Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for November 23 2015 – Fixing Leaks and Fighting with Sticks

In this episode, I play a song from Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys; I give a podcasting pro tip; I talk about how Mad at Dad has already become part of my routine; I give an update of how Secret Weapon GTD is working for me; I talk about Adam Romer and his presentation at Bar Camp CHS; unsubscribing from Merlin Mann; stick fighting for grownups.

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, November 23 2015

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You can subscribe to this podcast feed via RSS. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for November 16 2015 – N Sheets To The Wind

In this episode, I play a song by the Long Winters; I talk about oysters at Craftyfest and doing Mad at Dad; I am making another try at getting organized with The Secret Weapon flavor of GTD; maybe I was hasty talking about Diamond Dogs; my conversation with Jackie Kashian about Patreon vs selling shows; I close talking about BarCampCHS and my enjoyable experience there.

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, November 16 2015

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You can subscribe to this podcast feed via RSS. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for March 26, 2015 – Catalogs of My Failures

In this episode, I play a song from Steve Conte; I discuss the blast I had with the Beyond the Wall podcast; I ask for feedback about long shows and hangout times; I talk about my failures to get serious about organization; I discuss my efforts to stay out of the despair pit; I tell the story of how I lost access to Scott Sigler books I had paid for; I discuss how using Linux is like driving a British sports car.

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, March 26 2015

Links mentioned in this episode:

You can subscribe to this podcast feed via RSS. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for October 3, 2014 – Stacks and Heavyweights

In this episode, I talk about systemic failure in life; I talk about the POSSE system that I am using to post and receive activity from my blog to social networks and back; I discuss adding Piwik stats to my websites; I talk about migrating vs starting things fresh; I mention GTD, Evernote and The Secret Weapon method of using them together; I close with a discussion of Extreme Programming, Agile, and heavyweight processes.

Here is the direct MP3 download for the Evil Genius Chronicles podcast, October 3, 2014

Links mentioned in this episode:

You can subscribe to this podcast feed via RSS. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

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Hoarders and Procrastination

I watched the TV show “Hoarders” at the recommendation of people who thought I, ahem, shared some characteristics with these people and their pathological accumulation of useless crap. Ahem. I guess it all comes down to degrees.

Some time back I have identified the root cause of practically every problem I have as procrastination. This is why I found GTD such a compelling philosophy because it addressed the real problem I have. I have a huge buildup of emails in my inbox. This is mostly because of the ones that will take some time to address – not a huge amount of time , but some. I don’t do them now, and procrastinate. I have clutter because I am failing to make a choice in what to do with this thing. There is some future point at which value will be realized, but I’m not making the choices that will realized the value and instead just hold onto the crap by default.

There was a point in “Hoarders” where a clutter addict was confronted about a broken vacuum cleaner. “It only needs this one thing to be fixed up and sold at a yard sale.” The organizer pushed back with “What is your history in actually doing that?” The response, a reluctant “… well, I’ve never actually held a yard sale.” Check and mate. I have the same problem. I really want to address it and make the choice now. This might be a fall of purging. I hope so. I don’t want the city condemning my office.

Evil Genius Chronicles Podcast for November 27, 2008 – “Thankful For You”

Here is the direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for November 27, 2008. I play a song from Camper Van Beethoven; I discuss what I’m thankful for; I talk about the fragile first few minutes of a podcast and how you can lose me in them; I talk about trying and failing to get organized with GTD and how Google and Android phones work into this; I play a breaking story from the Onion Radio News; I talk about how Twitter could have failed to screw up the I Want Sandy acquisition if they thought about it for 3 minutes; I talk about comic books and how they make the nerd in me really happy; I play a Siderunners song and then put myself in the oven for 3 to 5 hours.

You can subscribe to this podcast feed via RSS. To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5. Bandwidth for this episode is provided by Cachefly.

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GTD For Me: Still Broken

This weekend at the conference or the pre-dinner someone asked me how I was doing with GTD. The sad truth is, not at all. My original attempt atrophied and failed, my reboot atrophied and failed and now I am in a state without any functioning part of it. Had I been working on the conference with a functioning GTD implementation, life would have been much easier for me. As it was, I was in a constant state of almost screwing things up. Things got done but more things would have gotten done better with less effort if I could have been better organized.

