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Monday, August 11, 2008

Getting Things Done

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the 'stuff' that needs to be done? I know I do. Sometimes the stress of it all leaves me drained and not able to access the inspired, creative side when I finally get some studio time.
Do you ever have all these fantastic ideas and new things to try streaming through your brain.... when you're in the middle of something else, headed out the door, or otherwise occupied? Then when you get to the studio sit there trying to figure out what they were? Me too.
Do you own a day planning calendar, and use it (or not), but still have the feeling of 'there's GOT to be a better way?'

Since I have a full-time job and do pottery in between, it's a challenge both finding the time and making the most of it when I do. But time management isn't the end of it, otherwise we'd all have a calendar and everything would be perfect.

About a year ago I found a different way of looking at the problem, called Getting Things Done, or GTD. Pioneered by David Allen, it picks up where Stephen Covey's 7 Habits and the Franklin Planner leave off.

One of the principles is that every task/idea has a Context. This filters your todo's and projects so that when you're near a computer, you look at your @Computer list, and don't have to sift through a big list of unrelated tasks. Or if you're in the mood to do some phone calls, you look at @Phone. A few of my contexts are @home, @work, @studio and @PC.

Other principles address the need for a 100% idea-capture system, a simple fast filing system for all those ideas, and a reliable follow-up system. He contends that keeping all your thoughts and ideas in your head leads to stress and forgetfulness. If you can capture them into a system where you know you'll find them when you need to, it frees you to give your' full attention to whatever you're doing.

I've been using GTD for a while now, and although I fall off the wagon for periods of time, it really does help better manage my time. And when I'm not, it doesn't take very long to notice and get back on track.

1 comment:

Meagan Chaney said...

Great suggestions Brian!! I will have to add "Check out GTD" to my @computer list. Thanks for the advice!