Getting Things Done by David Allen
Finally, I’m sitting down to read Getting Things Done. The famous GTD! David Allen has inspired a lot of people with this book, including Merlin Mann, who in his turn inspired Ash Ponders.
I’ve been tortured by the vague sense that I should be doing significant things with my life for the last several years. It’s not always pleasant to feel as if you’re destined for greatness. Clearly what’s missing is a system which will convert those visions of personal greatness into something actionable.
That’s what Allen offers: a system in which everything from “Win Nobel Prize” to “Trim Pubes to Manageable Size” can be organized. A black belt in Personal Productivity is supposedly reached when you have everything in your inboxes and are able to work on one task with a clear head, knowing that you’ll get to everything else eventually.
Ernest Hemingway, taking care of business on safari in Africa.
Reading the first two chapters, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have at least 5 inbaskets already going. Unfortunately, one of them is my bed, and one is my floor. Looking over at my bed, I can see some clean laundry (next action: fold and put in closet), dirty laundry (next action: put in hamper) and some miscellaneous bank receipts and Ministerial documents (next action: file in appropriate filing system).
Looking immediately to my right, at inbasket #5—the floor of my bedroom—I can see why I haven’t taken action on filing the papers: my previous filing system, which self-destructed a couple weeks ago, is occupying a few square feet (next action: buy new filing system) next to 6 pairs of shoes (next action: shove under bed) and a half bottle of wine (next action: drink?)
I suspect that my closet is also an inbasket of sorts. That sausage sitting there on the third shelf. Is that an actionable goal? Or should I relegate it to my someday/maybe folder? These are the dilemmas that plague me.
I suspect I have quite a bit of work to do before I can say I have my black belt in personal productivity.