Ultra-simple framework to organize your life.
Boost productivity and reduce stress by organizing your documents, workflow and personal budget with an ultra-simple system loosely inspired in GTD, Todo.txt, OBTF (One Big Text File), Bullet journal (notes on paper), spreadsheets, index cards, inbox zero and desktop zero.
'Every document belongs to a project'.
root folder: YOUR NAME
First of all create a folder in a partition of your disk. ALL your stuff will be stored here.
main folders: PROJECT STATUS
Inside your root folder there are 2 folders:
INBOX (folder to store your active projects) ARCHIVE (folder to store your inactive projects - often organized in bundles)
[collection] #project @subproject -folders
collection: [ ]
Inside ARCHIVE folder you put [collections]: e.g: [large investor]
project (derived from twitter hashtag): #
Inside INBOX, ARCHIVE or [collection] folders you put #projects: e.g: #house in portugal
subproject (derived from twitter mention): @
Inside #project folders you put @subprojects: e.g: @building permit
storage folder: -
Inside @subprojects you put -storage folders: e.g: -drawings
When reasonable reduce unnecessary nesting by merging folders. Hints:
Prefer: #[email protected] Instead of: #project / @onlyOneSubproject
Prefer: -drawings-details-wall Instead of: -drawings / -details / -wall
And be pragmatic:
Prefix for temporary folders: _ e.g: _standby
Folders to keep old versions of files: + e.g: -plans / +
use a system that fits your needs 1. Some hints:
Prefix for template / boilerplate files: $ e.g: $curriculum
version files by using a modification date suffix 2: Calendar Versioning
e.g: yourfile-2020-10-18 e.g: yourfile+20201018
you only need one permanent desktop shortcut to navigate through your documents:
Shortcut to INBOX folder
A shortcut to ARCHIVE is optional - only inactive projects are there.
and/or a launcher-file finder 3.
'Manage a collection of inputs'.
One text file 4 and a paper notebook collect all inputs:
Tasks listed in the Calendar section of the text file have a due date: [ ]
Dates are inserted before the task description (allowing chronological sorting):
e.g. inserting a scheduled date: [year-month-day=hour] [2020-11-29=9h] Doctor appointment
e.g. inserting a trigger/fuzzy date: [date >>] [2020-10-10 >>] Waiting for client feedback after this date
e.g. inserting a deadline date: [date <
Resuming (check also screenshots):
on a paper notebook: Tasks (collection of tasks to be done ASAP)
on a text file with 2 sections: Calendar (collection of tasks that can/must wait) Notes (collection of thoughts and bookmarks)
'You may not need a personal budget'.
Does it worth to spend cognitive bandwidth to know that last month I spent €321,83 on groceries? I already know that I spend around €300. What I crave is to feel in control of my finances.
How to do it in a practical way? Track your net worth in a spreadsheet:
Complicated systems always fail on the long-term. Hamster-system aims to be simple and practical.
Hamster folder (organize your documents)
Hamster flow (organize your workflow)
Hamster budget (organize your money)
This system doesn't have specialized apps. However, it is platform agnostic so you can easily adapt it to meet your needs or make it multi-platform by moving your text file to a cloud. I use it only on my PC so when a paper notebook is not enough (and most times it is), I email myself the new stuff and take care of it later.
Probably not but I test new options and 'tree shake' existent ones agressively. 8
1 - e.g: relevant naming system for architects. I use a great free tool for batch renaming. ↩
2 - After a long trial, "builds" were deprecated. "Modification dates", aka Calendar versioning (CalVer) are more practical and descriptive. ↩
3 - After having tried most options for Windows (win+type, Keypirinha, Everything, Cerebro, Wox, Zazu, Launchy, FARR), I'm using Listary. Pros: Launch and file search without external software, low memory usage (less than 40Mb on win7), fast and configurable. Cons: No calculator function. ↩
4 - Hosted in a cloud (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc) if possible. ↩
5 - A full featured calendar (Google calendar, Apple calendar, etc) might pay off in certain cases. ↩
6 - Try to keep it under 2K lines. If you can't, it means that some excerpts should live independently or even in a more suitable format (e.g. spreadsheet, public notes) Example ↩
7 - Hint: on Sublime press F9 (or F5 on Mac) to sort dates. ↩
8 - Org-mode, Roam research (Foam, Obsidian), Johnny-decimal (...) ↩
Hamster-System by Enio Ferreira is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.