When you’re in your little room
and you’re working on something good
but if it is really good
You’re gonna need a bigger room
and when you’re in the bigger room
You might not know what to do
You might have to think of
How you got started sittin’ in your little room

Lyrics from “Little Room” by the White Stripes. (via Signals vs. Noise)

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.

Arthur Ashe

Remainders 05.25.2007: The Rambling Edition

I know it has been a while once again so this will be an attempt to catch back up and share with you all of the informative little nuggets of wisdom I have run across.
Apologies up front. My brain is kind of all over the place today so this part of the series might come off as a bunch of senseless rambling.
Leo at Lifehack.org shares some great tips on pairing down your todo list to it’s bare essentials. He introduces the idea thusly

“Do your days seem to be crazy busy and your to-do list filled up with an endless supply of tasks? Is your calendar full and your work day a non-stop rush from one thing to another?… If so, you may have too much on your plate. It’s time to step back, take a few minutes, and pare down that to-do list to just the bare essentials”.

Basically, the idea is to only focus on those things that you absolutely need to get done and defer the rest. I have noticed an increasing number of movements along this line as of late. David Seah’s Emergent Task Planning sheets being one elegant example of this. As someone who has been very overwhelmed as of late with a mind-boggling amount of tasks on my plate I can say that such methods have had an alluring appeal. And now that you have used these techniques to win back some time, Leo also has this list of productive ways of using it.
The 37 Signals Product Blog highlights some blogs posts on how to use Backpack to get your GTD on… And my post on my GTD Implementation ideas is one of the ones featured! So cool to be recognized.
Wondering what this whole GTD thing is I speak of and how to get started? Well how about this massive list of GTD resources?
My iChat buddy list is nowhere near the number where it is in need of organization. That being said, when it gets there I plan on using this method promoted by Chanpory at LifeClever. Simply divide them up into groups based on the frequency with which you chat with them. They also suggest some other groupings that, depending upon your usage, may prove more useful. The root of it all is to use the grouping features in your chat client to tame that list, enhance the signal and manage the noise. Interesting ideas for sure. Much is written about taming e-mail but (IMHO) not nearly enough is written about getting control over your IM.
For those of you who are fed up and really want to go radical on the distraction cutting front, checking out what Brian Oberkirch did to trim his attention sails is awe inspiring. In fact, I am literally afraid of some of suggestions but there are some true gems in there too.
While we are at it, how about a no meeting day for your place of work?
Personally, I would like a no anything day every once in a while.


OmniFocus, the long awaited Getting Things Done based application from the fine folks at The OmniGroup, is currently in alpha and has been made available to a few brave folks, of which I am one, who are willing to put up with the potential bugginess of it all. Therefore, there is not too much I should say about it quite yet. Here is what I can say:

  • I have been actively using it for for all of my personal and work related projects and next actions. I have run into a couple of bugs but that is to be expected in an alpha build. Having had a former job in software QA, I have had experience in such matter and I have been making sure to back up the database regularly. That being said, nothing yet has made me nervous about actively using it for my GTD system.
  • It is a very solid GTD application. It is really effective at encouraging you to focus on next actions and working your plan in contexts. It has it’s own built in quick entry panel and Quicksilver integration to make adding items quick and easy. It is, in my humble opinion, going to be the GTD app to rule them all once it is released.

  • Short of 37 Signals pulling any rabbits out of their hat soon, I very well may use it permanently for my GTD system.

Even though it is not widely released, The Omni Group has been very forthcoming with video previews and other information about the application. If you are interested check out Ethan Schoonover’s OmniFocus videos here and here for a good overview of the product.