The Irony of Trying to Read Getting Things Done
Having heard so much about this book (mostly from Trent over at The Simple Dollar), I decided I just had to check it out. Especially since I’ve been feeling low on time and like I’m neglecting my fiction. Plus me and a friend of mine are talking about starting a joint blog, so I need to figure out a way to make my time more efficient. This book seemed like a perfect place to start, so I checked it out of the library and took it home.
Problem was, I didn’t have enough time to read it before it was due back again. Woe is Irony unto me. Yes, this is a site about writing (which includes reading), but it’s also about finances, so there is no way I’m paying fees on things like this. Having only read about 30 pages of the book, I had to return it — this is one of the disadvantages of checking books out from the library instead of buying them. No problem though, I’ll request it again (so many people want it that it’s on back order to a bunch of other patrons so it’ll be a while) and eventually get to it. But still, it’s kind of funny.
What I did read, though, made a lot of sense. Here’s what I learned from just reading the first 30 pages:
- If you don’t write something down, it will pester you and you may forget it.
- Your mind will worry, stress, and spend valuable energy thinking about these “open loops.”
- One way to alleviate that is to write ideas and projects down (which I already do) so your mind is free to come up with more.
- One thing he does add to my system, however, is writing down what the next actionable step is to get that project rolling. So instead of just writing “Schedule Physical with Dr.” I now add in parenthesis, “(Wednesday during lunch).” It sounds ridiculously simple — and it is — but it clears your mind even more than just writing something down. By setting an immediate course towards the objective, your mind starts to work on the next thing because it can see that X or Y is going to get done. I’ve only been using it for a day now and it makes a huge difference.
- I’ve experienced this before with my fiction too. If I have a story idea in my head and it’s only in my head — that’s the only idea my mind can juggle. I will rarely come up with anything new until that story gets “resolved,” whether that’s by actually writing it or by jotting down notes on it in a place I know (subconsciously) I’ll revisit.
- It’s all about relaxing the subconscious and freeing it up to do it’s thing. Some people may think that it’s a little too “new agey” to be talking about the subconscious and unconscious this way, but anyone in a creative field (or athletes, even) know what I’m talking about. It’s called “the zone.”
Anyway, this is all from reading 30 pages. I knew I wasn’t going to finish it so I started skimming ahead and I didn’t see a whole lot that excited me. Has anyone else felt this way? I’m still going to “get it done,” but I feel like I’ve already gotten something very important from it and don’t know that I’ll get any more. It seems like a lot of logistical/operational stuff.
Care to comment on that?