It was love at first to-do list. Not only did the system make complete sense to me, it allowed me to delegate and followup easily with people, and focus on just getting stuff done. GTD before GTD. They had great seminars and consultants who held workshops onsite and off to train – I worked for (at least) 3 companies who brought teams of FC consultants in – and bought tons of supporting material each year for their entire staff. And – for the total girl in me – there was shopping. I could go into there free-standing stores and buy themed planning pages (like Monticello, Compass or Millennium, which came in a keepsake tin), planners in different materials (I bought a Italian leather planner in Apple green at the height of my obsession) and all kinds of accessories that allowed me to make this system personal. Which I did for over 10 years and a bunch of different jobs. They were certainly the company that defined “Balanced Living” and “Productivity in the Workplace”.
Then things started to get less easy as more of my life ported to the Web (that would be Web 1.0 for those in the kiddie seats). The planner software FC released was buggy and expensive and didn’t print that well – as we were all still killing trees. My “book” started to be a point of teasing from my design/developer team and I started looking at other solutions, reluctantly, that would allow all of us to collaborate together and keep the team/projects on track as a whole. I found 43Folders, GTD and Merlin Mann as enablers of my productivity application/workflow addiction. Once Basecamp came out, my team (and I) never looked back.
Today, I use Field Notes to capture any idea or to-do, etc. before I enter it all in the appropriate 37signals product. Easy – and it works for all of my needs, work projects, personal projects, online/offline and mobile.
I still keep my old FC planners and pages – more of a record of who I was at that time than for any real work value. And I do check in on the website from time to time and am tempted by all of the fun new toys. But I’m over the new and different now – I’m totally focused on what just works and getting things done – a system that’s working for my life today – online. offline and on my iPhone.
I’m really enjoying what Merlin is doing right now. The new direction of 43Folders, his daily “Most Days” videos, and his other content streams. This is obviously someone who loves what he does and it shows. I’ll miss him on Twitter, but the sheer volume of everything else he produces and shares means I’ll probably not even notice it.
BTW – one of the things I really like about Merlin is that he obviously really likes and respects women – I love the way he talks about his wife, mother-in-law and especially his daughter. It really comes through in a lot in what he does and it adds a lot to my connection to his stuff.
It’s so inspiring to see someone creating so much and enjoying it – makes me want to make great things in a way that I love. Today.
Now I love Safari and I can stop myself (I can, really!) from browsing the Web as a distraction from work. But for those who can’t – there’s Web Runner. There’s a Distraction Free GTD Web bundle – so for those who can not resist – go forth and browse no more.
Me – I’m off to enjoy all that 43Folders (addicted to the new format – and Merlin is really on stride!) has to offer – on my own time.
(Via Internet Duct Tape.)