Sunday, June 14, 2009


This weekend I have listened to David Stiernholm's audio book, "Never eat the mango in one piece" ("Ät aldrig mangon hel" in Swedish"). I have learned four thumb rules:

  1. Have one, and only one (1) place for your stuff.
  2. Get an overview of the situation.
  3. Take "fragments", piece by piece, instead of trying to "eat the mango in one piece." What's the next step?
  4. Develop your system, build it for the next level, fine-tune it.

I am still struggling with the first rule. I have to set up the right buckets for my work-life. I have had a reference file system for some time, but I have to go through it and see what I need at the moment, what I could throw away, and what I should add to the box. I recently bought a tickler file system from Stiernholm Consulting. I will start using it during this month and have it fully implemented in the beginning of July as I wrote in an earlier post. I have to go through the in-basket and then start to use it in a proper way. I still have to go through my email inbox. I will get help by the GTD applications, GTDInbox and Gtdagenda. I will take time during midsummer to get everything in place.

After I have got all the pieces in place, it will be much easier to have a clear "helicopter view" and a total picture of my whole work-life. This will include all my different projects, keep the calendar up-to-date and start to get better in keeping tabs on what I have delegated to others and what's on my "waiting list"...

The real hard part is start to get used to break things up in smaller pieces. One helpful tool is to always have the "control of the situation" card handy. You could describe it as a designated "record / index card" / portable to-do-list.

Maybe you are asking: How should you get started?

David Stiernholm gave the following tips during his intensive course in personal productivity:

  • Decide where you should store your to do tasks. [Editor's comment: "Checkmarked" First put things on the to-do cards and in the Livescribe "dot paper" note book / journal during my weekly reviews and meetings, and then transfer them to the Gtagenda program.]

  • Get a physical in-basket for your writing desk. [Editor's comment: "Checkmarked" I have one, "check". But I have to go through it and use it in a proper way...]

  • Create one (and only one) unambiguous reference system. [Editor's comment: "Checkmarked" I have one. Time to go through and update it.]

  • Get a tickler file system. [Editor's comment: "Checkmarked" I have got one. Time to set it up.]

  • Do a complete overview of your projects. [Editor's comment: I am thinking of using GoalEnforcer as a combined project mindmap / brainstorming tool.]

  • Put all your stuff in the in-basket and start processing... [Editor's comment: Let's go!]

In order to apply continuous improvement (Kaizen) of the system, I will do as I wrote in my post, START OF WEEKLY WORKFLOW REVIEW:

# Review of the weekly review end of the 2009. What has worked and what should be changed, added, etc.

# Annual review of the workflow structure and method as a part of my annual blog report in beginning of May 2010.

So, how was your week? Any productivity tips you want to share?