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Messages - dallee [ switch to compact view ]

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Living Room / Re: I have a very hard announcement to make
« on: November 02, 2010, 12:17 PM »
Dear App,

One of your posts was among the first I read when I first joined Donation Coder -- and I have always remembered and noted your distinctive voice and take on things.

So, you have made an indelible impression here.

I hope you keep posting -- and, hey, any interest in writing?

As for advice:  one door closes, another opens ...

          One fan rooting for something great for you behind the door which opens,

          Dallee   :Thmbsup:


That was a good one!   8)

Thanks for brightening my day ...


Mouser, at post 33 in this thread on page 2, mentions a New York Times article, entitled "We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint," which has a main take-away that a slide analysis can give an illusory sense that complexities have been mastered.  The article looks at military uses (apparently at epidemic levels).  Here is one quote from the article:  “It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control,” General McMaster said in a telephone interview afterward. “Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable.”  

For the purposes of this thread, particularly useful reflections on Powerpoint are in two follow-on Times posts.  First, there is a lesson plan based on this article for using it as a basis for discussing Powerpoint itself, adaptable to any group discussion.  Second, more generalized observations and comments appear in this article addressing improving educational presentations, with tips for graphic and quotable source material (and the author also likes Prezi.

Hope this adds to this thread ...

           Dallee  :Thmbsup:

CCleaner, a free downloadable Windows program from, has a great registry cleaner with an automatic back-up feature. I have used it for years and it has never caused a problem, unlike other "registry cleaner" programs. The title of the program comes from "crap cleaner," which it does very well.

You access the registry cleaner feature by clicking on the "registry" icon on the left side of the screen, click "scan" to identify problems, and then can "fix" problems one-by-one after reading a brief explanation of the likely source of the problem. You can select the type of item for a scan.

This feature may be a bit unsophisticated for many and not quite what is sought in this thread.  In my experience, it identifies left-over elements from removed programs and similar items which can slow down loading. The program has some other features, including a fast way to modify a start menu.

The website is very informative. This well-established freeware program has had over 300 million downloads.

Thanks for the topic (Mouser - hi!) and for the first comment (BrotherS - Thanks!).

I also find that GTD just too detail-oriented for my purposes, as I have little need to schedule my job related tasks and do them as they present themselves. On personal items, as a Gmail user, I really like the idea of the Google Gmail tools mentioned above -- to access them, I click on the little icon following my inbox name (or, go to your inbox, and then use this link:  I add that information because it is not entirely obvious how to add the features mentioned.

So far, the really nice thing is that these features load with your mailbox (if you have tried adding similar widgets to a Google home page, you may have found -- as I did -- that loading is really, really slowed down). So, nice find!

I use, a free service for scheduling emails, for reminders. I just like the graphics better than RememberTheMilk.

Still working on other tools and will report back ...

          Dallee  :Thmbsup:

My report is that I've been following the main ideas by making a list of pending tasks and obligations (Allen), and limiting procrastination by "getting the file out" (Forster).

There has been a marked reduction of timewasting activities in my non-work time.  Mark Forster is the person to whom I give the credit.  It is liberating to think about a small start, rather than a bogging down in thoughts of a big project.

One helpful and free program has been Quicknote from  It has a terrific timed reminder feature.  I pasted into Quicknote an article on "time binge-ing" and procrastination and set it to pop up hourly on my computer; it serves as a reminder that sticking with any one task for too long can be counter-productive or (in the case of time fillers) not productive at all and the content of the article reminds me why I need to pay attention to this issue.

Another free program I use is Workrave from  You can set the preferences for periodic micro-breaks of 30 seconds, rest breaks of 10 minutes (which will give you some anti-repetetive stress injury desk exercises and tell you to get up and move around), and even lock your computer after some period of time.   You can set the frequency and length of each, as well as insert zeros and avoid any feature altogether.  I use 30 second mini-breaks about every half hour, which gives me time to reflect whether I want to continue the activity I am doing or switch to something else.

For keeping track of lists, Quick To-Do Pro from has been my tool of choice.  Tasks can be categorized (following Allen's use of @ to group alphabetically certain related action locations and types, with a listing of projects by name alone), notes and links to web sites or files on my computer can be captured conveniently on the same page for each item, and all list items can be sorted by any heading.  Given that my tasks are not email based, Outlook would take a lot of tweaking to do what Quick To-Do Pro does for me.  Nice clean interface.  It is well worth the moderate cost.

