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What is your GTD "tool chain"?

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  • What is your GTD "tool chain"?

    Mastery involves knowing the right tool for the job, and how best to use it. I am by no means a GTD master, but here is my "tool chain" in the hopes that others might share the different tools they use for the different jobs of GTD.

    1. Capture.
    Sony ICD-502 voice recorder - used to capture while driving or walking
    Pad of 8.5x11 paper with Pilot G02 blue ink pen, set of four multi-colored highlighters - used for general brainstorming, taking notes during meetings or on the phone, and for general note-taking throughout the day
    Post-it notes - used to capture new things that should be acted upon the same day - they get posted to my monitor so they're almost literally in my face
    Gyronix for eProductivity - this is to quickly note new tasks or projects directly into my electronic system
    Evernote - this is for journaling and capturing notes on little research projects
    Inbox - I have a standard stack of three, top is for In, middle is for pending (files I need now), bottom is for stuff that has been processed and must be filed (Out)
    Email - Lotus Notes (with the eProductivity add-on)
    2. Process
    Processing to "zero" happens at least once a week.
    Email - for each email drag it to the appropriate category in eProductivity (next action, project, tickler, calendar)
    Sony recorder - listen to all recordings and type actions and reminders into eProductivity
    Inbox - empty every few days or at least once a week
    Journal - I don't really "process" the stuff captured in my journal. Occasionally I will look back at previous entries to refresh my thinking about something.
    3. Organize
    eProductivity - contains projects, someday/maybe, next action, calendar, tickler
    Blackberry - synchronized with Notes/eProductivity and used for reference on the road and automated reminders when away from computer
    Google sync and Google calendar - I use google calendar for a lot of things, so my Notes calendar gets synced to it
    wikidPad - write ups for my 50,000-20,000 ft outcomes, also for ad-hoc electronic reference notes
    File folders and Brother labeller - reference files - hanging folders within which I put standard file folders
    Western Digital External 500GB USB drive - all electronic reference files get stored on this little guy; it's bus-powered and very portable and high-capacity; backed up to drive at home
    4. Review
    Where possible, automated reminders from Notes / Google calendar.
    Weekly review in eproductivity using the weekly review coach
    Daily review first thing in the morning to transfer daily to dos to paper list for the day
    5. Do
    Pad of 8.5x11 paper and pen - start of day jot down the key tasks and outcomes for the day (from electronic system) and then work down the list, making notes as I go. Paper acts as a focusing tool for daily action. At end of day (or every couple of days) resynchronize as necessary back to electronic system - i.e. capture stuff from my paper to do list back into electronic (stuff that's longer term and can't be done immediately).

  • #2
    My Tool Chain

    Here's my set-up

    1. Capture
    Canon Powershot S410 camera soon to be replaced by a Canon SD940 Camera
    3 x 5 spiral bound notebook top spiral
    stacks of torn off 1 page per day calendar paper scattered around the house
    Sprint Voicemail (rarely used)
    Levenger Storyboard, note and concept paper 8 1/2 x 11 3 ring punched for project plans and notes
    e-mail Apple mail
    Omnifocus inbox
    Paper inbox where all my paper notes and stuff ends up
    SplashShopper - on both mac and Treo for all shopping stuff

    2. Process
    E-mail gets clipped to Omnifocus inbox and is cleared once a week for sure, working on daily.
    Paper inbox cleared daily
    Voicemail as needed
    Camera pictures daily with ones marking actions clipped to Omnifocus
    OF inbox cleared daily or more often

    3. Organize
    All actions and projects end up in Omnifocus. I have top folders for each major area of focus, some have subfolders and within those are the projects. I have a couple of single action lists, errands and one for general farm work that doesn't fit into anywhere else and one for Misc that hold the few things not related to a project.
    Calendar is iCal
    Addresses is mac Addressbook
    I use Yojimbo for filing misc small notes, archiving some web pages and a few web bookmarks.
    Safari web browser is RSS reader and lots of bookmarks
    Paper filing into 3 four drawer cabinets & 1 2 drawer one. Mix of folders with hanging folders and just in the drawer plain.
    Brother PT 1280 labeler
    ScanSnap S510M for scanning and archiving paper records
    Treo carries the Yojimbo database as notes, ical calendar & to dos from sync with OF, addressbook sync and Splashshopper lists all synced with the rather buggy MissingSync.
    Some documents, history lists, vision statements and purpose are in Open Office as are all working documents.
    Quicken for financial data

    Entire mac is backed up w/ Time machine to a 4 drive RAID server. I also do a monthly Carbon Copy clone of my main drive. All pictures, scanned files, archives etc are also burned to CD and copy stored in a fireproof safe in another building. Some critical items also have copies of the CDs sent to people in other parts of the country for storage. Second CD copy is in a different place in our house. Paper copy of calendar backup is stored in the house as well.

