How to Develop a Bias for Action

Having used the GTD methodology for a number of years now, one of the things that I’ve come to realise is that, for me at least, I need something else in addition to the the well curated lists to keep my projects moving forward.

Starting very simply I asked the question what three things need to happen this week for it to be a good week?

It turns out that this time horizon is a good one for me. Asking a variant of this question daily leads me to struggling to fill the three slots – there’s usually one thing that I really need to do on any given day, other things are nice to get finished. Longer time horizons are easier since many of the projects that I’m involved with I have goals, gannt charts, and discrete milestones. Well crafted project plans make life very easy indeed.

What I’ve found to be crucial to make this system work is that I review my lists on a weekly basis, usually a Friday. This weekly review is an essential component of the GTD methodology and also provides an opportunity to see what of my three things I actually got done. For those things that I didn’t get done this is a good time to answer why not and take those lessons on board for future weeks.

How about you? What three things do you need to complete in the coming week to be able to consider it successful?

Friday Inspiration: Joe Cornish

Joe Cornish is one of those photographers whose work I continue to return to. Much of what he does is shot in the part of England, Yorkshire, that I consider home and his ability to articulate what he’s thinking as he frames a particular shot is instructive. I’m also lusting after the Linhof Techno camera and the Phase One back but that’s a different topic entirely. Find out more about Joe Cornish here and enjoy the videos below.

Friday Inspiration: Julius Shulman

The relationship between creator and publicist is something that struck me as a little weird when it was first spelled out that there may be a real need for this dynamic – how will anyone know what you’re done if you don’t tell them or can’t communicate with them effectively?

I was thinking about this again recently in the context of architects and the photographers that photograph the resulting buildings. A good architectural photographer is able to understand the buildings design and show it in a way that reinforces the design. Perhaps the most famous of architecture photographers is Julius Shulman. While I didn’t know who Shulman was until recently I did recognize some of his photographs and particularly the one shown above, “Case Study House #22, Los Angeles, 1960. Pierre Koenig, Architect.” One of the distinct features of Shulman’s work was that he often included people in his photographs, something that was unusual at the time and still isn’t terribly commonplace. Check out the videos of Shulman discussing his work below. A full version of the documentary ‘Visual Acoustics‘ is available on NetFlix or you can buy a copy here.

Friday Inspiration: Sally Mann

Sally Mann has used a large format camera to photograph the deep south since the 1970’s producing bodies of work that cover portraiture, architecture, landscape and still life. Perhaps her most well known work was ‘Immediate Family’ which focused on her three children who were all under 12 at the time. It’s release was met with controversy, including accusations of child pornography – many of the photos were of her children playing and swimming naked at the families summer cottage.

Sally Mann has received many awards including being named ‘America’s Best Photographer’ by Time Magazine in 2001, she’s a Guggenheim fellow and three times a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship awardee.

Check out the 2006 documentary of Sally Mann, her work and her process ‘What Remains’ below.

Friday Inspiration: Duane Michals

Duane Michals name cropped up in a couple of different places for me in the last month and because I pay attention to those kind of coincidences I decided to look him up.

In researching Duane Michals I was surprised by his range from commerical to fine art and everything in between. I didn’t realize for instance that he was responsible for the photograph’s on The Police Album Synchronicity. The work of his that perhaps he’s most famous for are the still films, an example of which ‘Chance Meeting’ is above and incorporating text into his images. He also has a tremendous sense of humor, some of which comes through in the film below.

Duane Michals, Photographer – Video Editing – Trailer : project of documentary directed by Camille Guichard / Terra Luna Films from Les Particules Videos on Vimeo.

Friday Inspiration: John Coffer

Occasionally I will find the same snippet of information pop up across a variety of different webpages, magazines, etc. that I turn to on a daily basis to find out what’s going on. That’s how it was with John Coffer.

John was recently featured in the Atlantic Magazine. John lives off the grid on a 50 acre farm in upstate NY that he uses as his base for “Camp Tintype”, ‘the best known and longest running learning center for wet-plate collodion photography in the world’. In addition to the video below, there are more videos on John’s website that are well worth a look. While you’re at John’s website you should also check out some of his tintypes.

COFFER from thismustbetheplace on Vimeo.