The Art of “Not” Getting Things Done

Getting Organized

I think I’ve had an organizer in one form or another since high school. I know what you’re thinking, and I was hazed quite a bit for it. But my point is that I think I determined early on that I had a lot of stuff to do and needed to find creative ways to wrap my head around it. So in the past 25 years or so, I have come up with all sorts of ways to keep my mental sanity, for what it’s worth. In high school, I think it started as a spiral-bound datebook that I bought at OfficeMax for $1.99. As time passed, my organizer of choice continued to evolve becoming all sorts of different sizes, binders, and eventually introducing technology to help.

Of course, the tools were not the only thing that changed but also the ways I did things to keep my sanity. I have sat through countless classes and seminars on how to organize your day better, get more out of life, reach your far-reaching goals, blah, blah, blah and found that no one system really worked for me. What I had to really do is to pull in the best pieces of all those different boring teachings and create something that I could live with.

Getting Things Done

A few years ago a friend recommended the book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen and I have to say, HUGE LIGHTBULBS! While I was reading the book, I started to see that all the things that I invented in my mind to manage my time and life was already articulated in one form or another by David. The huge premise of David’s teachings is that your brain is not very good at managing a lot of stuff in RAM and it can’t work at its best it can if it’s cluttered with meaningful or meaningless crap. If you are plagued by having to think about buying milk at the store or turning off the porch light at bedtime, you’ll never be able to solve world hunger or cure cancer. Some people can accomplish those large worldly goals by basically ignoring all the small stuff or having others do it for them but that’s not really an option for most mortals. So for us, we need to find ways to clear her mind of the clutter so we can focus on the bigger things.

Not Getting Things Done

So why all this “Getting Things Done“?  So I’ll tell you, I like to have fun.  I like to go out and enjoy myself, maybe take a surreal trip here and there, or just spend a Saturday afternoon with a Law and Order marathon.  I have this deep down need to make sure that things are under control and that I’m making progress on something.  So David’s system gives me the ability to take large pockets of time and enjoy myself knowing deep down that my life isn’t crumbling down around me.

Enter the Geek

Of course as I have said, I am a geek and geeks usually have a nasty tendency to be a little lazy.  Maybe lazy is a harsh word… maybe it’s more that we try to find the quickest and most efficient way of doing things.  David Allen is actually a very old-school, paper-based person which actually drives me nuts.  So at every turn, I try to find ways to take his system and apply technology to it to make it better.  What I’ve done is to integrate his teachings and use tools that I already have including my handheld, Microsoft Outlook, Dropbox, Evernote, and Audrey to better the system and make it work for the geek.

In the next few posts, I’ll talk about how I do some of this. But for now, I would recommend taking a look at David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done” and see if you can finally get to cleaning that garage that you’ve been meaning to do. World Hunger is next on the list.

What do you use to keep yourself organized? Stone tablet and chisel? Direct neural connection to your PC? I would love to hear it below.

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