Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Power of One

In my quest for the best system for Getting Things Done and simplifying my life and work, I have been slammed by a Homer Simpson moment. Of just about anything I might use, I only need ONE! I only need ONE -- I only need ONE inbox; I only need ONE calendar; I only need ONE actions list; I only need ONE projects list; I only need ONE note pad; and I only need ONE system for organizing my "stuff". All else is clutter and confusion. I will make it a habit to identify and get rid of anything excess. I have been so into investigating and finding the right ONE and the best ONE, that I've been flitting between two, three, or MORE things at a time. What a pain. So, I am now establishing ONE of each of those things on paper and down selecting to ONE of each on line. I am also establishing a rule to only use ONE thing at a time. If a new ONE thing beckons, I will cease using the OLD ONE as I evaluate the NEW ONE. I will evaluate and learn to use each new ONE for at least 30 days before deciding whether to keep it (and make it THE ONE) or discard it (and go back to the OLD ONE), or to create a NEW hybrid using the best of the OLD ONE and the NEW ONE. Whatever I'm using, I will only need to remember to update ONE thing at any ONE time. I've already decided that my ONE paper calendar and daily record of events is the ONE contained in my small Day Timer. I still need to select ONE electronic calendar -- either OUTLOOK used where I work, or GCal, available from anywhere on the web. I'm not a fan of electronic to-do lists, so my ONE Actions List is a card in my Hipster, as is my ONE Projects List. This may change, but so far, it's not broken, so why fix it? So, no more Master/Slave lists. No more 8 1/2 x 11 inch lists and no more half-size yellow pad lists. Only ONE. I will make an exception to the ONE notepad rule. Although I will continue take most of my notes on index cards (Hipster), I will probably keep one or two white or yellow pads for doodling, noodling, and capturing stuff at hand on my desk. The ONE system for organizing my stuff is currently the GTD recommended single alphabetical file, although I may establish a time-based Noguchi system for current actions. Again, any exception to the rule of ONE is not to be taken lightly. So, there you have it. ONE thing to rule them all, ONE thing to find them. ONE thing to bring them all, And in the daylight bind them In the mind of the user, where wisdom lies! With sincere apologies to J. R. R. Tolkien.