Saturday, September 8, 2012

Getting Things Done

Getting things done

There's a whole industry out there focused on the art and science of GTD - getting things done, sometimes referred to as "life hacks" or more prosaically, "productivity." 

Laying street tile, Tbilisi, Georgia.

As my interregnum between teaching English in Rustavi and relocating to New Mexico begins to close, I sometimes fret about my pace at getting things done. The truth is, though, I've put one GTD step in front of the other pretty well in regard to transitioning from one rootless chapter to the next. So I'll give myself a good grade on that.

Working the farm, Holstein, Missouri

In other ways, though, I struggle with GTD. It'd be easy to point to the usual suspect, procrastination, but that's just the external behavior that arises from the true culprits:

  • Fear
  • Discipline
  • Process design (knowing the goals, whether you've got the *right* goals, efficiency, correct priorities, capacity) 

Putting up plums, Gurjaani, Georgia

GTD porn

There's no shortage of books, websites, consultants, apps, motivational speakers, life coaches (or GMAFB, "life design" coaches) out there devoted to helping us get things done. Some of it is good and some of it is schlock.

Unfortunately, if you're like me, sometimes you can be so entranced by the life hack literature out there, it keeps you from getting things done. A good summary here:

Joining a Facebook group about creative productivity is like buying a chair about jogging. 
Merlin Mann

Carrying hay, Ethiopia

Here are some resources I like:

A worthwhile investment of two hours of your life is to watch Randy Pausch's lecture on Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, and his lecture on Time Management.  You may already be familiar with Randy Pausch. He was a professor of computer science (virtual reality and other cool stuff) at Carnegie Mellon University. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2008. If your internet connection isn't up to watching the video on Youtube, you can download a copy of the lectures here.

Making apple butter, Holstein, Missouri

Stepcase Lifehack. From the site: ... dedicated to lifehacks, which is a phrase that describes any advice, resource, tip or trick that will help you get things done more efficiently and effectively.

43 Folders, specifically: Getting Started With "Getting Things Done. I first cited 43 Folders when I talked about going paperless.

It can be a dry read and it's more than 20 years old, but: 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. The ideas in the book can be life-changing, although they're super-hard to practice.

Old Missouri State Penitentiary, Art in the Park, Jefferson City

So, back to me:

Even though I feel good about some of the things I'm doing to reach goals, I've got stuff out there awaiting my attention. These range from tedious maintenance tasks that mitigate system failure (the not if, but when, remember?), to a long-deferred overhaul of a website I have, and so on.

As a former colleague liked to say, I need to get crack-a-lackin'.

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