I’m still amazed at how well my current GTD system is working for me. I’ve made a few minor tweaks but essentially I’ve been using the same system for over 6 months now!
It also never ceases to amaze me how well the entire GTD concept fits into my personal and professional life. I can’t really imagine how to be productive, effective and organized without it anymore! So, it seems my search for the “perfect” GTD system is finally over and I can safely conclude that GTD has become an important foundation for structuring my life.
You may have noticed that I’ve been busy over the past couple of months. I’ve been busy at work and with my family, but I’ve also spent quite some time catching up on my reading and learning more and more about productivity, personal development, NLP, life purpose, achieving goals, coaching, success and financial freedom. More on that later, I’ve got some things brewing!
For now, I would like to share 3 quick-and-dirty productivity tips with you. These tips have proved to be useful in combination with GTD to help me keep organized and decluttered.
3 Quick-and-dirty productivity tips
1. Less than 1% of a magazine’s content is useful information… toss the rest!
I’m a real packrat when it comes to magazines. For years I’ve been collecting stacks and stacks of magazines. My thougts usually go like “Wow, this is a cool/useful/funny/expensive magazine! I’d better keep it for future reading pleasure!”. Guess what, I’ve never read any of the magazines ever again. Some of them get stacked without even being read. A couple of months ago I decided that enough is enough, literally! I’ve started tossing boxes full of old magazines. The space reclaimed in my house and especially my study is enormous! I didn’t toss any magazine without at least quickly flipping through them, hunting for interesting articles. I rip out the interesting pages or I cut out interesting articles with a special cutter, and store these in my reference system… and then toss the rest of the magazine! Surprisingly, I was left with much less than 1% of the original amount of paper. This was also a great exercise in determining which magazines I should quit subscribing to!
2. Digitize old or unused archive folders
Since I’ve started implementing GTD (back in October 2006) I’ve created a fairly extensive (analog) reference system, i.e. boxes full of file folders. Occasionally I prune my reference system by moving old, unused or obsolete folders to a separate box. I’ve now gone one step further. Just like my old magazines, I’ve decided I do not want to keep my folders indefinitely. Instead of simply tossing them (I’m very bad at that!) I’ve decided to digitize them first and then toss them.
Since I don’t own an industrial scanner, I’ve created my own little digitizing contraption using my digital camera. I don’t own a tripod so I got creative and created something from an old cardboard box to ensure a fixed and stable distance between the camera and the paper I want digitized. Now I simply take snapshots of every single page in a folder; this only takes a few minutes, which is much faster than my flatbed scanner. I merge the pictures into a single PDF, store the PDF in my digital reference system, toss the contents of my file folder and then reuse the folder itself!
3. Recycle paper for use with your ubiquitous capture tool
I must admit that I print quite a few documents and mails for easy reading and scribbling on them. Some of them are then stored in my reference system, but many of them get tossed in the end. My ubiquitous capture tool is nothing fancy, just a simple pen and some scraps of paper I keep in my pocket or bag at all times. I’ve stopped using expensive notebooks (Moleskine!) or index cards for capturing actions, thoughts and ideas. Instead, I am now recycling all the paper that I used to toss (documents and mails, contents of a recently digitized file folder). I simply rip those papers into 4 or 8 roughly equal scraps to be used as my ubiquitous capture tool!
Please share your quick-and-dirty productivity tips & tricks with us in the comments!