The Perfect To-Do System Is Not Just Around the Corner

mcogilvie

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The article linked above makes a great point. Lately, I’ve been thinking about a related issue: the turnover in “systems” from people who want to sell you their systems. Sometimes this manifests as claims of new discoveries or technologies that will revolutionize time managemen: “Save four hours per day with our nuclear-powered day planner.” Sometimes it originates in everyone’s desire for simplification: “Our new method relies only on three colored rubber bands around your wrist.” In many cases, I think it reflects a genuine confusion: ”Today I have a much better method than yesterday’s method.” Buyer beware!
 

Gardener

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The article linked above makes a great point. Lately, I’ve been thinking about a related issue: the turnover in “systems” from people who want to sell you their systems. Sometimes this manifests as claims of new discoveries or technologies that will revolutionize time managemen: “Save four hours per day with our nuclear-powered day planner.” Sometimes it originates in everyone’s desire for simplification: “Our new method relies only on three colored rubber bands around your wrist.” In many cases, I think it reflects a genuine confusion: ”Today I have a much better method than yesterday’s method.” Buyer beware!

The systems that I find the most interesting are the ones that account for traits that are lacking in a minority of the population. While those systems won't become universal (well, unless they're also better overall) they can be infinitely better for that minority.

Example: Then usual advice for organizing a closet (or any cluttered space) is to start by emptying the whole thing out. But for a person likely to be interrupted--either because there are toddlers swarming the house, or because they're naturally distractible, or both--that leads to chaos.

One home management expert has a very different system, one that gives specific steps for organizing a space bite by bite, without ever being vulnerable to chaos-through-interruption.

That system may (or may not) be slower for the people who can stick with the task for several hours, but it may be the only system that works for the people who can't. And that makes it special.
 

Oogiem

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chaos-through-interruption
That so clearly describes the effect of the major library project I've been working on. We have over 350 linear feet of bookshelf space in our house and it was filled to overflowing with some books stacked 2 layers deep. The goal was to remove, sort and catalog all the books, clean and reconfigure the shelves so things are easier to find and there is no wasted empty space between shelves so sorted by size of book too. Then reshelve the books and finish the location and labeling of what books are where so we can find them easily. I started the end of January and I'm still not done. In the mean time thre are piles of books all over everywhere. Sorted into keep, give away or sell and unsure about and by category. The catalog is at 3000 books right now and I'm not done by a long shot. It's been chaos since I started.

If I'd been able to work on it to the exclusion of everything else it still would have been chaos but only for a month or 2. I'm at over 140 hours into the project now but at least I can see an end to it. So far I've removed about 20 linear feet of books and it looks like all will now fit a single layer deep.
 

TesTeq

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The goal was to remove, sort and catalog all the books, clean and reconfigure the shelves so things are easier to find and there is no wasted empty space between shelves so sorted by size of book too. Then reshelve the books and finish the location and labeling of what books are where so we can find them easily. I started the end of January and I'm still not done. In the mean time thre are piles of books all over everywhere. Sorted into keep, give away or sell and unsure about and by category. The catalog is at 3000 books right now and I'm not done by a long shot. It's been chaos since I started.
@Oogiem I'm stuck with my library. It is much smaller than yours, but I find it very difficult to categorize books. There are cross-topic books (eg. GTD4Teens - productivity, teen education). There are different sizes of books. And... there's an A-Z order according to the author's surname. I try to use Book Track app but any app is an additional step in comparison to just walking up to the shelf. There's no special "location" field in the Book Track app - one can use tags for this purpose. And unfortunately this app can't find Polish ISBNs online.
 

mcogilvie

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I'm stuck with my library. It is much smaller than yours, but I find it very difficult to categorize books. There are cross-topic books (eg. GTD4Teens - productivity, teen education). There are different sizes of books. And... there's an A-Z order according to the author's surname. I try to use Book Track app but any app is an additional step in comparison to just walking up to the shelf. There's no special "location" field in the Book Track app - one can use tags for this purpose. And unfortunately this app can't find Polish ISBNs online.
I hear you. I don’t think I have more books than Oogie, but it’s not for lack of trying. Through Darwinian selection, I have arrived at an organization scheme in space and time. My home office holds professional books, the family room holds humanities and arts, the living room holds some heirloom books, and the kitchen holds two shelves of cookbooks. The basement shelves hold science fiction, mysteries, travel, some overflow science books, as well as an elephant graveyard of productivity books. For example, I have “Time Power,” written by the guy who taught Hyrum Smith, the founder of what would become Franklin-Covey, how to use a Day Timer. Of course, I keep David Allen’s books by my bedside ;), along with other favorites and a ridiculous amount of guitar music.
 

Oogiem

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@Oogiem I'm stuck with my library. It is much smaller than yours, but I find it very difficult to categorize books. There are cross-topic books (eg. GTD4Teens - productivity, teen education). There are different sizes of books. And... there's an A-Z order according to the author's surname. I try to use Book Track app but any app is an additional step in comparison to just walking up to the shelf. There's no special "location" field in the Book Track app - one can use tags for this purpose. And unfortunately this app can't find Polish ISBNs online.
I'm using BookPedia as my book catalog program. Very powerful lots of options and working well.
 
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