I’ve recently finished reading Getting Things Done. And I’m trying it out as my method for organising all of my work. Regardless of how it goes there are several key ideas which I think transfer directly onto the world of software development. These are (in no particular order):
- If something takes less than 2 minutes do it,
- Stuff that needs doing is defined as something that isn’t how or where is should be.
- A project (something that needs planning) is something that requires more than one action to complete
- Always think in terms of “What’s the next action?”
This last one I consider crucial especially when it comes to learning new things. I’ve been guilty of having goals such as “learn functional programming”. This type of thing is far too broad, you need to think it through until you end up on the next thing that needs doing to reach your goal. All of us are guilty of having a number of projects “on the go” as well. I’ve found forcing myself to think about the next action has really helped me make progress with them. In some cases I’ve made progress on projects that haven’t made progress in >2 years. Like everything, GTD is no silver bullet, and isn’t for everyone, but I think the book is worth reading, if you don’t find it useful, at least you know.