Friday, January 30, 2009

Small changes with large impact

I've just read through Getting Things Done by David Allen and it took me... about 2 months (it's 250 pages). That's bad. But during that time I've also implemented some changes and that's good. I've changed two things so far and they alone have resulted in huge savings of energy and time.

Zero mail inbox
The first thing I did was to go through my two email accounts (job/private) and reduce the amount of emails from 1600 to three and 20 in each inbox. For each account I've created a "archive" folder where all read mail goes except the two or three I still want to do something with.  To be honest I have tree major projects running so each of those got their own folder as well (two at work, one private). But it feels ok since I will archive those folders as soon as the projects are finished.  The simple fact that I now don't have to see a mile long inbox, or that the annoying inbox number now only indicates three instead of 600 emails, takes loads of pressure of my mind. 

Write down thoughts, to dos etc
What happens when you are walking home or just about to turn out the lights at night and your mind wanders? Does billions and things you forgot to do, or have to do, pop up in your head? Well it did for me! I used to be that kind of person who tried keep everything in my head and failed miserably. Instead I never got things done, I never remembered anything and I always missed stuff. Then, maybe a month or so back I started to write things down as soon as they popped up in my head, either in my mobile which I carry with me at all times, on a post it or directly into my note saving program online. The change was instantaneous. Now I get more stuff done, I can relax because I know where to find my reminders and my reminders makes me come up with more new thoughts! 

If there is two things I would recommend people like me to start doing it's those two. I'm far from the whole GTD system and I still want to get priorities and a better organisation of my reminders but it's light-years from the non existent system I hade on New Years Eve. And just as I thought I was the only one who had not grasped this I start to see people all around me who have the same problem I did... they don't manage their inbox and they don't gather their reminders. I might need to hand them that book...

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