GTD: Automator Wants To Know What You Are Doing Right Now

I’m into systems. I love figuring out how to get from point A to point B and then optimizing the process as efficiently as possible. Better yet, I love being able to turn a system on and not have to think about it again. This is one of those systems.

I’m into systems. I love figuring out how to get from point A to point B and then optimizing the process as efficiently as possible. Better yet, I love being able to turn a system on and not have to think about it again.

This is one of those systems. I’m an entrepreneur. I don’t have a boss telling me what to do. It’s easy to start my day, turn on iTunes, and get lost for an hour or two tweaking my Mac or my [tag]GTD[/tag] system while I drink a pot of coffee. This system is a helpful nudge to get back to work.

What is it and what does it do?

  • It’s an Apple Automator application designed to log your activity.
  • When you first open it, it asks you to set a loop duration. Default is 30 minutes.
  • It gets a specified finder item. In this case, a text file, and opens it with the default application. Mine is TextMate.
  • It puts the current date and time on the clipboard.
  • With the date and time on the clipboard, you can move the cursor to the bottom or top of the page, whichever you prefer, paste the date and start typing.

Benefits of using this application:

  • It’s a time tracker, for billing, accountability, etc.
  • It’s a reminder to get back to work if you’ve been slacking.
  • It gives you a picture of what you’ve been doing for the day.
  • It’s a journal. You don’t have to be so concrete, as in, I’m sending email. You could write about what you’ve just learned or hope to learn, how you’re feeling, or any other fluffy thing that journals are good for.

I use it as a combination of all of these. It keeps me on task. It reminds me to reflect. It gives me a place to collect thoughts. And it really helps me to get things done.

Preparation:

  • Create a text file named ‘What I’m Doing Now.txt’ and save it in ~/Library/Favorites/

How to use:

  1. Download the application and unzip.
  2. Double click the app or set as a login item.
  3. Default loop time is 30 minutes (1800 seconds). Modify to your preferences.
  4. The text file you created during the preparation will open in your default text editor.
  5. Move your cursor where you want it, paste the date and time that’s already on your clipboard (Ctrl + V), and then type what you are doing.

Tips:

  • If you want to edit any of the variables, ctrl click on the app and choose ‘Show Package Contents’. The workflow is located in the ‘Resources’ folder and named ‘What I’m Doing Right Now.workflow’. If you want to change the default loop time, open the scripts folder and edit ‘main.scpt’ in Script Editor. The second line, ‘current_idle’ is the delay in seconds before the workflow runs.
  • It helps me to think about the NLP Neurological Levels when I log what I’m doing. I will note my current environment, my current and previous behaviors, what skills I’m using, the beliefs I’m operating under, what kind of person I’m being, and who else is involved. It’s good motivation and helps me remember why I’m doing what I’m doing.
  • This is not a replacement for Twitter. What this can do, however, is help you to differentiate what your Twitter followers need to know about your moment-to-moment activities.