Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Collection Boxes

After reading David Allen's book "Getting Things Done" I have begun to revise the ways that I 'collect' and organise jobs that I need to do. A couple of Web 2.0 tools have been really useful for this.

When I started teaching 7 and a half years ago I quickly began to realise how poor an auditory learner I am. I really need to see or read things for them to sink in; trying or doing something makes a real impact on me. But I am awful at learning by listening. I find myself becoming fidgety in courses and meetings unless I am actively engaged. For the same reasons I have now begun to realise how poor my memory when I am asked to do a task or think of an idea in conversation. I now know that unless I write something down I am bound to forget it.

I now record shopping lists, tasks for work, issues in class, jobs around the house, errands, emails, texts, wedding preparation, ideas and thoughts. These are some of the ways I use to record everything:
  • Good old-fashioned Post-its. You just can't beat them for making quick notes. The important thing with Post-its, though, is that they must be kept and organised somewhere regularly or they will be lost. Post-its are great in the very short term.
  • I keep two diaries - one containing appointments and details of events happening at home and in school each day and one is used as a 'day book'. I use my diary to plan where I need to be each day - everything is written down as soon as I find out about it. My day book is used to record things I have need to do, things I have learned and ideas. Information from Post-its is often added to my day book. I keep any flyers or information needed for a specific day with that page in the book. Of course, this is great for making notes and making my focus for the day very clear, but I still need a way to remember things that need to be done regularly and things that I'd like to try or things that I want to need in the longer term. For these jobs I use a couple of useful websites.
  • Toodledo is a brilliant To Do list. Since discovering it I wonder how I ever survived without it. I use it to record tasks that I need to do - a bit like a still photo of all the plates that I am spinning. It tells me what I need to do and when. I can set tasks to repeat. I can remind me about things that need to be done months in advance. I will never forget what needs to be prepared for a meeting. It even reminds me when to order new asthmas inhalers. It stores everything I need to remember. Some of its greatest features are the notebook which can be used to record an agenda for meetings or details of a project; the subtask facility which ensures that I can record all the steps I need to take to complete a project; and the ability to text (via Twitter) tasks directly to my to do list using my phone.
  • Wikispaces is the final tool that I use for collection. This is used to record details of events from one year to another. Now, I can keep a record of what was good and what was not so good about an event, a project, a lesson or something else. This way I can make it even better for next year! I keep notes from courses I have attended. My Wikispaces page tends to be a place to record my long term ideas - things I know I can't try in the next few months. It also acts as a reference tool for information wherever I need it. I pay to make the wikispace private so that it is completely personal.
I hope that these ideas could help you to. Another collection tool I plan to look into further is Evernote which also looks useful. I also want to find an online shopping list to remind me about everything I need to buy from groceries to other items.

Does anyone use any other tools for collecting jobs or reminders?

1 comment:

dannielo said...

For implementing GTD 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.
A mobile version is available too.