Form and Function Within GTD and Productivity Systems

Well, this topic applies to many things, but these are my thoughts as they pertain to trying to find a system that works for me in the domain of GTD and productivity. I have tried many systems. None seem to have the “stickiness” factor I am looking for which will take me away from tinkering and onwards in the direction of doing.

I also have to recognize that sticking to ANYTHING is difficult for me. For example, I think the longest stretch of consistently working out with weights has been about four months. Three months is average. A cycle…with, um breaks in the middle.

Today, I find myself in a place, not so surprisingly, with a system that seems to be taking shape at the tail end of an endeavor. How many times do we get it “right” near the end?? It drives me bat-shyt-crazy, but at least I am often consistent.

This system has sort of taken shape with thoughts around form and function. I can finally say with confidence that certain aspects of a system MUST be present. I have not always been able to say that. No matter how many times I dig-on great Mac OS X apps, if I don’t have something handy-dandy in front of me while driving, for instance, things get missed. I need something ultraportable.

Now, not all of my software apps sync well with my ancient Palm Tungsten T. I don’t consistently (see, I knew it would come up again) use the damn Palm anyway. I find myself writing little notes down and taking them with me. These notes could be a combination of any context or project that needs to get done, but it’s sort of like the “this pretty much needs to happen today” list. Lots of folks are working with this approach now, it seems.

For now, the function of needing something small, simple, and ultraportable in front of me is a given. What specific form does it take?

I suppose I am still trying to figure it out, but maybe it doesn’t matter so much. I am going to tinker regardless. I am going to look online and talk to folks about the latest and greatest app or hack. This I know. With that in mind, some days may be paper, and some days may be from an app on my laptop, and if I can get my Palm to let me go back to the main finder screen, that device may resurface as well. (What I really want is the perfect phone. Suggestions?)

But I do not need to start looking at systems from scratch, and for me, that is a big deal. To have some “object permanence” in the basic functions I need is half the battle. The form, is, well, just the form.

When broke-grad-student-with-family transitions into income-generating-person-who-is-not-freaking-out-about-still-being-in-school (alas, still broke for a while), I might have more access to forms (read: TOYS) I love to play with. That will be cool.