As I mentioned yesterday, I decided to dedicate this weekend to getting things done. A few years ago, someone recommended David Allen’s book Getting Things Done to me, and it really changed the way I manage things, both in and outside of work. (In fact, David Allen held a really good presentation at my work place two summers ago.) Basically, the book teaches how to keep things in order so that every task that needs to be done can be crossed off this list with a minimum of preparation and effort. Also, if you know that everything that needs to be done is under control, you can focus on what you are doing at the moment without worrying that something else is slipping. And in order to minimize the to-dos, anything that can be done in less than five minutes should be done immediately.
The problem is of course that you still have to do the actual work – it doesn’t just take care of itself. So this weekend, I have gathered my lists and my piles, and I am trying to cross off as much as possible in order to not have to bother for a while. While going through my pile of administrative mail this evening, I realize however that I lived in fantasy land for so many years before getting more permanently settled here in the U.S. My administrative responsibilities were for years limited to a few bills every month. Here on the other hand, I get SO much mail and information from every single institution that I am in some way connected to. In addition to that, credit card companies try to convince me to get credit with them, and charities from development agencies to animal rights organization try to convince me to donate to their causes. And it takes an awful amount of time to go through. A waste of time, I would say. I can’t even imagine how it must be to have a family and a house in this country. No wonder people end up like in Revolutionary Road!
My very well read copy of GTD