For those who seek sheet music
There are only a few sheet music here, please see the explanation in this article.
For those who seek sheet music
Composed by HyperDuck SoundWorks
This is the ending theme of the game Dust: An Elysian Tail (excellent platform game!). The soundtrack is awesome.
Getting Things Done is a wonderful method written by David Allen that helped me a lot to organize my tasks and... getting the things done. However, when I talked about that method to my friends, they often thought that I was crazy to use such a complex method, to tidy my tasks to this extent. Well, I know I'm not an expert in explaining things, so I thought to myself: "Once I find a GTD implementation that really suits me, I should talk about it with my words, simplify it to make it understandable and make it last long to prove its efficiency".
That's the point of this article: I've been trying multiple GTD implementations until I adopted only a few weeks ago a method that really, really suits me. All the methods I tried before always had weak points and didn't satisfy me for a long time. I'll talk about how I came to the actual method in order to show how it can be tedious to find the most suitable organization for oneself. If you want to get to the efficient method, jump to the last part of the article.
1st attempt with Evernote
Once I read the GTD book, I said to myself: "I won't use the manual solution proposed in the book, using a calendar book and all that paper stuff, I want to use computer stuff" I realized that I had 2 worlds: the physical world and the computer world. I had to find 2 solutions! Here's what I built:
For the physical world, at work and at home
I bought a 3-tier desk tray where I put the unclassified "stuff" on the 1st tier, the "deferred" papers on the 2nd tier, and the "to read" papers on the 3rd tier.
For the reference material, I used something existing at work: hanging file folders in the drawer of the desk.
For the computer world
I created 2 inbox: "Action Pending" and "Reference". The tasks go in the "Action Pending" inbox, and all reference material in "Reference".
I put context tags (@home, @work, @errands...) to all the notes.
Then I add a priority tag "1-Now" for next actions, "5-Someday" for tasks that were scheduled later or someday/maybe.
I also add in every task a checkbox icon which I had to check if the task was done.
I created the main "Saved Searches":
When a task is completed, it disappears from the context searches, you can find them again by using the "@Completed" saved search.
This method didn't satisfy me because of the following reasons:
I used this method for less than a year, then completely abandoned it.
2nd attempt with Evernote
Then, I wanted to get myself again in the GTD flow, I tried to simplify the Evernote organization. I suppressed the use of the Saved Searches and the checkboxes in order to only use the context tags. I created a new inbox called "Completed". When I finish a task, I simply move it in the Completed inbox.
It was a lot better that the Version 1 method, no need to use the Saved Searches that were not easy to use.
However, I still had the same problems in NixNote (even if lots of bugs were corrected, it was so slow) and on the mobile device.
Slowly, I came to use less and less this GTD implementation, replaced by the plain-old task list on a paper...
3rd attempt with todo.txt
Then, I realized that what I needed was something simple. Something simple is something you control, with fast speed. The plain-old task list on the back of an envelope is the most simple task list you can have: I had to find something nearly as simple. I discovered by accident the todo.txt concept, and its CLI tool. I discovered the website Plaintext productivity which is really inspiring.
Here's my new GTD implementation:
I only put the "next actions" tasks in this system (file todo.txt). All "Someday/maybe" tasks are stored in another file someday.txt. Once completed, the tasks are automatically archived to done.txt.
All files I create, like a draft of this article, are in a folder named "@Drafts" where I put drafts, but also other Reference material. In the Dropbox account, I can create all the folders I want.
I use the Markdown syntax for text files, it's so simple and effective. In Notepad++, add a Markdown plugin_to edit Markdown text files with comfort. In Ubuntu, gedit already knows how to parse Markdown files. Just use the .md extension for the files instead of .txt. I use the Markdown.pl script of the official website in order to convert txt files to HTML.
With this system, I became very productive, I never was as effective as with this implementation. I came to do things I always postponed, I even made a task I had postponed for 2 years!
Simplicity is the key of productivity: you want things done, keep it simple! Because you don't want the trusted system to have bugs, be so slow, and refrain you to do things. This trusted system is effective in multi-platform (Windows, Linux, Android), which is very important if you want to have your tasks with you everywhere.
I hope this system will last longer than the preceding ones. I'm confident in it. Just use the context tags (with @) and the project + sign, use the filters and synchronize all. And get the things done.
PS: Haha, this article is finally finished, I can check this task :)
At least, I take some time to write an article about it.
It has been months I decided to make a personal challenge: learn by heart the 15 Bach's 2-part inventions for keyboard. You may ask: "Why are you torturing yourself so bad?". Yes, it's some kind of torture, because these inventions are generally pieces you give to students for practising some Bach. And often, they are not pieces you want to play by yourself, you tend to endure it instead of taking pleasure in playing them.
