Putting the Pieces Together | Skillshare Projects

Abriel Shipley

Designer. Developer. Innovator.



Putting the Pieces Together

Introduction - 10/29/2013

I had some technical difficulties with the GTD.LAB quiz, but was finally able to figure out it was the browser on my work computer (PC) versus my laptop computer (Mac) that wasn't displaying it properly.

When I saw this class, I knew I needed to take it. If you saw my desktop, it would be pretty embarassing. My e-mail is full of read and unread e-mails alike, trying to sort through all of the e-mails I want to read and have read to find my purchase receipt. That's only breaking through the crack!

I want to get my life (and lists/folder/everything galore) organized and neatly put in it's place. I've already gotten somewhat started on this, taking notes using Evernote and using tags to sort them all. But how to apply it to everything else, that's the big mystery!

My quiz results reflect what I thought of myself... being able to finally filter my mind using digital tools so I can focus on getting the tasks complete.

Here is my quiz score below:

Phase 1: Collect          Warning

Phase 2: Process        Warning

Phase 3: Organize       Warning

Phase 4: Review          Warning

Phase 5: Do                 Meh

Looking forward to what this class will bring me! :-)


Phase 1 - 11/3/2013

This is probably the second to hardest thing for me to do… collecting everything together. I’m trying two of the applications on the reference sheets: Wunderlist and ToDoList. It seems ToDoList may work out for me really well (especially with the productivity chart - which will help to motivate me to continue using this service). I’m going to “copy” all of my items into Wunderlist and see what happens. Finally, I've gotten rid of my Work and Personal "To-Do Lists" on Evernote and am going to be using either one of the two applications. Evernote will only be used to keep my inspirations and other design/development related references (ex. articles).

I cleared out my laptop’s desktop and download folder into a folder called “Skillshare class” to help me through the next phase of the class. My Gmail inbox had much worse issues, as you can see from the screenshots below. Afterwards, I archived all of my messages so I can begin getting used to the idea of putting different items into one, centralized place.

Desktop before

Gmail before

ToDoList start

I have several concerns as of now. These are:

1. I have too many folders going on in either my documents folder and Gmail account, organizing all of the different folders/files into centralized collections. How should I sort e-mails/files that could be applied to multiple folders?

2. Some of the items I’m writing down in my to-do list applications shouldn’t be in there (ex. do laundry, do dishes, sort/put laundry away, sweep, clean, organize, etc.). If this is appropriate, how do I task this appropriately?

At work, my physical space has a pretty good organization system, sorting different files into each of the categorized folders. My work e-mail is not as dire as my Gmail account, but could end up that way.

In my residence, I have one containing box for all paperwork regarding my finances, retirement, residence paperwork, etc. I have all receipts and other information similar to this piled on top of the box for now. Then, I have a box containing all of my design inspirations (including magazines). I’m going to be watching the next phases videos now to have an idea of what I’m supposed to do, until I get used to collecting the different items into a list. Once that happens, the next phase will be implemented.

I'm still nervous because I'm afraid of not implementing this system. But am going to strive to continue doing this for me and my sanity!


Phase 2 - 11/9/2013

My brain is beginning to feel less cluttered as I move past processing and collecting everything, the pieces of the scrambled puzzle being put together.

I finally decided upon ToDoList as my official application; especially after I'm able to integrate it into my work e-mail and calendar system, Outlook 2010. The best part is I've signed up for premium and will see how this goes. Might be the best money I've spent!

As of now, I haven't sorted all of my projects into the tasks with sub-tasks (like the below screenshot) quite yet. But hope to get there as I think of more projects to put in there.

My Projects

One of my projects


My fear is I'm going in the wrong direction because of having all of these different tasks and sub-tasks. But I could be wrong.

Also, I'm happy to report so far I've processed at least 40 e-mails today in my G-mail account, emptying all of the filters and labels, and continuing to find the time to process them all.

But, I still need to make a few of the Reference filters in Evernote. I can create all of the processes!


Phase 2 (Continued) - 11/16/2013

I believe I'm still in Phase 2, especially since I haven't made very much progress yet in creating the Reference notes in Evernote. I have a lot of old notes from other references I'd like to keep. Now that I have a more organized list and more clearly defined areas, I think this will make life easier.

My lists didn't seem to add up, because I wasn't able to figure out exactly how to do Areas and Projects in Todoist. The old way I had it, I was putting tasks in the wrong places because I thought it fit better there.

