Matt\’s Cuppa

My take on tea, technology, and our environment

Archive for the ‘GTD’ Category

How Not To GTD

Posted by telecommatt on November 18, 2007

A Roadmap to Spectacular GTD Failure · The Cranking Widgets Blog

My system went “un-reviewed” for several weeks, projects weren’t managed, stuff fell through the cracks. The worst part was, I was frustrated, tired, stressed out and – obviously – grossly unproductive!

It’s always nice to learn how to fail from others so you don’t have to do it yourself! This is my biggest failing when it comes to GTD– the weekly review. Believe it or not, we were discussing this very fact on the way home tonight and not twenty minutes later, I’m reading this article in my Google Reader feeds! Allen suggests doing this on a Friday night, and this may be the biggest reason I don’t get my review in. It sounds incredibly questionable to tell your friends you can’t join them because you have to clean out your inbox and review your week. (Not that I’m an ultra hipster by any means. On the contrary, I don’t want to give my friends any reason not to invite me on the few opportunities that fall in my lap!) I’m considering a Sunday night review, which is a great way to clear out last week in time for the new week, but it means that you week isn’t as fresh in your mind as it would be on Friday.  I’m also a recovering Franklin-Covey student, and it’s hard to let go of old habits. One this that I learned from the Franklin-Covey system is that it’s not that the system didn’t work for me. Instead, it was me that didn’t work for the system. GTD is teaching me that this is true of many systems out there. They work only as well as we work for them, which means that maybe I need to suck it up and do my weekly reviews. Be sure and check out the Lifehacker post for some great discussion points there, as well

Posted in GTD | Leave a Comment »

Matt’s Daily Diigo Post 06/27/2007

Posted by telecommatt on June 27, 2007

Playgreen – The wiki on green living Annotated

  • Ah, web2.0, collaboration, and environmental initiative- what a great combination! I swear I’ve bookmarked this already,but Diigo seems to think not.
    – post by telecommatt

Wiki green living!

  • Here, visitors are editors and reviewers
  • Anybody could improve the knowledge
  • Together, we’re building the biggest book on green living

Pownce Annotated

  • Thought this was noteworthy because the downloadable app uses Adobe AIR. If this service could interact with my Gmail address book, I’d be all over it. As it is, I’m sort of tired of having to redundantly enter my friends contact info into each new service I try.
    – post by telecommatt

The software is available right now for Windows and Mac users and will available for Linux soon too. It takes advantage of a new technology from Adobe called AIR, which is super useful.

Web Worker Daily » Blog Archive 4 Ways to Manage Your Personal Stack « Annotated

These days, genius is one percent attention and ninety-nine percent stack management.

  • While this is certainly true today, it was no less true years ago. One of my favorite techniques for productivity comes from the work ethic of one of the great steel magnates. I heard the story so long ago that I’ve forgotten the details , but the message remains imprinted in my mind. Basically, you draw up a list of your top ten things that need to be done. You cross out five. You circle three. And that’s what, at whatever cost, will get done today. If those three are completed, you move on to the rest of the five. If those are completed, you look at the next five, circle three and cross out two and apply the same process until those five are also done. I used this method throughout college, and, while my teachers may not have always agreed, I always felt confident about my priorities. – post by telecommatt

make sure that the less important stuff doesn’t get lost

  • I think that this may be the more difficult piece for many of us today. The sheer volume of information that we are confronted with now is nothing short of overwhelming. And each peice of information is important to the person who shared it with us. It’s a little like having to clear the snow off your sidewalk by classifiying and categorizing each snowflake as it falls. So how do we deal with this? I have over 780 bookmarks on Diigo, and hundreds more articles saved on Google Reader. It’s impossible not to lose some items of relevance. We have to be realistic about that. Another fact that we have to be realistic about is that some items will lose their relevance over time. We may not be abl to prioritize them at the time, but by the time they’ve come to the top of our stack, we’ve missed the opportunity to make them useful. Most of us don’t have a system in place to deal with these items at all. – post by telecommatt

we’ve covered 20 different ways to track them.

