June and July were insanely busy months working with my biggest client. I pulled some very long hours and got very behind on some email and feed reading tasks.

In an effort to relieve the self-imposed pressure of catching up, I now have a near-zero Inbox and have set most of my feeds to read. I’m sure I’ve missed some important news in the feeds, but the world hasn’t stopped spinning, so it can’t be that bad.

Hopefully, I get a chance now to keep up.

43 Folders GTD recap

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free ProductivityIf you are at all interested in the Getting Things Done program (not the right word, but the best I can do), you should check out Merlin’s recap of his best (against several, mostly objective measures) GTD posts from 2006.

I am about 50-50 on GTD; not fully bought in, but significantly better organised than I was before using the methods outlined in the book to get going.

If you’re not familiar with GTD, you should read the book.

Private: VirtueDesktops – sexier than your average desktop manager

VirtueDesktops and Parallels - sexy

While further exploring the idea of virtual desktops on OS X, as I wrote about the other day, I have come across VirtueDesktops. Based on the original DesktopManager codebase, VirtueDesktops brings teh sexxay to desktop management on OS X.

It seems to be very stable, and, as stated by the developer “under active development”, whereas Desktop Manager is seemingly a little stale. So active, in fact, that Tony is helping out the folks from Parallels with some of their desktop/VM switching code as well as improving his own app.

Download it and check it out!

Desktop Manager – an OS X cool tool

If, like me, you are a PowerBook owner who has either:

  • used a desktop with multiple monitors
  • used a *nix distro

you’ll be familiar with the concept of using multiple desktops, either physical or virtual In order to improve your productivity. In Linux/Unix of pretty much every flavor, this has been standard fare for just about forever. it’s also something I missed when I moved to OS X.

If you’d like that ability to use multiple desktops back, let me introduce Desktop Manager for OS X. It’s (oddly enough) a virtual desktop manager for OS X. It’s pretty powerful, with a swag of useful features. It has also become one of my critical apps, launched at startup.

Given recent publicity all over again about the productivity improvements of working with multiple screens, Desktop Manager provides an experience not too far removed from that.

You can also read an interesting and lengthy interview with Desktop Manager’s developer, Rich Wareham, at DrunkenBlog.

Getting Things Done – A functional self-organization methodology

If you’re anything like me, you have the tendency to be tragically disorganized; utterly unable to stay on top of the very many things in your personal and work life which demand your attention. Well, now I think I’m finally getting the better of this personal fault, and it’s all thanks to David Allen‘s personal productivity approach detailed in his book Getting Things Done : The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.

Getting Things Done : The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

At the heart of the system are a number of core concepts:

  • if all the “stuff” you’re required to deal with on a daily basis is banging around inside your head, the likelihood that you’ll end up overwhelmed by it is increasingly high;
  • getting that “stuff” out of your head as soon as it comes to you and into “projects” managed by whatever GTDized management system you choose (paper or electronic, or both)
  • everything you need to do having the concept of a “context” applied to it. A context defines what the next concrete “action” is that you need to take to push that project forward.

It’s all about knowing the next actual step to take, and it works! I’ve spent the first couple of days this week implementing GTD at work, and taking the first steps at home also. At work, I’ve gone from an extremely full and unactioned email inbox to a virtually empty one, accompanied by a less cluttered desk which is now far better organized. I know where everything is, and what I next need to do with it.
I’ve always been a bit cynical about these self-management systems, believing they were either New Age crap, or required such an intense level of personal overhead that they simply weren’t worth it. The past couple of days working with GTD has me convinced this is a system that works. I just need to stick with it.

There are a bunch of great GTD resources available on the Web (just Google “gtd”), but here are a few that might get you up and running:

Do yourself a favor and check it out.