Monday, September 14, 2009


David Allen at CostcoImage by David Reber via Flickr

[Editor's note: I started to write a draft of this post on 08/02/09. It has taken a long time to "chew", process & clarify stuff. Due to the "organized chaos" I am going back and forth between the different steps of the workflow process. I am often trying to collect, process, organize, review and do things at the same time! I am feeling a bit more at ease now when I have finished reading David Allen's book, Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and Business of Life. The book has given me new fuel and energy to kick-off this ongoing journey of getting things done. Let's roll & pluck the day! Please feel free to join the conversation on GTD, productivity best practices, worklife, etc.! At the moment, I am especially interested to receive tips on podcast shows on this topic.]

I have been thinking of writing a longer post on my development of my worklife for some time. One big part of improving my productivity is clear the workspace and to set up the right "buckets". I have a picture clear on how to create a good workflow process, but I get overwhelmed now and then about all my old stuff that I have to go through. I have spent several days of my "vacation" to clean up things and I am starting to see the "light in the tunnel"...

I read Stephen Smith's post, The Evolution of a GTD Workspace, and that triggered me to write a comment on GTD Times. Stephen Smith then wrote the following tweet message @hdbbstephen on July 17:

So, here it goes...

This is picture of Morris the cat stretching out on the computer desk. The photo is taken in the beginning of 2009 (February). I had plenty of piles on the desk and in the in-basket.

Here is a more recent photo Morris (July 15).

I started to set up the tickler file that I bought from Stiernholm Consulting.

Starting to assemble the tickler file...

Ready to file stuff!

Filing an invoice to be paid on a specific date.

Tickler file
Tickler file

Getting Things Done
How to Get Started with Getting Things Done by Robert Landon.

Time to check different sections of my workspace.

Bulletin Board
My bulletin board. The toy crusader is from my childhood. He has misplaced his lance and horse, but he will continue his fight... Do you know where I could get a Betsy Ross flag pin?

Morris the cat. My bulletin board. on Twitpic
Picture of Morris the cat. 2009 overview calendar.

Bookshelf with books.

Books and reference material. on Twitpic
More books, course and reference material.

In-basket with file folders and to-do note cards by Stiernhol... on Twitpic
In-basket with file folders and to-do note cards by Stiernholm Consulting.

I start out the week on Monday morning by listening to David Stiernholm's podcast with "tips on how to create good structure and efficient work procedures for you and your organization." The weekly newsletter includes a PDF and an audio file (MP3).

I will start to take time at the end of the week with a review and a brainstorming session. I know that I have been procrastinating to get started due to all the old stuff that I have to get through before I could get ahead and continue forward. I have been looking for the new "ultimate" and cool gadget in order to motivate myself to dig into the piles of stuff. I have to go through a kind of mental "shock therapy," collecting all the old stuff and dump into the in-basket and then "force" myself to go through it, piece by piece. I have been spending some time this summer "setting up the right buckets" and going through "ancient archives" at the same time. I know that I will fall off the "wagon" now and then and it will probably take a year or two before I have integrated my personalized productivity habit so it becomes a natural part of my worklife.

Here is a list of things that I will be dealing with in the future:


  • Keep the computer desk in tidy fashion and give the in-basket a "VIP" position on it.

  • Start cleaning off the mahogany desk, including the in-basket. Should I have reference material here in the study room?

  • Go through the computer desktop on a regular basis. Keep files "fenced in". Look at the wallpaper and get inspired!

I recently purchased GoalEnforcer. I will use it as a combined project management / mindmapping / brainstorming tool. I will play around with this program during this autumn.

GTD template

Next action...

I will start to use and review GTDagenda sometime in the near future.

I have started to use GTDinbox, but I have to get back to scratch regarding the inbox again. I had >22,500 email messages at one time. I had to do dump them into an archive. I now have >6000 email messages in the inbox. I should visualize the stack of 6000 papers and get going... ;)

I will come to grip of the situation and acquire an insight of my workstyle. According to ACCO Brands Corporation's workstyle finder, I am classified as follows:

Expressive Work Style

You are a free spirit with a plan. You know what works for you, and you build your work life around your individual needs. You know where you're going, and you have a good idea of how to get there, but you're flexible -- you're not afraid to take a few side trips along the way. When a project is important to you, you are very organized and efficient and manage your time well. You recognize the equal importance of appearance and content, and you strive to balance the two in everything you do. You pick and choose what you are going to pay attention to, depending on what priority is at the top of your list on any given day. (, "workstyle finder survey results.")

I want to end this post with a photo of my new favorite productivity tool... Pico Pen!

[Editor's note to Christer Sjöback: Thank you very much giving me another pen!]

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