Wednesday, May 10

Getting Things Done: Minimizing Inputs

One of the things David Allen mentions in The Big Book of GTD is that it's important to have as few inputs into your system as you can handle. That makes things just that much easier to process, since you have fewer "inboxes" to check.

He mentions that inputs can include physical inboxes, email inboxes, voice recorders, and pads of paper (with notes from meetings, seminars, etc.) These are all useful in their own individual ways, but choosing to keep track of too many of them will make a GTD system a bit top-heavy and likely to fall over.

One of the best tools I have found to eliminate one of these inboxes is This is a free service that provides a free telephone number that can accept faxes and voicemails and forwards them to the email address of your choice. I set up one of these numbers, so now putting a new idea into my system is as simple as picking up my cell phone and recording a short message to myself.

I have a voice recorder on my phone, but I never remember to check the messages I leave for myself until three months later when the Google search I was contemplating isn't the least bit interesting to me anymore. Since I'm constantly on top of my email, these nuggets of personal wisdom no longer fall through the cracks. The best part is that I can make these notes to myself from anywhere, even when I'm driving and unable to write anything down.

The number you're assigned is in a Seattle area code, but as long as your cell phone has free US long distance (and who in this country doesn't these days?) it's only a matter of using a minute worth of your coverage plan for each note you record. The message comes to you as a .WAV attachment in your email. A fax is received as some sort of an image file, but I haven't used the service in that way yet.

Check it out! It's free, easy, and full of GTD goodness!

K7 Unified Messaging, free Fax and voicemail to email.

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The Geek Code desperately needs updating, but in any case here's mine (as of 2010-02-28):

Version: 3.12
GIT/MU d+(-) s:+>: a C++> ULXB++++$ L+++ M++ w--() !O !V P+ E---
W+++ N o++ K? PS PE++ Y+ PGP t !5 X- R- tv+@ b++ DI++++ D--- e*++
h--- r+++ y+++ G+

If you really care about knowing what that all means, you either know the code already, or you can get it decoded for you here.