Getting Organised

I'm currently preoccupied with delivery. Making sure that I Get Stuff Done. This is something that comes into predictable focus most times that I come under a lot of workload pressure, as is happening at the moment.

I've spent a lot of time and money over the years, attempting to organise myself. I already mentioned owning a Psion Organiser II LZ 64 back in 1990 - yes it has really been that long. Since then, I have owned every available variant of the Psion Series 3 and Series 5, a Palm Vx, a Compaq iPaq H3850, and a Palm Lifedrive. In addition to the hardware, I have purchased a lot of software over the years either to help manage my time, or to keep other time management software in sync. I've read and absorbed Stephen Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and First Things First with their top down approach, and David Allen's immensely popular Getting Things Done with its bottom-up one.

In common with a lot of other geeks, GTD appeals to me. It's very focused on the practical and on figuring out what the next action is. Furthermore, I like the idea of clearing my mental decks of what David Allen calls “open loops” - things I know I have to do - and putting them in a trusted system. However, step one of GTD is to carry out a giant inventory of everything, so you can get all of the open loops into one huge inbox. This is alleged to take two days and, perhaps ironically, so far I haven't come anywhere close to finding the time to do it.

Over the years, I've put so much time into investigating ways of managing my time, that I should be a veritable guru. In fact, I do know quite a lot of theory about it. However, my execution is sometimes poor. For years I thought that the problem was the lack of a good tool. All of the tools I tried seemed to have flaws that stopped me being able to use them quite as effectively as I'd hoped when I got them. However, it's clearly more fundamental than that.

What I have learned is that I need to do the following two things:

  1. Figure out what the next concrete action is;

  2. Say no to people.

I am better at both of these than I used to be, but still not good enough.

Maybe it's time to get those two days into my diary.

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