What is your GTD IQ?

December 30, 2008

I took a simple little quiz this morning and found out my GTD IQ is:


Perspective: 4

Control: 4

Quadrant: Captain And Commander / Autocrat

Interpreting Your Results

Your "perspective" score was 4 and your "control" score was 4. This means you have scored in the "Captain And Commander / Autocrat" quadrant.

Your answers indicate that you have a healthy balance of perspective and control. You are "on your game"!

On the positive side, you are Captain and Commander. Your focus gives you effectiveness and your implementation and follow-through give you efficiency. By managing to keep your world collected, processed, organized and reviewed, you maneuver with agility and flexibility

On the developmental side, you could be something of an Autocrat – simply because the power that comes from mastering the control/perspective game could make you vulnerable to a sense of complacency; you might think it will always be this way.  That may to some degree be true, but somehow your world will still manage to be a consistent source of surprise. And those tend to get bigger, as you take on more responsibility.

The challenge that you face is more about fine-tuning the practices that you already (at least to some degree) have in place. Your improvement opportunity is to pay attention to the more subtle aspects of your work and life. Once you pay attention to what has your attention, you’ll discover what really has your attention. As long as there is anything pulling or pushing on your consciousness “ no matter how subtle “ there will be an opportunity to practice and refine your facility with perspective and control. Are there things you should be doing to stretch "out of the box?" Are there things you ought to be learning, to keep yourself fresh and on your game?

Remember, it is not about what quadrant you are in – it’s about knowing how to move from where you are to where you want to be. GTD can help.


While this sounds all good and dandy, I still feel like I could be doing more. I have many areas for improvement that I would like to tackle in 2009.  My home workspace is still in disarray and I have some major projects and goals that I need to follow-up on. However, the good part is that I *KNOW* what I am not doing 😉

On a side note, today is the launch of 2 new productivity books:

Even better, Leo is offering FREE GIVEAWAYS to BOOK BUYERS, but act fast as the promotion ends Jan 1, 2009. Basically, buy “Power of Less” and get a free eBook!  As for me, I will be placing my order to both books tonight when I get home from work!  I already own the Zen To Done eBook, so I will be opting for the Zen Habits Handbook for Life.  Yeah!!

So, my recommendations:

  1. Test your GTD IQ [via Lifehacker]
  2. Order the Power of Less and Making it All Work

My GTD Tickler File

November 30, 2008

Above is a picture of my recently created GTD Tickler File.  I started working on GTD roughly 4 years ago and I just now implemented the tickler file system.  Ideally, the tickler file is used to store time-sensitive documents to be addressed at a future date.

For me, I often have receipts that I want to hold onto for 30 days or so. Normally, I would just keep them on my desk or store them in my in-box.  This is not the ideal method as I ended up dealing with the same piece of information more than once, a bit no-no in the GTD methodology.

The newest item to my collection of Productivity Pr0n, the Johnston and Murphy Notetaker Card Case. I got it on ebay for a pretty good deal and so far I like it. I just couldn’t justify spendig close to $100 for David Allen Notetaker Wallet (GTD).
What I really like about the Johnston and Murphy case is the 3 credit card pockets on the inside flap.  I feel quite secure in knowing my cards will not be shuffling about.  Additionally, it has 2 extra pockets on the back that I use to hold my insurance card and some cash. Very nice and is working out well so far.

The newest item to my collection of Productivity Pr0n, the Johnston and Murphy Notetaker Card Case. I got it on ebay for a pretty good deal and so far I like it. I just couldn’t justify spendig close to $100 for David Allen Notetaker Wallet (GTD).

What I really like about the Johnston and Murphy case is the 3 credit card pockets on the inside flap.  I feel quite secure in knowing my cards will not be shuffling about.  Additionally, it has 2 extra pockets on the back that I use to hold my insurance card and some cash. Very nice and is working out well so far.

Productivity Pr0n Stash

December 16, 2006

I’ve had my eye on the Levenger Pocket Briefcases for quite some time now, but I just can’t seem to justify the cost of purchase. So.. being the frugally financial person that I am, I decided to get a knock-off at a fraction of the price.

I made my way over to the local Staples store and picked myself up a Buxton Note Jotter for $9.99, about 1/5 of the price of a Levenger variant. Note Jotter looks *exactly* like the Levenger Pocket Briefcase though I suspect it’s not made out of real leather.

After getting home, I started to think about all the “tools” I’ve accumulated in the name of productivity, more specifically after becoming a “Getting Things Done” (GTD) convert. Here’s a list of my stash (in no particular order)

  1. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity Book
  2. Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Work and Life Book
  3. Brother PT-1280 Electronic Labeling System
  4. A gang-load of plain vanilla file folders
  5. Fisher Space Pen – Bullet Pen
  6. Moleskin Notebook
  7. Levenger SwiftNotes Pad Holder
  8. Pilot G-2 Gel Pens
  9. Buxton Note Jotter & 3×5 Index Cards
  10. Palm Treo 650 SmartPhone

Wow.. it all totals up to a perfect 10 ) I wonder if I’m missing anything? I’m sure if I browse around the Levenger website some more, I’ll be able to find something…

This is an extension to my first impressions from the day before. One thing I had to do in order to use things was install ms outlook. I’m not a big fan of outlook for personal usage b/c I think it’s a bit of an overkill. Anyhoo, this is little write up is kinda geared more along the lines from the GTD perspective. I’m gonna kind break things down by the number of steps it takes to do something.

