Getting Things Done — DONE! Cross it off the list.

I showed up for work after holidays and I was already behind. Past two days I’ve worked like a fiend and it’s gotten worse.

This can’t go on. Either I learn how to navigate my life choices or I start making new choices. Full stop.

For the first time in my life, I’m casting about and exploring various time management strategies, and am getting dangerously close to giving one of the systems an honest try. It goes against every sensibility, long-held value, and temperamental tendency I have, but I simply have no choice unless I want to start my life over.

It ain’t going to be easy. Reading one of the very great many weblogs dedicated to the subject, I came across the following quiz — my responses interspersed in italics:

To find the very best solution, the problem you have must first be clear in your mind, and in the mind of anyone trying to help you.

A problem that is clearly defined, is 50% solved.

Ask yourself questions. For example, let’s say your office is cluttered. You might ask yourself . . .

1. How did my office get so cluttered?

Because I never put anything away.

2. Is anyone else, besides me, contributing to the clutter?

Nobody, except the people who send me stuff.

3. What are my systems for completing projects or going through the mail?

I sometimes exhibit a delayed reaction to panic attacks…

4. How much time do I currently invest in keeping the clutter out of my office?

Every six to twelve months I go nuts and throw everything out.

Once you come up with some answers to your questions, the solution should begin appearing. Keep this in mind when it comes to your organizing projects, and any other projects that you may have. If you do, you’re well on your way to being organized.

Whew! That’s a relief! Don’t see that solution just yet, but good to know it’s ‘50% solved’…

The new, improved, organized Brian Lamb. Watch for it, anywhere chupacabra and the Jersey Devil is found. Ask for it by name.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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11 Responses to Getting Things Done — DONE! Cross it off the list.

  1. Jon says:

    I know what you mean. I’ve also, somewhat half-arsedly, been trying to get myself organized.

    Two links:

    And here, a combination of the two:

    Good luck!

  2. Brian says:

    Hey Jon — if I can get close to your evident level of focus and productivity, I would consider this exercise a tremendous success. Thanks for the links!

  3. jason says:

    merlin from 43folders kicks in this area. I readily endorse that link. im attempting a similar life mod. or ‘hack’ as it were myself. I also find lifehacker to be of interest.

    For an online tool I began testing backpack. the jury is still out.

    good luck buddy !

  4. Jon says:

    You’re too kind, Brian. And you missed seeing me arrive almost ten minutes late for the first class of the semester today, though that was in large part because I’d been given a room number in the new FLEX building that doesn’t exist. (The room number, not the building.) Grrr.

  5. Brian says:

    Jon — that FLEX building has given me the creeps since I saw them assemble the exo-skeleton in a single afternoon. (At least it seemed like it.) I have a feeling some serious negative mojo is going to build up there.

  6. Brian says:

    Jason — glad to know there’s yet two more things I can bug you about. We’d better get together soon before the list of ‘action items’ takes up multiple pages. Am I getting the lingo yet?

  7. It’s hard to know which is worse, the lingo and florid exfoliation of lifehacks (much more fun than “self-help”), or the constant kudzu of stuff that sends me to the lifehacks for help. I guess that means a) I don’t like these choices and b) I’m with you brother, all the way, sawing at “Nearer My God To Thee” while the boat bubbles down.

    And yes, I know they were playing something else, but I can’t remember what.

    Maybe being a “P” on the MBTI (venerable lifehacking platform, lifehack 1.0 as it were) gives me permission, like Alfred E. Newman, not to worry. Unfortunately, my word-pair preferences are conflicted on the “P-J” line, which means I go nuts every six to twelve months and try to throw myself away.

  8. Brian says:

    Gardner — as ever, you get my drift completely, and express it with far more elan than I can muster on such a sensitive subject.

    I like your take on the language of Lifehacks — kind of like boxercise, wrapping up a pedestrian pursuit in muscular packaging. But you know what, I’m so desperate I’ll jump on any lifehackraft that happens along…

    And now you got me wondering what your MBTI type is… when we see each other in San Diego perhaps I’ll regale you with dull tales using these tests as ESL exercises (how better to get young Mexicans exploring phrases like “head in the clouds?”).

  9. so it’s not just me who’s buried beneath an apparently self-replicating pile of tasks. i’ll have to try life hacking, myself…

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  11. Pingback: In full cowardly retreat…

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