So, thanks for starting the Great Experiment!  Big shifts have occurred and I am really grateful, especially for the introduction to Mark Forster though an early mention in the discussions on these boards.


The Getting Organized Experiment of 2006 / Re: keeping fit kind of tip.
« on: September 30, 2006, 01:01 AM »
Get a pedometer and wear it daily (the 10,000 steps program) -- an amazing $5 expenditure with real fitness and health benefits

Step 1:  Select a pedometer (step counter), the more basic the better. 

I like the Sportsline 340 Basic Electronic Pedometer, shown
I got one at my corner chain drugstore for under $5,  so you might find one locally.  Mine had no problems, but I note I clip it on a waistband, not a belt.  If you want to clip it to a belt, shop for a different simple model.

Fancier models are trouble.  If it has a cover you have to open, the cover breaks after a while (and that little reset button really does not need to be protected by a cover).  If it has all sorts of programable information and calculations, those features may not work (my experience) and just give you data which adds nothing to reaching your basic goal of taking 10,000 steps a day.

Step 2. Keep in your mind that the desirable goal is 10,000 steps a day.

Hitting this goal, without more, improves cardiovascular health, reduces the risk of diabetes, and helps you stay limber.  See some real data bearing out this assertion at  This goal is generally recognized as easier to implement than trying to take a daily walk of a pre-determined distance (

If you want to do a web search, a lot of links are listed on an page on walking at  The 10,000 step goal has been recommended by the Surgeon General, if you consider that important.

3.  Look at your pedometer every night.

My experience, as a very sedentary professional who sits at a computer too much, is that my normal walking is 7,000 steps daily.  When I do a nightly pedometer reading, and without trying to make any project out of it, my walking swings up to 10,000 steps.  For me, the pedometer reading is sufficient to bring the goal into awareness and then I just naturally walk a bit more for things ... to get a book, to the water cooler, whatever ... and get up to and stay at 10,000 steps in a matter of days.  And I do feel more limber, in addition to other less observable health benefits.

It is possible to make a project out of wearing a pedometer, but I don't find the need.  If you want to keep a log, you can find sample forms at and through links on the walking page.

          * * *

A pedometer is a really good place to start a fitness program and is one piece of fitness equipment you are almost guaranteed to end up using on a daily basis.

I love mine!


Hope this isn't too late to be helpful ...

Forster discussion addressing the following would be good:

-what are his views on self-discipline and would his answer be different for different people with different styles/psyches?  different types of activities or goals?

My experience is that I am more likely to GTD by approaching myself with kindness
and using Forster's "get the file out" approach.  Some people rebel against their own self-discipline and it is counter-productive.  But I know others love it.  I suspect one has to look at the person and Forster looks like the "hand crafted" approach type, rather than a cookie cutter one, so he may have given this subject a lot of thought.
    BUT he might well stay that one should use self disciple on only one thing at a time, which he suggests on his blog.  He will tell himself to "get on with it" no matter what, but only about one thing.  That sounds much like habit building, and that one should not engage in multiple simultaneous efforts at life rebuilding.  How long does he use the "one thing - get on with it" before moving to a different "one thing"?  After the one thing is incorporated as a life fixture?
    How does he reconcile, or draw distinctions between applying, the "one thing" with "get the file out"?

-In his "life coach" role, are there any particular dimensions he assesses and what rating scale does he use.  Does that lead to any variance in his recommendations?  What subject areas does he make recommendations about?
     Does he have any way he breaks down work situations by type?  By solution?
     Such a discussion might lead to some really useful tips and distinctions.
     I find it really interesting that Allen's outlook software is heavily geared to those who get work input, tasks and appointments by e-mail.  I don't have that situation.  I use GTD in my personal life -- household and family issues, renovating a bathroom, planning changes in a kitchen, restructuring health habits (more sleep, introducing exercise to my life pattern, making sure I structure food acquisition so I can eat in a way I already know is healthy, etc).  I picked an index card approach because I would rather get on with working on my goals and know I would spend months finding the perfect software if I sought a computer approach (and I am somewhat adverse to accessing   personal stuff on my work computer where MIS can monitor content).  I advance this to give a sample of a different situation, far from someone using GTD or DIT as a project or system planner at work.  I am sure Forster would see these differences and draw distinctions.

