Vie de bâton de chaise [fr]

[en] If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I have top-priority conflicts these days (well, have been having them for a couple of weeks, and it's not going to get better, not with all the mad travelling all over the place -- but I'm happy about the travelling, so I won't complain too much).

A bit like Suw, I feel the need to reclaim blogging as a priority. So watch this space -- and in the meantime, if I'm silent, enjoy the cute kitty photos.

Mon pauvre blog… bien délaissé ces temps. En fait j’ai des tonnes de choses à écrire — je ne mens pas, ma liste “blogme” dans [iGTD](http://bargiel.home.pl/iGTD/) ne cesse de s’allonger, et j’ai même la tête qui menace de péter avec tout ce que je n’ai pas le temps de coucher sur clavier. Des tonnes à écrire, des autres tonnes de choses à faire, d’endroits où aller, de [voyages](http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=5844p36ob825j95ijode3ihm54%40group.calendar.google.com) (malheureusement à mes frais pour la plupart), de gens à voir, d'[appartements à organiser](http://steph.wordpress.com/2007/04/01/the-last-shelf/), de rendez-vous divers et variés y compris avec une très sympathique journaliste — jetez un oeil à 24heures ou la Tribune de Genève de demain et aussi [online](http://www.lesquotidiennes.ch) (j’avoue me réjouir beaucoup de la parution de ce portrait, qui combine une version courte papier, une version plus longue en ligne, un photo quelque part, des liens, et même un extrait vidéo).

Donc, juste là, depuis quelques semaines, je cours après ma vie et j’ai un peu de peine à la rattraper. Oh, je vais bien — très bien, même. Mais bloguer a tendance à ne jamais se retrouver assez haut sur la liste des priorités pour que je le fasse (c’est le problème aussi avec [le fameux livre](http://climbtothestars.org/categories/livre/), mon matériel d’enseignante à débarrasser, les catégories de ce blog à refaire, bref, vous voyez. Priorité numéro 1: ce qui paie directement le loyer et les croquettes de [Bagha](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/tags/bagha).

Ce n’est pas pour dire que je ne blogue plus, hein. D’ailleurs là, je suis en train d’organiser mes “choses à faire” pour les semaines à venir, et je peux vous dire que j’ai la ferme intention d’être bien présente ici (pas sûre en quelle langue, par contre) comme [mon amie Suw](http://chocnvodka.blogware.com/) qui est un peu dans la même situation que moi, et qui a décidé de [bloguer chaque jour durant une semaine](http://chocnvodka.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2007/4/26/2907465.html) histoire de réorganiser un peu ses priorités.

C’est aussi un peu pour ça que j’écris ce billet. Pour écrire, il faut commencer par écrire.

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Getting Things Done: It's Just About Stress [en]

[fr] Getting Things Done: non pas un moyen d'accomplir plus de choses, mais un moyen de passer moins de temps sur ce qu'on a décidé qu'on devait accomplir. Moins de stress. Plus de liberté. Plus de temps à soi.

Anne seems to have struck a chord with [thing #8 she hates about web 2.0](http://annezelenka.com/2007/03/ten-things-i-hate-about-you-web-20):

> Getting Things Done. The productivity virus so many of us have been infected with in 2006 and 2007. Let’s move on. Getting lots of stuff done is not the way to achieve something important. You could be so busy planning next actions that you miss out on what your real contribution should be.

[Stowe](http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2007/03/anne_zelenka_on_1.html), [Shelley](http://burningbird.net/linkers/linkers/) and [Ken](http://ipadventures.com/?p=1653) approve.

It’s funny, but reading their posts makes GTD sound like “a way to do an even more insane number of things.”

Huh?

That’s not at all the impression I got when I read and started using GTD. To me, GTD is “a solution to finally be able to enjoy free time without feeling bogged down by a constant feeling of guilt over everything I should already have done.”

Maybe not everyone has issues doing things. If you don’t have trouble getting stuff out of the way, then throw GTD out of the window and continue enjoying life. You don’t need it.

But for many people, procrastination, administrivia piling up, not-enough-time-for-stuff-I-enjoy-doing and commitments you know you’re not going to be able to honour are a reality, and a reality that is a source of stress. I, for one, can totally relate to:

> Most people have been in some version of this mental stress state so consistently, for so long, that they don’t even know they’re in it. Like gravity, it’s ever-present–so much so that those who experience it usually aren’t even aware of the pressure. The only time most of them will realize how much tension they’ve been under is when they get rid of it and notice how different it feels.

David Allen, Getting Things Done

GTD, as I understand it, isn’t about cramming more on your plate. It’s about freeing yourself of what’s already on it, doing the dishes straight after the meal and spending your whole afternoon walking by the lake with a friend without this nagging feeling that you should rather be at home dealing with the paperwork, but you just don’t want to face it.

Here are the very few sentences of “Welcome to *Getting Things Done*”, the forward to GTD (and yeah, there’s a bit of an upbeat, magical-recipe tone to it, but bear with me):

> Welcome to a gold mine of insights into strategies for how to have more energy, be more relaxed, and get a lot more accomplished with much less effort. If you’re like me, you like getting things done and doing them well, and yet you also want to savor life in ways that seem increasingly elusive if not downright impossible if you’re working too hard.

