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Author Topic: GOE - GETTING ORGANIZED EXPERIMENT - DAY 1 ASSIGNMENT  (Read 34452 times)
mouser
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« on: September 01, 2006, 02:15:32 PM »


GOE: THE GREAT DONATIONCODER.COM 2006
GETTING ORGANIZED EXPERIMENT
- DAY I ASSIGNMENT -


JUST GETTING WARMED UP



Ok we are going to start off very very gently and then build to a gallop over the next week.

Let me start by recapping what I think will be the basic idea behind our 3 month Getting Organized Experiment (GEO), which we have also been calling GTD (for the famous Getting Things Done method):

Quote
We will start out with some GTD basics and stuff common to most approaches, and then after a while, when everyone has put into practice the key ideas for a week or so, begin to discuss other ideas, like GED, and encourage people to share their experiences of what works and doesnt.

In other words, everyone who is participating is commiting to improve their efficiency and working process in a dramatic and permanent way.  We are doing this because we all want to learn to better manage the stuff we want to accomplish, and feel less stressed doing it.

This 3 month experiment is designed to help us find what works best for us and share those experiences.  The same thing that works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.  But by the end of these 3 months, you *will* have a system in place, and a new attitude about accomplishing your tasks.

You may find that GTD is perfect for you, and never veer off; you may find that you have to invent your own system.

The important thing is that by the end of the 3rd month, you will have a new system that works for you.  There is no room for excuses about "this system is a gimick it didn't work for me!" - because if it doesnt work it's YOUR responsibility to invent a system that does.

By sharing our ideas and experiences, perhaps we can come up with some new principles and rules for our own new DC-style efficiency system.



ASSIGNMENT ONE

Your first "assignment" or task will be to create a dedicated work area for yourself, and gather some materials you will be using to get started.

1. You really should have some dedicated area with some desk space or counter space where you can concentrate and spend some time specifically on going through your todo lists, notes, etc.  You are going to want to get into the habit of going to this place and focusing on your tasks, so try to find a quiet place with a clear area that won't distract you.  Now would be a good time to clean off your desk or go shopping for a little computer desk to put in the corner.

2. Secondly, almost all of the systems we will be looking at deal with keeping lists of some sort (todo lists, idea lists, task lists, etc.)
Depending on how you work best, go to an office supply shop and buy yourself some basic stuff:
  • post-it notes
  • file folders
  • a notebook or two
  • some blank paper
  • index cards (my personal favorite)
  • stapler
  • paper clips/binders
  • calendar
  • in/out box
  • an automatic labeler (GTD author highly recommends this but its not cheap)

I think such physical things are going to be useful even if you decide to do most of your filing on the computer..

Ok, now stop procrastinating and get started with your first assignment!
Your deadline for completion is: Sunday Afternoon.

[note: i am not going to be the 'coach' for this whole GTD/GOE project, i'm just trying to kick things off before the more knowledgeable people take over]
« Last Edit: September 06, 2006, 04:29:44 AM by mouser » Logged
Gothi[c]
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2006, 02:24:00 PM »

I think I'll go procastinate.  Cool
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mouser
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2006, 02:27:22 PM »

no excuses and no negativism here  Angry we are going to take this experiment seriously!
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app103
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2006, 02:37:33 PM »

Oh, that was easy...

Assignment done b4 you gave it...maybe I am more organized than I think. huh
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nudone
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2006, 02:48:59 PM »

good, we've started. thank you mouser.

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mouser
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2006, 09:34:07 PM »

Quick report from me:
I went and bought a bunch of 3x5" index cards, and 2 little plastic boxes that hold them and can be left open.
I have put both boxes on my desk (which is now otherwise empty).
In the left box i have blank cards.

When i get something i have to remember to do (an item for my todo list), i write it out and date it on a card of it's own, and file it in the box on the right.  When i complete a task i put a checkmark on the card and move it to storage in the back.

GTD author suggests using full page sheets for this kind of stuff, but i much prefer index cards.

The nices thing about using cards is you can shuffle around cards and get a tactile satisfaction of manipulating them.

