About six months ago, I came to a great conclusion. That conclusion was, my organizational skills suck, and not being properly organized was hurting my productivity in a big way. I’d slacked along for years, getting by, but now it was time to do something about it.
For consulting work, I’m now using Alex King’s Tasks software to manage work requests and system administration duties. In effect, I’m using it as a pseudo-trouble ticket system. This has made my clients much happier, as things don’t “fall through the cracks” anymore when I have a lot of little pending “to do” items. I’ve been drooling over using Basecamp, but it’s $24/month versus the one-time cost of $30 for Tasks.
In my personal life, a lot of my clutter at home was solved by (yeah, I know, its funny) moving. When I moved from Austin to Houston, I took a good long hard look at my posessions, and threw or gave away everything that I owned that wasn’t sentimental or used on a regular basis. Instead of moving into a new home and trying to make everything fit, we moved into a mostly-empty home and bought the furniture we needed and put the few things that aren’t in “active duty” in the closets. As a result, we have plenty of storage space for things, and no “packrat clutter” filling up the garage. I’ve had to resist the urge to bring more older hardware home, but I look at it and think “I really won’t use this for more than a week or two; therefore I don’t need it.”
When it comes to my career, I’m looking at a few methods to “get my shit together” at the office. Moving from Austin to Houston and then from one office to another in Houston over the past three months did a good job of cleaning out cruft from the contents of my office. I’m currently working my way through David Allen’s Getting Things Done, and implementing some of the methods he describes. Time will tell if I can stick to it and actually Get Things Done.
Tonight I went to Office Depot and picked up a small binder/notebook and some index cards; over the next week I’ll give the Hipster PDA a try. I’ve been using a Moleskine journal for notes during meetings for the past two months, but I had the “Large” version and it just seemed unwieldy and awkward to carry around. If the index card thing doesn’t work out, I might try picking up a 3-pack of the pocket notebooks, but damn, the Moleskine stuff is expensive (and the small versions not available at the local Borders bookstore).
One thing I’m lusting after is a Fisher Space Pen, but Office Depot doesn’t carry them.