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Justin Jacoby Smith is an organizer, web geek, Buddhist, and poet.

a polaroid of stuff management

A few months ago elsewhere on the internet I laid out the nuts and bolts of my ~stuff management~.

I don't quite operate like this anymore--in large part I've switched from index cards to appending to Dropbox lists with Drafts--but the cards are still always at hand for note taking when the phone isn't practical.

They're good while recording a program for the internet, or while blue sky solutioneering at the computer monkey job.

Here's the bit from a while ago.


Using GTD's 'contexts' in my work life has proven pretty useless--if I was strict about it my whole day would be crossing items off a comically long list called '@computer'--so the project thing is an adaptation, but using contexts in my personal life has proven to be hugely useful for me--now instead of puttering and tooling around on my phone on the train, I wind up writing emails I need to send once I get out of the tunnel, etc.

I think the reason this has proven to have so much staying power for me--it certainly isn't for everyone--is that it helps me manage my worst habits and tendencies (forgetfulness, distractability, overcommitment as my spirit animal) in a way that keeps me moving forward in all the projects I'm involved in and care about.

I've got things down pretty simply now. For non-jobby-related items ('personal,' sure, but also Vof99 related, definitely a kind of work):

  • a set of index cards bound with a binder clip to write stuff down when i'm away from the computer
  • lists on the back of the index cards with tasks divided by the places i need to be to do them, namely '@home' '@work' '@[girlfriend's]' and '@train'

For jobby items at the computer monkey desk:

  • a text file where i write stuff down as it occurs to me, then transfer to appropriate project lists during reviews. i also record tasks completed during the course of the day (by the end of the day i wind up with a list that's 'the date and the stuff i did')

  • a folder called 'projects' full of text files, which themselves have notes and the next relevant todos for the individual projects

  • an outlook calendar that's like the map for my day--i spend my day knocking out tasks within each project within the time boundaries i set on my calendar. the last thing i do before i leave the office is sync my cal to my phone so i can review it on the train and prep in the AM.