I love ideas. In fact, I’m straight up ideaphoric. Ideas are cheap, fast and out of control. Ideas replicate quickly, and mutate easily. Tossing ideas around with a fellow idea freak is one of life’s great pleasures.
However, ideas get sad if they are forgotten–big, anime kitty tears kind of sad. This is one of their obnoxious qualities, certainly, but an understandable one. No one wants to be a wallflower forever. But at the dance of ideas in my head and heart, there are hundreds, even thousands of idea-voices mewing, cawing and clattering for attention. How the heck will I manage them?
I’ll get organized!
So here I am, in week three or so of getting organized. And let me say, it has been a thrill-ride, going over the literally dozens of ideas that made it from wallflower to the dance card.
I picked up David Allen’s Getting Things Done (2006), and after a chapter, felt just finger-in-the-socket full of ideas about organizing. So electrified, in fact, that I finally took friend Michael Young’s advice about this stuff and found Evernote (2008, I now know). From there, I began to do Mr. Allen’s first task: Collect Everything. Get every single project, expectation, musing thought and Cool Find out of the head and into the catchment system–in this case, Evernote.
In going through the Collection phase, one walks through life noticing each and every expectation of action, ie Idea that has managed to bump itself up into a Project, one has unconsciously agreed to. This takes a while, I’m finding, in part to build the habit of making the Idea/Project material by writing it down and asking questions about it, and in part to actually walk through the contexts in which I store various Idea/Projects. But in any case, having noted all these Projects, we then chuck them willy-nilly into the In Bucket.
This didn’t feel right. Just chuck them in there? Couldn’t be. My first impulse was that “organization” meant categorizing, and so I breathlessly made dozens of Notebooks in my new toy, Evernote. And then I hid all 120+ my collected Notes/Projects in them.
The ideas had been happy to be written down. One step closer to the dance card, they thought. But now, hidden away in sub-sub folders, they were not happy. How would I find them? How would they get to have actions taken on their behalf?
I realized that I hadn’t read enough of Mr. Allen’s book. That, or I’d simply breezed over his flow chart, which in a way is just so simple, so un-full of categories, that I’d assumed it was just an outline for the real work, the work of categorizing. Wrong! Simple means Useable. Simple means It Works. So today I looked up some useful advice on the interwebs in the form of a lifehacker.com post, and rebooted my Evernote system. And it works!
With the simple Getting Things Done (GTD) categories, I was able to do the next step in the five part GTD chain–Process. I can now go through the In Bucket and fling inputs into a set of GTD channels: Now, Next Action, This Week, Next Week, This Quarter, Next Quarter, or Next Year. This way I’ll keep the stuff that I want to DO, but do LATER, out of the way of the stuff I need to DO NOW, tomorrow, or this week.
My master plan here is to give myself support for turning ideas, but art ideas in particular, into actionable projects and thus into Actual Art. I can feel my Ideaverse cheering right now. Let’s dance!