  • I think that the most important thing we can do with our list is to start crossing things off. This sounds rather, “Well, duh.” But I can personally attest to how much potentially productive time can go into finding the perfect method for creating and organizing one’s lists. There’s the threat of turning into list-fiends. We sit around endlessly organizing and perfecting our list-making techniques. We become experts on list theory. Our task are meticulously mapped out. But in this mode, we rarely get to actually cross something off one of our lists. Yes, it’s true that you have to find the method that works best for you, but if, in the meantime, you find one that sort of works, start using it! Start doing the stuff and crossing it off! I’m always amazed at how fulfilling it is to cross something off. – post by telecommatt

The goal of the GTD system is simple

  • I am an aspiring GTD’er. Actually, I don’t think anyone has perfected it’s use. I am drawn to it because of it’s simplicity. In particular, I find the use of “contexts” helpful. Contexts refer to where you need to be in order to do some task. Your tasks are assigned contexts- work, home, phone, computer, etc. When you are in a certain context, you look at your lists for tasks that can be accomplished while you are there. This is great because it means that no matter where you are, you can always be doing something that is productive. It really helps you plan your day as well. Knowing that you’ve got X number of things that can only be done in the office tells you how much of your day to devote to being in the office. It’s a killer time saver! – post by telecommatt

I find the tabbed browser interface to be one of the greatest inventions for stack management ever.

  • How did I ever live without a tabbed browser?! If I used tabs in the manner the author does, I’d constantly have at least 17 tabs open. I love tabs because there is certain information that I refer to constantly. The amount of time I have by keeping these open in another tab is huge. And it’s not just websites that you can keep open. You can easily create HTML pages that contain often referred to information or hyperlinks to often used files on your PC. I use Firefox as the central command center for my day, something that would have been impossible before browser tabs. – post by telecommatt

If you know you’re not going to need to work on something for a week or a month, get it out of your inbox and file it away.

  • I actually use Remember the Milk (RTM) for this. RTM is my to-do list manager. Highly recommended, check it out if you haven’t already. With RTM (some others do this as well) you can set a due date for a task. RTM can then send you a reminder before the task is due. For example, I get an SMS message each morning reminding me which tasks are due that day.
    – post by telecommatt
  • I’m surprised that the author does not mention tags as a way to help organize relevant information in your stack. My previously-mentioned 788 Diigo bookmarks would be a complete waste of time if I didn’t apply tags to each bookmark. Tagging makes it easy to filter my information, my stack, for a certain topic. Contexts in the GTD system are another use of tags. I can put together my list of items that need to be done today, but each item is tagged with a context that allows me to structure my day even more efficiently. As you may have guessed, my system relies heavily on tags. What I like about tags is that they allow you to organize your information without physically moving it. Emails, for example, stay in my inbox. If I’ve ever recieved an email, I know that they only place it will be is in my inbox. However, I can find that email easily because I tagged it with an appropriate label. Just like GTD, this approach doesn’t work of everyone, but like GTD, I without my tags I’d be hopelessly, nonproductively lost. – post by telecommatt

Posted in Betas (as in not-the-fish), Green, GTD, Productivity | Leave a Comment »

MattsCuppa Link Roundup for 6-11-2007

Posted by telecommatt on June 11, 2007

More backlogged links! I’m especially excited about Remember the Milk being available offline. Most everyone knows I’m an RTM addict, and I am still convinced it’s the most flexible way to manage your GTD-life. Now, I can “remember the milk” from my PC online, from my laptop in line, and my mobile handset where ever. Sweet!

Firefox Extensions For Bloggers has a useful post today with 17 Firefox Extensions That Make Blogging Easy – broken down into Collecting, Writing and Images.

I hate lists like this – I end up spending half my day having to
install and test great new tools which are supposed to make me more
productive but in the short term which are wonderful distractions!

PS: The Split Browser
extension is going to be VERY useful. I quite often wish I didn’t
have to flip back and forth from one tab to another while writing a
post or newsletter in one tab and researching what I’m writing i
another. This is great – why didn’t anyone tell me!

What else don’t I know about?!? What are your favorite Firefox extensions?



any camera phone you can quickly and easily send photos where everyone
can view them. Don’t just tell your friends about it, burstcast

Web As Desktop: Remember the Milk gets Gears


The popular online todo list Remember the Milk has paired up with the spanking new Google Gears to offer a seamless online/offline experience for RTM.

the Milk’s Google Gears integration is really impressive, offering the
entire RTM experience in offline mode—meaning that you can view
your todo lists, add tasks, edit tasks, search your tasks, create Smart
Lists, along with anything else you like to do with RTM. As far as I’ve
seen, RTM is the first popular non-Google app (and the second app
outside of Google Reader) to offer offline access and synchronization
with Google Gears, and it’s done a helluva job. Looking forward to
seeing more of this.

