Life-hacking

steve_oOctober 16, 2005

Today's New York Times ("dead-tree" Magazine and online [registration required]) has an article on "lifehackers" -- people who investigate ways to organize our chaotic lives, most frequently centered around technology. The article is six "pages" long (on-line) but is worth finding the time to read. I think it does an excellent job of quantifying the energy we expend in our lives.

I've been spending a lot of time on a site mentioned in the article, called 43 Folders. Tons of good ideas on how to organize one's life -- and many of them call for no technology whatsoever. Also worth some time. I found I spent far more time on that site than I initially intended, but I like the fresh approach to organization and it works for me in a way the Flylady system never did. Recommended.

Here is a link that might be useful: 43 Folders

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quiltglo

Steve, I couldn't find the article, but I did go to the 43 folders link.

I don't get it.

Gloria

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 1:54PM
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talley_sue_nyc

It's a discussion forum and other sorts of resources dedicated to helping people organize the electronics & computer stuff in their life. It's Macintosh centric, FYI. Though some of the techniques might work for anybody (just not the software suggestions)

The first page is just a series of threads.

If you scroll down, way down, you start to get to the explanatory stuff.

like this;
http://www.43folders.com/about/

Here is a link that might be useful: 43folders / about

    Bookmark   October 17, 2005 at 2:03PM
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steve_o

Ooops. Sorry that wasn't more clear.

One of the sections of the 43F Web site I found most applicable to this forum was Discardia, actually a link to another site at which a woman discusses an irregular holiday she's created, called Discardia, which is celebrated by lightening one's load of stuff.

There's also a segment on Home Life; today it features tips on cleaning off the bed (sounds like Flylady's "keep a shiny sink"), a review of an entire book on how to do laundry, and a reference to a similar book on "Home Comforts." It's interesting to see guys get completely gassed about several hundred pages on how to do laundry.

The site does tend to be geared to the "WIRED" set, but there is a good chunk of material that has nothing to do with computers or much to do with technology at all.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2005 at 9:06AM
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esga

I've joined the 43Folders group at Google groups - I came across it through a link Gloria posted on another thread.

http://groups.google.com/group/43Folders?msg=subscribe

I am not only facing challenges in my home and office organizing, but at work am part of a team trying to get a knowledge management system going. I am the person on the team most concerned (and knowledgeable) about information overload, organizing for re-access, and a neglected core problem, attention management. I found the 43 folders group intriguing. Has anyone looked at Getting Things Done, the book that has inspired a lot of this 43 Folders stuff? It is said to go beyond time management and physical organization to making your life more pleasant by getting rid of physical or mental "stuff" that doesn't belong where it is. Hmm.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 2:14PM
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steve_o

I've been looking at GTD but running into the old joke about "not finding the time to take that class on time management." In fairness, I have not read the book. I decided to first poke around GTD Web sites, like 43 Folders and davidco.com (David Allen's site), and the Yahoo GTD Groups. There's a fair amount of hype around GTD right now. I've been in the workforce long enough to see many highly-hyped management methods come and go. So I wanted to see what it's about and see what reservations people have about it before jumping into the pool.

That said, what I see of GTD is that it requires a fair amount of rigor -- I mean, beyond the discipline to actually do things. There are relatively stringent requirements on how one collects to-dos, when one "just does it" and when one just collects the information for processing later, how to conduct Weekly Reviews -- and a lot of discussion about how much time you spend planning and how much time you spend "doing."

I notice in my own job that how I must work can change very quickly. I have seen two days worth of work vanish in the space of half an hour. The notion of coming in on a given morning with a plan to finish a particular project is almost humorous. I'm not sure predefined plans at a "exactly what do I do next?" level will succeed without frequent re-dos rather than just using "navigation made good." I also see a number of GTDers -- ooh, something shiny! -- become so enamored of the hardware (the tools used to implement the system [planner, computer software]) that actually "getting things done" takes a back seat to endless tweaking and testing.

Despite all that, I've decided to try GTD. It can't hurt and what I've seen so far indicates that, occasional work reversals aside, it could work for me. I'm already committed to putting everything into one system (my Palm PDA; I tell people "if it's not in there, I didn't do it -- and I won't.") Most of what I see of the system makes sense. So it's worth the trial to me.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 11:06AM
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esga

Steve, I'm grateful for your GTD summary because you've looked into it more than I have. Someone wrote an interesting post in the 43 folders forum on why GTD isn't best thought of as a productivity tool but as a life enhancer. It could be a little like an organizing idea I came across in, I think, the book "Messie No More." She said that the idea of an organized/functional house isn't inspiring, but the idea of a beautiful house is. I have definitely found that true for myself and that's the focus I try to keep. Yes, it has to work for me, and it won't be beautiful unless it is also functional. But the higher goal for me is having a warm, beautiful home where I enjoy welcoming other people. From something I read (maybe an Amazon.com review), I got the idea that GTD might not just be about structure but about freeing yourself from mental and physical "stuff" - and goodness knows I need that. I have little interest in attending time management training (I know that's all run by the "file" people!) but I might attend this.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 11:55AM
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