Monthly Archives: January 2008

GTD Mind Mapping Tasks on the Apple iPhone

iPhone Mind MappingA while back I blogged about a really cool Web 2.0 application called MindMeister.

MindMeister is an application that allows you to create Mind Maps online. Now, I love Mind Maps and I Mind Map everything I can. They are such a cool way to logically plan everything from a complex project, to what to buy people for Christmas. I have over 1,000 Mind Maps that I have created in my personal storage that date back to 1999.

Now, I use Mind Manager as my application of choice. I use this both on Windows and on my Mac.

Here is a bit of blurb about MindMeister.

MindMeister brings the concept of mind mapping to the web, using its facilities for real-time collaboration to allow truly global brainstorming sessions.

Users can create, manage and share mind maps online and access them anytime, from anywhere. In brainstorming mode, fellow MindMeisters from around the world (or just in different rooms) can simultaneously work on the same mind map – and see each other’s changes as they happen. Using integrated Skype calls, they can throw around new ideas and put them down on “paper” at the same time.

So, MindMeister have now updated their little GeistesBlitz widget to run as a Yahoo Widget, iGoogle Gadget or as an iPhone Gadget.

Now i know a Mind Map is not the true implantation of the GTD methodology, but it is a great way to collect your tasks in a easy to use graphical manner. Nozbe have implemented their app with an iPhone web front end and called it iNozbe.

I have checked it out myself and played with it. It gives you a nice little interface where you can very quickly enter information which is saved to the Mind Map of your choice. I have left it open on my iPhone as a separate window, and this seems to get around having to authenticate everytime.

Be sure to give this a go as it is a great free way to collect tasks on your iPhone.

Thank You – 1051 RSS Readers!!

Well, we did it!

After my request yesterday, nearly 100 new RSS readers signed up to this blog and I currently stand at 1051 RSS Readers as reported by my Feedburner stats.

1000 RSS Readers

Now this will probably dip slightly over the weekend as they normal do but me aim is to constantly keep these over 1000, and go for 2000 next.

Pretty easy really, write the content, and they will come :) Now wasn’t that in a film once….

Have a great weekend all and thanks!

1000 RSS Readers – Nearly…..

SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOGHi All,

If you are reading this and you do not subscribe to my RSS feed then please follow THIS LINK and subscribe via Feedburner to your favorite reader.

I set a goal at the start of 2008 to get my RSS subscribers to over 1000. Today, right now I am on 962 so I do not need that many. 1000 RSS readers is a great benchmark, and my next aim will be to push it to 5000 readers.

Again, please click on the RSS Chicklet or THIS LINK to subscribe, and enjoy my rantings!

Thanks,

Andrew..

Write To Done – New Blog from ZenHabits

Write to DoneJust thought I would let you know about a new blog from the great productivity blogger at ZenHabits.

The blog is called Writetodone and it is like a GTD blog for writers.

Being a writer myself, I find great interest in blogs such as this. One post I especially love is the post about How to Write First thing in the Morning.

This is something I try to do myself. I live a buys life, and nothing beats setting the “opportunity clock” 30 mins or an hour earlier than usual, so I awake when the house is peaceful. I grab a coffee, and sit down in front of my Mac to write my blog and other work I have to do. I find it much easier to write on a morning than late at night when I am tired. Also, I tend to be more creative on a morning and I am blessed with being a morning person.

Be sure to check the blog out and see what you think…

MacHeist – 12 Great Mac Apps at an Amazing Price

Just thought I would let all of you Mac users, who have not seen MacHeist to check it out as there are only 4 days left to buy this amazing package.

12 Mac Apps for only $49. Normal price of the Apps is $428.65 and 25% of your purchase will be donated to a charity of your choice.

Mac Heist

I just bought the apps last night even though I already owned a few. TaskPaper is one of the apps which is a simple Task manager, not yet checked it out but I will and review it here on my blog.

