GTD, Day 4

So far so good on the GTD ramp up. The last few evenings have actually been packed enough that I haven’t been processing that much of the retro in box. That distresses me a little, as I’m not going to get the Zenlike benefits of the empty in-box until I work off the backlog. Still, it has been good keeping me focused while out-and-about and not losing where I should be in the umpteen little things I need to be doing at all times. In a lot of ways, being busy with many different things lately is a good proof of concept for the system as a whole.

I figured out today that I need another sub-context for a specific case of my @HOME context – leaving for work. Not just with the new job bit over my entire adult life leaving the house for work is always a mess. I get halfway to the door and realize I never paid that bill or didn’t leave the key for the repair guy or something. I’m going to create a context called @MORNING that is the things that need to be done before I can leave the house. Having them collected and accessible as such, seperated out of my @HOME context should make it that much easier to make sure that I did all the little things and can focus on getting my weary ass to the job.

I continue to love the Hipster PAA. I ended up not bothering with the DIY Planner templates for anything but the cover. Even with that, I think I’m going to alter the Open Office template and change the term from “PDA” to “PAA” just to be didactic and technically correct. When (not if) this cardstock cover wears out, I think the next one I will laminate before I cut it and fold it. I live in South Carolina, and carrying a stack of cards with a card cover in your pocket in August means it will get moist. It’s not holding up too badly, but eventually it will give out, as will we all.

One side advantage that didn’t occur to me up front but that I found in practice is the ease of reconfigurability is very useful. When I get to work, I unclip it and shuffle my contexts so that @WORK is on top, @CALLS is second, @ERRANDS is third and so on. The things I can’t do from work go to the back of that section because I don’t need them primarily accessible at that time. When I get home, I reverse the process and sort them in a way that makes more sense for then. That’s something I wouldn’t get with the Moleskine. So, it’s not just a dumb sight gag (although it definitely is that) but a dog simple, nearly foolproof way to Get Things Done. As low-tech as it is, I find it kind of cyberpunk in “the street finds its own uses for things” sort of way.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

7 thoughts on “GTD, Day 4”

  1. Ken Nelson says:


    When did “PDA” morph to “PAA”? I’ve read posts, comments, listened to the Clambake, and am still in the dark.


  2. dave says:

    PAA = “Personal Analog Assistant”

  3. Ken Nelson says:

    Ahhh… comes the dawn.


  4. Mark Topham says:

    It’s been a long while since I’ve listened to your podcast, or checked out your blog. It just didn’t fit in my busy lifestyle; where I’m busy not accomplishing anything because I’m too busy worrying about what I’m not doing.

    Seriously, I saw reference the other day to “Getting things done” and thought I would check it out when I had a chance. By happenstance I checked out your most recent podcast where you made reference to it as well. Ever get the idea life is a conspiracy, sometimes in your favor.

    I’m going to try using an Outliner at first, before I go the analog route. I figure I can store a couple of Outlines on .Mac account and synch them between my computers. With any luck it might actually work. (There are too many stacks of paper in my life…)

    Doesn’t solve my issues at work though, at-least not directly. But, I’m more organized at work than in my personal life. It helps that when I travel to a client site I find it far easier to get into the right frame of mind, and I typically spend months at a client location. Things you would do at your own desk are things you don’t even consider doing at a client site.

    Things just fall apart the moment I get home.

    So, I went so far as to pickup a copy of the book, as well as pay some bills I had let pile up.
    So I’ll be checking in on your progress.

  5. dave says:


    Thanks for the note. No apologies – my life is like that too and I am having to drop things too. I find that making very quick notes in my “inbox” portion of the hipster works well. I’m not processing them then, filing or anything like that. I’ll do all that at home on my own time, but at least I’ve got it captured and the “loop closed” which is my understanding of the value of the whole thing. Once I never worry that I’ve dropped the ball, things get better.

  6. Steve Holden says:

    Getting things captured is really the golden nugget for me at GTD. I have it, I might not get to it, but I haven’t lost it or missed it. – Steve

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