Yeah, this week it seems like the workmonster is winning.
This is Charlie, and I think Sarah will have some additions but we’re both late and we know it — and it’s because the workmonster goes untamed, at least this week. Sarah can tell her own story — although I know it includes unexpected veterinary emergencies and backed up plumbing — but in my case, it’s in the way that projects spawn projects.
Here’s where it stands for me: I did a lot of thinking about this, about which more anon, starting from my observation that I have ideas lots faster than I can execute them. (This is, I’m sure, something the PJ Editors can tell you — I’ve got several promised articles dangling.) Part of the solution is clearly to do something to keep that under control, not by stopping the ideas, but by capturing them in a way that lets me come back and pick and choose later without losing the original inspiration.
A second and equally vital thing is to keep the daily little tasks and steps under control — all the little to-dos that either grow out of a bigger project, or just come up in ordinary life.
The inspiration that both Sarah and I have been drawing on in trying to get these things under control is David Allen’s book Getting Things Done. This is a good book, although not a great one — I find it difficult to work through it without skipping. I’ve noticed this with other self-help books — they spend a lot of time convincing me that there is a problem and telling me anecdotes and endorsements. In general, if I’m reading a book on “getting things done” you can pretty much bet that I’m already concerned with getting things done, and while it’s nice to know that other people have been successful getting things done, there’s a black-swan problem: as with a diet book, they only include people whose Lives Have Been Utterly Changed. What about people who aren’t complete and total successes, what are their problems?