How to Track Your Workmonster


[Charlie:] Getting more done while not killing myself is sort of the core story today.

Well, I've been getting half of that done: I definitely got more done this week. I'm not exactly feeling like I got more rest however. But let's talk about getting more done first.

I've been trying to adopt the Getting Things Done methods, and have found an adaptation that so far seems to work reasonably well. Call it Steno Pad GTD.

I started by doing the GTD brain dump into a steno pad. I have a bunch of them around, because the real secret of life is to have office supplies available at a moment's notice. This ends up being a series of bulleted notes, like:

  • Science column on cancer immunotherapy
  • Experiment with Cucumber and Capistrano
  • Science column on neurological effects of growing up bilingual
  • Order fountain pen cartridges
  • Order Schneider Xpress pens from Amazon. (They're great pens by the way)
  • Re-read the Google testing book

The first thing I did was start by writing all this ... stuff down. In the morning, when I write my morning pages, I keep the steno pad with me, and add things, because during the morning braindump is when I have a lot of ideas and to-dos come to mind. After the morning pages I go through the list and see what I have to do that day.

Now, some of them are just to-dos that will take little time, but some of them are ideas or projects. This morning I had an idea for a mystery -- I wrote it down on the first pad -- then kept going with the pages. (Notice that from the standpoint of doing morning pages you have to be a little careful with this; sometimes I write the idea directly in the pages and underline it to move it to the steno pad later.)