Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Getting Things Done...and Wow

A few weeks ago I read Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.  And, I decided that the advice in this book was sound, practical, cheap-enough, and necessary.  I took a few days to implement the system and yesterday I launched my new life of organization and productivity.

I've never been so tired in my life.

What I've learned over the last two days is that I, quite simply, have too much to do.  I know, I know, you're thinking "You needed a book to tell you that? Pay ME $15 and I'll tell you the same thing!" But here's the thing: I've always held the belief that I didn't have too much to do.  That I was just being lazy.  And that if I spent a little more time grading, a little less time on Facebook, a little more time teaching yoga, a little less time watching Family Guy, that I'd be able to "get everything done."

Nope.  It's not possible.  One of the tenants of the book is to empty your brain of all thoughts--to write down, literally, everything that you have or want to do from "walk the dog" to "go to Italy in my lifetime."  Because, scientifically, your brain doesn't really recognize the difference between those two items when they're in thought form; it doesn't understand that one is "do it now" and the other is "eh, it'd be nice if I have the money someday."  That's a pretty gross simplification, but you get the idea.  And, throughout the day, I'm supposed to write down everything new thought, every new task, and put it in my in-box.  Yesterday I added 40 items.  Today I added 60.

No wonder I can't get everything done in a day! What I absolutely love about this book is that it's teaching me patience with myself.  I need to be proud of myself for accomplishing what I do during the day, not berate myself for not finishing absolutely everything.

The ultimate goal here is to get my life in better control so I can start writing again.  I'm a writer...and writers need to write.

By the way, I think you should buy this book.  It's a quick read, and even if you don't want to go crazy with Allen's system, everyone can take at least one nugget of information to help them be more productive and efficient.

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