And the most important part is it takes me just a few seconds to add a new TODO item card and then get it off my mind until i can come back to it, which is a key principle of GTD (get things off your mind and written down somewhere where you know you will come back to it regularly until it's done).
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momonan
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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2006, 10:20:38 PM »

Oddly enough, I have done almost the same thing as mouser -- choosing an analog approach like the ancient one humorously described at http://www.43folders.com/...roducing-the-hipster-pda/.   

Building your first Hipster PDA
get a bunch of 3"x5" file cards
clip them together with a binder clip
there is no step 3

At least it's a start.  With any program I have attempted, I spent so much delectible time setting up and maintaining it that I barely had time to do more than click on the annoying reminders as they come up.  With all that activity, who has time to do the things on the list?

I also have dragged out an old copy of "First Things First" that I bought almost 10 years ago.  It is written by Roger and Rebecca Merrill, two disciples of Stephen Covey, the author of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People," and really brings home the notion that real effective time management is not doing more things in less time, but, rather, doing the most important things in a balanced and effective way.

So my task will be to determine what areas of my life deserve the most focus -- work, family, physical and mental health, financial, society -- and then plan my "to do" lists to make sure I devote sufficient time to each area.  I think it's easy to get hung up on scheduling to death the ideas and things we want to do in the business or work area, and forget the other important areas of our lives.  As they say: No one ever regretted, on their death bed, that they didn't spend more time working.  I didn't manage it before, but I'm ever hopful this time.
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app103
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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2006, 08:15:53 AM »

Rather than index cards, I like envelopes...you can store things in them.

Also appeals to the tightwad and packrat in me, because junk mail supplies plenty for free. ;-)
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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2006, 08:29:20 AM »

Ok, i have two spiral notepads that I use already.
This worked before. But I'm trying to go paperless for the simple reasons that (1) I'm most of the time if front of my computer, (2) I move around a lot and carrying paper is weight (3) it's hard to search, and easy to misplace (4) it is very laborious to do any timing on it (more on this later).

I found that one thing that will help me a lot is to improve my time estimation. I suck at it right now. So I set it so I have to give an estimation and record the actual time I took for every task I do. We'll see  how it goes.
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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2006, 08:32:41 AM »

I think i'll need something that isn't mentioned in the list: A clock!
Even though the computer has a clock (and it even makes noise at every hour!!), i think i need a bigger visual information of the time, so that i won't get lost in time.
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2006, 11:51:11 AM »

OK, done.

Believe it or not, I actually got everything, including one of the Automatic Labeler (bought it a couple of years ago for GTD- but hardly used - now if I can only find the batteries) and I must admit, I have been looking for amongst my things for many weeks (- so much for organization) and have just found because we have a Sunday deadline. Now one more thing off my mind.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2006, 11:53:24 AM by patteo » Logged
nudone
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« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2006, 12:14:24 PM »

just letting you know, I haven't really done anything yet regarding the first assignment. I've got stuff lying around the place that I'm sure I can use but I'm waiting for the Sunday deadline to nearly run out - I'll have it done sometime then.

You see, if I can successfully complete this GTD experiment then absolutely anyone can.
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mouser
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« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2006, 02:14:31 PM »

Quote
I'm trying to go paperless for the simple reasons that (1) I'm most of the time if front of my computer, (2) I move around a lot and carrying paper is weight (3) it's hard to search, and easy to misplace (4) it is very laborious to do any timing on it (more on this later).

There are definite advantages to both - the most important thing is you make it deadly simple for you to access and update your lists, whatever you use (paper, program, index cards, etc). Do whatever you have to do so that there is no hesitation at all in updating your items.

