28 May 2005

Call for D*I*Y Education Pack Ideas

Douglas Johnston on A Million Monkeys typing has decided to prepare a follow up to the remarquable "D*I*Y" Planner 2, which would be a D*I*Y Education Pack and launched a call for ideas. What a superb initiative!

Two things immediately spring to mind. The first idea would be a template of a mind map with the famous 7 questions, that one can ask about any topic: how, when, why, who, where, what, how many. I have used them in my teaching to very good effects. They are also very useful to help students revising. Here is an example of a such a mind map, I have recently prepared for my French History and Contemporary Students, using the Cmap software. This was meant as an illustration of the sort of things they could do to revise before the exam. It is unfortunately in French.

7 questions mind map sample.

Another template could be one based on what Louis Timbal-Duclaux suggests in his book La prise de notes efficace, Paris : Retz, 1988. That is to process any topic or issue, by problematizing it using the framework Situation-problem-solution-information. In French this is SPRI (Situation, Probléme, Résolution, Informations) and is meant to be pronounced S-PRI, in order to sound like Esprit, the word for mind. Follows a SPRI mind map on the same topic:


The second idea would be an essay writing template. Indicating what is expected and helping students structuring their essays.

25 May 2005

GTD ... established circa 1939!

The term of "Getting things done" has been used as the, or as part of, many book titles. Douglas Johnston at A million monkeys typing had mentionned coming across a copy of Getting Things Done by Edwin C. Bliss. I could not resist (trust an Historian on that one!) having a look at the catalogue of at both the British Library in London and the Library of Congress in Washington, in search of the earlier use of the expression and acronyme.
The ealier use of the Getting Things Done as a book title is :Wilson, Everett Broomall. Getting things done in business. New York : McGraw-Hill, 1937.

The acronyme in question was used as the title of a book published by one Percy Redfern Creed before David Allen was born: "Creed, Percy R. (), b. 1874.
G. T. D.,
[Boston, Mass., The author, c1939]
118 p. pl., ports. 23 cm."
The book in question was republished after the Second World War, this time as Getting Things Done:
Creed, Percy R. (Percy Redfern), b. 1874.
Getting things done, by Percy R. Creed ...
Boston [The Merrymount Press] 1946.
xvii p. 1 l., 95 p., 1 l. port. 24 cm.

23 May 2005

... In praise of procrastination ?

But She is a girl has a while back written a brilliant post on her Procrastination index, which I very strongly recommend, especially if you work in education, or edutainement as I am more and more tempted to call it. bsag notes that it is "that dreaded exam marking time of year again" and how marking, is "one of the most severe procrastination generators that I’m faced with in my daily life." As a fellow academic it made me laugh, as I know this feeling all too well!!!
My office at the university has never been so clean and tidy and I feel an irresistible urge to finish reorganising my files along the line suggest by GTD. It will have taken me 9 months to achieve this.
... Tongue in cheek one would be very tempted to argue that procrastination is not necessarily a bad thing. Several years ago, I discovered this wonderful text by Standford philosopher John Perry, who is also one of the editors of the Philosophy talk, "the [radio] program that questions everything ...except your intelligence", on what he calls Structured Procrastination. Interestingly, upon finishing bsag's post, I discovered that the first comment from readers, by Scott Lewis was precisely on the very same text.

Mark Bernstein on Protecting the Blogosphere

Mark Berstein of Eastgate has prepared a most fascintting Podcast ahead of his presentation on "Protecting the Blogsphere" at Blogtalk Downunder in Sydney. See also the posting on his own weblog.
Logo of Mark Berstein's presentation at Blogtalk Downunder : Protecting the Blogsphere

22 May 2005

GTD on Devonthink: Bibliographical references revisited

Jonlemon has made a useful comment on my post on bibliographical reference in Devonthink and points out that 'if you're handling a lot of references and want to produce a reference list for a manuscript, then the collection of all the seperate references becomes a tedious task. [...] Bottom line: I think your setup is a good way to integrate referenes into DevonThink aslong as you're not dealing with a lot of references." This is a very valid point! After giving some thinking to the question I think that I have come up with a solution. Here it goes:

Instead of creating only 1 note per reference as I suggested earlier, I would create 2 notes.
Note 1 The title of the first note would have as a title the shorted reference (Surname, Name. Year. i.e. Allen, David. 2001.) It would contain the full reference (ie Allen, David 2001. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. London: Penguin.).
Note 2 The title of the second would be the full reference and it will contain nothing.
I would then create somewhere a folder called Bibliography and create a replicant of the notes having the full bibliographical reference as a title (ie on the model of note 2).
When I would like to create a bibliography for this project I would simply select all the notes and will then export them as txt, rtf or doc.
The result would be a bibliography arranged by alphabetical order.