Here’s where the truth starts to hurt. I’ve tried things a couple different ways and the one thing all the failed attempts have in common is me. It’s not that I’m not capable of it because obviously I am. I failed to fully commit or stay disciplined or something.

What I wonder now is that despite bouncing off of a couple of attempts, I still believe in GTD as a system and I believe that it would make my life better if I had it working. Why do I believe in GTD in a way I never believed in the XP programming methodology? I bounced off of attempts at both, but the latter I derided because whenever implementations failed the response was always “You weren’t doing it right.” I didn’t like that mindset of non-falsifiability. There appeared to be no way to fail at XP without the proponents pinning the blame on you. Surely it can’t be universally perfect for everyone in all situations so there has to be some way of determining it isn’t right for you.

Is it possible that GTD isn’t for some people, or that it isn’t for me? Is something in my makeup or my character (or lack thereof) that keeps me from succeeding at this? Do I say I want it and think I want it and then subconsciously sabotage myself when I try? I have lived my whole life as a disorganized and messy packrat and maybe deep down I don’t really want to change that.

I don’t know that I have it in my to try that reboot in the next week. I’m just too exhausted and beat down and will be that way for at least the next week as both work is hard and home repairs happen – all this in the aftermath of CREATE South and the deep down tired it left. A good tired, but a tired nonetheless. Maybe I need to read the book one more time to get refilled with the holy fire and try it again. I’m not defeated, but my faith on this topic is wavering. I need to get a win under my belt.

EGC Clambake for January 13, 2008 – “Getting it Together For One More Year”

Here is the direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for January 13, 2008.

I play an uplifting song from Thacker Dairy Road; I talk about rebooting GTD and getting my projects rolling; I lay out why this show is the first one of the post-Bittorrent era; I talk about the endless podcasting advertising debate and why I think it is the wrong question; I play a song by the The Thermals and head off to get things done.

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To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5.

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Update: It isn’t the most auspicious debut for a new method of publishing to screw up the very first file you try, but that is what happened. Sorry for the confusion, those of you who got the previous show labeled as the new show. Those of you subscribed via a client that groks bittorrent may get the shows again as well. I’ll try not to overload it all at once.

GTD in Tatters

I haven’t wanted to blog about this because in a lot of ways, it is just downright embarrassing to have to say but it is the truth. Over a year after my first push into using GTD to get my life together, it is not together. It has all fallen apart, my GTD system is in shambles and I’m more or less back at square one. It might even be square zero.

I think I understand my weak point. I did not do the daily reviews and seldom the weekly reviews. Without that happening, I never really had the necessary confidence that my system was leakproof and that things that entered would get handled properly. Putting something in my inbox became a formalized procrastination, because nothing truly ever left it. I did and do carry around my hipster PDA, but now almost out of a weird habit. It’s kind of meaningless because I don’t really use it nowadays. If I were to look at the calendar card, almost certainly neither side of it reflects the current month. I would pull it out and verify, but there is only so much cheese I can eat at the moment.

My email inbox is back over 100 messages. My physical inbox is overrun with mail and weird bits of things. I feel as out of control as I ever have. The last week has been brutally busy from work, leaving me too busy to blog or do much of anything. However I’ve run across a number of topics that I would have blogged if I’d had more time or energy to do it. What were those? I don’t remember. This topic is one, but there have been at least a dozen. This is exactly the sort of thing that the GTD system is for, and I have a need for it and just haven’t been doing it.

I am not making promises to myself or anyone because I can’t predict what the next few days will hold, any more than I would have predicted the last few to be how they were. If it is possible, I’m going to reboot my system this weekend. I will take the time and reprocess my physical inbox to empty and my email inbox to zero. I will more formalize my review process. Daily reviews first thing in the morning just plain aren’t going to happen and if I build a plan around that, it will fail. I need to find a consistent 10 minutes in the evening to do this work and do it every single day. I believe in the system and I believe in me, and I’m willing to try again. If I gave up at everything for which my first attempt was a disaster, I would never do anything.

