Really Getting Things Done

I have always been interested in efficiency and productivity especially with myself. As such, I like to take the time to customize anything I use a lot and find the optimal program for me (or as good as I can do).

As I get more responsibilities and things to remember, I really have fallen to my tools to help me keep going. Since my workflow was based upon one of my good friends and has only increased, I’d like to share what works for me and maybe some ideas that can help you no matter your place in life.

There are several methodologies on how to become more productive. One of the more popular ones is Getting Things Done (GTD). This, in particular, speaks to organizing tasks into non-overwhelming ways. For many of us, this is a task in and of itself. This is where computers can come to the rescue.

There are many task management systems that implement GTD. They tend to strive to help you to add tasks quickly and only view what is important to you. In general, they work to help you keep track of and continue to progress on your tasks. I’ll go more into this in the next section where I discuss something I use.

Other general productivity programs exist to help you focus by either removing distractions or sometimes creating them so that you can appropriately rest. Some distractions or simply interface ambiguities or inefficiencies can really take away from a workflow. Having a good workflow for you is really the target of being productive. Having to leave your workflow or otherwise be interrupted can be the death of a day’s productivity.

So what do I mean when I say workflow? This isn’t really a formalism or anything of the sort. I mean the actions that one has to go through to accomplish work. For the simple example of taking the trash out, this would involve getting shoes, getting the garbage, bringing it to the appropriate receptacle, and returning. This seems very simple, but it becomes even more apparent that a workflow can be interrupted if one had to stop in the middle, search for something (say a key), pause to ensure that all the garbage had already been properly collected, and finally evaluate one of many possible receptacles to ensure the correct one was chosen. Our target it to help one discover a pattern that helps to reduce or remove interruption from productivity and otherwise makes life less stressful.