View Full Version : Filing systems and "Getting Things Done" book

Ness Rowlah
22-10-2005, 02:44 AM
Have anyone seriously tried these new (or re-packaged) filing systems?
Ie the book "Getting things done" (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0749922648/qid%3D1129947705/sr%3D8-1/ref%3Dsr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/103-8094970-3478217) (GTD, based on having a filing cabinet nearby)
or the Noguchi Filing System (http://www.boingboing.net/2005/10/13/filing_system_optimi.html) (documents recently used goes in front, gradually putting stuff you never use at the back).

Guardian article on GTD. (http://technology.guardian.co.uk/weekly/story/0,16376,1595595,00.html)
Has anyone here tried this stuff?

I bought a book on NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) a few years ago - it did not change my life. I cannot remember a thing from that book - is this GTD stuff the same? Just a fad - or something which will give us the potential to actually get things done?

I've got stacks of clips from newspapers&magazines which I want to act on (bookmark, write, categorize), a letter I should have written 12 months ago, hundreds of CDs which should have been MP3ized and so on ...

23-10-2005, 01:03 PM
In my experience, the best way to GTD is to digitize your entire life and shed physical formats altogether. Paper publications (centralised editorial control) and CD-ROMS (jewel cases == environmental+design crime) are a waste of time. Digital is the way. This means my top priorities are:

- Finding a good online bank (this is not natwest)
- Finding good accounting software (still looking)
- Subscribing to publishers who know what they're doing technology wise (article clippings/pdf books/podcasts etc).
- Purchasing productivity software (like the Omni range for Mac)
- Purchasing a mac (they're good and virus-free)
- Getting rid of all my CD's and cassettes (successfully)
- Cutting down on books altogether (invest in a good digital display)

I don't know about self-help books. They're all shit aren't they? But i do know about digital organisation.

25-10-2005, 01:10 PM
i would also question that anyone method of organization or optimization or productivity could apply to everyone. personally i am cluttered but organized, entirely based on my own right-brained logic. dunno if anyone else could cope, but i can put my hands on most anything in my studio or house immediately.

take a day to think about what works best for you and then move things around (this means digitally too - rename folders, etc. get yr computer organized) and then try it. then in a week, do it again. eventually you'll either nail it, or it'll be "good enough."


Ness Rowlah
25-10-2005, 03:08 PM
I've bought the book (in the post together with the new David Sylvian),
but decided against any new filing cabinet or whatever
(rather use whatever I have of shelves etc). The reviews on Amazon.com
sold me. I'll see if the book is of any help, if not it's a tenner lost. I can live with that.

When I started blogging the whole idea was to digitise by finding the same
(or similar articles) online, bookmark or do write-ups and then "get it done".
Basically my approach on the outset was something similar to "tumblelogging"
(for a quick writeup see http://www.kottke.org/05/10/tumblelogs) (with a few longer articles)

I'm normally quite organised (ie paying bills, a sorted record collection, work etc)
- but there are too many clippings, articles, magazines, web bookmarks floating around
at the mo'. I'll let you know how I am doing in a few weeks (the mere fact that I've got
the book might be the catalysator which sets it off).

25-10-2005, 05:54 PM
Isn't the "too many articles, clippings etc. laying around" an information overload problem and not an organisation problem? Do you not review cd's and write letters because you don't have time, because you do not feel like or you can never find them?

Computers definitely help organize, that is what they are best at: searching, sorting and storing information.

26-10-2005, 08:38 PM
I built a piece of software called Clippr (<a href="http://www.moomu.com/msc/archives/2005/10/clippr.html">more here</a>) which is basically my RSS/Bookmarking tool. It nails both archiving of articles and clipping web content you come across in one go. You can label your clippings and feeds. Then you can intersect labels (check for anything labelled TECH and/or DISSENSUS, for example). It exports your clippings as RSS or RIS (good for essay writing - bibliography format). It's social software, so it helps you discover stuff through the community.

Whole thing works in a web browser.

If you got time check the link and holla here if you find it interesting. The more interest i get, the more chance there is i'll get off my arse and put it online.

Ad-hoc labels are the way forward.

Tweak Head
25-11-2005, 10:08 PM
GTD might work if you stick at it. Check out this site for the interface between GTD and computer geekery: www.43folders.com

Computers work for some people and not for others - I don't think you can generalise. I generally love computers, PDAs and gadgets but I'm finding that paper works best for me for organising.

Ness - which NLP book did you buy? There's a lot in NLP if you look in the right place but some of the books out there really suck. If you're interested I can list what I think are the good ones.

Ness Rowlah
26-11-2005, 11:10 PM
NLP book - "Mindworks" by Anne Linden. Just got it out of the shelf.
I didn't actually finish it (I can tell by the "donkey ear" on p151).

Halfway through the GTD book. Looks promising, although the writing is a bit
tepid in periods.
It's all common sense put in a system - but sometimes
you need someone with experience to guide you through the maze.

There are probably dozens of ways of implementing "GTD" and
yeah I had a look at that 43folders site, cheers.

I've got some digital toys floating around -
but I am seriously considering going back to the
toy that (when I think back) worked best for me, pen&paper
and the 80s toy - the Filofax
(insert joke about shoulder pads and the Thompson Twins here).

I think the Filofax is the best tool I ever used when I look back.
Over the years I have used small organizers, "black A4 books", PDAs, PCs,
sheets of A4 in a file and so on. The Filofax I would get out, leave at the desk
and look at through the day. With a computer or PDA list/calendar that just
doesn't happen.

I can have the computer files I need day to day on a USB key or the iPod.
And I carry a "man bag" anyway so the extra luggage does not really matter to me
(and I hate laptops - 2 hours of battery life what is that all about?)

Digital to-do lists for me just doesn't work, neither on a PDA or on a proper computer
- it might be an age thing (40+). I don't know. Physical does it for me as well.
Ironic - I make a living in computing, my degree is in computing and I like technology;
but still think I will get more things out of the way by using technology used by
British WWI officers. Then again - all those call centres where you press "1" to listen
to some shitty music is not really progress and progression either is it?