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2 Weeks Holiday – 72 Tasks Collected and Processed

Well, after a great two weeks in Praia Da Luz, Portugal, I am back!

Normally, as we all find, any lengthy absence from work results in a return where we dread turning on our computers to see how many emails have arrived and how many tasks we have to plan once back. In fact, it is true that most people need a good few days on their return just to catch up with processing the emails and also processing tasks that have arisen during their absence.

I am sure this has happened to you. And this, is only for the motivated and organised. The darker side to this is what happens to the not so motivated and organised people whom I seem to meet along the way. These people just leave the unread emails in their mail application. Every time the connect to the mail server, the number in bold increases letting them know how many of their emails still need to be read. Until, one day arrives where they select all of their emails with a CTRL-A or Command-A and then mark all as read, using the excuse “Well, they would have got back to me if it was important” type of attitude. I was amazed that a senior employee at my last company who was in an operational capacity had such an attitude. I once glanced at his email client and noticed that he had over 500 unread emails, and this is somebody who we were paying to run operations for a growing organisation. This made me re-evaluate my thoughts towards the employee and their effectiveness.

Mastering the art of email is a critical step in the quest for self organisation, and one which we are going to really promote here at DidIGetThingsDone.com.

So, how did I do?

Well, thanks to my EeePC and the fact that my Vodafone 3G card worked a dream in Portugal I did very well. I covered what I was going to do in a previous post which is worth a read if you are just joining me for this post.

I was able to check my email around three times a day without it affecting my family, and remaining under the radar of my wife, who understands that I lead a busy life but who cringed at the thought of my laptop invading a family holiday! Now, since I was on holiday I applied the 2 minute processing rule of the Getting Things Done methodology to my emails, that is, if I could action the email in two minutes I did, if I didn’t I processed it.

Now, I get a lot of emails, but a lot of these are junk due to the length of time that I have had my email account and some of these get through the Spam filter. So, most of the emails I deleted, some I replied to, and some I processed.

Now, since I was away with my EeePC and there is no OmniFocus for Linux so I wanted a way where I could process my emails in one shot, rather than having to do it when I arrived home.

In a previous post, I covered how to email actions directly to OmniFocus. By doing this, you can send an email that when Mail.app picks up, it automatically processes the mail based upon its content within OmniFocus.

So, I set up a mail account that OmniFocus processes but I did not collect whilst in Portugal, then, every email that needed processing got forwarded to this email address with the correct fields where appropriate.

In conjunction with this, I carried my Moleskine Cahier where practical. I collected quite a few tasks all of which I processed using the same process by emailing them to myself so that OmniFocus would process them on my return.

On my return from Portugal, I launched Mail.app and OmniFocus. After a few minutes, all of my tasks from my vacation where processed, and placed into the correct contexts. All ready for me to start actioning.

I have been home a few days now and already making great progress into these tasks.

So, overall, a great experience and nice to come home fully organised thanks to my simple Vacation Getting Things Done system.

How do you manage your tasks whilst on holiday? Would love you to comment so that we can all share this information.

Thanks, and look forward to hearing your comments…