I’m a late in life convert to David Allen’s Getting Things Done (hereafter GTD). Before reading GTD I had completed a Ph.D. and had twenty years of work experience. Here is my before office picture:
Here is my before desk picture:
I met Ian Watson at Comdex in January 2009, and by March 2009 Ian had gotten on my chest and said “You promise me that you will read GTD, or I’m not getting off!” in his fancy Brit accent. Stung, I reeled and said “I give you my word I will read GTD” and then proceeded to download GTD from Audible and started listening to it while riding my bike down the Boise Green belt.
At the 10 mile point in the bike ride, when I turned around to return home, I had heard enough of GTD that I *felt* different. I could see a bunch of small practical changes I could make, I began to realize that many control levers to stress and productivity were in my control, awaiting exploration. Huh?
Well, to give you a concrete example:
- For the first time, I knew that I needed a general reference filing system (GTD page 44).
- Monkey mind. Though David Allen does not use the term “monkey mind” in GTD (he does use in when interviewed in the book WILLPOWER on page 77), listening to GTD for 2 hours convinced me that I was on to something that might cut through the Gordian Knot of my monkey mind problem. Allen talks about “Mind Like Water” in GTD, but no matter, I knew David Allen was on to me!
- One idea, one piece of paper. When you exist in a constant state of dr-monkey-mind, one idea, one piece of paper is a point of calm providing a place to start to climb down from the crazy tree.
Taken together, these three vectors of thinking, added up to getting more organized. In fact, you know in the movie CHARIOTS OF FIRE where the Christian runner says “When I run, I feel HIS pleasure (at 2:30 in the clip)?” At first I dabbled in getting organized.
As I dabbled, I enjoyed myself. I stopped worrying about project deadlines. I still had the deadlines, I just knew that I had time to do the organization that pleased me. What was pleasing me was simplifying, organizing, jettisoning the unnecessary stuff. I found what when I organized, I felt God’s pleasure. Corny, but this spiritual connection is still with me today.
Here is the after implementing GTD desk picture:
Same desk, only with organization this time.