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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Getting Organized

We were poking through some stuff in the garage a few weeks ago, before leaving on vacation. To my astonishment, my old Dayrunner turned up:

It’s been a while
As you can see from the date in the corner, it sat in a storage box for roughly 23 years. What was really amazing was the felt-tip pen (a “LePen”) still writes!

I remember buying the thing back when, after attending a time management seminar at work. Both the seminar and the planner were centered around to-do lists, with A/B/C priorities, long before the rise of portable electronic devices. To be honest, I don’t know how long I used it until I gave up and tossed the thing in a box.

Between then and now (spring of 2007 judging from the receipt), I heard about Getting Things Done (aka “GTD”) and bought a copy of the book. It was far more relevant to my life than Seven Habits or that time management course, and I did take a stab at implementing the system using the “Hipster PDA” forms from DIYplanner.com. It didn’t take, for whatever reason. Of course, I’d forgotten all about the organizer, and it was geared toward that A/B/C to-do list system anyway.

I started jotting down things I knew I needed to deal with in the organizer, then grabbed GTD off the shelf and read it through again. The forms in the organizer hadn’t magically transformed into GTD-compatibility over the years, but I knew how to fix that… DIYplanner loves GTD, and has gobs of forms that you can download and print. The selection was a little spotty for my organizer size—3.75"×6.75" or “Size 3” as they call it in the office supply stores (and Amazon) now—but I have LibreOffice, a punch, and a guillotine (paper cutter). Then I found that DayTimer sells blank pre-punched sheets in my size, and I ordered a pack. That’s handy, because (for some strange reason) they don’t sell undated refills… anywhere.

Part of GTD’s setup, and one of the things I didn’t do before, was to have a filing system within reach. My filing needs are fairly simple so far, so I figured a file box would be sufficient. The wife happened to have one empty, so I grabbed it and added a handful of paper clips, Post-Its, and an X-acto knife…

It’s not all over my desk!
It’s nice, the way it doubles as a file drawer… especially since I don’t have one on this desk. My home desk is nearly clean, now!

Somehow, I think it’s going to take this time. I have the system established, and I’m using it both on and off working hours. I already feel like my mind is clearer, which feels weird to be honest. I keep thinking, “now what?” even if the “what” is already written down where I know I can find it. Give it another week or so and I’ll get used to it. I hope.

Cue apocalypse in 3… 2… 1…


  1. It'a funny how we often find things when we really need them ^_^

  2. Nice work! My desk at home always seems to need reorganization, no matter how I try to stay ahead of it.

  3. Very true, Helen. In this case, I found it when I was really ready to use it this time. And I haven't gone looking for a car in a long time -- when I need to replace the one I have, it comes to me.

    Richard, this is a very different thing for me, believe me. I've got my work desk about half cleaned off, which is impressive considering it was a high-tech version of the Augean Stables. My work email inbox has been cleaned out for two weeks now. I'm on vacation right now, so it'll be something to tackle when I get back.


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