David Allen, Getting Things Done

And a bit further down the page:

> And *whatever* you’re doing, you’d probably like to be more relaxed, confident that whatever you’re doing at the moment is just what you need to be doing–that having a beer with your staff after hours, gazing at your sleeping child in his or her crib at midnight, answering the e-mail in front of you, or spending a few informal minutes with the potential new client after the meeting is exactly what you *ought* to be doing, as you’re doing it.

David Allen, Getting Things Done

I don’t hear anything in there about “doing more things is better” or “you should be doing things all the time”. The whole point of GTD is to get **rid** of stuff so that it’s done and you can then go off to follow your heart’s desire. It’s about deciding not to do stuff way before you reach the point where it’s been on your to-do list stressing you for six months, and you finally decide to write that e-mail and say “sorry, can’t”.

That frees your mind and your calendar for what is really important in your life (be it twittering your long-distance friends, taking photographs of cats, spending time with people you love or working on your change-the-world project).

You’ll notice that I didn’t use the word “productivity” in this post a single time. “Productivity” is a word businesses like. If people are “productive”, it means you get to squeeze more out of them for the same price. That isn’t an idea I like. But being “productive” can also simply be understood to mean that it takes you less time to do the things that you’ve decided you needed to do. In that way, yes, GTD is a productivity method. But I think that calling it that does it disservice, because people hear “squeezing more out of ya for the same $$$” and go “eek, more stress”.

Bottom line? (I like ending posts with bottom lines.) If you see GTD as something that takes away your freedom and free time, turns you into an even worse workaholic, and encourages you to become indiscriminate about interests you pursue and tasks you take on because you “can do everything”, think again — and re-read the book. If you spend your whole time fiddling with your GTD system, shopping around for another cool app to keep your next action lists in, and worrying about how to make it even more efficient, you’re missing the point. But you knew that already, didn’t you?

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The Podcast With No Name (Steph+Suw), Episode 2 [en]

[fr] Nouvel épisode du podcast conversationnel que je fais avec mon amie Suw Charman.

Long, long overdue, here is Steph and [Suw](http://chocnvodka.blogware.com/blog/)’s Podcast With No Name, episode 2, February 15th, 2007. Some rough shownotes, with some links. Hope you enjoy it, and let us know what you think. We’re down to 35 minutes! *Show notes might suffer updates…*

* conferences: [LIFT’07](http://www.liftconference.com/blog/) and [Freedom of Expression](http://www.freedomofexpression.org.uk/workshops/47)
* not everybody has the internet (God, I need to stop laughing so loud when we’re recording)
* mobile phones in other cultures (e.g. Nigeria)
* “technology overload” at LIFT’07 [turned into “internet addiction”](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/09/technological-overload-panel/) (interesting [Stefana Broadbent](http://www.liftconference.com/2006/doku.php/people:speakers:stefana_broadbent)
* note-taking on a computer: expected in some contexts, but feels really out-of-place in others (cultural issue)
* do we end up publishing our handwritten notes? trade-offs: handwritten and rewriting vs. direct blogging ([Steph’s crappy workshop notes](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/07/martin-roell-getting-started-in-consulting-lift07/))
* scanning vs. [photographing written material](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/94971868/), document management and shredding
* GTD status update ([inbox zero](http://www.43folders.com/izero/)…)
* [FOWA](http://www.futureofwebapps.com/) coming up and other fun London stuff
* Wedding 2.0 will be blogged on [CnV](http://chocnvodka.blogware.com/blog/), but will there be a webcast?
* technology as a way to stretch our [Dunbar number](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar’s_number), wedding 2.0 with IRC backchannel and crackberries galore
* the [Wedding Industrial Complex](http://trailkev.wordpress.com/2007/02/10/the-wedding-industrial-complex/), trying to find an affordable venue in Dorset
* IRC or SL would be cheaper, but is SL a registered venue?
* physical words for “virtual” places
* gap between us heavy users, and people who get a few e-mails a day, book holidays online and that’s it
* exploring how new tools could help us — most people aren’t curious about new stuff
* winning over new users: finding holes in people’s processes
* [Facebook](http://facebook.com) is really cool, very usable, and for keeping in touch with people you know (has smart walls and smart feeds)
* who’s on Facebook? on the non-desire to join new social networks…
* [LinkedIn](http://www.linkedin.com/) for business
* Facebook as a mashup to keep up with what your friends are upto — but isn’t that what blogs are for?
* outlet overload, tools need to talk to each other ([holes in buckets](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/13/please-make-holes-in-my-buckets/)), profile multiplication, Facebook share bookmarklet to “push” stuff
* clumsy wrap-up and episode three when we manage!

Did you miss [episode 1](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/01/23/stephsuw-podcast-first/)?

**Note:** PodPress seems to have collapsed, so here is a [direct link to the 14Mb mp3 file](http://climbtothestars.org/files/20070215-steph-suw-2.mp3) just in case.

