Getting (Some) Things Done

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’ve read David Allen’s Getting Things Done. As you may have noticed, the system has some rabid fans, many of whom have developed their own finely-honed variations of the system — not to mention entire lists of paraphernalia designed to accomplish their goals in style. There are notebooks (Moleskine!), software programs, websites and even pens, all pursued by the GTD faithful with the fervor of a religious cult. No, I’m not making fun; a little obsession can be good for the soul. I’m just one of those who missed the GTD train.

My personal organizational system follows a more David-Allen-meets-W-C-Fields approach. WC Fields advised:

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no use being a damn fool about it.”

You gotta admit he had a point. Honestly, just how much can you expect to accomplish without ruining your health, your sanity and your relationships? Especially when it comes to business. I mean, sure, money’s nice. (It’s very nice in fact and if you have any extra, I’d deeply appreciate some dead presidents in my mail box — as long as they’re of the foldable variety.) But like the old adage says, they don’t put a luggage rack on a hearse. I’ve heard the “you can have it all!” schpiel all my life and all I can say is “yeah, sure.” Seriously, if I had it all, where would I put it?

So, hoping to get at least some things done without driving myself nuts, I’ve adjusted my personal GTD system accordingly. My running to-do list not only has a “Someday/Maybe” category, it has an IMD (In My Dreams) category and a SFGTD category (Something For God to Do). Hey, if I can’t have it all, I certainly can’t do it all, can I?

One of the GTD tricks I retained in my system is the brain dump or, as it is referred to by some: the trigger list. The object, for any GTD virgins out there, is to do a weekly review, citing tasks accomplished, new projects developing, items needed, persons to call and such, all generally adding to and deleting from your running to-do list. Far from transforming you from a human-being to a human-doing, the brain dump is an excellent way to get things off your mind and onto paper where you can keep track of them. Gray matter is too precious to be wasted on shopping lists and reminders to pick up the dry cleaning. The Trigger List attempts to cover every area of your life, helping you to focus on details and projects that need your attention, keeping as little as possible from falling through the cracks.

It’s probably one of those things that have to been seen to understand, so here’s one of the best I’ve found, courtesy of one of my favorite blogsOrganize IT.

Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. — Goethe

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