This is really ridiculous, but I totally love Getting Things Done.
I am not a CEO.
I am not a businesslady.
I am not a business student.
I have never taken a business class.
I don’t have any particular Life Responsibilities other than Do School, Housekeep, and Keep Cat Alive.
What I do have is needless, systemic stress that follows me from job to job, from state to state, from day to day, and a burning desire to categorize and compartmentalize every fifteen minutes of my life. So Getting Things Done is really perfect for me, even if I don’t have any high-priority business interests to manage.
The execution of the GTD system is almost wildly complicated, but quite intuitive. I’m not going to attempt to explain the mechanics, but, for me, the magic step is this:
1) Everything that enters your head leaves your head as immediately as possible, to a list. I like lists.
2) Regularly, the contents of that list are “handled” predictably. Some things are done immediately: do all two-minute tasks right away (what a great habit) Some things are recorded elsewhere (appointments on the calendar, notes for something in the future, phone numbers in the address book). Other things are tossed immediately (why did I write that down?) Other things are given the respect for thoughtful consideration they require.
Unlike the more traditional to-do list, this list doesn’t write your marching orders, your ‘Do This or Face The Wrath of Your Wrathful, Perfect, Imaginary Self’ stigma. Not everything can be done right away, or should be done right away. Your time does not belong to the list – the list is just the contents of your everyday brain, somewhere you can look at it, and make informed decisions instead of those dictated by guilt, procrastination, or haste.
3) And you still get to cross everything off in the end.
David Allen calls this a “trusted system,” and this is what my brain wants. My brain, rightfully so, does not trust itself to be it’s best self all the time, and actually remember to do everything I need to/want to do, or to always choose to do those things over the easier, more pleasant things. Like The Ocarina of Time. My brain currently gravitates to a Nintendo 64 controller more often than a schoolbook. And that’s okay, as long as my system is there to catch me back up when I’m done beating the mother-fraisfmoeining gdwatertemple.
If you trust your system, you can relax and enjoy relaxing, which is so peaceful I want to cry.
You get to play with lists without feeling the press of futility, knowing your beautiful, useful to-do list will most likely go ignored and be tossed, uncrossed, into next week’s garbage.
I’ll let you know how the Creative Productivity thing works out later.