Enter a task
The main difference in entering a task between palm os and outlook is defining the category. This can be done quite easily in palm and a bit more convoluted in outlook. The categories tab is i the lower right hand corner of the task screen and I have to click that, then scroll through my categories to check it. It takes a bit more work to do and simple changing to a category in palm and entering a task. However, with the use of quick keys like “ALT +G” to go to the category selection, and “ALT+S” to save the task, it’s not that bad.. just a bit more clunky.

View a task by context
To me, this is where the big difference shows itself. With a Palm OS PDA, To see a task by context/category simply required selecting the category from the drop down or cycling through the categories by continually pressing the tasks quick key. Very simple.

To do the same thing in a windows mobile environment on my phone, I have to:

  1. Find the tasks application. Not so easy using the jog dial as perhaps my hands aren’t sensitive enough to manuever it correctly or something. If I’ve used it before, then it’s listed on top of the “today” screen, otherwise I have to hit “start” and “more” until I cycle through the listing. No real shortcut key to take you directly to tasks. Maybe I can find more in a manual or something.
  2. Once the tasks are listed, all are shown. To view by contect I have to hit “menu”, “filter by”, “category number”

I guess for me, the real kicker is step 2. It literally takes 3 steps to see tasks by context whereas palm OS can do it with a simple selection of a drop down. Note, this may not be comparing apples to apples b/c palm pda has a touchscreen whereas my phone does not. However, I believe when I tested the 8125 with a full touch screen, the same steps are still required to see tasks by categories. That’s still 3:1

One thing I miss about the Palm OS is the simplicity and ease of usage. I read somewhere they hired a usability engineer or something like that to count the number of clicks it takes to do something and try to drop the number. This makes it quite easy to “Get Things Done” if it only takes 1 step to get in the right context versus 3. Also, with the windows mobile os, once I switch to another app and then go back to the tasks, I have to refilter the categories. Why can it not just remember last used category? This way I’d always see my @Calls first??

I’ve been debating if I should return the 2125 and go for the Treo 650, however one of the things that’s plaguing me is all the complaints of random resets and lockups with the treo device. How badly do I want the palm OS, an OS of simplicity and ease of use that will no longer be enhanced with newer versions? ????

After the recent outage of my Palm PDA, I decided that it was time to look for a convergent device that was both a phone and a PDA in one. After about 2 days worth of researching and itching (didn’t have my context lists on hand) I made the plunge and picked up the Cingular 2125.

The first thing that caught my attention was the size. This phone is SMALL, roughly half the size of the Palm Treo 650 (other contentender). Some of the reasons I chose not to get another Palm OS based device was due to

  1. Complaints of Voice Quality
  2. Complaints of Random Resets and Freezes
  3. Complaints of purchasing additional software to make the PDA part work
  4. Palm deciding not to develop for the Palm OS
  5. Size. Kinda big to put as a holster on hip without looking like a dork with my “bat belt”

I then ran across various posting and have recalled very favorable reviews for the precursor to this phone, the Audiovox SMT5600. Figured, might as well check out the latest model to see what’s what and the answer is pretty favorable reviews!

Alrighty.. so the main goal for getting a device like this was so I could reference my GTD related material (tasks, calendars, contacts), well.. really just standard PIM functionality with a GTD twist. The calendar/contacts was a no brainer as they sync directly from outlook. However, with the tasks, I was a bit concerned about being able to view my tasks in their various categories (@Home, @Contact, etc etc) since this functionality was not possible with the PDA syncing to yahoo back in the old days. I created some tasks (more on that later) and synced up, and whalaa.. all my tasks in one list. Ok.. at least that is cool but when looking at the various menu features, I was able to sort and filter the tasks. The key is the filter part. I could FILTER BY CATEGORIES!!! How cool is it to only see your @Errands list when you’re on the run and want to see what you can buy?? VERY COOL!

Now, one of the features I will be losing from my old PDA is the ability to enter data or capture. However, after finding my Ubiquitious Capture Tool and realizing that my PDA made a better reference device, I realized being able to input/capture into my phone was not really a big deal as long as I could have access to the information. However, it was very tempting to get the Cingular 8125 with it’s cool qwerty keypad but I felt it was overkill as I don’t text, I don’t IM and I don’t surf on my phone.

Cons??? None with the phone so far, though it has only been a day. However, I do have some gripes about PIM software. I was easily able to export my contacts from Palm Desktop into Outlook using a comma separated value file, however I was not able to do the same for tasks and calendar! This is kind of a drag so I may end up doing that conversion manually unless I find another way.

Overall: The phone is PIMP!

Ubiquitous Capture Tool

April 7, 2006

I received my Levenger SwiftNotes ($34) note pad a couple of weeks ago and it has now turned into my Ubiquitous Capture Tool. At first, I had it in my coat pocket, then moved it to my manbag, but now it’s in my right pant pocket to make it even more ubiquitous. I kinda like using that word.. ) It’s really great and I’m quite happy with the purchase.

It is much cheaper than the David Allen Notetaker Wallet ($99), however it doesn’t not have as many pockets as the wallet nor does it have the stylish pen. The Levenger came with a zebra expandable pen which is pretty good but not really that high quality of a writing instrument.

So, I’ve just added one more collection bucket that needs to be processed. Currently, I have the following buckets:

  1. Email
  2. Physical In Basket
  3. SwiftNotes Pad
  4. Cell Phone Voice Memo
  5. Manbag Pocket
  6. Work Bag Folder

Wow.. I didn’t realize I had so many collection buckets until I listed them out. The hardest one to “get to zero” has been my cell phone voice memo. Just last night, I got it to zero by processing 15 voice memos! I think I may need to trim the cruft a bit, but I feel I need all these buckets…