Monday, July 28, 2008

How GTD helps me to tame my bookmarks

Bookmarks have the habit of growing ruthlessly over time. Using GTD to tame my bookmarks results in having different folders reflecting the different states of a "task" or project (which would correspond to a link or a collection of links). Bookmarks are either collected in the "@Inbox" folder if I'm short on time or then are directly processed and put to the appropriate folder as described below:
  • @Inbox: When I'm short on time, then new bookmarks land in the "@Inbox" folder, which does not contain any sub-folders. Like with the physical Inbox basket or the email Inbox, I every now and then (best at least once daily) go through the "@Inbox" folder and process the bookmarks in it. If the content can dealt with within 2 minutes I do the appropriate action, then discard or archive the link (see below for folder "Archive"). If it takes more than 2 minutes to deal with the "task, the links will be renamed to reflect the action or topic, then it will be processed GTD like (action, defer, read/review, etc.) and is put inside the appropriate folder as described further below.
  • @Action: Links belonging to a project are put inside the @Action folder in a sub-folder with the project's name (1-level hierarchy only). When the project is over, the sub-folder is moved to the @Archive folder (see below) or just deleted if it is not worth keeping. The @Action folder has two fix sub-folders:
    • @Blog: Things I read and want to blog about land in this folder.
    • @Download: Links to files or other things I want to download at a later time are stored here.
  • @Defer: When I collect information about things I might plan to do in the future (for product evaluations for  something I like to buy, travel info about a possible holiday place to visit, etc.) it will be put here inside a sub-folder with the project's name (1-level hierarchy only). In the GTD way, these projects in the future either, become active (moved to @Action), or are archived (moved to Archive), or are just discarded.
  • @Read/Review: One-time reading material that I want to read when I have time (e.g. using my iPhone during train travel or in-line waiting) is put into the @Read/Review folder. Material belonging to the same topic is put in an appropriate sub-folder (1-level hierarchy only). After I read the related pages I wither archive them (move to Archive) or discard them.
  • Archive: Bookmarks that I want to keep for future reference are saved in the "Archive" folder. If multiple links belong to a project or topic, a sub-folder with the project or topic name is created to host the collection of links. As before, the folder hierarchy is flat (only one sub-folder level allowed), I do not put folders in sub-folders inside the Archive.
To find specific bookmarks later on, I use the search feature of Safari's Bookmarks window, which allows me quickly to find the link I'm looking for. This though makes it mandatory to give the sub-folders (project names) as well as the bookmarks some intelligent names, which makes it easy to find the link or project folder for a certain topic in the future.

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