuff in there like my keys, phone or wallet. Putting it in my back pocket caused it to bend and the pages to come loose from the spine as I would sit and move.

I considered other alternatives but wound up expanding the use of my Levenger Shirt Pocket Briefcase for the majority of my capture. It is slim and slips into my back pocket easily. I always have it at the ready and use the same dash/plus system on index cards as I did with the Moleskine. I then process those items into OmniFocus (see below) when I am at my computer.

In those cases when I am unable to capture by writing, while driving for instance, I use Jott. Jott allows me to call and leave a message for myself which then gets translated into text and e-mailed to me. I then can process those into OmniFocus with a simple copy and paste.

The combo of these two tools is a killer capture system for me as I always have one or both with me at all times. It is what capture in GTD should be – easy, fast and ubiquitous.

**Physical Inbox**

Nothing changed here. For more information, please refer to my Productivity Whitepaper.

**Next Actions/Projects and Lists**

OmniFocus is a soon to be released GTD based organization tool from the fine folks at The Omni Group. They have long made many of my favorite and most used applications on the Mac and they certaily don’t disappoint with this one. OmniFocus is still in a limited alpha release so I am not sure I am at liberty to say to much about it. I have posted about it before.

OmniFocus is heavily rooted in the GTD methodology and, as one would expect, allows one to organize by next actions and projects and execute by contexts. It allows for working on project tasks in order or in parallel. It also allows for sub projects. It is, hands down, the most user friendly and perfectly crafted GTD application I have ever used.

**Calendar/Reminders**

After many years with my old friend, Now Up-to-Date and Contact, I had to leave. It was a bittersweet goodbye filled with a few tears and some restless nights. The only solace I found was in a simpler life filled with SMS and e-mail, ease of entry and browser based ubiquitousness. That’s right, I now use the Backpack Calandar and Reminders features for my hard and soft landscape needs.

Regular reader know that I am a huge fan of Backpack and, until OmniFocus came along, I used if for all of my GTD needs. Now, I mainly use if for the Calandar and Reminders. the Calendar is very basic and no frills but it does the job of telling me where I need to be and when I need to be there. The one feature I have come to not be able to live without is that reminders are sent 30 minutes before an event via SMS to your mobile phone or via e-mail or both. Killer. I use the reminder for those “soft landscape” items that are not quite events but I still need a tickler anyway. I have written about hard versus soft landscape items here before.

**Notes/Misc. Info/Research**

Yojimbo basically took the place of two applications I wrote about in my previous whitepaper – NoteTaker and Notational Velocity. I pretty much use it as I did those other two applications. It is my digital commonplace. I store all sorts of things there. Meeting notes, research, project support materials, bookmarks, web clippings, PDF’s of product manuals, passwords for websites, even the chore lists I leave for my sons. If I need to write something that is not a blog post or and e-mail, it usually begins it’s life in Yojimbo. If I need to store information that I might need to find later, it usually ends up in Yojimbo.

The main reason for this is that I find it easy to search for things quickly and in a variety of ways when I need them. I keep things sorted by date modified so that the most current stuff I have saved or edited is always at the top. In addition, I let it sort things for me using the smart folder like “tag collections” feature so it is easy to search a subset of items grouped by a tag I have assigned them.

In a perfect world, the Finder in Mac OS X would work this way and there would not be a need for an application like this. It is getting there and it looks like with improvements to spotlight and the quick look features in Leopard it will get even closer. That being said, at this point I would be hard pressed to give up the ease and elegance that Yojimbo offers.

**Vertical Mapping**

Nothing changed here. For more information, please refer to my Productivity Whitepaper.

**E-mail**

Nothing changed here. For more information, please refer to my Productivity Whitepaper.

**Physical Notes**

I wrote about my paper based notetaking and love of using Levenger paper and Moleskine in the original whitepaper. Not much has changed here either.

There is one small change however. At the time I wrote:

>_“I am considering replacing the Levenger notepads with a Levenger Circa Notebook in order to keep things a bit more organized and complete but am not quite ready to cross that expensive bridge yet.”_

Well, I did not have to cross it because my wife crossed it for me and got me a beautiful Bomber Jacket Leather Letter Sized Circa for our first anniversary. Granted, there was lots of heavy hinting from me to her on this purchase but, hey, it was paper and therefore was an appropriate first anniversary gift.

The short review is that is it beautiful. It is one of the few things I own that I look forward to having reasons to use it. I have some tabbed dividers in place to create a few sections. I have a section called Actions. One for Notes. One called Project Support where I can punch project materials using a Circa/Rollabind punch I borrowed from a friend. Then one final section called Archive that everything goes to when I am done with it. My plan is to eventually get some more Circa rings and gather these items and file them when it begins to pile up.

I have not been using it too long but it is a great system that is helping me stay on top of my game.

The Random Post

Just a reminder to my regular readers. When you do not see much activity here, feel free to check out my tumblelog – The Random Post.

There you will find cool links, photos, quotes, funny words and odd angles. Basically, it is all the little snippets that catch my attention while cruising the interwebs and is far less structured than the posts here.

If you do check it out, and you enjoy it, I would love to hear your feedback. Heck, I would love to hear your feedback even if you don’t.

Getting Ready for OmniFocus @ 43 Folders

Merlin Mann once again drops the mad science on how to get prepared from the upcoming release of OmniFocus which I have mentioned here before. That being said, the tips he gives not only apply to OmniFocus, but can apply whenever you are in the process of switching to a new application for your productivity system. Here is Merlin’s take…

>“Moving your world of action into a new application is like moving into a new house (and can be almost as stressful). This is your chance to throw away crap, rethink how you’ve been doing things, and just give yourself a fresh start. So before you ever fire up OmniFocus for that first time, do yourself a favor and get sorted out with your current system first. Believe me, you’re much more likely to handle this well before the temptation of having the app in your hands sends you diving into using it full-time.”

I have been preaching this sermon for a long time. An application can help to support a robust productivity system but, at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is finding a system that works for you. When your system stops working, gets a little stale or no longer inspires – treat it as an opportunity to refresh and recharge. While I don’t recommend always looking for “the perfect GTD application”, sometimes switching out the tools gives you the inspiration and excitement you need to get back into the game. It has for me at least.

home/ books/ newsletter/ dash/plus/ archives/ info/ rss