The self-help project part two

In Self-help on September 26, 2011 at 12:14 am

Twisting, pulsating lists are bursting from my subconscious into my dreams.

After having read 70% of Getting Things Done (the Kindle is very specific on that – I’m on virtual page 207 our of 293), I’m now inspired to organise my life.

Inspired to a certain point, that is. Never underestimate the power of procrastination. There are a few things on my immediate to-do lists: Write a cover story (due last week), apply for a job, do washing up, etc. And all that I need to do, according to Dave Allen, is to spend a week or so organising everything into folders and files and lists and calendars and electronic organisers (which I’m quite geekily excited about the prospect of, I must admit).

And there’s no doubt, cynical as I am of the book, of how effective following all these methods could be. The idea is to get all your “stuff” (he calls it “stuff” with very pronounced “quotation marks”) not done, but into a system where you can stop worrying about it. Anything that takes two minutes or less, you just do; anything that will take longer can be put into an inbox to be done as soon as you have time, or on to a calendar to do at a specific time. And so on. It means that you will know that nothing will “slip through the cracks” (hey, Dave, these quotation marks are kind of “moreish”) and you can walk around with a clear head knowing that even if you’re not doing everything you could be, at least you know what you are not doing.

It’s very sensible, and I look forward to putting all my affairs in order, clearing my head and developing some executive zen calm (the sort of state where Allen’s readers are “ambling around your koi pond with a chardonnay at sunset” – seriously. I’ve got a load more of those snapshots of the book’s target audience saved up for a later post).

But I just haven’t got the time for that. I’m aware that the main reason I’ve not got the time is that I’m shamefully disorganised. Allen has helped “open my eyes” to that. As a consequence, I’m in whatever the opposite of that zen state is. I’m swigging chardonnay from the bottle while trying to catch those koi with my hands as I splash through the pond at midnight.

And I’m having nightmares. Genuine nightmares. About lists. I’ll read a little bit of Getting Things Done (“GTD” to its evangelists, I believe) before bed, think how wonderfully organised I will be as soon as I sort out my life according to the book, realise a load more things I will be able to do than those I’ve already got nagging at me, realise there’s a load of stuff I could have done ages ago if I’d been organized, realise how much I have to do… and toss and turn all night with lists and sublists and categories going on in my mind.

If I follow the book, I will clear my subconscious of all that “stuff”. But at the moment the blasted title is adding more and more stuff to my subconscious until it’s overflowing into my dreams. I suspect it could be a little like crack now. I was getting by OK without it, but now I’m having hallucinations and DTs until I really drink the Kool Aid.

I’ll get round to it soon, subconscious. It’s on my to-do list.

Read part one of the self-help project here.


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