Thu 12 Oct
After using the Kinkless Getting Things Done system to manage all of my to do items for months, I ultimately had to set it aside. I’m just not up to the task of maintaining the system anymore; not that it was particularly difficult, but it did, on occasion, ‘hiccup’ on me, and to do items and projects would fall out of sync with one another. I just don’t think I have the energy in life right now to troubleshoot things like that that just shouldn’t need troubleshooting.
(This is really the fault of the whole damn concept of synchronization, which, at this stage in the maturity of software, is unbelievably anemic. But that’s another discussion entirely.)
Instead, I’m turning to Mori, a simple note-keeper application from Jesse Grossjean’s Hog Bay Software. Mori is a descendant of Hog Bay Notebook that adds some nifty new features like robust Spotlight support and, er, some others that I don’t really use. Mostly, I turn to Mori because it does what Hog Bay Notebook did so very well: conveniently bundle together what are essentially RTF-based TextEdit files into a hierarchical file system. Put more simply, it takes a bunch of not particularly fancy text documents and allows you to edit and manage them in a single window. There’s no context lists, no project hierarchies, no synchronization or database — none of the things that kGTD does. It’s dead simple.
At a stage in my life where I’ve come to accept that things will only get busier, dead simple is really attractive. Mori’s ‘no frills’ sensibility forces me to take a similar approach to managing my to do list. Here’s what I do: I write down things that I need to do as they occur to me, and then I cross them off when they’re done. The next day, I’ll create a new to do list and transfer my unfinished items over from the previous day. Crazy, right?
To be fair, I do make it slightly more complicated: I’ll type in to do items under simple headings like “Personal,” “Finances” or “Management.” But there’s no fixed taxonomy for these; if I decide tomorrow that I need a subhead for “To Be Completed After Lunch,” I can add that without fear of compromising some sort of master plan. Also, rather than actually crossing off items, I color the entire line a recessive gray — but that’s more out of my designer’s sense of preciousness than anything.
Not only is the whole system admittedly primitive, but it’s also highly satisfying. True, KGTD was satisfying, too; it’s always nice to cross things off a list, no matter what method you use to manage that list. But, in retrospect, I have to admit the lion’s share of the satisfaction was in getting the system up and running, in configuring OmniOutliner Pro and AppleScript and Quicksilver and what not… and then continually feeling proud of myself that I’d implemented such a nifty methodology for handling my tasks. Over time, that wore off. I think this is better.