OmniFocus – Nice Overview

One thing I like about blogging, and especially with WordPress is the Trackbacks that you get in the WordPress Dashboard. You can see which other sites and/or bloggers are making reference to your blog posts on their blogs. I have found some great blogs, that have linked to me and I hope that other people, and my readers have found my blog from me referring to other posts which I have read, and pointed to.

One such blog is the GTD and Tech blog from Jens Hjerrild Poder. A bit about Jens..

I am an organizational psychologist and journalist. My primary fields of work include concept development, organizational development & internet business strategy. I am currently employed by the Danish National Broadcasting Corporation as a commissioning editor.

I found a great post from Jens about my current GTD app of choice, OmniFocus. Jens goes through some basics of the app and uncovers some hidden features, like the hidden Switch Button.

Be sure to check out the post, and Jens’ blog.

How I Solved the Problem of Collecting Tasks!

Hope you are all having a productive day!

SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOGIf you are not already, now is a great time to subscribe to this blog in your favorite RSS reader so you can keep up to date with all the posts.

One of the major improvements in my life since starting following the Getting Things Done Methodology, is the reduction of Open Loops. As we all know, Open Loops are those tasks floating around in the ether, that we should be doing, but we do not actively record.

An Open Loop is anything pulling at your attention that doesn’t belong where it is, the way it is.

Anybody who has read the Getting Things Done methodology will understand what I am talking about and if you haven’t, you don’t know what you are missing to get this area of your life under control.

You could say I am a busy guy. I am actively involved with 5 of my own companies. I have four children, a wife, and an active social life. Now, I have a LOT to get done! I also had a lot of Open Loops before I made the decision to get my life my organized. If you are anything like me. Numerous times in the day, you would remember that you had some task to do. This could be related to your business, home life, or other. It could be any random task that either just comes to you, or something you are doing jogs your memory and bang, there it is. You are at that moment presented with a task, and one that needs collecting.

Now, I have a pretty good memory and I used to try to remember these tasks in my head. Big mistake, and the start of an Open Loop. Then, the next day, or whenever, something would again jog my memory and I would be left with the same task entering my mind that needs completing. Some of these were important tasks that really did need to be collected and I, as I am sure you all, sometimes forgot things that were important.

Removing these Open Loops from your life is one major step towards getting organized and it is no surprise that a lot of the first chapter of the Getting Things Done book covers the importance of closing these Open Loops.

Now, one of the most important aspects of removing these Open Loops is to record the action/task as soon as it comes into your mind, without exception. It is the procrastination of not writing these down that make them into Open Loops. I much prefer Closed Loops!, Tasks and Actions that are recorded into a system that I trust. This is all part of the very simple GTD methodology.

The very simple way that I have embraced this, is to very simply write things down as they come to me. Now, you need some tools to do this, a pen and paper.

I had read about the Moleskine Notebooks on various sites such as 43Folders.com and thought they looked pretty cool so I went ahead and bought one from eBay. Well, I wrote a post about my thoughts on Moleskines, and must admit that I love them to bits. There is something about the quality that makes you take pride in writing, and collecting your notes into them.

I own the small pocket Moleskine notebook, as well as the large Moleskine notebook. Both of these are hardback books. Now these books are fantastic for taking into business meetings and I must admit the larger one has had a lot of use. The small notebook normally goes away on trips with me, both personal and pleasure. The problem I find with these Moleskine’s is that I cannot easily take them everywhere with me.

So, there were still times when an action came to me that needed recording and left me scrambling for a pen and paper to write it down. I have played with PagePacker, which is a pretty Cool Mac Application that allows you to print mini books full of Calendars, Lists, and also the GTD Flowchart. Luckily, I noticed that Moleskine did a range of products called “Cahier”. The Moleskine Cahier is small pocket sized book with a softback. It is slim enough, with only 64 pages, to fit into the back pocket of your trousers.

