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GTD and Inbox Zero

GTD and Inbox Zero

A brief talk I gave to the KU Web Developer community about Getting Things Done and Inbox Zero


Brian Fenton

April 27, 2010


  1. Ge#ng  Things  Done  &   Inbox  Zero   Tools  and

     techniques  to  manage  your   tasks  
  2. Topics   •  Ge#ng  Things  Done  (GTD)   •  Inbox

     Zero   •  Example  Tool:  Remember  The  Milk  (RTM)  
  3. GTD  Philosophy   •  Your  brain  is  a  terrible  tool

     to  track  things   •  It  has  no  sense  of  Gme,  so  it's  always  trying  to  remind   you  of  things  it  feels  are  important   •  Get  things  out  of  your  head  and  into  another   trusted  system   •  If  you  don't  trust  your  system  your  brain  won't  let  go   •  Corralling  everything  into  a  system  gives  you   more  control   •  Control  reduces  stress  
  4. GTD  Basics   •  4  central  tools  (regardless  of  format)

      •  Inbox  (try  to  keep  as  few  of  these  as  possible)   •  Calendar  (date-­‐specific  tasks/deadlines)   •  Archive  (usually  filing  cabinet)   •  Tickler  file  (leave  notes  for  yourself)   •  43folders.com   •  ”Day”  folders,  1-­‐31   •  ”Month”  folders  January-­‐December  
  5. GTD  Basics  -­‐  Terms   •  ”Next  AcGons”  are  key

      •  The  very  next  physical  thing  you  can  do  to  move  a   project  forward   •  Projects  –  anything  with  more  than  1  acGon   •  Project  Planning  –  clarifying  the  acGons  to  complete  a   project  and  figuring  out  which  one  is  the  ”next  acGon”   •  If  you're  resisGng  working  on  a  project  it  usually   means  you  don't  know  what  the  next  acGon  is   •  Context  –  locaGon  or  resource  specific  to  a  task,  ex.   @computer,  @phone,  @work,  etc...   •  Contexts  are  used  to  sort  out  what  you  can  do,  when  
  6. GTD  Basics  -­‐  Inbox   •  Ubiquitous  capture   • 

    Collect  absolutely  everything  your  brain  is  telling   you  to  do,  from  ”buy  new  socks”  to  ”end  world   hunger”   •  Should  never  need  to  have  the  same  thought   twice   •  Lots  of  available  capture  tools  (later  slide)   •  Everything  you  capture  goes  into  your  inbox   •  Inbox  is  one  way  (this  is  one  of  the  hardest  parts)  
  7. GTD  Basics  -­‐  Calendar   •  Date-­‐specific  acGons   • 

    Time-­‐specific  acGons   •  Date/Gme  specific  informaGon   •  That's  it!  Everything  else  goes  elsewhere   •  No  more  daily  to-­‐do  lists   •  Everything  that's  ”Do  ASAP”  is  on  another  list  
  8. GTD  Basics  -­‐  Archive   •  Should  be  easily  retrievable

      •  AlphabeGcal  file  folders  works  well   •  If  your  sorGng  is  too  elaborate,  you're  just  adding   more  fricGon  to  the  process   •  Perfectly  OK  to  have  a  folder  with  1  scrap  of  paper   in  it  
  9. GTD  Basics  –  Inbox  Processing   •  Processing  doesn't  mean

     compleGng   everything  in  your  inbox  –  all  you're  doing  is   pu#ng  things  where  they  belong   •  This  makes  your  inbox  much  less  scary   •  Someday/Maybe  bucket  for  inacGve  or  future  projects   •  hbp://www.foldedspace.org/images/gtdworkflow.gif    
  10. GTD  Basics  –  Weekly  Review   •  End  of  the

     week  clean-­‐up   •  Process  inbox   •  Empty  brain   •  Review  lists/projects   •  Whatever  else  you  need  to  get  your  system   current  and  complete   •  Easy  to  skip,  but  it's  very  important   •  If  you  skip  it  too  oeen  your  brain  will  stop  trusGng   your  system  
  11. GTD  Tools   •  Capture   •  Paper/Notecards/Moleskine   • 

    Voice  Recorder/Job   •  Remember  The  Milk   •  Evernote   •  Many  more     •  Archive   •  Filing  cabinet/folders   •  Label  maker  
  12. Remember  The  Milk  demo   •  Free  web-­‐based  task  manager

      •  Not  specifically  wriben  for  GTD   •  All  AJAX/JSON  (no  page  refreshes)   •  Lots  of  keyboard  shortcuts   •  Lots  of  integraGon  w/other  apps,  ex.  Twiber/ Gmail/Launchy   •  Can  customize  with  user  scripts/styles   •  Smart  lists  (saved  searches)  
  13. Remember  The  Milk  demo   •  A  Bit  Beber  RTM

     user  script   •  personal/work  lists  are  delineated  by  ”ps-­‐”   and  ”wk-­‐”   •  If  it  has  3  or  fewer  tasks,  it  goes  in  ps-­‐Daily  or  wk-­‐Daily   •  More  than  4  tasks  gets  its  own  list   •  Weekly  Review  smart  list   •  ”Work”  list  (LocaGon=Work  and  tag=na)  
  14. Inbox  Zero   •  Popularized  by  Merlin  Mann  of  43folders.com

      •  Things  that  sit  in  your  inbox  are  just  as  bad  as   things  that  are  stuck  in  your  head   •  Your  inbox  is  not  a  task  list   •  hbp://inboxzero.com     •  Most  important  thing  is  to  start  doing  it   •  Make  a  DMZ  folder  and  start  today  
  15. Inbox  Zero   •  Do   •  If  it's  fast,

     just  do  it   •  Delegate   •  Send  on,  put  in  WaiGng  For  folder,  with  reminder   •  Defer   •  Put  in  a  Review/Follow-­‐up  folder   •  Delete  (my  favorite)   •  If  it's  not  acGonable  and  has  no  value  as  informaGon   •  Be  ruthless  about  this.  Be  honest  with  yourself  about   what  you  won't  ever  look  at  again  
  16. Fin   QuesGons?