Web 2.0

750 Words and GTD

Lauren Pressley wrote a little thank you to the 750 words site that got me thinking about how I use it (go check out her explanation of how she uses it and then come back – I’ll wait). During the summer, I was using it pretty regularly as I sat outside on my back deck in the evening, drinking a hard cider and futzing with my iPad (and killing little green pigs – the time I lost to that game…). It was a handy way for me to get a handle on my day – a way for me to reflect about what I’d done and what I had yet to do (kill more green pigs!). When the weather got colder and I didn’t spend so much time outside with just me and my iPad, I dropped the habit. Recently, though, I’ve been doing pretty much what Lauren has – firing the site up first thing and spending a few minutes writing about anything that comes to mind. What I’ve found is that it’s becoming a tool for me to use with my GTD system. I spend a good deal of my writing time, since it is first thing in the morning, considering what I have to do over the course of the day. Sometimes I hash things out in my head about what research methods I’d use to figure out why my cron jobs crash at random times on my web server (my latest “research this issue” task item…), other times I use it to solidify my thoughts on an upcoming meeting. Occasionally, I use it as a prompt for library (or personal) blogging – coming up with ideas and, very minimally, working them out before I begin the process of actually writing the posts.
Mostly, though, it’s helped me focus on my to-do list (often I check my to-do list on my iPad as my computer is booting, so that’s pretty much the last thing I’ve read before the site appears on my computer). I work through what needs to be done and come up with action items that I might have missed when adding stuff to the list earlier – it’s sort of like a mini-review (of 10 minutes or so) every single morning. That is seriously helpful, folks!
I know that many people use the site to journal their days or to have a platform for coming up with story/article/novel ideas, but I’ve found that it’s actually more useful to me as a productivity tool! I can write, consider and reflect without worrying too much about editing and revising (see previous blog post on why that isn’t really a problem for me in this forum…).
Lauren’s post really made me consider how I use the 750 words service – I don’t think I’d have realized what a help it is to me in getting things done, both professionally and personally, without her post! In that vein, I hope that this either encourages some of you to try out the site to see what having a blank page, 10 to 15 minutes of reflection time and nothing in particular to write about will do for you or that it will make some of you think about how you already use the site and maybe tweak it a bit so that it works even better.

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