This morning, thanks to one of my my daughters being under the weather and needing some home supervision, I’m having a much-needed to chance to catch up on my “piles of stuff.” Currently, I’m in the process of digitizing stacks of notes like these into their appropriate places:

It all comes down to this: Scratched notes that must be digitized

I’m continuing to use the reasonably priced ($18) and simple software program TaskPaper to maintain my digital “to do” lists, organized by project as recommended in David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.” I’ve written about my struggles to find better routines for organizing and processing the information of my life in last July’s post “Thoughts on bit literacy and information overload coping strategies,” last September’s post “Seeking the elusive ‘inbox zero,’” October’s post “Inbox Zero: Living the dream!” and a post two weeks ago titled “Managing information streams in the attention economy.” Although I am generally reluctant to add more categories to my WordPress blog, I went ahead and added the category “organization” today and added these posts to it. I also added last July’s post “Understanding stress,” which includes some early reflections on David Allen’s book and GTD strategy.

I am still a MAJOR “work in progress” when it comes to implementing GTD, but I am glad to have a framework for thinking and behaving in smarter and more effective ways when it comes to organizing and using information in my life. Tim Wilson actually introduced me to GTD at the TCEA conference in Austin back in 2007. I can’t say that GTD has changed my life YET, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to make that claim before too long. (BTW, the following photograph is thankfully NOT a personal one!)

picture of sticky notes all over a computer monitor

As I continue to struggle with my own routines for managing information and “getting things done” in the different arenas of my life, I am struck by how important it is that students have formal access to email at school and learn strategies for coping with email. It is true that many young people, with access to a cell phone and text messaging plan, prefer using SMS to email. That preference does not change the fact that email has become and remains a very important communication modality in our 21st century infoverse and economy, however. While there are days I’d like to completely abandon email, because it can overwhelm and frustrate me, I realize this is an impossibility given the work before me. There certainly are some jobs today which do not require use of email, and there will continue to be some jobs which fit into that category. I have a limited perspective, but my sense is that the importance and ubiquity of email is only going to grow for most people in the years ahead.

I learned at COSN several weeks ago that ePals now provides FREE, teacher-moderated email accounts for school students. Of course we still have some school district leaders who insist that ALL web-based services and content used by students and teachers in the district must be hosted by the local school district. For those districts ePals SchoolMail may not be an option. For the rest of us, however, I think the free availability of SchoolMail is GREAT news.

As I have noted previously, all information does not HAVE to be “digital” to be relevant to me, but for information to be most useful and accessible to me that I need to “work” I find that digitizing it can help a great deal. I’m thankful to have some hours today to work on digitizing my life and using that information in (hopefully) smarter ways to “get things done.” :-)

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On this day..

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  • http://www.soulycatholichs.blogspot.com Charlie Roy

    Wes,

    You might like these posts on some organizational tips. They are aimed directly at principals but most of them have a universal appeal.

    http://soulycatholichs.blogspot.com/2008/03/four-steps-to-more-time-continued.html
    http://soulycatholichs.blogspot.com/2008/03/four-steps-to-more-time.html

  • http://ssedro.blogspot.com Susan Sedro

    The free epals email accounts for students are a great tool for teaching kids responsible use of email. However, these accounts are only able to send mail to other epals addresses. That means they can’t be used to register for web 2.0 apps. A colleague set up accounts for all his students before he realized that.

  • http://www.wesfryer.com Wesley Fryer

    Wow, thanks for that clarification Susan. That is a big distinction and one educators need to be aware of before embracing the free version of ePals Schoolmail.

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