The Week in Sustainable Mobility (6/3/07)

Editor’s Note: Check out Minnesota in the eco news! We don’t often make headlines here. Must be that Minnesota Nice thing…

A Final Batch of Productivity Tips

During my mini-hiatus after the birth of my son a few more productivity tips did come through for the Ultimate Guide to Productivity.

seem to have stopped at this point so maybe the Ultimate Guide to
Productivity group writing project meme has played out its course.
That’s totally fine. I’ve listed the remaining submissions

You can still submit a post if you’d like – just tell us your best productivity tips!

the meantime I’ll start the huge task of reviewing all the posts
again and preparing the much-promised e-book. I can’t give a
deadline at this stage, and as soon as I get a handle on the work
I’ll call for help from others. But here goes nothing!

  1. Tag, I’m It! by Christina Haas
  2. Number 1 productivity tip by Shannon
  3. Productivity: Snooze It or Lose It by Connie Reece
  4. Automation: My Ultimate Guide to Productivity by Alaeddin
  5. Meme Week: My Secret to Productivity by Mark Goodyear
  6. Cutting Out the Bull: Information Overload and Productivity by David Bohl
  7. Fear – The Ultimate Productivity Blocker by Shaboom
  8. Ultimate Guide to Productivity: A Tip the Worx by In The Worx

If I’m not mistaken, this brings our total number of submissions to 137!

be posting the full list shortly so there’s a single page to
access all of the great productivity tips. And again, you can keep
sending them in if you’ve got them…


Upload and play your iTunes library and all your digital music online.
Easy download to your iPod or PC. Safely share music and playlists.
URL: Lala.


An online instructional cooking site that walks you step-by-step through each recipe with video tutorials. URL: Rouxbe.


A browser-based online mind mapping application. URL: Mind42.

Make your site mobile friendly

A nice introduction into the world of the mobile web. Personally it
felt it played down the challenges in places but it still gave some
nice advice.

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Posted in Betas (as in not-the-fish), Blogging, CSS, Energy, Environment, GTD, LinkRoundup, Mobile, Music, Politics, Software, web-based services, Webdev, Websites | 3 Comments »

MattsCuppa Link Roundup for 6-6-2007

Posted by telecommatt on June 6, 2007

I really, really need to dig myself out of some of the articles I’ve clipped over the past few weeks, so I’ve decided to take a new approach. Rather than posting each as a separate article and clogging your RSS reader, I’ll be writing a few posts with a lot of articles in them. Some of these I’ll return to for a full post. If there is anything you want to hear more about, please let me know!

Webcam: Perfect your webcam picture


Photography blog Strobist breaks down how to get the best webcam shot using simple techniques.

Adjusting your light source, turning down the monitor brightness, softening your desk lamp light, wearing a white shirt and even setting up a background you can make a huge difference in how you come across on your webcam. Check out the image above for a before and after shot, and head over to Strobist for the details on how to get yourself looking that good on the cam.

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Posted in Betas (as in not-the-fish), Energy, Environment, Google, GTD, Lifehacks, LinkRoundup, Mobile, Music, Software, web-based services, Websites | 1 Comment »

Matt’s Cuppa Tech Tip: GTD with WinXP System Restore

Posted by telecommatt on April 28, 2007

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding System Restore in Windows XP

The System Restore feature of Microsoft Windows XP enables administrators to restore their computers to a previous state without losing personal data files (e.g. Word documents, graphic files, e-mail).

If you’re a geek, you probably know how to set restore points in WinXP. But do you actually do it? Probably not. If you’re at all like me, you simply forget about it. Even if we do create a restore point, we probably only do it when we are installing or testing something that we aren’t entirely confident won’t make spaghetti out of our data. But why onlydo it when we’re expecting a problem? Expecting a problem is like watching water boil. If we keep our eyes on it, it never happens.

Try setting up a restore point at least once a week, even if you regularly backup your hard drive. It’s much faster to do a restore than to play CSI with your registry or extract something from your backup images. Personally, due to issues I’ve had with Windows Update, I make sure I manually create a restore point before I install any windows updates.

Thinking about ignoring this because it’s geekspeak? Let’s break it down on a GTD level. Learning to use WinXP’s system restore points properly makes recovering your data a task instead of a project. How’s that for productivity?

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Posted in GTD, Tech Tips | Leave a Comment »

‘Getting Things Done’ In 60 Seconds

Posted by telecommatt on April 12, 2007

‘Getting Things Done’ In 60 Seconds

If you’re like most educated technical types, you’ve heard of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” (GTD) productivity concepts, but don’t use them.

And I think I know why: 1) you’re too busy to study a whole book on productivity; 2) it might not work for you anyway; and 3) deep down you really don’t want to change how you work.

Am I right?

