Rethinking GTD: Review (and A Little Rant About Footnotes)

Hi Everyone. I hope this weekend finds you all well. And I hope you find the little revision to tealart that we've undergone in the past few days well too. (how's that for an opening?) I'm sure that I'll do a little more explaining over the next few days. Worry not and enjoy.

I was going to write this week about the importance of regular reviews a la GTD regarding the maintenance of a productive system. And I'll say a few, brief things here

GTD promises a sort of a better "stress-free" living through recording and full proof living. It's true that the less you have to worry about weather or not you remembered to do x, y, or z there is more "you" to go around when you're actually doing x, y, or z. Great idea. It is however, my contention that, the reason this works, is that GTD asks users to take various and regular time outs to reflect on their process. So rather than worry about your process a little bit all the time, schedule times to worry about your process all at once and get it done with. Great idea. One needn't produce nifty contextual lists and adhere faithfully to the two minute rule (if you have a task that can be done in less than two minutes, do it now) and so forth. What is important is that every once and a while you give yourself the opportunity to say "what am I doing, and what do I need to be doing;" look over your lists and make sure things haven't changed. The important thing is to make sure that your "system" or method hasn't been broken by the "doing." And as always, flexibility is important: if all the parts of your system aren't adding up, then change it.

Though I don't think GTD works for me, or that my process fits that model, I really do enjoy the fact that it's out there--because it's prevalence drives people to think up some rather amazing solutions to issues that I've dealt with for quite a while. The communities at 43folders (and other sites as well) has been an amazing resource as I've become more reflexive about these issues in the last few weeks and months.

Footnoes So I promised a little bit of a rant about footnotes. Much to a particular professor's annoyance I've taken a rather hard line stand against Microsoft Office products. I've found that they're not particularly suited to running on the Mac, and the benefit that they offer is appallingly small. Additionally, I find it hard to interact with a PDF document that I'm discussing in my writing, and an open word document at the same time. It can be a pain, that's for sure.

But this is a rant about footnotes, not Microsoft Word; well it is about MS Word, insomuch as I have to keep Microsoft Word around because there are typographical features that I would love to have access to that, as near as I can tell, Microsoft has a strangle hold on. Footnotes are one of them, headers are another, but a much less important one to my mind at this point.

At the moment, I generally write the OS X Rich Text service (think the default TextEdit, but piped through VoodooPad or whatever other program I'm working in,) and then prepare the document for "completion" using a quick trip through MS Word, which I output as a PDF file, to get all of the "publishing features" and avoid having to work in

In certain respects, footnotes in particular is a typographical feature that I think many expect is on it's way out, and as a result there isn't a lot of support this kind feature. Also, since most academics are too busy, being academics, and not designing software, there aren't many options, beyond of course Microsoft.

So I'm at a loss with regards what to do. I've considered (and even installed all that I need to do to start producing documents using LaTeX/TeX, but that is compleatly overkill: I'm never going to have an equation in my work, and while I think LaTeX documents are incredibly pretty, learning another complex markup language with features that I will never use. I hope/expect that the next version of Markdown will have some sort of support for footnote text, but I'm not sure that this will work out particularly well either but I can definitely wait on this one until it actually happens.

But yes, anyway. I want a good footnote solution that is mainly operable within RTF and (even minimally) markuped plain text files. Sigh. If anyone has any briliant solutions that I've overlooked that would be awesome. In any case, until next time, stay well.

Cheers, tycho(ish)

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