Then, I made the list of projects I had and figured out what to create using Todoist and got to sorting using Word and creating a table. The BEFORE is in the previous note.

The Sorting Technique


AFTER Sorting All Projects/Tasks in Todoist



The only trouble I may be having is being able to prioritize things in a fashionly order. I've started to listen to Focus by Stephen Covey and went to a seminar regarding time management to help me figure this out. Anyone have any advice on this topic?

I haven't explored the idea of putting labels and filters in quite yet, but may brave it after I get everything sorted in Evernote. Hopefully, this will be covered in Phase 3.


Phase 2/3 (11/24/2013)

At first, I almost felt defeated about figuring out the different Areas and Project I had going on in my life. But knew if I didn't get this, I would go back to where I was - and definitely didn't want to go back there. It seemed there were so many projects I couldn't wrap around my head (especially after trying to figure out where to put all of the Someday/Maybe tasks) I went back to having the projects in Todoist being my Areas and feel much more confident about it now. :-)

What made it confusing before was the fact I had so few areas, everything seemed to collide together! After rewatching a few times Phase 2 & 3 videos and looking at the answer regarding the Areas and Projects, I think I'm at a really good place and feel confident regarding figuring out future Areas if needed. One thing I noticed was I needed to break out past Areas (ex. Calls to Make) into other Areas because, as Tiago said, I could have calls to make regarding a project for work or anything regarding my freelance work, professional contacts, etc.

Helping me with the idea of Areas was Tiago's comments regarding the use of the labels and filters that Todoist provides. These definitely were a very useful tool to begin getting the idea into my head more. I used the labels and filters for a few days and it worked very well, useful especially when I look in my Outlook Calendar to see how it coordinates with my work projects and other work related items.

The main reason why I wanted to do my Areas and Projects this way is because I want to be able to get my online classes (such as the Introduction to Lettering by Jessica Hische done before December 5th). This way, I can have a reminder of the project itself so I can see what I still need to do for that particular project.

Todoist Now


Example Area with Projects


I haven't gotten my new Areas and Projects into Evernote, but now I will. I'm going to try using my new iPad Air to see how notes during meetings will be able to go. Wish me luck!


Phase 4 (12/8/2013)

I apologize for not updating this for quite awhile. My concentration has been trying to get my other Skillshare class (Introduction to Lettering by Jessica Hische) and am making major strides! It's not where I wanted to be. But with everything else going on and being in the holiday season, I feel very good.

Today was spent organizing and cleaning my physical space so I would feel good about beginning to process a lot of my bills, paperwork, etc. Feels so close I can taste the end of the finish line! :-)

My biggest worries throughout this time has been when I would be processing a lot of open loops when I got an assignment right away at work or an e-mail I had to get back to. If I process a lot of these items right away, I won't have to worry about remembering it when it comes to my Daily Reviews. Since I'm able to create tasks with my e-mails and other tools from Todoist, it makes it that much easier.

I'm getting used to the idea of having my Daily, Weekly, and Monthly reviews (all of them scheduled around 11pm every day - Daily Reviews on the weekdays, and the Weekly Reviews done every Saturday and Monthly Reviews the first Saturday of the month) and processing the urgency of each task at hand. What makes it difficult is figuring out how long a particular task will take, especially when a particular task may change or be moved around because another circumstance for a project is in the way. Does anyone have any tips for dealing with changes within a project and calculating the time it will take?

Below is what it looks like so far (with a few tasks left from yesterday to work through - should be easy to complete).

Current To-do List

Onto Phase 6 and tagging... I think this may be the ticket which will help me piece this puzzle together. Any suggestions greatly appreciated! :-)


Progress Update (12/24/2013)

I feel like I'm the slowest turtle in the class because I've been seeing everyone's progress and yet I get stuck on the tagging system and configuring my Todoist application to work for me (and it doesn't help I started this process 2 or 3 months ago now). I'm not giving up on this process, as this is probably the best thing that I've began and has done many things leaps and bounds I couldn't have done on my own! I just wish I could already have it all figured out, but I know good things happen when you take your time and let it happen naturally.

I've been keeping up with much of my Daily and Weekly Reviews and it's been helping greatfully. The only thing that I seem to worry about is making sure that I stick to what I implemented with my Todoist, changing my mind as I go along. But I'm sure it's bound to happen.

I will be updating you again sometime very soon (most likely after the New Years with my final progress). This will help me get a brand new slate for the New Year!

I hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! :-)


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