Regarding setting aside a work area, this is going to sound a little strange, but i thought i would report on something i do.  I have a computer desk in the corner but i seem to get a bit distracted by being in a larger room with open space.  So what i have done is hung a big sheet from the ceiling down and enclosing the desk area.  This essentially creates a tiny "room" like an operating room tent, which is isolated from the rest of the room.  It seems to help my concentration substantially, like being in a study cubicle or something.  Might be worth a try for those of you who have trouble staying still and concentrating.
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nudone
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« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2006, 02:34:16 PM »

haw, haw, that is crazy. but if it works then that's all that counts.
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tomos
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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2006, 04:23:30 PM »

whats an Automatic Labeler ?  tellme
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Tom
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« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2006, 05:25:49 PM »

Here are some labelers:
http://www.officedepot.com/browse.do?N=200328

Specifically, I think the author of GTD is suggesting something to print out professional looking thin labels that you could put on a folder for example, like this one will:
http://www.officedepot.co...mp;N=200328&An=browse

He makes a big point that having a labeler which can produce professional looking labels makes a real difference over handwritten or printer generated labels.. i guess in terms of the look and the effort..  I think if you are going to use a folder based approach, this is something perhaps worth buying.
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« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2006, 09:45:29 PM »

I'm with nudone on this one. I WANT to get better, really I do, but I can barely get organized to find a spot on my desk for a cup of coffee at the moment... I've actually got everything on the list, so the only thing I need to do is clean up my workspace  Cool
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« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2006, 06:18:20 AM »

I would add a timer - like Fly Lady's timer. This one is great - set it for 15 minutes (or 2 minutes) and - GO!

BTW - The new GTD for Gmail Firefox extension is FANTASTIC  - I just wish it would sync to my palm...
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« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2006, 01:55:38 PM »

I am ready! got some notebooks, index cards, colored labels, a timer, and found my space.
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« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2006, 02:14:16 PM »

Done here as well.

Bought some post-it notes, file folders, some spiral notebooks (useful for ripping pages with ideas out and putting them into the in-basket, some standard notebooks, index cards, a stapler, 10 binders and a physical in-basket. As for the workspace, I've cleared my desktop and its drawers, so the only thing residing in my space is my laptop, a coffeecup and a lamp.

Planning to buy a whiteboard later on with some pens and magnets, after reading a page about "The Work Wall": http://www.videouniversity.com/workwall.htm. Sounds like a nice way to keep track of ongoing projects and deadlines, so it'll be easier to keep focus on the projects that needs it.

I'll be wating a bit with the calender. I already have one, but I've decided to wait to see if I should go with one of those who displays the whole week on two pages, or one of those who has a page for each day. Guess I'll consider this when I know how much of my ToDo list that doesn't belong in the calendar.


edit: typos
« Last Edit: September 03, 2006, 02:16:20 PM by modpol » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2006, 02:18:02 PM »


most of the "getting organized" stuff i've seen doesn't make much use of a calendar except as a way of marking any HARD DEADLINES you might have, so in that case i'm guessing that you want a big overview (12 pages one for each month?) rather than a book with a page for each day that you have to search through..  of course there are other uses for a dayplanner type thing if you have lots of meetings, etc..
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nudone
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« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2006, 02:26:34 PM »

right, done, sort of. can't decide on the special area yet - need to move the whole room around to be honest so my desk space is going to be wherever I sit - I'll let the final area choose me when it feels right kinda thing. finding a single area sounds a bit rigid for me - I appreciate that is probably the whole point of it though.

other than that, I've got loads of scrap paper, notepads, pencils and paper clips so I'm going for the lo-fi approach - I have an aversion to buy anything else at the moment.
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« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2006, 09:33:28 PM »

Pretty much done here. I'm actually in the middle of reorganizing my computer room/office anyway, so this assignment fits right in with that.
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« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2006, 10:26:13 PM »

I'm done (actually was done yesterday)... my special area will be an issue as the house is just about to enter into serious renovations; but we'll see how it goes.
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« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2006, 10:46:24 PM »

Okay, I'm ready, too.  I'm going to try a zen approach, which means making sure my immediate environment is welcoming and uncluttered (only took 10 minutes of frantically putting things away -- or at least somewhere else).  Feels good.  I also have a small notebook for planning and evaluating my progress.  Cards, etc., too.

Lastly, I have app103's handy "instant boss," which is friendly, and it seems to help me to know I can take that break if I can manage to concentrate on working for 30 minutes (or whatever amount of time I set).  http://www.appsapps.info/  Got more than usual done today.  We'll see.
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