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tracks

Perhaps I
can surprise you by admitting that I’ve spend a lot of time lately
getting through Getting Things Done:
The Art of Stress-free Productivity
, 250+ pages of management
babble. Probably you will even be shocked when I tell you that this book
is published in the same series as _Body Talk at Work_,
_Corporate Charisma_, _More Time Less Stress_, _Mrs
Moneypenny : Survival in the City_ and more of these. All in all, it
wasn’t so bad. It is a bit pompous at times, could be 50% condensed but
I wanted to find out first hand what all the GTD hype
was about (see this post for
some of the more interesting links).

I’m not looking for a miracle
method to become more productive or focussed (although I wouldn’t mind
either at the moment). No, my main motivation is simply : I want to be
able to sleep better!

This requires some explaining. The last
couple of months, I regularly wake up in the middle of the night and as
there are plenty of things on my mind, I start brooding on them and,
more often than not, loose a couple of hours sleep/night. And these
quickly add up! Now, the basis of the GTD-mantra is getting all the
_stuff_ out of your head to reach the _mind like water_
state whatever that means. And I can see some sense in putting all your
current projects and worries somewhere on paper or computer, setting up
a system that forces you to read through these lists at regular
intervals, plan _next actions_ and update the lists accordingly.
If you trust this system it just may free your mind from all the
stuff!

At a later stage I may end up setting up such a system
following the suggestions of the
DevonThink Forum
or using
VoodooPad
but at the moment all I want is to offload my mind as
quickly as possible to a GTD-able database.

Fortunately, But She’s a Girl has
compiled such a system : Tracks, a GTD Web
Application
. At first I did the mistake following the generic
install instructions and quickly got lost in downloading packages from
SourceForge etc. until I found that there was an easy Mac OS X
Install Page
. There is a Ruby and Rails .dmg
package
but first you have to install Tcl/Tk Aqua. After these
easy steps, you have to follow the install man page which involves setting up a MySQL database and
filling it with the required tables (I have been using
phpmyadmin for this, but discovered in the process CocoaMySQL which makes all
this even simpler). Finally, you have to get to prompt-level and type
the magic commands

_cd Sites/tracks_

_ruby
script/server “”environment=production” port=3030_

(note
to self : make this a StartUp item as otherwise you have to redo this
step whenever you want to add material). Then,
_http://127.0.0.1:3030/login/signup_ gets you to a nice
webpage-interface and you can start to offload your mind of
_stuff_. I’ll report later whether it did have any effect at
all!.

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