Do you feel stress from too much stuff to do or lose track of things? Many entrepreneurial and management types I know read Getting Things Done and put it into practice.
I recommend it.
I read the book and like the philosophy — in particular, his observation that if your mind has to remember something, it will allocate resources that distract you from everything else. The more you have to remember, the more it will preoccupy your mind.
I didn’t connect with it on my first reading, when I thought it was just about efficiency. What made me appreciate it was meeting David Allen at a cocktail party. He described himself as a “freedom junky” and the book his way of creating freedom.
I value freedom over efficiency since I like most things (everything?) in my life, so I didn’t care how efficiently I did them. But mental freedom improves my life, so the message of freedom resonated.
I boiled the process down to creating a system once and for all for how to sort stuff coming into your life without worrying you might lose something valuable.
- If I can do it in a couple minutes, do it.
- If it’s worth doing later, put it in a place I don’t have to worry about.
- If it’s not worth doing, get rid of it.
I boiled down the storage part to:
- I keep my inbox to a few items overnight.
- A to-do list on my computer (a text file).
- A calendar on my computer.
- Paper mail worth responding to goes into a pile on my kitchen counter that never gets to more than a few items.
- The rest worth keeping goes into files on my computer or two milk-crate-like file holders in my closet, which is basically taxes, receipts of things I might return, and letters from people I like.
My result: mental freedom. That’s why I recommend it.
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