The new Moleskine Cahier [kaa yáy] Notebook Series are each offered as a set of 3 notebooks, featuring a flexible soft cover, acid-free paper and visible side stitching on the spine. The last 16 sheets of each notebook are detachable, by means of a micro-perforated edge, perfect for exchanging loose notes. Inside the back page there is a spacious pocket for notes or clippings.

Now, since buying a pack of three of these for a very reasonable £5 from eBay, I have tried to carry one with me everywhere to enable me to record my thoughts as and when they spring into my head, to remove all Open Loops from my life.

So, now I have the paper sorted out, next is the pen!

I have quite a few nice pens. Some I have bought myself and some bought for me as presents. I really like and own a few Mont Blanc pens, but the idea of carrying a £200 pen around with me doesn’t fill me with warm feelings, especially when I tell you about my Space Pen experiences!

After reading various blog posts about Fisher Space Pens, I decided to go ahead and buy one. It cost me around £20 for the Space Pen Bullet. This is a little pen that is the normal size when the cap is attached in writing mode and half size when the cap is closed. Quite cool. These use pressurized cartridges so they can write upside down, underwater, and in space, hence the name. Now I believe in GTD, but not enough to take my pen with me swimming or the next time I go on a Lunar Mission!, so that did not really bother me but one great side effect of this technology is the fact that due to the fact they are pressurized, it makes them so the ink does not leak out all over your trousers. I used to keep the Space Pen in the little coin pocket of my left jeans pocket. many a time I would reach into my pocket and pull out my shiny space pen, stand on my head and collect my thoughts into my nice Moleskine Cahier notebook!

Only problem was, after losing three pens, and having one washed in the washing machine (I blame my wife for not checking the pockets:) it became a rather expensive obsession!

So, loathed to spend another £20 on these pens, I was forced to look for an alternative, to strive to find the perfect solution for recording my thoughts, and keeping those pesky Open Loops, well and truly closed!

Do you know what?, I think I may have found the answer!

I am a golfer. I play, or try to play as much as I can. I have played since the ages of 8 and I am pretty good at it. What does Golf have to do with GTD I hear you ask?, well, I remember using some Golf Pencils when I was younger that used to clip to the golf scorecard. So, after 2 mins searching on good old eBay, I managed to find some using the search term of “golf pencil”.

Golf pencil

I bought 100 of these pencils for around £3.50, that is around $7. So, they work out at 7 cents per pencil. In other words, I can buy 571 of these pencils for the price of one Fisher Space Pen. These pencils come with a clip on them

Because the Moleskine Cahier has only 64 pages, the clip will either clip inside the front cover of the notebook or right up to the middle of the notebook to save your page. I clip the pencil to the notebook as you can see in the image below. This then goes in my back pocket and has been there for the past two weeks.

I have travelled over a thousand miles in the car with this in my pocket and the pencil holds up just fine. You can sit on it, twist it, throw it, bend it, shake it!, and at the end of the day if you do break or lose it, you are not going to lose sleep over 7 cents!

Moleskine Cahier This little bit of simple help has changed the way that I am able to record my tasks, as the enter my head. I am no longer scrambling around trying to find a pencil, as I always have one to hand, in my back pocket, nicely attached to my pocket notebook.

Closing my Open Loops has been the largest change that implementing GTD has brought to me. If I could say one thing to you about the Getting Things Done methodology, it would be to carry a notebook, write down the thoughts as they enter your head. It is simple, yet revolutionary. You have t get into the habit of carrying the notebook with you everywhere, pretty much as you have to wear shoes, you also have to carry your notebook,. I feel naked without mine now and it has just become a part of my daily life to carry it.

Phew, ranting over. Hope you have enhoyed this post, if you have, I would love to have a comment and please add anything you can and agree or totally disagree with my thoughts.

Keep having that productive day!

The Google Story – Book Review

googlestoryI have owned the Google Story book for over a year now. Recently, I picked it up and started to read it and could not put it down.