    4. Review
    Omnifocus review weekly, haven't missed one in several months now

    5. Do
    Action lists by context on my mac I check off during the day if inside
    print single contexts when weather or task makes accessing Treo problematic
    Treo for most of the time when outside
    Exception is sheep tasks. I print out spreadsheep of sheep by tag number and carry a clipboard so I can check off each one as we do something to him or her (wormer, trim toes, vaccinations, evaluations etc.) Sheep data capture is paper or pictures due to issues with ruggedness of most handhelds. Transcribed later into the Mac for review and further use.


    • #3
      Home inbox tray - Where I collect postal mail, loose paperwork. etc
      Google G1 inbox - Where I collect my thoughts, ideas, appointments, (everything)
      Bookmarks inbox - Where I collect any researched significant websites/blogs, whatever

      SimpleGTD - Where I process and organise my captured items that are actionable (single actinos and projects). Also S/M's and waiting fors.
      Physical reference system - Where Process and organise my captured items that are non-actionable.
      Google calendar - Where I Process and organise anyhting that is future action-based into my tickler system. Also have 'theme days' and areas of focus.
      Google Docs - Where I learn stuff I need to learn (such as projects that I've no idea where to start, similar to your Evernote tool) also my bookmarks often get processed and organised here.
      Google mail - Don’t really get much traffic here these days, most get deleted. Use for storing all my contact details though.

      I do a full-review every fortnight (sometimes once a week if things are busy or I'm fulling off the wagon)
      I do a mini-review everyday where I basically empty my inboxes, process and organise.

      Each night, just after my mini-review, I go through my next actions (in SimpleGTD) and pluck the actions I want to get done the next day and write them down via pocket-mod. But might start using my phone in place off pocket-mod, dunno yet.

      Thats basically it.


      • #4
        1. Capture

        in order of use:

        Email: in addition to normal email, I ask people to email me reminder all the time. If they don't do it, tough, but mostly they do. I also forward email to Toodledo fairly often.
        Paper: nothing special
        Inbox: at home, fairly low volume
        Jott: occasional use from iPhone

        2. Process/Organize

        MobileMe: electronic files are replicated at home and work
        Evernote: action support. Easy links back to email and web.
        iCal: could use gcal instead
        Toodledo: project and next action lists
        Some paper folders, but not much now.
        Davidco folders used between home and work, and for travel
        I outline a lot and mindmap occasionally

        3. Review/Do

        Driven by calendar and lists

        A typical chain for a routine item:
        email -> Evernote -> Toodledo in one session

        A bigger project:
        Project starts in Toodledo
        Action support in Evernote
        Files on iDisk (MobileMe)


        • #5
          GTD Tool Chain

          I am only doing this to really 'see' what I am using for tools. Never done this before.

          InBoxes: @Home, @Work, In Outlook @Home & @Work & GMail as Uncategorized Next Actions & Emails, Voicemails @Work, @Home, @Cell Phone, @Mailbox, @PO Box, @Work Mail box, In Conversation with anyone, In Note Taker Wallet, @Cell Phone Recorder, On TV & Radio & Internet & In Thought for all ideas, insights and solutions. Heck, just look at the new GTD Workflow Map!

          Process & Organize: Palm Tungsten E2 to keep it all toghether In Outlook & GTD Coordinator, through Hot Sync & Sync toy to keep Work, Home & Notebook Computer in Sync. Davidco Tickler Files @Work & Manila 43 Folders @Home. Reference file cabinets @Home @Recreational Vehicle @Work & In Truck where ever it lands! Books @Home @Work.

          Other tools that help & hinder: David Allen's Books & Posters & PDF's. Microsoft One Note & Windows 7 Gadget Sticky Notes, Paper sticky notes, old Covey books, Zen to done book, every new Todo Application that gets my attention long enough to prevent me from Getting Things Done.

          DO: Not an accurate percentage but: Unplanned Work 50%, Pre-defined work that actually gets done on time 10%, Defined but not finished work 40%.

          REVIEW: My greatest liability to date. Usually attempted and reminded by demands.

          My overall impression is that I still haven't narrowed down the set of tools that I am comfortable with and because of that I am not sticking with GTD. However, this latest endeavor seems to be working better than ever. So I must attribute this to my reading of 'Making It All Work', taking good notes & reviewing & meditating on the latest Workflow Map.

          That's it for now...