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Productivity Thought of the Day [en]

[fr] Les post-its marient la puissance du couper-coller à la portabilité du papier.

[Post-It notes](http://ideamatt.blogspot.com/2006/01/on-using-post-it-notes-for-gtd.html) bring to you the power of cut-and-paste and the [portability of paper](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2002/01/13/books/).

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Monthly/Weekly Calendar Improved [en]

[fr] Une amélioration du planning que je me suis fabriqué. Les semaines sont verticales (plus logique vu que le temps file verticalement durant un jour). Il y a une version française en PDF.

Screenshot of calendar days. I barely started using [the calendar I created for myself](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/08/16/weeklymonthly-planner/) that I’ve already made some major interface changes: most significant being that I’ve shifted the weeks from horizontal to vertical view. You still get four months on a single sheet of paper, but you have to hold it the other way.

The reason for this is that time inside a day flows vertically (morning things at the top of the day box, evening things at the bottom). It makes more sense for me to have the next morning straight below the current day’s evening. This means I lose an “at a glance” view of “all my mornings this week” or “all my evenings this week” — but I’m glad to sacrifice that for some temporal continuity, and an easier view of “my next Tuesday afternoons”.

I’ve also revised the six little lines used to fill up the days: two large ones for a.m. and p.m. (marked as such), one fine one for lunch and supper, and another not-so-thick one for evening. On my version of the calendar, I’ve also pre-filled regular weekly commitments (judo, singing, etc). The screenshot shows you what it looks like.

Here is [the new version of this calendar](/files/monthly-weekly-vertical-en.pdf) ([version française](/files/monthly-weekly-vertical-fr.pdf)). If you want to edit stuff, get the [Open Office 2 version](/files/monthly-weekly-planner-vertical.ods).

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Bridging the gap between me and orthodox GTD [en]

[fr] Je note ici quelques divergences entre le système d'organisation que j'ai mis en place et ce que recommande directement le livre "Getting Things Done" (comme il ne semble pas qu'il existe en français, j'en parlerai -- peut-être de vive voix -- plus longuement à l'occasion).

(Whatever “orthodox” GTD is, to start with.)

I started to try to [hack together some implementation of GTD](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/08/02/if-you-missed-hearing-my-voice/) based on what I had read at [43folders](http://43folders.com), and, I have to say, I didn’t do too badly. I’ve now received The Book and am starting to read it. Of course, there were some missing elements I’m now understanding, and I’m preparing to set aside enough time to start implementing a good system for myself. Roughly 2 days work to gather and process all the “open loops” in my life — most people I talk to tell me they would have expected more time was required, but I still think it’s a lot of time when I look at my overbooked calendar. Still, I’m really looking forward to doing it, and I already know it will be worth it.

For the moment, I’ve noted the my filing system isn’t really DA’s-GTD-compatible: I use 26 hanging folders, and stick translucid folders (labeled! I got that bit right! love using my labeler, in fact!) under the right letter. But I’m already noticing that letter C is bulging (don’t ask me, but clients as well as administrivia tend to collect under the letter C). I’m not going to get a hanging folder for each file (way too expensive), and even the cardboard (manila-type) folders we can get here don’t really come cheap. The transparent plastic ones are really nice, but I’m not sure they’d stand up on their own.

In addition to that, the box I’m storing them is a bit deep, and I had to line the bottom with the lid of another box to have the daily folders of my tickler file stand upright at the right place. I’m not quite sure which solution I’ll come up with. How much do manila folders (A4 size) cost, and can I order them online without the shipping fees killing me?

Another huge gap I’ve noted is that I store the tickler and A-Z reference in the same box. That’s not going to be enough space for very long, so I’ll have to go and buy other boxes to store on/under the desk.

Also, I’ve been noting “action items” on small index cards (A8), and DA suggests using a whole sheet of paper per item. I’m looking forward to reading through chapter 7 to understand where that comes in handy. I’m also looking forward to figuring out good lists to use, and of course, going through the initial collecting phase (though I’m a bit frightened I might end up putting my whole flat in the inbox).

Will keep you posted.

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If You Missed Hearing My Voice… [en]

[fr] Quelques mots au sujet de la différence entre contenu audio et textuel, de ma tentative de m'organiser à la GTD, et mes aventures avec Apple.

Here’s [another pretty crappy audio post](http://climbtothestars.org/files/2006-08-02-stephanie-booth-podcast.mp3) [5min49]. I promise I’ll try to get better at this content-wise.

Today’s related links:

– [Podcasting and Beercasting Thoughts](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2005/03/23/podcasting-and-beercasting-thoughts/)
– [Suw](http://chocnvodka.blogware.com/) and [Kevin](http://talking-shop.org/)
– [43folders](http://43folders.com)
– [photos of my GTD stuff](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/tags/gtd)
– [The Apple Situation](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/07/26/dear-apple/)

Tickler File and A-Z reference

Stuff I’ll blab about next time:

– RSI update (podcasting++)
– chronic vs. acute pain
– Odeo and related stuff (audio comments?)
– things that are on my to-do list (like upload tons of photos to Flickr)
– … (anything you’d like to hear me speak about?)

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