Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


GTD, dashboards, cockpits, and flight plans

Call me obsessive, but I've been tracking stats around my inbox, number of items in my various lists, etc. as part of my weekly review (although it's been more like an "every few weekly review" unfortunately). I put the counts in Excel and create a simple graph to look at is as a kind of dashboard.

The graph shows me my inbox is very cyclical (the big, dark blue line), and the peaks are when I slack on my weekly reviews. My dashboard has been useful for figuring out things like whether my "@waiting for" list is getting too long, which might indicate I'm falling behind on follow-up of delegated items.

The dashboard approach is helpful, but doesn't help me with one of the bigger recurring challenges I've had - how do I create better focus on the items contained in all these lists?

As a result, I'm experimenting with creating a "cockpit" (or maybe 'weekly flight plan' is a better analogy) to help me create a narrower subset of the lists to focus on each week. I ordered and just received my PlannerPad ( and am going to give it a whirl for this project.

Why and what am I doing? I do so much stuff electronically now that it's easy to accumulate lots of things in my trusted system. It can, however, be overwhelming. What I'll do for this experiment is, as part of my weekly review, to decide what short list I want to work on during the coming week and write that stuff in my PlannerPad - that will serve as the flight plan for the week.

I'll let you know how it works. If you have any better ideas, come on with 'em.