A GTD group in Manchester ?

I was recently thinking that it might be fun to set up some GTD group in Manchester. When I had a look at the Meet Up website, I was very surprised to discover that you now have to pay to set up a Meet Up group. ... So if anyone has an interest in such a venture, please do get in touch.

21 May 2005

Getting Hicks Done and Basecamp

Jon Hicks at Hicksdesign has an interesting post entitled Getting Hicks Done on his implementation of GTD. After trying several applications, he has now settled for Basecamp.
I have been using Basecamp since 8 November 2004 and have kept a to-do-list for what I had to do to manage the website of the academic school school where I work at the University of Salford.

Looking at different ways to implement gtd has become some kind of a hobby for me and I have also tested several different applications.

I mainly concentrate on Devonthink but keep looking at different applications, a good way perhaps to keep in touch with new developments.

19 May 2005


I have been too busy actually getting things done to blog lately! This must be blogcrastination

06 May 2005

GTD on Devonthink: Thematic notes

Thematic notes are also stored under "Reference materials". When a thematic note include referencing, this is usually done in the form of the bibliographical reference also stored in the "Reference materials" folder. Just typing the reference in quest automatically create a wiki link to the bibliographical reference, which can be easily navigated.
Only one folder is used for the whole range of of the notes kept in "Reference materials", which are simply sorted by alphabetical order.
This has replaced what I previously kept in my filemaker database and in Scribe.

04 May 2005

GTD with Gmail Whitepaper

A very interesting post on GTD with Gmail Whitepaper on space-age wasteland. This brings together a series of posts on the topic of the implementation of GTD with Gmail.
The term Whitepaper sounds terribly impressive! I should use it for the series of posts I have started yesterday: a White paper on GTD on Devonthink! ;-)

03 May 2005

Getting things done on Devonthink: Bibliographical references

Each bibliographical reference is stored under "Reference materials", It is convenient to use a shortened form as the title for each entry, for example: Allen, David. 2001.
Bibliographical references

Each text file contains the full bibliographical details.
Example: Allen, David 2001. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. London: Penguin.
Bibliographical references This can be easily cut and pasted in footnotes or bibliographies when the need arise. No need therefore to use a separate specific application (Filemaker, Endnotes, Scribe, etc.), easy does it.
The duplicate function of Devonthink is extremely useful, as using replicants will allow to place an exact copy of the document elsewhere (a second incarnation of the document and not simply an alias).
A replicant of "Allen, David. 2001." could be placed in the folder for the relevant project under Project support materials.
For example "Duplicate to ... > Project support materials > GTD Project Another replicant could also be placed in the Next action lists under At library and so forth.
The wiki-style links function of Devonthink will allow to link to the bibliographical reference by simply entering the text of its title. For example simply writing "Allen, David. 2001" in any document will create automatically an hyperlink pointing in the direction of the original file. "Allen, David. 2001"

GTD for Academics

I read with great interest last night Mark T.A.W.'s post on What context do I put my Next Actions in? This, together with an ungoing discussion on GTD for Academics on the 43F Google Group , gave me the idea of a write up on my current little experiment with implementing GTD on Devonthink. I therefore propose to start blogging on this, in no particular order and perhaps eventually to bring together the different posts in the form of an article.

01 May 2005

Implementing GTD using Lotus Notes

I have come across the blog of -=KoolPal=-, who is currently implementing the GTD methodology using Lotus Notes blog . He has also posted some graphs and screenshots of his implementation on Flickr which I had not come across before as they are not currently uploaded on the Getting things done pool.