This is a really great 1 Minute Manager style intro to GTD methodology. For those that don’t know, I’m a GTD convert and I publicly swear by it. Even if time management sounds as entertaining as doing the dishes, please read this article. And try it. I didn’t think I really was that inefficient with my time management until I started using GTD. Now, I may not be ultra efficient, but at least I’m aware all the demands on my time and brain for any given day.

What I really like about Elgan’s article specifically is that he brings up the “Today” list. This was the first mod I made to Allen’s methodology and I’ve not seen anyone else talk (type) about it yet. I found that I felt very uncomfortable without a list of tasks that absolutely had to be done today. And even though I was regularly reviewing all my open tasks, I was always wondering if there was something I was missing. You know, that it’s-on-the-tip-of-my-tongue feeling?

I originally was using index cards, as Allen suggests in his book. Being a geek, I quickly found this to be too cumbersome and turned to the web to store my tasks and projects. I found 30Boxes to be a great tool because it combines a calendar and a rather healthy to do list in one free, mobile accessible web app. I still use 30Boxes for my calendar, but I recently moved my lists to Remember the Milk (RTM). The reason? It automatically creates your Today list for you. Perfect!

I’ll cover how I set up RTM to GTD more in depth a little later. In the meantime, read the article. And buy the book. Actually, you can buy the book right here by clicking the Add to RightCart button below.

Add to RightCart

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Posted in GTD, web-based services | Leave a Comment »

Matt’s Daily Diigo Post 03/25/2007

Posted by telecommatt on March 25, 2007

Make your computer react when you leave and arrive – Lifehacker

  • You know you’re a geek when you think this is a cool as I do…
    – post by telecommatt


  • This looks like a pretty sweet app for organizing your GTD self. I hate to limit myself to one location by dumping all my thoughts into one app, but I think that I am going to try this one out. The tutorials look pretty smooth too.
    – post by telecommatt

Zoho Meeting – Web Conferencing

Daily Cup of Tech » DCoT Helps Find Lost Child Annotated

  • This is a really cool story, if you’re a geek. Even if you’re not, it’s rather touching. Lost child + USB drive + security desk + computer = happy ending. Although it’s a bit troublesome to put together, I actually think that this little parenting hack is pretty cool!
    – post by telecommatt

This little program saved my wife and I a lot of of grief and emotional trauma while on vacation. Read on.

101 Shareware and Freeware Programs Every Nerd Needs | The Free Geek Annotated

  • Another list of software alternatives to expensive commercial products. There’s some pretty good stuff here. I’m starting to lean toward webapps rather than install something else on my PC’s harddrive, but I have to admit there’s some pretty good stuff here.
    – post by telecommatt

101 Shareware and Freeware Programs Every Nerd Needs

Gmail Craze: 30 + Tools and Hacks for Gmail »

Posted in Free/Open Source, Geekstuff, Google, GTD, Software, web-based services, Websites | 2 Comments »

Matt’s Daily Diigo Post 03/13/2007

Posted by telecommatt on March 13, 2007 – coffee | tea | wine | beer / Published

  • Social site for beverages. Is there tea here?? I must explore… – post by telecommatt

StartUpCrunch | CrunchRank – Ranking StartUps Everyday.

  • Yet another web2.0 blog to add to my newsfeeds. Actually, I think it’s great site. You should add it to yours too! – post by telecommatt

    How to Make Stikkit into Your Personal GTD Powerhouse · The Cranking Widgets Blog

    • I haven’t tried this out yet, but the cell phone capture aspect intrigues me. If someone has any thoughts pls let me know! – post by telecommatt

    Video Demonstration: Open a beer bottle with a piece of paper – Lifehacker

    • This is another one of those must-know hacks that makes life SO much easier! – post by telecommatt

    Posted in Betas (as in not-the-fish), GTD, Tea | Leave a Comment »

    Getting Things Done: Recap for ‘07 | 43 Folders

    Posted by telecommatt on January 7, 2007

    Getting Things Done: Recap for ‘07 | 43 Folders

    Must be the dawning of the new year and the chance for a fresh start, but I’ve gotten several requests from readers for an updated primer for folks who are getting started (or re-started) with Getting Things Done.

    This post is like gold. Seriously. This is the guy to convinced me to jump onto the GTD bandwagon. I’m hooked now. The guy takes GTD to the geeks. If you’re a geek, read it. If you’re not a geek, just unorganized, read it. If you’re never heard of GTD, READ IT! If organizing your life is your New Year’s resolution, this will get you there, and if it’s not, then this will show you how to get your resolutions done. (Yeah, I know, that’s GRD, not GTD, but the result is the same and you’ll love me for turning you on to it!)

    Posted in GTD, Websites | Leave a Comment »