My personal messy GTD

This week I posted this screenshot from my GTD desktop to flickr:

GTD desktop

Yoan commented it making some interesting points and asking about some folders I had there.
Rather than commenting another 50 lines, I thought I’d share on my blog some hints about how I process my stuff.

I admit the GTD title was a bit provocative. If GTD experts would hear how I process my things they would yell at me.

  1. I’m not a strict GTD addict. I personally believe that everyone has to adapt those techniques to himself. I don’t believe in ONE way that works for anybody. I took the freedom of changing any GTD rules that doesn’t apply to me.
  2. My way of precessing is in constant evolution. You learn about yourself more and more and adapt things to it. The way I work isn’t necessarily the way I’m going to do it 6 months. The hardest part isn’t to know how you work, but how to modify your acts to be more efficient.

About how i work
I need to be stressed or feel exited to work efficiently. I actually need to be constantly interrupted (passively) while working. My Gmail, Twitter, IRC and Skype channels are there to stress me and remind me there is something else waiting for me. It’s my personal mess I need to have. I manage not to respond to those tools while working and concentrated on something. It’s as if I was fully focused on my work but still notice what’s happening behind. I even noticed sometimes where I could answer to a chat while thinking about the problem I was working on. This works for me because those interruptions are passive. I choose when I want to answer which is not always the case when you are interrupted by someone speaking to you or when the bell of the door is ringing.

About my folders

  • I collect things the whole day to my inbox and I go through it at least every evening and empty it completely so that the next day I start with an inbox 0.
  • Actions are the things that need an input from me.
  • Process are the things that I only need to consume, like articles to read, presentations / video to see, podcasts to listen.
  • Defer is my “waiting for” (actually I should name it waiting for…). I put stuff there, that I have to wait from someone else before doing something myself. It’s separated so that I know, when I get something I was waiting for, I can go to this folder.
  • Current are the project folders I constantly work on. It’s sort of a continuous action folder.
  • Important files (which I actually have renamed common files) are thing I would really often need to look for in the archive folder. It’s like starred archives that I can find quickly this way. Most of them are only aliases to files in archives.

Todo list and email
Another thing I don’t do like GTD addicts is that I have many inboxes (3 in fact). I reproduced the same architecture with my mailbox and with my todo list. My todo list (RememberTheMilk) is actually my central point. I start there and get the resources form my Email GTD and my Files GTD.

So that’s it for my personal mess. As I said, this is a constant process but it works for me right now, until the next improvement!

More links about personal GTD

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