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Hacking a GTD Moleskine

Hacking a GTD Moleskine
Moleskine GTD

    Talk about a great example of GTD and Moleskine implementation – Eston Bond at hyalineskies preaches his tales on GTD and how he moves from using Treo 650 and Kinkless GTD to Moleskine.

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    The post has detail of his setup and I am not going to repeat what his said. What I found useful though is the section on dividing moleskine in sections. As moleskine is just a notebook, you need to have a system to divide it up to find stuff easily:

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    Once you’ve got the Moleskine prepped for use, it’s time to label your tabs. Take the Sharpie you used to mark the side of the book and write on your tabs. For two of the tabs (preferably of the same colour,) write INBOX / NEXT PROCESSED. For another two, wrote PROJECTS. For yet another pair, write SOMEDAY / MAYBE. These tabs will give you direct access to the proper sections of the Moleskine.

    What about that last tab? Label it SPECIAL PRIORITY. It’s entirely optional, but having a special priority tab allows you to mark a Project or Task as taking priority over everything else. I’ve got the tab more for putting priority on social things than business things, as I tend to forget key social events more than I do key business ones.

    Once you’re done labeling, put the spare INBOX, PROJECTS, and SOMEDAY tabs, as well as the SPECIAL PRIORITY tab, on the last page of the Moleskine. The last page of the Moleskine is card stock, so it holds the tabs well and is pretty useless for writing GTD content upon. Take the remaining three tabs and place them on the upper parts of the page, as close together as possible. Put INBOX on Page 5, PROJECTS on Page 123, and SOMEDAY on Page 189. If you tend to have more Projects, you’ll probably want to put the tab on a different page and increase the space available to Projects; this goes for the other sections as well and this is just a general guideline.

    If you look at my Moleskine head-on, my tabs seem tangent to one another on the y-axis. I’ve done this in accordance with an extrapolation of the old interaction design principle of Fitts’ Law, which states that a speed-accuracy tradeoff exists in a pointing atmosphere. In a more intuitive sense, having these tabs close together allows you to quickly flip between sections of the Moleskine with very little movement.

    Hacking a GTD Moleskine – [hyalineskies]

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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