Have a cow, man! [weekly head voices #45]

Week 14 was awesome, thank you very much for asking! There are many reasons for this. The photo below is a memento of one of them, and was taken from my bicycle on Sunday, at that moment gliding gracefully through Schipluiden, genetic offspring #1 chattering away from the back:

Photo taken with telephone, loosely held in one hand, finger curling around to try and touch the little iris thingy on the touch screen, other fingers attempting to prevent said telephone from accelerating towards and coming to a sudden stop on planet earth. Don't you get any silly ideas now: The fact that my telephone has a touch screen does not mean that it has no keyboard. pffft!

The weather was gorgeous, enabling me to fulfil another of my life goals: A weekend BBQ hat trick. Yes dear readers, on three distinct occasions did I have the exquisite privilege of firing up my magical BBQ, bending time and space in the process, and as a by-product producing scorched but delectably edible animal flesh. After this singular achievement, I’m confident my motherland will now allow me to keep my green mamba (that’s insider speak for the South African passport).

In other news:

  • On Tuesday, I tweeted concerning my discontent with GMail Tasks (hey, I just blogged about a tweet), and especially the fact that it’s not even able to sort tasks alphabetically. My GTD-fu has been taking a seriously heavy beating due to me ditching Tracks for the far inferior GMail Tasks (I’m still not sure why I did so). The resourceful @_Noeska_ tweeted back (tweplied? twanswered?) that Remember The Milk could be the answer to my, err, tweets, one of its major features being having a cow as favicon. Now as you know, I like cows, especially scorched ones, so I was quickly convinced. Now I must have been operating my PC Computer blind-folded when I last evaluated RTM (that’s what Remember The Milk  people sometimes call it) in 2008 (I still found some old test tasks in my account), because this really is the bees knees, especially when the bee in question is into GTD. The webapp is extremely snappy, it even reminds me of my deadlined tasks via email, it has discrete projects, smart adding of tasks, LOTS of keyboard shortcuts, smart searches (those are brilliant!) and a cow as favicon, which I might have mentioned before.
  • Taking a step back from all of this, now that I have my GTD system fully operational again, I notice that due to it I’m spending more time on little things which probably do need to get done, but which my inferior accounting conveniently let slip during the previous few months, allowing even more time for the really important things. I plan to address this by explicitly allocating more time daily to the important things. The lab journal / planning document is instrumental in this.
  • There’s a stunning article by Jason Fried of 37signals in this month’s issue of Inc magazine on why he runs a flat company. He makes a good case for running a company with as little as possible hierarchy, i.e. no management for the sake of management. Their focus is on skill and craftmanship, and a form of democratic self-management. The person in a team that’s the best at some thing, becomes the organic leader in situations where that thing is most relevant. You should really read the article, I’ll whet your appetite with the following quote:

We’re not big fans of what I consider “vertical” ambition—that is, the usual career-path trajectory, in which a newbie moves up the ladder from associate to manager to vice president over a number of years of service. On the other hand, we revere “horizontal” ambition—in which employees who love what they do are encouraged to dig deeper, expand their knowledge, and become better at it. We always try to hire people who yearn to be master craftspeople, that is, designers who want to be great designers, not managers of designers; developers who want to master the art of programming, not management.

That’s almost it for this week’s edition of the Weekly Head Voices. Thanks for stopping by, I hope you have an awesome week! To help you get started, here is an animated movie of Tim Minchin’s beat poem Storm. If you’re into crystals, pyramids, palm reading, spirits or any other form of irrational self-delusion, you might want to avert your eyes. Otherwise, enjoy:

P.S. Rational self-delusion is of course an entirely different kettle of fish.

8 thoughts on “Have a cow, man! [weekly head voices #45]”

  1. On the 37signals article, “We’re now at 26 people” – wow, huge company. ;) I’m interested in the most successful attempts at scaling this beyond triple digits…

    1. Sure, 37signals is small. (they are quite accomplished though, Ruby on Rails was originally built there: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/37signals )

      He admits that the completely flat model doesn’t scale above that size. Still, I have the idea that also in larger companies too much time (and money) is put into management for the sake of management.

  2. Can you share a bit how you’ve setup Remember The Milk? As it’s extremely flexible, I’m still struggling with what is the best setup…

    1. Of course! I followed (more or less) the setup in this blog post: http://blog.rememberthemilk.com/2008/05/guest-post-advanced-gtd-with-remember-the-milk/

      I don’t do the “na” (next action) tagging. I do have a tab for each project, and smart lists for my contexts: @computer-work, @computer-home, @read-review, @tud, @lumc, @calls, @email-home, @email-work, @waiting-for (it’s important to choose contexts that work for you, they should match the states you find yourself in during the day). I also have a smart list for @someday-maybe and not a tab.

      I’ve also set it up to mail me at 9:00 in the morning a list of all tasks that are due that day, as a double safety check. I took some time to learn the keyboard shortcuts: https://www.rememberthemilk.com/help/answers/basics/keyboard.rtm

      That should about cover it. Lemme know how it goes!

  3. I tried RTM for a while, but it never really clicked for me. For the past few months I’ve been using “MonkeyGSD” and am very happy with it’s excellent GTD design (and, I actually use it consistently rather than reverting to paper!)

    http://mgsd.tiddlyspot.com/#mGSD

    One major advantage for me is the ability to store it in dropbox: therefore I can always access locally even if I am not online. This is great because I do not have a capable mobile gadget and am occasionally without internet.

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