Getting Things Done and The Art of Procrastination

David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” has infected the Web, especially web 2.0. There are a lot of blogs on GTD, the most famous are probably Merlin Mann’s 43 folders, and Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits. The great LifeHacker website has some interesting articles on GTD and, more important, articles on other Life Hacks that make life worth living for a Geek.

I like GTD for it’s logic, it’s clarity, but a serious side effect is the discussion about operating systems (Windows or Mac) and software applications that help integrating GTD into your life. This, and the overkill of blogs with tips and tricks lead you necessarily reading so much about Getting Things Done, that you wind up with getting nothing done at all, or at least getting less done than you usually did before you read the book.

Last month LinuxFormat magazine had an article on GTD organization tools. I’ve tried them all, but the application that works for me wasn’t in the list: it is D3 TiddlyWiki (D3 means: Do, Delegate, Defer), which works perfectly well with Firefox from my USB drive.

In fact this is the only thing I use @computer: I do have a RememberTheMilk-account, with all the necessary add-ons in Thunderbird, Firefox and Gmail, but although I send every task to my RTM inbox, I forget to check it regularly.

I think there is nothing wrong with good old-fashioned pen and paper. So my HipsterPDA is the cheapest (€ 0,90) and smallest (10,2 x 6,3 cm) note-blocks you can buy in The Netherlands. I wear them in the pocket of my shirt. With a four color pen (€ 0,95) I write down my task:

Then I use the following codes:

  • Red: Do the task asap.
  • Blue: Do task today
  • Green: Do task this week
  • Black: This goes into my somewhere/maybe folder.

When the task is done I tear it out and throw the piece of paper in the trash bin.

A more high-tech capture tool I use is my Olympus Voice recorder – When cycling to my work (or back home after work) I simply record whatever comes to my mind (a tune, an idea for my blog, a task I may not forget, a present I have to buy) into my voice recorder.

Well, that’s all there is. Quite simple eh? Never a dull moment, but some time left to read a book, to study, to program, to compose or just to have fun; that’s after all the purpose of life.

Don’t live to geek, but geek to live (Gina Trapani)


  1. […] impressed, not in the least by his generousness for sharing, but for now I’ll stick to my own system. Patrick Ng’s website is worth a visite for other articles too: it has a powerfull slogan: […]

  2. […] impressed, not in the least by his generousness for sharing, but for now I’ll stick to my own system. Patrick Ng’s website is worth a visit for other articles too: it has a powerfull slogan: […]

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  • The Aesthetics and Beauty of Knowledge

    Shih was the opposite of facts and raw information; shih was the elegance of knowledge, the insight and skill to organize knowledge into meaningful patterns. As an artist chooses colours or light to make her pictures, a master of shih chooses textures of knowledge – various ideas, myths, abstractions, and theories – to create a way of seeing the world. The aesthetics and beauty of knowledge – this was shih.

    – David Zindell, The Broken God, 1993

  • Geek Attitude

    The attitude thing is about flexibility, portability, creativity, sociability and jamming (ran out of suitable “ity” words!). It’s about improvising – in the practical and musical senses of the word; not getting tangled in boundaries and the “right” way to do things.
    Definitely the only way to travel.
    Martin Delaney – “Laptop Music”.