Categories | Community Contributions | Getting Started | Implementation
GTD Times recently had a post requesting that people share pics of their workspaces that had been inspired by Getting Things Done. I contacted the Editor and she graciously suggested that I write up a little post about the evolution of my workspace and my GTD practice.
When I set up my very first home office I was so excited about Getting Things Done. I had just read the book and was looking forward to using the techniques to start moving forward on my goals and dreams, things that I had in a sub-conscious “Someday/Maybe” list that were never getting any closer to fruition. As you can see, I had very little idea of what I was doing, I simply jumped in head-first. Of course, the limitations of this cramped and non-ergonomic setting soon became all too apparent. The “room” I chose for my office was just too small for any kind of meaningful work. So, I took a chance and moved out to the dining room, which we rarely used anyway:
Here I was able to spread out, with room for the planner, the in-box, and my 43 folders Tickler File in a little rolling cart to the side. This is where I started achieving some real results, and discovered the GTD community that was springing up all over the internet.
These bloggers soon became friends and partners in my learning experience, and I soon took up the pen and started writing about GTD on a regular basis. Experimenting with and tweaking my own system to find an optimal arrangement, as well as helping others to find their own ‘perfect’ toolset became my primary focus.
In September of 2007, my wife took a new job, which required that we re-locate from Winston-Salem, NC to Phippsburg, ME. This was a very good opportunity for her, as well as a chance for me to start thinking about goinginto business for myself. The Natural Planning method of GTD was very helpful in putting together some goals and projects for making this a reality, and my new home office was really starting to come together.
The house that we were renting had a small room on the second floor that was nearly perfect for a home office.
Everything that I needed was right at my fingertips, and it was in a dedicated space that did not need to get cleared off and ‘put away’ when we had company or a dinner party. In the photo above you can see (from left to right) the tagging tools, in-box, planner, laptop, (and to the right of the desk) storage for office supplies, Circa project binders (by this time I had become quite the Levenger fan!), and in front of the printer – the Tickler File.
Over the winter of 2007 I spent a lot of time learning about the entire range of productivity systems and practices, while continuing to expand my knowledge of the fundamental principles of GTD. It was also here that I launched my own business, doing some consulting and training for local businesses in sales and hospitality management.
Then the economy took a turn for the worse and in the fall of 2008 my wife found herself out of a job (see A New Adventure).
This was the most important test of my workflow system, a test that would alter it forever. We spent over three months traveling across the US, visiting friends and family in Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin before doing some sight-seeing in St. Louis, Missouri and Nashville, Tennessee. Then it was on to Hilton Head, South Carolina for a few weeks. During this time I was working hard for my new clients and hosting some teleconferences from wherever we happened to be. This fully-mobile lifestyle taught me some very important lessons:
- Capture is important, but Review is essential
- Your calendar should be handy at all times (this was one instance where I considered going digital again)
- A 43-folder tickler file is fine for a permanent office, impossible for a mobile workspace
- Make a journal entry of some sort part of your daily routine, no matter what (I really, really wish that I had kept a better journal)
By February of 209 my wife had landed a job in New Hampshire, so we were back in the car for one more trip. We found a great apartment, townhouse-style, with a small room that my lovely bride suggested I use for an office:
Just starting to set it up took me back to the first little office in Winston Salem, and I just knew that it would not work. So I designated this room for storage and took over the second bedroom for my office.
Now that I have a full-fledged work-from-home-business I can get some serious things done. The light is obviously much better in here, and there is plenty of room for inspirational art as well as my bulletin board and whiteboard. As you can see from the limited about of “stuff” on my desk I have continued to maintain the stripped-down mobile version of my workflow practice. (See a video of this system here)
I welcome any comments or feedback, and look forward to a lively discussion.