Why Getting Things Done Depends on a Workspace

My user profile didn’t load on my work computer today. “No big deal,” I think, “I’ve been working 100% online for quite some time.” Without my regular workspace, I worked so slowly! Lemme share with you how my day has gone:

  1. Let’s check Gmail. Please log in.
  2. I wanted to add to the Whole New Mind class wiki. Hit wikispaces.com and am greeted with “Log in”.
  3. Bookmark a Dan Pink interview of Thomas Friedman for future reference. Bam! No browser buttons and I’m not logged in to del.icio.us. What a pain in the tuchus.
  4. I want to post this story as a blog entry. Hit wordpress.com and please log in. It’s almost too much to bear! My need to vent is the only reason I bothered to log in.

It’s incredibly time-consuming to move around the web without my Firefox Add-Ons and cached passwords. Everything took longer than I’m accustomed to.

Then I realized something.

My game was “off” today because my work environment changed. When I read Getting Things Done by David Allen, I learned that the key to keeping on top of obligations was to have an organized way of capturing stuff. I opted for a Palm TX handheld. Others like a Moleskine set up for GTD (Just as some folks favor browsers other than Firefox…whatever floats your boat.)

Working on the web is like capturing obligations into my Palm TX.

It’s all about making the workflow smooth and easy. A while back, I suggested my students implement a Web Workspace and did about half the job for myself. I guess now I see why it’s useful to have a web home page with links to my most frequently used websites.

The Web Workspace should also allow you access to usernames and passwords, should you forget any of them. Sure, the workspace doesn’t eliminate the login hassles I experienced today, but I still like the idea.

What if?

I’d love a way to quickly set up a computer I’ve never used before with my accounts, my plugins, and my layout. Wouldn’t it be cool if a web service came along that I could visit and have all my accounts logged in to and browser plugins added? It sounds like a scripting task. Someone may already be doing this. <goes off to Google this idea>

How do you configure a “new” computer (the browser, really) to act the way you like?

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2 thoughts on “Why Getting Things Done Depends on a Workspace

  1. Megan,

    I have been longing for the same thing. For a long time I forced myself NOT to have the computer remember my passwords just so that I would be forced to remember them.

    Recently I have chosen to have the computer remember them because there are just WAY too many, but now I am working on several computers (a mac at home, a pc at school, a pc laptop from school) I find myself spending LOTS of time trying to remember passwords for this or that site.

    I read in the Sunday NY Times (Sorry, I can’t find the article… but there are lots of links to other things about it) about Open ID. I guess that four big companies have signed on to it. I have seen its logo on wikis I use. Maybe that will be the solution.


  2. Open ID is an interesting idea. Let’s hope it evolves into a big player in online identity management. The fact that it’s “open” will help. No one company could ever get the buy-in needed from web site operators.

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