Friday, February 24, 2006

GTD and Backpack

In late 2005, I had the good fortune to stumble across Backpack. Even today, I am still amazed at how something so simple can be so incredibly useful. If you haven't looked at it you should. Really. Right now.

I am a novice practitioner of GTD -- that is, I'm reasonably good at the writing down part and abysmal at the review part. In no particular order, here are some scribbles on how I (ab)use Backpack for GTD:

1. I use the lists for actions and the notes for projects. The next action for each project on a page is always in one of the lists on the same page. I put the project in curly braces after the action to remind me to promote the next action from the project when I finish the current one. E.g. "take pictures of old LPs { sell stuff on ebay }".

2. One page for home stuff, one page for work stuff, one page for my shopping list (each list is stuff I'm likely to be able to get on the same trip), one page for stuff I'm waiting for, one page to keep track of people's wish lists (one list per person).

3. If an action has a specific due date, annotate it with the date at the beginning. E.g. "[ 2006Apr15 ] file tax return". This makes it much easier to rearrange the list by due date as needed.

I'm always looking for ways to use tools more effectively. If you've come up with ways to GTD better with Backpack, please let me know!


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