Some things just don’t get done

At the end of the day, as I empty my locker and pack my diary, I decide that once I am home I will concentrate on just perhaps one or two broad tasks before I sleep. Usually I have something specific in mind – installing a new hard-drive, learning more about PHP and finishing my coursework have been recurring themes recently. So why do I never get round to them?

By the time I have walked my girlfriend to her Dad’s office, taken the odd picture and walked home, it is often 6PM or later. When I get home I am cold, tired, suffering from iPod-induced deafness and occasionally in a cold sweat. The last thing I want to do is pour over a book the thickness of my clenched fist, operate on my PC or do school work. There is always that niggling little voice in my head telling me that I don’t have to worry, there are hours to go.

The problem is, it is… how can I say… hampering my productivity. So I have devised myself a little ‘Getting Things Done’ system. It seems to be increasingly effective – OK, so I am writing this blog post as I should be either sleeping or exercising, but you can actually see my carpet, I have practiced guitar for a solid hour, been for a jog and tidied out a cupboard.

I want to share this method of organization, which is based largely around a book that I have never read. I will share it sometime next week, after it has been refined and I can confirm its effectiveness.

If you want to join in my little experiment, you will need the following:

  • A note book, preferably unruled (I am using a slightly-larger-than-a5 blank-paper textile-bound book-thing from WHSmiths. Choose something without a cardboard spine – i.e. something that won’t fall apart within a week)
  • A good pen that you enjoy writing with (avoid cheap, nasty ones – you will resent using them)
  • Some mini post-its
  • A note block (the kind that you put by the phone to scribble things down, but don’t bother buying a pen for, rendering them totally useless and causing great frustration)
  • Tack of your choice (I use UHU white-tack rather than blu-tack because it is more pliable. That and you can get it from Poundland.)

Oh, and be prepared for some GTD geekery.

Update:

You might also want to prepare the following:

  • A couple of fleurescent highlighter pens in different colours (not a prerequisite of my GTD system, but they really do seem to have a positive impact… and they’re very pretty)
  • Some wall space for sticking notes to (I moved an A1-sized poster onto my ceiling and am using that space currently)

As an irellevant aside, if you’re into this kind of thing you may be interested to know that Partners are selling A1-sized whiteboards at stupid prices – you can get the board itself plus extra hooks and loops for wall-hanging and pens of your choice – black and red FTW – for less than £15.

One Response to “Some things just don’t get done”

  1. Hermann says:

    Getting things done has been on my mind of late as well. I have tons of projects and ideas I love to get done, but I never seem to organized enough to get started.

    I shall acquire my gear this weekend 🙂

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