Five Phases of Project Planning


This is a guest post by Ian McKenzie of Ian’s Messy Desk

David Allen says, regardless of task size, the human brain goes through what he calls a Natural Planning Model. These are five phases our brain works through when accomplishing tasks. He goes on to say that we should use this natural model when planning projects.

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10 Tips For Pruning Your Next Action List


Pruning Your Next Action ListThere is nothing more demotivating and numbing than a large, unwieldy and obscure to-do list. It leads to more procrastination and certainly doesn’t invite you to be more effective and productive.

How to transform your deteriorated to-do list back to a lean and mean next action list? It’s time for some serious pruning!

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3 Tips for Embracing Analog Productivity


This is a guest post by Geoff R. of

A year ago, if someone asked me “paper or digital?” for just about anything, I would say digital. Today, I will probably still say digital in many situations, but I am trying to make an effort to embrace paper and pen productivity.

Paper offers distinct advantages over digital, such as better portability, no fatal system crashes, and ease of data transfer. However to me, these have always been overshadowed by the advantages of digital. While writing is linear, digital has no limits, as it can be copied, re-organized, or deleted with ease. It can also handle large amounts of data easier, offer more advanced features, and you can backup your data without spending time copying it out, or running to the photocopier. On top of that, I am a fast and accurate typer, but my writing is not so great.

Recently though, I have been craving some of paper’s advantages, such as portability, and ability to transfer to other people quickly and easily (rip it out and hand it to them). On top of that, I discovered Myndology notebooks, which allow you to add, remove, and re-organize sheets using a cool disc-bound system. Think
3-ring binder, but with 10-rings or any size you want it to be. It’s like paper 2.0.

I can now see the importance of embracing both analog and digital media. Even though the world is getting more and more technologically advanced, paper isn’t leaving any time soon. Here are my 3 tips for embracing analog productivity.

1. Find what you like about digital, then apply that to paper.
For me, the big problem with paper was that writing is linear, where as type is dynamic. However, using a disc-bound system such as Myndology allows me to add, remove and re-organize pages. It may not be as good as completely dynamic text, but it is an extra advantage that I enjoy. You can check out my review on Myndology here.

2. Spend money on your system, and make sure you like it.
If you can warrant dropping $400 for a cool new PDA gadget, then certainly you can invest $50 into notebooks, paper, or whatever else you need for your personal productivity system.

3. Try out new concepts and technologies with your paper productivity system.
As with computer software, paper will evolve, and you may be interested in trying new concepts. The saying goes “Evolve or die”, and I don’t think you want your productivity system to die!

Geoff R. is a student of productivity, organization, and GTD writer from Canada. He blogs at, with a group of other high school and university GTD writers. You can subscribe to their RSS feed here.

Protect Your GTD System


Protect Your GTD SystemAs a true GTDer you (should) have captured “everything” from your personal and professional life into your GTD system of choice. That includes actions, current projects, future projects, dreams, and so on. If your GTD system is anything like mine, it doesn’t only contain general, neutral information, but also sensitive and private information.

Did you ever think about protecting your GTD system to prevent this collection of private information from falling into the wrong hands? Do you want to know how to do this?

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Sure Way to Earn up to $70


Earn CashUpdate Sep 1, 2007: this promotion experiment has ended. Reviews of my site are welcome but there’s no money to be earned from it! Here is a list of all reviews.

About 1 week ago I started an experiment for 2 main reasons: to celebrate the fact that I’ve reached 1000 subscribers and to spread the word about my GTD site.

In short, the experiment was to reach out to my fellow bloggers and ask them to write an honest review about my site in exchange for cash. And it’s not even a contest, it’s a sure way to earn cash!

Guess how many responses I got? Exactly zero! So, I must be doing something wrong or every blogger out there is too busy or too rich to be interested in such an experiment. I wish I could find a way to extend the experiment to readers without a blog… I’m sorry!

Anyway, I’ve decided to give my little experiment one final chance. Let’s up the ante a little bit, shall we. My original blog post remains the main reference for this experiment concerning details and rules, etc. What I’ve changed is which blogger can earn what kind of money:

100 – 499 (RSS feed subscribers): $5 $7.50
500 – 999: $10 $15
1000 – 4999: $25 $30
5000 – 9999: $25 $40
10000+: $50 $70

A link back to your site is guaranteed as well. Good luck and don’t forget to read the rules first!

Automated Nagging with PingMe


PingMe may be a useful service for those of you using a GTD system (perhaps paper-based) without suitable reminder functionality, especially when you are on the road.

Creating, receiving, sharing and renegotiating reminders (Pings) are all possible according to the PingMe website:

“PingMe takes a unique approach to keeping track of things you need to do – it’s mobile and interactive. Just create a Ping, set a date and you’ll receive a reminder by E-mail or TXT to your phone. Not a good time? Pings are interactive! Just reply to the message to reschedule for a later date or time. You can even create new Pings on-the-fly from your mobile device, or tag your Pings to create contextual to-do lists. Pings are also social! Our new contacts system allows you to share, send and receive pings with other users. Coordinate tasks and collaborate with friends, family, and colleagues while staying flexible and in-touch.”


To read more about this:

Let us know if and how you are able to successfully apply this to your current GTD system!

Get Your GTD Question Answered!


This is an open invitation to all of my readers (and visitors) to pose any question you might have about GTD, or Productivity in general.

It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an expert, if your question is about a specific GTD tool or about setting higher goals, simply fire away!

Of course, I will do my best to answer your question myself, but I also call upon my readers to help each other out here. I may even use your question as the subject of one of my next posts (don’t pass up on this opportunity to influence the content of this blog! ;) ).

Even questions about my own GTD system, my blog/site or the way I have organized my life in general are welcome!

Four Questions to Ask Yourself When Inspiration Strikes

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This is a guest post by Stephen Smith of HD BizBlog 1.2.

Being observant of the way that we Get Things Done is a skill that is often undeveloped. Put this on your Next Action list: Pay attention to the steps I take when inspiration strikes.

“Your brain’s pattern-recognition mechanism is triggered by the images you identify with and the focus you hold. You see the outcome first, and then you are unconsciously made conscious of information.”

~David Allen, Ready for Anything (aff)

What do you do when you get an idea for some new undertaking? What steps does you mind follow in order to create this vision? One thing that we can all do right now is take the time to look at our own thought patterns and analyze the pathways in our mind that take us from the beginning of an idea to its conclusion.

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Someday/Maybe = Unlikely/Never? 3 Tips to Fix and Avoid This!


I simply love the concept of a Someday/Maybe list. It is useful, it is simple and it is powerful. At least, it can be if used properly!

A couple of weeks ago, during one of my weekly review sessions, I discovered that I had gradually started to (ab)use my Someday/Maybe list (again) as a dumping ground and graveyard for a lot of unwanted or impossible “projects”, or even for pieces of information that should be stored in my reference system.

I realized that my Someday/Maybe list, which should be a source of inspiration for future projects, was slowly becoming an Unlikely/Never list, which made me feel uncomfortable every time I looked at it!

I have managed to get my Someday/Maybe list back under control and use it the way it was meant to be. Let me share 3 tips with you on how to clean up your Someday/Maybe list and also on how to prevent it from becoming a Unlikely/Never list (again).

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4 New GTD Apps on the Block


New GTD applications sometimes seem to be released on a daily basis. I can hardly keep up with adding all of them to my GTD Index! I certainly cannot find the time to properly test and review all of them.

So, for the curious: here is a quick list of 4 new GTD applications currently in various stages of development you may want to keep an eye on. If you’re looking for a new GTD application, that is… and aren’t we all? :)

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