It’s been a few weeks since I posted the first part of this series. I have tried and failed and am still working out the kinks of how this will work. I shared last time about how my mismanagement of my life was really just getting in the way of proper functioning. My desk was a mess and there were all these things, really important and good things, that needed to get done but weren’t. I wasn’t doing my reimbursements (and thus interest was accruing on my MasterCard), I wasn’t reading the project support letters my students were giving me (because they were put in one place that I kept forgetting to look), and I was just forgetting to do things I needed to do in general (because I had several different places I was writing things down, between my Moleskine agenda and my iPhone calendar and my google task list that I had slowly stopped updating).
So I needed a new system. BAD.
Thanks to LifeHacker I found a really easy explanation of the Getting Things Done system. I took control of the messy situation and searched Lifehacker for GTD tools. First, I found this great article that summarizes the GTD system for students. I found this pretty applicable for Campus Ministry for the most part, since our lifestyle is a lot like students in some ways. The way the article explained “contexts” was really helpful:
Contexts are an awesome way of organizing assignment to-dos. Instead of having one daunting list of homework, you separate each item by what materials you need to get it done. That way, when you’re trying do a little HW at your work-study job, you’re not trying to read books you don’t have with you or look up files that are on your desktop at the dorm. Your list of contexts can look however you like, but here’s a list of contexts that fit the student lifestyle (this is largely what mine looks like).
They suggested leaving those lists in the areas you work. A list on your desk of the things you need to do at your desk, a list on your iPhone/Blackberry of emails you can reply to on the metro or while waiting for someone etc. This was helpful for me to divide these things in my head and not just see one huge overwhelming list.
The second article I found really helpful was how to turn Gmail into the “Ultimate GTD Inbox“. This follows the method of filing emails based on how important they are, how much time it will require to reply, if you need more information or have to follow-it up. It uses Gmail Labs multiple inboxes and SuperStars functions. It’s a *bit* complicated to set up for some people, but totally worth it (for me, at least).
I realize that different systems work for different people. That’s been part of my problem is not fully understanding myself and what system would work the best for me. This is still a learning process for me, so I’d totally appreciate any suggestions you might have if you’re more learned in this area than me.
If you don’t think this system will work for you, check out this other article about the “Middle Way Method.”