Session Notes

Session notes from “Lifehacks and Hipsters and GTD, Oh My!”, 13 April 2007, KLA/KASL/KAECT TriConference



Rhonda – State Library, member of National Association of Professional Organizers

Rosemary – Ottawa Library, blogs on planning & time management at

What do attendees hope to learn?

What type of handheld to get:

* make sure you love it – borrow before you buy

* check reviews in PC mag,, ask friends

* essentials – calendar, contacts list, to-do

* no-tech alternative – hipster (index cards held together with binder clip); templates for calendar, etc. at

* modified hipster – punched cards (like old catalog cards) held together with a binder ring

How to handle piles on desk:

* set aside uninterrupted time to sort through all; file or toss anything no longer needed in prime space

* use vertical space – stepped dividers, horizontal letter sorters, pendaflex pilesmart

* some people like ‘stuff put away’, some people like ‘stuff in view’ for current projects

* be careful using color – what happens if you run out of a needed color? try inexpensive, like sticky dots or magic marker before expensive like folders

Timely access to both personal & work info:

* planning tool needs to be portable/accessible

* try online tool like yahoo or google calendar

How to deal with multiple deadlines:

* build timeline with intermediate steps

* display timeline/project list over desk

* if projects coming from several different sources, ask them to prioritize

Efficient ways of handling to-dos:

* have ‘to-do’ folder in e-mail client to get stuff out of inbox – check regularly

* handle either in large uninterrupted chunks of time or small bits –

set a timer – can do anything for 5 minutes – depends on working style

* do immediately if it takes <2 minutes (GTD)

* use low-energy time, like end of day to review

Setting priorities:

* urgent/important matrix

* like to do/need to do matrix

o like to/need to “gems”

o don’t like to/need to “toads” – eat first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen all day

o like to/don’t need to “butterflies” – spend a lot of time chasing them

o don’t like to/don’t need to “gnats” – swat ’em!

* ‘need to do well’ vs ‘need to do quickly’

Handling e-mail (handout)


o Book “Getting things done” by David Allen

major focus is on getting to-dos, projects, appointments, etc out of

head and into a tool (PDA, calendar, hipster, etc)

o flow chart at

Lifehacks – any little tricks that make life easier:

o fold under end of package tape

o even better – put paper clip under edge

o use dryer sheets to dust tops of books – dollar store package lasts all semester, pass out to kids 5 minutes before period ends and let ’em go at it. makes library smell nice, too!

o using magic marker, put a dot on student’s thumbnail to remind them to bring back overdues

o put on headphones when you don’t want to be disturbed – don’t even need to have music going

o always buy clothes with pockets!

o leave messages for yourself on home answering machine or send e-mails to yourself as reminder

o always keep calendar on same corner of desk so staff can find easily

Tools to try:
o google docs & spreadsheet for collaborative work

o for scheduling meetings

o alternative to GroupWise; good for

scheduling equipment, meeting rooms, etc.

o post-it portable workspace for managing projects

If you remember nothing else:

o make sure you choose tools you love; if you don’t love it, you won’t use it

o find your strengths and use them

o communicate with family, co-workers, those you report to and those who report to you

I seek to create order from the chaos of complex information. Join me at the Daily PlanIt to gain insights, inspiration, and information to increase skills for a better life. I unlock the power of teaching reading with phonics in the pursuit of literacy at In my spare time I explore books and movies, often choosing titles available on both screen and page.

Posted in productivity
3 comments on “Session Notes
  1. Ben Shaffer says:

    I couldn’t agree more.

    I think it was like a year ago when I required everyone who works for me to have inboxes and outboxes. I was amazed by how much we were able to raise production levels just by doing that!

  2. […] Daily Plan It – I have been enjoying reading this blog. The Hop to It post has a link to a neat ‘frog eating form’ from Marcia, which is a great way to call out your frogs and ensure that they get eaten. […]

  3. […] Daily Plan It – I have been enjoying reading this blog. The Hop to It post has a link to a ‘frog eating form’ from Marcia, which looks like a great way to call out your frogs and ensure that they get eaten. […]

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