Thursday, March 6, 2008

Staying Organized - Exercise 28

1. Read about GTD. I had to read this article about the action management method of "Getting Things Done" more than once to really get the gist of it. Finally I took notes, which always helps me to digest information.

2. Try one of the online calendars or to-do lists. The choices included Google Calendar, Remember the Milk, Ta-da List and Bla-bla List. I joined Remember the Milk and Bla-bla. Although I liked the "Remember the Milk" moniker (cute), using the Bla-bla site proved simpler and more intuitive. I created a couple of lists of things to do before I take an upcoming vacation.

3. Write a post about how you can use GTD or what organizational system you already use. I feel lucky in that I was born organized. As a child I loved playing with my mother's pots and pans, stacking them and rearranging them. I also picked up my brothers' toys and put them away neatly in the toy box. As a grownup, I have to admit that reorganizing things gives me a thrill -- whether it's the linen closet, my bookshelves or our garage.

I'm not sure that websites can really help me stay more organized. I admit I have to write things down on Post-It notes and calendars to keep up with myself. At work, I use the Outlook calendar. I find it very useful for recurring events or chores. A little bell goes off and a message pops up reminding me of deadlines, etc. That's enough for me. Lists work. Typing a list in cyber space does not give me that portable mnemonic thingy known as a paper list unless I print it with expensive toner, etc. So I'll stick with scrap paper and Post-It notes for the time being.

The thing I most liked about the GTD system was the "6 Levels of Focus".
Those being:
1. Current Actions
2. Current Projects
3. Areas of Responsibility
4. Yearly Goals
5. Five Year Vision
6. Life Goals

It is good to visualize a hierarchy that stretches from must-do tasks to pie-in-the-sky dreams. At work I am very task-oriented and like to plow through projects quickly. But do I remember to focus on yearly or life goals?

Every fall I like to plant nasturtium seeds. In the photo above, among the mix, you can see some nasturtium plants. The leaves are round, and in the variety shown, colored green and white. Nasturtiums produce delicate edible flowers, but I appreciate them most of all because of their unusual leaves. I've learned to keep a packet or two of nasturtium seeds in the fridge. Neither the plants nor the seeds can take much heat. So when summer winds down, at some point the urge to plant nasturtiums pops into my head. The seeds are large and round, easy to tuck in to beds and pots. Somehow I always remember to do this, yet I feel surprised whenever the plants pop up. They hang on until the heat really starts to hit. I'm glad I don't need a computer to help me remember yard chores. Nature has its own way of prodding the memory.

May you never forget what is worth remembering, nor ever remember what is best forgotten. - an Irish blessing

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