Freelancers Don’t Have Weekends pt 4

Part 4 of the epic quest to become more organised. You can read parts 1, 2 & 3 if you haven’t already. Long story short; I started using the Getting Things Done method created by David Allen. Last time I explained how I implemented the system. I was pretty happy wth it. One month later, am I still that happy?

Not to put too fine a point on it: yes, it’s been working really well for me. I feel that I have been exceptionally productive this past month. I finally made major progress on my side project, I have finished various small tasks that have been lingering and I have more variety in my social life.

I feel like it’s nigh on impossible for me to forget things now. I have the Trello app on my phone and, whenever I think of something, I put it straight into my In list. When I’m next at my computer, there it is. I saw a great quote the other day that captures how I feel:

I can’t forget, because I don’t need to remember.
— Johnny Chadda

What Went Well

Putting everything into lists forced me to be clearer in my intentions. Various parts of getting aut0m8 up and running had been waiting for me to do something. I was a bit vague about what needed to be done and so I kept putting it off. Once I sat down and documented everything that was needed, I was a lot more motivated. The clarity helped me know what to do to get things moving. Action begets action and, before you know it, I had ticked most of the things off my list. There is still more to do… there’s always more to do… but I am very pleased with the progress.

 

Pen Calendar To Do
An appropriate image now we live in Poland; a to do list with a Polish calendar

 

Forcing myself to document everything that I had in my mind led to a lot of small victories. Things like:

  • reviewing and indexing holiday photos
  • organising my documents folder (containing tons of stuff that I have moved from computer to computer over the past 10 years)
  • sorting and reducing the big box of chargers and cables that we all accumulate these days

Socially I have seen benefits too. Whenever someone recommends a new restaurant or I see an interesting place while I’m walking around… bam, on the list! Agi and I have then made an effort to go out and try these places.

I mentioned last time that I added a task on my weekly review checklist to look at concert and event listings. This is a small thing that makes me really happy. I always used to find out about concerts and events after they had already happened. Now I feel like I have my finger on the pulse. During my review I saw that Skunk Anansie are playing in Poznan in February, I talked to some friends and we bought tickets. How easy is that?

 

Skunk Anansie
Skunk Anansie in Poznan. Thanks Getting Things Done!

 

What Went Badly

Nothing has gone badly per se. For the most part I feel overwhelmingly positive about the whole system. However, there are some things that I still have not nailed.

For example my Waiting For list. The idea of the list is great; whenever you are waiting for something, add it to the list. It could be a reply to an email, the results of an application or delivery of a package. During your review you can look at the list and see whether there is anything on it that needs to be chased. So far, so useful.

The bit that feels clunky to me is when there is some email tennis. I send an email and add it to my Waiting For list. The person replies and I need to answer a question so I move the task to my To Do list. I reply and move it to Waiting For. They reply and I move it to To Do etc. At some point I forget to move it off the To Do list and later I wonder whether I replied or not.

 

Email Tennis
Email (Table) Tennis

 

This hasn’t caused any major problems and it is a minor annoyance rather than a total system failure. I just need to come up with a process to manage it better. Maybe I am being too granular in needing to have the task move back and forth each time; especially when the emails are short and bouncing back and forth quickly. I’ve just added a task to find a better process to my In list!

How do you organise your time? Let me know, I’d love to get some alternative ideas.

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