Clean Edges

Wow, major "blinding flash of the obvious" about GTD today. I've fallen off the stress-free productivity wagon a bit lately and decided to spend some time getting back on.

I've been keeping all my actions and projects together in a Circa/Rolla-based Hipster PDA. Each card in the Circa represents a project, and I use the card to think about what needs to be done, what the status of the issue is, and just general notes about what I'm trying to do. The idea was that each day I'd flip through the cards and figure out my next actions, which I would put on a daily to do list. As things developed, I'd take notes on the cards and update the statuses. (stati?)

But it wasn't working, and I realized that I didn't have what David Allen calls "clean edges" to my system. My "could dos", "must dos", "someday maybes", and "waiting fors" were all mixed up. It was too time consuming to read through each card and figure out what I was going to do next, so I was avoiding the whole thing and just wandering from one interruption to another.

So I decided that I need a list of the actions I'm ready to do right now. The list has to be things I can actually do, not tasks that are waiting for something to happen, or that I think I might do at some point in the future. Sound familiar? Like a "Next Actions" list perhaps?

GTD is so simple but so hard.

Exploiting the Negatives is often wise.

The Lifemuncher Diet Plan

So here's my latest diet plan, based on the arcane and complex principle of eating less. I bought myself some cheap plastic containers (about 50 cents each) and pre-packed a couple weeks worth of portion-controlled salads, mixed vegetables, snacks, and cereal. On weekday mornings, as I'm heading out the door, I'm usually too lazy or distracted to measure out proper portions or make myself a salad, so I'm admitting my weaknesses and doing it ahead of time. This way, I can just grab a Lean Cuisine, a salad, some veggies, and some fruit and throw it in my bag.

Without this planning, it's much too easy to pour a little too much cereal into my bowl, or heat up a too-large serving of leftovers, or eat potato chips from the bag without paying attention to how many handfuls I'm consuming. Hopefully, planning ahead will pay off, and I'll be able to fit into my clothes again.

Seeing No Progress, Some Schools Drop Laptops

Does this story tell us something about the value of paper and the distraction power of teh internets perhaps?

“The teachers were telling us when there’s a one-to-one relationship between the student and the laptop, the box gets in the way. It’s a distraction to the educational process.”

Old interview with David Allen

What's the work that you need to do to figure out the work you need to do when the work you need to do doesn't let you know the work you need to do?

- David Allen


Wridea = thumbs down

I tried out Wridea today, which is supposed to be a web application for tracking ideas. It's a pretty slick interface, but once you start playing around with it you realize that it has a lot of limitations. There's very little in the way of tutorials or ideas for ways to use it. Then, when you check the corporate blog, which hasn't been updated in six months, you start to get the sense that it's not exactly a booming community. For me, the dumbest thing is that you can add categories to your notes, but not search for them. What's the point of that? You can't even pull up a list of ideas with the same category. The outdated blog promises these capabilities in a future release, but I wouldn't hold your breath.


Wridea is a Web 2.0 tool for capturing and organizing ideas. Kind of interesting, but it seems to me you can do the same thing with regular text or document files. You could even share them on Google Reader.

I'll give it a try and report back.

My homemade Circa PDA

Free shipping on Levenger Circa products

Fellow notebook fetishists, you can get free shipping on Levenger's Circa products through May 13! It was the perfect excuse to order myself a Circa PDA. Since I can't wait for it to arrive, in the meantime I created my own bastardized Hipster PDA using leftover Rollabind rings and index cards. I'll post a picture of it later. So far I think it's really cool. The Levenger portable punch works perfectly for punching index cards. You don't even need the guide. I find myself grabbing an index card to take notes during a phone call, then punching it and sticking it right in there with my task lists and reference material.