-what advice would he give a person who engages in time wasters (such as computer games) and what helps those urges shrink?  Does he classify any time wasters as appropriate leisure activity and have any recommendations as to time limits?
      A nod to Arjen on this one.  Good topic.  Sometimes play time is play time.  But sometimes one is "stuck."  Making action possible sets a stage for time wasters to dry up and become self-limiting.  One can get frozen in the urges toward perfectionism and the difficulty of drawing distinctions.  One nice thing about looking for a 15 minute "next action" (a micro movement) is that one looks for a clear possible action, instead of getting bogged down in a global problem.  But sometimes it just helps to accept that a problem is going to require a LOT of massive research which is going to take a lot of time and just realize that the only "next action" is to add to a knowledge base and no decision will show up in 15 minutes.  Just telling what helps me get away from time wasters ...

-ask him to give his four points on GOALS.
      His newsletters addressed these really clearly and in point order, but the new blog mixes them up a bit.  (It might be scurvy to ask why, especially if the old newsletters are not be currently accessible).

-what does he think about the role of luck and/or that just getting started on a problem helps a solution to present itself (the universe answering your call sort of thing).
      I find it remarkable that so often the universe PRESENTS a solution when one starts to focus on framing a "next actions."  When I really am mentally prepared to act, I'll run across the perfect thing -- happened two days ago (my toilet has peculiar plumbing and I have looked on and off unsuccessfully for a year for a replacement which would fit the space and then -- with the renovation ready to begin -- an entirely perfect model turned up on my computer search which, I would swear, was no different that all my prior searches and, no, what was perfect has been around for quite some time and just didn't pop up before -- all of which I found amazing). 

I've tried to give examples where the question might not be clear, because you might want to phrase the questions differently and want to understand the point I am trying to suggest


FYI there is an accepted scoring method for GTD, based on white through black belts.

It is from a David Co. newsletter and is set out in a message posted on their freely accessible web pages.  The link is

Set out in full below, without attempting to deter framing an alternate scoring system.


                  * * *
White Belt

You’ve recognized the art of workflow management as something to get personally better at. White belt is actually a rank to be proud of – it means you’ve begun, which puts you ahead of those who are not conscious of, or not interested in, improving your game. You’ve had a taste of what it’s like to clear the decks, with perhaps a Mind Sweep and an initial gathering of things that have your attention in your work area and maybe at home as well. You’ve become more conscious of your in-basket as a place to toss still unprocessed stuff. You’re writing things down a little more than you previously did, a little more consistently. You’ve made a stab at setting up some sort of list-management tool and structure.

Green Belt

You’ve got some lists that you use regularly, and you’re comfortable with your system for some basic things. A self-management tool is with you most of the time. You’ve tasted the thrill of zero in your e-mail in-basket a few times. You’ve set up a workable paper-based filing system, and have a labeler you use yourself. You’ve purged and organized at least one major “black hole” storage area at work or at home. You’ve actually done one relatively thorough Weekly Review and tasted the accompanying on-top-and-in-charge feeling. You’ve started to swear by the Two-Minute Rule. You’ve got some sort of portable note-taking device you’re actually using now and then. You try to convince people around you how cool all this stuff is and that they should do it too. “What are we trying to accomplish?” and “What’s the next action?” are creeping into your operational vocabulary with others at work.

Brown Belt

You don’t hesitate to write things down, even when old-fashioned people around you aren’t. You no longer need a reminder to get your head empty regularly. You’re doing “Monthly Weekly Reviews.” Home and office are equally under control. “List maker” is no longer a pejorative. No notes are left on legal pads. E-mail is a zero at least once a week. Processing your paper in-basket is actually fun, most of the time. You have a “Projects” list that is probably 75% complete and current. In the dentist’s office, you have your own reading material. You’ve stopped interrupting people around you for non-emergency communications, choosing e-mail or notes into their in-baskets instead. You’re feeling comfortable with a big list of undone actions. You’ve set up a Someday/Maybe list and have moved items there from your Projects lists, and vice-versa. You don’t share your labeler. All paper-based reference that won’t stand up by itself is in your files, and you actually like to file stuff. You’re somewhat intolerant of those who don’t exercise the same best practices. You’ve started some good checklists. You know what to do with almost everything. Your next-action lists are actually next actions, not small sub-projects. A majority of your focus is thinking about your stuff instead of of it. “What are we trying to accomplish?” and “What’s the next action?” are creeping into your operational vocabulary with others at home.