Everybody knows Google. I have used Google as my search engine of choice since around 2000 and I had an idea of their history, but not in great detail. The book is not an offical Google endorsed book, but a book written with the help and permission of the Google management team and it is aimed to bring the story of how Google has grown from a University idea into one of the leading companies in the world.

The book is approx 300 pages. With most of it being of interest. Some of it I must admit that I scanned through as it covered aspects not of great interest to me. What I did really like where the first few chapters about how Google started. Google was founded by two friends, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, both Ph.D. students at Stanford university. They had an idea to improve the way that search was done on the Internet. They found it strange that it was hard to find official company websites by typing in the name of that company. It appeared that the existing search offerings from companies such as Dogpile and AltaVista returned sites that were related to the official companies.

What I really liked about this book was the attitude of Sergey and Larry in their quest for success. They had such a strong belief in what they were doing and they were committed to the decision that they had made. At the time of Google’s inception, Yahoo were a massive player in the search marketplace. Doors were closed in Brin and Page’s face because the assumed difficulty in taking on such a giant as Yahoo, at their own game. Never once did Sergey or Larry falter. They kept their belief in what they were doing and did not listen to the negative people around them. If they would have done, we probably would not have had the Google that we have today.

It makes me wonder how many other companies with great ideas have been stifled at the growth stage because of lack of funding due to the investors not truly understanding the opportunity. Larry and Sergey raised $25 million without even a solid plan as to how they were going to monetize the search traffic. Maybe the days are gone when you can raise that sort of cash against an idea, and I don’t think those days ever came in the UK where getting money to fund an idea is becoming harder than ever, with investors reticent to offer seed investment to grow these fantastic ideas.

So, good book, motivating, and well done to Sergey and Larry because they deserve the success that they have achieved. It shows that if you have a good ethos and culture, good product, and happy staff, then the profits will eventually come. Well, in the case of Google they certainly did!

OmniFocus for Getting Things Done, Version 1 Released

OmniFocus Released

As many of you will know, I have been following and also been a part of the beta testing for OmniFocus. Well, I am glad to announce, if you do not already know that OmniFocus is now at version 1.0, released and available to purchase from The OmniFocus Store.

Here is a snippet about OmniFocus..

Task management shouldn’t be your full time job. We’ve built OmniFocus to take a load off your mind by managing your tasks the way that you want, freeing you to focus your attention on the things that matter to you most. Finish that novel. Spend more time with your friends and family. Grow your business. Let us worry about keeping your goals and tasks, both personal and professional, in one ordered, easy to access system that you can depend on.

When time permits, I will be reviewing OmniFocus here on this Blog, but until then, try it out and Download the Demo, if of course, you use a Mac!

Change One Thing – Boots Make an Effort in the UK

change one thing

Hot on the tail of the New Year, and all those New Years Resolutions, it is nice to see Boots (the leading pharmacy store group in the UK) making an effort in trying to help people with the most common goals.

They have released a promotion called Change One Thing. This is aimed at the four most common New Years Resolutions, Losing Weight, Stopping Smoking, Having a Healthier Lifestyle and having Healthier Looking Skin.

If you’ve had trouble sticking to your resolutions in the past, you’re not alone. Half of us give up after just one week, usually because we’ve been unrealistic when setting our goals, try to do too much and don’t get the right support. Now in its third year, Boots Change One Thing is proof that concentrating on one thing works – we’ve helped thousands of people like you stick to their resolution. This year we’re here to help you lose weight, stop smoking, get healthier-looking skin or a healthier lifestyle. What are you waiting for? Just click on the one thing you want to change…

Now, obviously there is product placement with these four programs but I signed up just to see what it was like and must admit that what they are doing is good. They have access to questions and answers from experts, online action plans to help you, access to a community with other people sharing the same goal, as well as the ability to find an online buddy to help you achieve your goal.

All in all, seems to be a good system and a great idea.