Thursday, September 18, 2008

Productivity Gospel according to Merlin Mann

I've been hanging around the fringes of the productivity scene for a little while now. You know how it is, us creative types aren't generally too hot on admin and organisation, and we need a little systems education every now and then. Fair enough right? And of course, what better way is there to spend your time when you should be producing some kind of output than to be doing research and reading about systems and techniques for producing that output faster and more efficiently?

Or is that just procrastination?

The issue is that you (or rather, I) can easily waste time checking out geeky productivity websites, forums and blogs when we should just be getting on with doing the stuff. Luckily, I found a book that helps with all this. It's called "Getting Things Done" by David Allen, or "GTD" for short, and it's been really very helpful in encouraging me to cope with everything that comes across my desk in a much more organised way. Sadly, this too has spawned a huge cult of acolytes and consultants all tweaking the GTD methodology and endlessly musing on which piece of software would make their system complete, or which brand of wire paper rack should they use. It's all a bit crazy.

One of the hubs for this kind of communication in the past has been Merlin Mann's blog, 43 Folders. So, imagine how refreshing it was for me to read this on his blog this week;

I want to help you identify and remove any obstacle that keeps you from making things that you love. And then I want to help you figure out how to make those things even better. That’s pretty much it.

Friends, I’m done with “productivity” as a personal fetish or hobby. There are countless sites that are all too happy to vend stroke material for your joyless addiction to puns about procrastination and systems for generating more taxonomically satisfying meta-work.

From now on, I’m going to talk about how people make stuff. Books, art, code, buildings, ballets, companies, furniture, whimsical hats, songs, or what have you.

But, what about all the cool notebooks, links to lists of “GTD resources,” and ponderously detailed tutorials on how to label a file folder? Yeah. From now on, maybe don’t expect a lot of that here. Unless I feel it has a direct link to helping you do things.

Now that's more like it. Actually getting things done as opposed to endlessly dissecting how to get things done.

I'm very much looking forward to the journey.

This is part of Creative Chaos over at Ragamuffin Soul.


dannielo said...

You are right, GTD can improve your effectiveness if correctly applied.

For organizing your activities like GTD recommends, you can use this web-based application:

You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set Next Actions and Contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.

dorothy (vicar of vibe) said...

Thanks for turning me on to 43 folders, hadn't been there yet.