Black Belt

You have to look at your Calls list to know whom you have to call. You trust your intuitive prioritizing all day long. You can’t stand not doing a complete Weekly Review, and you’re operationally squeaky clean at least every couple of weeks. Your review time regularly takes you down constructive rabbit trails of creative thinking, decision-making, and idea generation. You no longer complain about lack of quality thinking time. You can leave a mountain of stuff in your in-basket and still have a good time, confident it’s all in a trusted system and will get tackled soon enough. You’re using speed keys instead of your mouse. You create useful temporary checklists on a whim. You’re willing to tackle thinking about any project or situation on call. All of your reference files have been reviewed within the last year. Your systems are completely accessible, functional and intact as you move from location to location. Others are highly sensitive to what they bring into your environment. There is little distinction between work and personal – there’s simply a positive focus on whatever you’re doing. You know how (and do) get yourself totally back into control by yourself, when you’ve slipped much longer than you’re comfortable with. You don’t need to convince anyone about the methodology – you’re usually not thinking about it, merely using it. You’ve stopped complaining about e-mail. You’ve lost only a couple of receipts this year. Friends no longer want you to see inside their offices or cars.

Black belt – 2nd Degree

Time has disappeared, most of the time. You often move fast, but you’re seldom busy. When you’re playing with the dog, you’re not thinking about any of the big stuff – you’ve already thought about it. You know what every key in your desk drawer is for.

I'll participate also!

I'm not sure where you are starting, so I'll post here an edited explanation I gave to a non-technical group about preparation for a GTD implementation:

From several Yahoo groups on GTD, I'll give a summarization of what seem to be good first steps which are rarely described. 
The basic points are to figure what YOU LIKE so that you will use your system, otherwise it won't work and require a lot of tweaking and changing.
REMEMBER that you are seeking a way which will permit a "brain dump" of tasks in months and years to come (as well as be useful to pull together what you already have on your horizons now). 
AND your system should permits some reflection on your short and long-term goals, and picking next actions to move forward on them, so it should be something you would be willing to spent time with and not make you feel frantic or rushed.
So, here is my list for pre-GTD contemplation, all appropriate to sitting with your feet up without lifting a finger except maybe to make some notes:
1.  Give a lot of thought to what APPEALS to you to handle and use.  What "rocks your boat" that applies to list making?
-fountain pens?  Then you would like a paper approach.
-high quality paper?  (again, paper approach)
-notebook?  (in what form? There are lots of Moleskine notebook fanatics, for example, but others like planners and the ability to customize forms and print them out)
-high tech?  Think about a PDA or PDA cell phone, or computer.
-any preferences for leather, metal, plastic?  Any color preferences?
-what do you carry around already?  Can you use it or adapt it to a GTD assistance device?
2.  Give a lot of thought to when, where and how you would ACCESS a list of "to do" items and also recording new items as they occur to you.  Any constraints?
-on the fly?  multiple locations?  (weighs against computer or internet-based lists)
-in the car?  (think about something with voice recording capacity)
-any feelings about size of your information capture device?  (me, I like slim things and don't want to carry extra weight, so avoid a planner and like 3 by 5 cards in a leather jotter)
-at your desk?  (computer would work)
-multiple computers?  (that does take research, especially in how to synchronize the information flawlessly)
3.  Think about how TECHNOLOGICAL are you and what you might want to do on a computer.
-like to design paper forms?  would color printing appeal?
-use internet information repositories?  More likely if you want to share your lists.  The most favored of these include a site called "Remember the Milk," various internet calendars, and on-line wikis (look into these if you are interested, but they seem to be in relatively early days of their technologies).
-privacy concerns?  (might weigh against internet repositories)
-willing to learn new programs?  Would have to be willing to find and try out candidates and master whatever looks appropriate and believe the effort would be justifiable (if not, take a look at the features of your wordprocessing program and other programs you know already)
4.  Does your EMAIL generate or support a significant portion of your activities or obligations?
-a lot of email input would weigh in favor of using something like Outlook or another program which links emails to tasks
5.  Are there any OLD or NEW HABITS or ROUTINES you wish to track or record?
-make a check list?  make a chart?
-use to frame steps? micromovements? 
-keep a food journal? sleep journal?  water journal?
6.  Only thereafter make a shopping list and start to pull stuff togther ...
                   * * *

Hope this information is appropriate to add at this point of the discussion.


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