Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

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Sunday, September 12, 2004

Fwd: Revelation: GTD applies to objects, not just actions (just switch temporal and spatial concepts)

Michael - Thought you might be interested in this, as you are big on
GTD. I have found that GTD can be made to apply to objects, not just
actions -- the trick is to swap the time-based concepts with
space-based ones. The implication of this is that from GTD we can
trivially derive a methodology for keeping homes and offices
clutter-free. In other words, the same logic that tells us how to Get
Things Done also tells us how to Put Things Away.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jonathan Aquino
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 2004 02:19:44 -0700
Subject: Revelation: GTD applies to objects, not just actions (just
switch temporal and spatial concepts)

David -- Now that you've written Getting Things Done (GTD) which dealt
with actions, I was wishing you had also written a book called Putting
Things Away (PTA) dealing with objects. In other words, GTD helped me
to clean up my inbox; now I needed a book to help me clean up my room!
Not willing to wait, I have discovered that the GTD concepts can apply
to objects, not just actions. You just need to swap the time-based
notions with space-based notions:

In GTD, Actions are grouped in two ways: in Projects, and in
Checklists. A Project is a set of semantically related Actions. A
Checklist is a set of spatially related Actions.

So by analogy, in PTA, Objects would also be grouped in two ways: in
Toolkits, and in Bags. A Toolkit is a set of semantically related
Objects. A Bag is a set of temporally related Objects. So for example,
a Toolkit might consist of your printer, extra paper, and ink
cartridges. A Bag might consist of empty ink cartridges, $20, and your
driver's license.

PTA works as follows:

1. Collect all the stuff into a big pile.

2. Process each object from left to right:

What is it? Does it get used? If No: trash it or put it in your
Someday/Maybe box.

If Yes:

2.1 Drop it. Object heavier than 10 kg? Put it down now!
2.2 Give it. Is your area really the best place for this? No? Give it
to someone; meanwhile, stick it in your Waiting For box.
2.3 Store it. To be put in a specific place (a Toolkit), or simply as
convenient a place as possible (a Bag).

This is kind of neat -- from GTD we derive that the ideal room is
structured according to Toolkits and Bags. Note that this does not
necessarily mean metal toolkits and plastic bags -- the actual
implementation varies with the person. It's the concepts that count.

I'm sure the analogy can be carried further -- it's quite a mental
exercise to translate GTD concepts into the corresponding PTA
concepts. David, please write this book!!


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