Category Archives: GTD

August 8, 2008, 4:19 pm

Tao on time management

Update: Welcome, readers from Terry Tao’s blog. I invite you to browse, starting with the Top 12 Posts retrospective page. I’ve got more articles on math and on time/task management if you want them.

Have you ever wondered how a Fields Medalist does time management? Terry Tao is happy to oblige. It’s not your standard GTD-esque post, as Terry discusses some of the pecuilarities of managing time when practicing a subject so unpredictable as mathematics, where long periods of going nowhere punctuated by massive flashes of insight wreak havoc on calendars and to-do lists.

July 16, 2008, 11:17 am

• How to deal with feelings of inadequacy, from xkcd.
• edwired has some thoughts on the future of the academy in an economy where giving away your product doesn’t necessarily make your business unprofitable. Academhack follows up with related thoughts on using video podcasting to replace the usual lecture format. Interesting idea in giving away the podcast and then charging for in-class activity.
• Why pay dues to join a fraternity or sorority when you can pay one low price and have all the drunken party games on your Wii? I find it ironic that the Association of Fraternity Advisors would be so shocked. Where do you think the idea for the game came from, people?
• I’ve had a couple of posts lately about what I’d do if I were the university president. Now there’s a series of articles out on the same subject except with contributions by people who are probably a lot more qualified for that…

June 28, 2008, 12:27 pm

Jott as a diction-checking device

I’ve blogged before about Jott, the web service which lets you call in and leave a voice message, and then it transcribes it to text and emails it to you or others you want to contact. I use Jott quite often in lieu of a voice recorder for quick thoughts that might be actionable. When I want to catch an idea, I get my cell phone, hit “5″ on the speed dial to call Jott, then talk through my message. A few moments later, I get a transcribed version in my GMail inbox which then gets reviewed at my next GTD weekly review.

Jott’s capabilities as a speech-to-text converter are impressive, but it’s not perfect. When I get a mis-transcription, sometimes I wonder whether it’s Jott’s fault or whether it’s something having to do with how clearly I am speaking. Take this recent message for instance. I had just finished teaching a section on exponential growth and decay in my calculus class that me…

June 19, 2008, 2:34 pm

LaTeX as a word processor?

Good article here at The Productive Student giving five reasons why students should use $$\LaTeX$$ as their word processor and not Microsoft Word:

1. Never worry about formatting again.
2. It looks way better. [By the way: Very nice article on LaTeX's typesetting at that link.]
3. It won’t crash: LaTeX is basically a plain text file. You can edit it anywhere, in any text editor, and it basically can’t crash on you. File size is very small which makes it very portable.
4. It’s great for displaying equations, which is why it’s the leading standard among sciencitifc scholars.
5. It fits in with the workflow of a student and allows you to do one thing well: Write.

The writer also shares some of his practices for writing papers (not necessarily math or science papers) with $$\LaTeX$$, stressing $$\LaTeX$$’s ability to handle bibliographic data as the “killer feature”….

February 6, 2008, 3:11 pm

Bento and GTD?

This blog has gotten a lot of search engine hits lately from queries of the form “Bento GTD”. I guess that’s because I wrote about Bento once and I have written a lot about GTD. And while I was demo-ing Bento, once or twice it crossed my mind that an intrepid person could possibly hack it into a GTD platform. But it appears like there is some kind of movement out there for using Bento for GTD. (Or maybe just one person who can’t stop hitting the “Submit” button on his search engine.) Would one of you folks who are searching along these lines mind filling us in on this, in the comments?

I found Bento to be merely OK — more pretty than useful, and I was able to cobble together what I really needed (a searchable, rich-text repository of information on my students) using VoodooPad Lite, which is free. I didn’t think Bento was worth the $79$49 price tag. But I’m cheap, so that’s not…

January 26, 2008, 3:06 pm

Happiness and productivity in college, the GTD way

I missed this the first time, but Study Hacks posted this article on Getting Things Done for College Students back last summer. It’s basically a self-contained overview of GTD, although it differs from “canonical” GTD in that it takes into account that college students don’t have a fixed 8-5 work day. Instead, they propose fixing down “work hours” and making that be your work day. There are other college-student specific variations in the main article. Well worth a look if you are a college student needing a trustworthy system for productivity.

