I heard about GTD (David Allen’s Getting Things Done system) on NPR on February 20th. I spent a couple of weeks getting into the habit of Ubiquitous Capture. I did the Processing and the Organization (though I still haven’t reorganized my planner to a perfect GTD state; I am trying out various paper and computer options to find the best one). I have the idea of Weekly Review.
Now it is time for the Doing part. “Workflow” is the cute term.
Have you ever noticed how many self-help empires are built almost entirely on cute terms?
GTD isn’t really the same old classic time management with cute new terms. It is a bottom-up rather than a top-down approach. It focuses on maintaining low stress while being productive, through the “mind like water” approach, whereas classic time management tends to focus entirely on productivity, figuring that the source of people’s stress is not getting things done.
Last night in class, one of the women — a homeschooling mom who doesn’t work outside the home — was bemoaning the fact that we are all so busy. Most of the others present joined her. People have been complaining about the frenetic pace of modern life since the 1920s, but perhaps it is true that our current technology encourages us to be On all the time. When I wake up in the wee hours of the morning with a to-do list pestering me, there is now nothing to stop me from getting up and getting to work. So maybe Allen is right when he suggests that to-do lists are no longer the best way.
Allen’s idea is that, having done your Weekly Review and therefore having confidence that everything is under control, you can take a few seconds to glance at your calendar and your Next Actions list and allow your brain — freed of hamster-like fretting over all the things you have to do — to make excellent intuitive choices about what to do next. This idea is supported by a variety of thoughts about what the brain is good at (complex decisions) and what it is bad at (remembering to buy batteries). You let your paper or software take care of those low-level things like remembering and reminding, and let your brain’s creativity and cleverness take over.
Nearly everyone was interviewed in front of a bookshelf, and they were all different. I’m not talking about the titles — I couldn’t see any titles. It was the way the books were, physically, that I found so interesting.
So I have taken pictures of some of my bookshelves and I am sharing them with you here. I would like to see yours, too. No fair straightening or dusting them first. I didn’t.
One of the items I have for review from Amazon this month is Windows Vista Ultimate. My kids are assuring me that it will be bad for the computer to install this. I always think of installing a new operating system as a good thing to do for a computer. Bracing, you know, like a spa day or something. Are my kids just being old-fashioned fuddy duddies resisting change, or is there actually something wrong with Vista?
Okay. I eagerly await your bookshelves and computer expertise, and I will let you know how the whole GTD Workflow thing goes.
As Janalisa says, “Later, tater!” I think that’s more picturesque than the alligator one, don’t you?