GTDGMail

The Rev. Dan Tripp sent me mail about this Mozilla plugin that will turn GMail into an engine for GTD. It’s called, appropriately enough, GTDGMail. It looks pretty cool, although I don’t think it will work for me. I made the decision that I wanted an offline solution but for those of you who are looking for something like this, have at it. Dan found it from this weblog, just to keep the chain of custody pure.

GTD, my Write-Only Database

I had the same reaction as Susan Kitchens did when I heard David Allen tell Merlin Mann that it takes two years to really get the GTD system internalized. At once I thought “Damn, that’s a long row to hoe” and also “Alright, perhaps my screwing up the first three months isn’t so devastating!”

I’m right at the three month mark. I’m remaining fairly decent about capturing incoming information and keeping it organized with my Hipster PDA. What I’m not doing are the reviews, not the daily or weekly with any regularity. That sort of screws the whole thing up when you don’t return to the review often enough to keep the plates spinning on the stick. I have to get discipline on that, but it’s just not happening. For it to become habitual, I’m going to have to impose zero tolerance on myself. The daily review probably needs to happen first thing in the morning, right after the coffee pot gets turned on. I should probably be doing course correction reviews at several points during the day, to verify I’m doing the things I have identified as what needs done. The weekly one should happen early Saturday or Sunday morning without exception, before I do anything else. Without the reviews whittling down the next actions and keeping the priorities in line with reality, the whole thing turns into a drag. That’s where I am now, teetering on that brink.

In all this, I’ve never wavered on the theoretical goodness of this system. I just keep failing myself at bringing the proper discipline to my implementation of the system. It’s kind of frustrating to continually fall short, but I’ll keep at it. The email inbox is staying pretty low, and I have my “Next Action” box of stuff to go through. I’m treating my starred items in Google Reader as my “Next Actions” for the RSS reader, and ideally I’ll be walking through both lists as part of the daily reviews and seeing what needs action (blogging, email response, external action) in the near future.

I want to finally get straight on this. I think I’m approaching that mythical point where it would just be easier to do it right than wrong.

My GTD Failings

We are now into my third month of GTD. To assess where I am at realistically, I would have to say that it has not been a complete failure, but neither has it been much of a success. My results are on the bubble at this point. I use my Hipster PDA and have been trying to effectively capture all my ephemeral inputs into it. I’ve got pretty decent set of next actions for the various contexts of my life, and I keep them up to date and even sometimes actually do them. I’ve gotten my email inbox – not quite to zero – but to spitting distance of zero. Those are the good points.

On the downside, I’m not effectively handling incoming paper inputs, like mail. I am not consistently doing the reviews. This is a huge failing. Part of how I got the inbox to the low double digits and on my good days the high single digits was by filing some of it in a “Next Action” folder. Because of my failure to do reviews though, this becomes the “Place to Put Emails To Get Them Out of My Face and Then Ultimately Ignore.” The biggest failure, the one that threatens to make this all useless, is that I have not achieved the zen state.

Last night as I was lying in bed trying to get to sleep, I was fretting about various things that need to be done before I leave for Orycon. If I’m in my bed fretting, then obviously I have not achieved faith in my own system and I don’t believe myself when I say things are not falling through the cracks. I sort of wish it hadn’t been the middle of the night, because that probably would have been a good time to do a “mind sweep” and capture all those things making me antsy.

I’m not giving up. I believe in this system, and even doing it half-assed has improved things somewhat. What I need is a disciplined time and place to do my reviews, daily and weekly. When I look at my “inbox” (which is really a shelf near my desk) I want it empty or with only a single item or three on it. I want to not be anxious about anything as related to whether I have dropped the ball. I want to not actually drop the ball, screw things up, miss deadlines and basically be a disorganized chaos source. I need to make that commitment, and execute on it consistently, every day and every week. I can feel it going wrong, and I need this train back on the track.

EGC Clambake For July 30, 2006

Here is the Bittorrent link and direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for July 30, 2006.

I wish my niece a happy birthday; I play a song by Ozma; I talk about getting myself organized with the GTD system and a Hipster PDA (PAA, really); I play a song from an Amy Ray solo album; really, that’s it, not much on the agenda today.

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To sponsor the show, contact BackBeat Media. Don’t forget, you can fly your EGC flag by buying the stuff package. This show as a whole is Creative Commons licensed Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5.

Links mentioned in this episode:

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