That article is just one link in this massively-link-filled post on being productive and happy in college in general, which contains so much good advice on time and “stuff” management for college students that I think the average college student would be overwhelmed by it all. But it’s definitely deserving of a read from all students out there.

November 28, 2007, 5:47 pm

Sticking with OmniFocus

As I’ve blogged recently (read the comments to that post, too), I’ve been trying to decide once and for all which computer-based system I was going to use for my GTD setup. In the end, after experimenting with Yojimbo and spending all day yesterday in a fling with iGTD, I decided to go with the forthcoming official release of OmniFocus for my GTD system.

First of all, I’ve gotten very familiar with OmniFocus. I was one of the very first alpha-testers (that’s ALPHA, kids!) of the software when the “Sneaky Peek” versions were being made available back in the summer. I’m even a former Kinkless kGTD user, and a current OmniOutliner Pro and OmniGraffle user, so I’m a big fan of OmniGroup’s work and quite comfortable with their design philosophy.

Secondly, the cost factor turns out to be not nearly so much of an issue as I thought. The final “retail” price of OmniFocus is going to be $80,… November 20, 2007, 9:54 am Around the web Hot off the RSS reader for this Tuesday morning: • Fresh on the heels of the public beta release of OmniFocus is this announcement that a major upgrade in iGTD is in the offing. As I wrote earlier, I wasn’t too keen on iGTD after trying it out — too many bells and whistles that don’t add to the performance of the system. But maybe there will be some improvements in this version 2 release. However, it probably won’t be free like it has been up to now, and with OmniFocus priced at an ambitious$80 per license, one wonders if iGTD will try to match it or “undercut” that price at something like \$50, which is still too much money.
• Speaking of GTD, here’s how to fail spectacularly at Getting Things Done. I don’t know about “spectacular”, but I’ve certainly had to start my GTD process over a couple of times. I think the article is right about not doing GTD at home if you do it at work; you …

November 17, 2007, 2:18 pm

Yojimbo and Getting Things Done

So obviously I haven’t posted in almost a week, because week 10 of the semester is traditionally the start of Crunch Time, where the ratio of (work load)/(student and faculty preparation) is at its highest point. Later in the semester the workload is actually heavier, but everybody is ready for it so the ratio is lower. Right now, not so much on the preparation side, and everybody is stressed out and working like dogs.

And so there’s no better time to talk about GTD, because in situations like this you really need a system that allows you to get your work done without having dwell on it so much. And you especially need that “trusted system” that GTD champions, so that the scatterbrained-ness that always comes with high load/prep ratio is mitigated by not having all that “stuff” in your mind. If you need a backgrounder on GTD, read this before going on.

The last time I blogged about GTD…

August 14, 2007, 9:57 am

Where does the time go? (2007 version)

Last year I made up a handout on time management for my students called “Where Does the Time Go?” and distributed it at my college for freshman orientation as well as here on the blog for anybody who’s interested. I’ve just updated this document and I thought I’d post it again. This is a PDF file, 168 Kb. Feel free to download and distribute.

If you are having problems downloading the file, let me know. There were lots of problems with the PDF attachment last year and I ended up posting a screenshot of the PDF file instead, and sent a copy of the PDF by email to anybody who asked. Hopefully you can just get it from here this time.

As with last year’s version, this document goes through some math to show that the typical college student has only 43 hours in a (seven-day) week that are not spent on sleeping, eating, going to class, or doing coursework. I go through some sample…

• The Chronicle of Higher Education
• 1255 Twenty-Third St, N.W.
• Washington, D.C. 20037