Organization in a MetaData World (Part 1)


Jim’s finally found a home for his kind of organization

I am a swine. I can say this because my mother regularly told me I was “living in a pig sty.” I have struggled to reform myself. Dayrunner (in the bottom of a dusty box). Elaborate Note-Taking Systems (codes never seemed intuitive enough to stick). A Handspring (I think I left it in a library–we never met again). My biggest victory in my (I kid you not) 15-year quest to feel some sense of organization in my life is a Moleskin. A year ago I forced myself to start carrying one everwhere. It has been a blessing.

When I came across a post about hacking a moleskin, I was intrigued. This was my ingress into Getting Things Done (GTD), an organization system created by David Allen. I followed the rabbit and discovered KinklessGTD and The HipsterPDA. Kinkless is intriguing, but that fact that I don’t carry a PDA around would mean trying to compensate with my phone or other awkward hacks. Having already established my moleskin routine, the hipster seemed the more logical choice. I considered DIY Planner’s 3.0 Edition as a mod, but there were so many cards that didn’t fit my life as teacher, technophile, and truthseeker. I became frustrated and did what we all do in our darkest hour: I turned to Google. That’s when I found the MetaFilter entry on Macs and GTD.

If you use a Mac and are looking for practical applications of GTD, MetaFilter is the place to look. The suggestions are varied and creative. I ended up finding VoodooPad, a desktop wiki with a natural system for organizing your thoughts in a chaotic world of loosly connected moments.
The key for me is the wiki’s ability to link my thoughts on a multi-leveled canvas. My minor projects can be contained within one wiki, while larger, more complex projects can have their own wiki and be linked to the main one.

I added a binder-clipped short-stack of note cards to the front of my moleskin. Each card is dated and divided: the top half for daily todos, the bottom half is my inbox. The moleskin remains my place for inspiration.

Honestly, it’s the most seamless transition into an organization system I have ever experienced. My productivity has increased, and I actually have time to write on a daily basis (which has been a stuggle). I have total control over how I organize my thoughts. My basic needs are fufilled without narrowly defined pages or another gadget in my pocket. It’s a good day in JimCoeLand.

With organization achieved, I’m turning my eye on efficiency. I have Quicksilver loaded on my computers, but I haven’t given it a fair shake. I’ll be back in Part 2 with my stumbles and successes.

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