This isn’t my first blog about Getting Things Done (GTD for short) and it probably won’t be the last. Also, I always want to spell waggon with those two gs, but apparently that’s been classed as archaic now for a century. Clearly I really might be as old as I feel some days.
Anyway, I’ve had my GTD system set up for so long now that I’ve forgotten how to live without it. Or, at least, I thought I had. Then it became abundantly clear that I’ve been slowly sliding towards chaos in both work and personal areas. Luckily for me, my version of chaos is most people’s version of normal, so nothing slipped or became a problem. The only problem as such was in the way I felt. Like I was always on the edge of forgetting something important. It was horrible.
So on Friday I completely got things sorted on the work front: projects identified, next actions defined, emails and tasks list all up to date. It gave me a wonderful sense of freedom. One which was also, unfortunately, a false sense of security in how easy it was.
On Sunday, I then spent my day working through this:
By the end of the day, you know where I was at?
Step 1: Stuff to in (or collect, for those of you who prefer the term).
All of those things that had been lying around, pieces of paperwork, random receipts, half held thoughts in my head, were actually at least captured all in one place. For most people who pick up Getting Things Done, I think they fall at this hurdle. Don’t get me wrong, it is massively overwhelming. I burst into tears at one point and I am not a person prone to random crying. Well, not at this stuff anyway.
So why keep going? Because I do know what it feels like at the other end. To be able to be mysteriously more productive and still have time for creative thinking. Having this system will essentially allow me to have two jobs: employee and writer. The bills still need paying and without a system, the one I love the most would be the one I have to sacrifice.
That’s how you put the wheels back on. You remember that the two days of 100% overwhelm will be followed by many more days when you know exactly what has to be done and how you are going to do it. I’d rather do that than run through every day at 25% stress and go to bed each night kicking myself for making progress on everything other than the things that matter to me most.