The reasons of this challenge
First: I talked about the ebook "Fundamentals of Piano Practise" in this article. There was an example on how to practise some pieces correctly: learn the 2 hands separately at 150% rate, then join the 2 hands. Work in little sections, and learn each section by heart before practising it. The example was on 3 Bach's inventions: #8, #13 and #1. I began the challenge like it. Then, it became: "And if I learnt all the inventions in the same manner?"
Second: I always hated playing Bach. It always was a labor when I had to play a piece of Bach. It wasn't really because it was ugly to hear, because if you play it well, it's nice to hear. No, it was because it was hard to practise! I didn't have the right method to practise, I didn't know the Chang's method. Then, I realized after working on these 3 pieces that in fact it wasn't so bad to practise Bach with a rigorous method. I came to understand that Bach is hard because the 2 hands are playing independant melodies. My skills in deciphering sheet music are not good enough to play by sight a piece of Bach. That's why I didn't like playing Bach: I'm so lazy that I don't like practising, I prefer play by sight-reading. This challenge forces me to practise in the right way.
Third: practising my memory. The brain is capable of marvelous things, but you have to train it. Nowadays, it's so easy to delegate memory to an electronic third party. I don't remember phone numbers because my cell phone knows it. I don't remember email addresses because Google knows it. Idem for real addresses. In fact, my memory is bad because I'm lazy and I don't want to make the effort of memorizing. As it is said in the book "Fundamentals of Piano Practise", playing music requires your brain to find lots of algorithms to remember what note to play at what time. Music is algorithm. If you're good in playing music, it's because you have found efficient algorithms in your head to play it. So, when you practise with the right method, you learn a piece by heart first before practising it. It's quite challenging with Bach's pieces... Moreover, if you know a piece by heart, you don't have to find the sheet music: you already know it and can play it right away!
I'm not as righteous as I should be. I took some shortcuts in the method, always because of the same reason: I'm lazy. Here is the method I used to practise:
What are the shortcuts I took? For example, I didn't take the time to play very slowly the piece before quitting the piano session. It's already time-consuming to practise with this method... But you have to do it in order to have "Post Practise Improvement". Well, I recognize I should have done it, because there are so many imperfections in my interpretations. But anyway this is not my goal to become a performer.
I was also lazy on the parallel sets. Didn't take time to practise if some notes were difficult to pass.
Same thing for the mental play before playing for real. It's better to do a mental play of the piece before playing it, because it trains your mind. But it takes so much energy to do that...
Concerning the order of the pieces: I didn't learn them in the canonical order. Here is the order in which I learnt the inventions (in fact I don't remember it well, this might by wrong):
#8, #13, #1, #2, #3, #4, #15, #6, #14, #10, #5, #9, #7, #11, #12
Setting up the recording
Learning is good, but what's the real goal of practising a piece? Playing it to be heard! Inventions are study pieces, so in my opinion, they are not so nice to hear. Anyway, this is the goal, so I told to myself: "Your challenge won't be finished until you have recorded your interpretations of the 15 inventions".
Haha, I hadn't recorded a video for months, years. So even if I had learnt the 15 inventions, I still had to find how I would record myself...
Today, I forced myself to get something done. First the angle: I had to find a better point of view than my older videos. Totally up the keyboard was too tricky to set, don't have something very high to put the webcam on. Then I found a ladder on which I put the webcam. The angle was OK.
Then, the software to record. I haven't spent so much time to search what's the best recording software... So I came back to Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder I used for the past videos. It still works fine, and is easy to manipulate.
Finally the settings: for the video, 640x480 is the max I can use (webcam). For the sound: the electric piano is linked to my mini mixing table, which is linked to the line input of my sound card. Then I record with a good quality: check if it's Stereo, 44100 hz.
Then I recorded the inventions. What a mess! I haven't practised all the inventions since I learnt all of them, it was like 2 months I haven't played them! For each invention recorded, it's the same thing: I play it one time to know if it's OK, if I remember it well. Then I push the record button, and then mistakes flow everywhere! Sometimes I have to record 20 times the same invention! It's weird, because the mistakes appear anywhere, for no reason. I realized that was for several reasons:
When the recordings are done, I have to sort the videos, there are so many trash videos where I stopped because of huge mistakes. Then upload the good videos. And write a description.
That's the final point, the feedbacks. These will celebrate (or not) the end of the challenge. It's like a quest in RPG: it's always good to feel that you have finished the main quest!
Click here to see the article with all the video links.
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