For a period of time in the early part of the 2000’s I read a lot of business/self help books. It’s like I just discovered they existed and went through like 10 one after another. Most of them left me wanting and pissed off. I wanted less fluff and more, do “x” add “y”, get “z”. I got a lot of stories I couldn’t relate too and more confusion. I did find one that had a lot of great takeaways and step by steps. David Allen’s, Getting Things Done.
I’m not a book reviewer. I mean I could be but that sounds incredibly boring. A lot of GTD deals with an elaborate filing system that I never could execute. Don’t get me wrong. I tried. I ended up with 300 labeled folders each containing one piece of paper in them that eventually went in the trash.
GTD was more Getting Ready to get things done than actually doing things. Maybe I had too many things to do.
There were two great takeaways that I still use. One is hard to carve out time for, the other I just recently remembered to re-employ.
The first one is where you carve out however much time you need to go through every single open item in your life. Yes this is hard. If you have an idea you put it on a piece of paper so it has a physical presence and you add it to the stack or box of things. Then you go through each thing piece by piece, adding it to different to do lists and filing systems. I never got to those filing systems but going through everything at the least removes some anxiety.
Anyhow, the other takeaway that I’ve recently started again was doing any to do list item that you can take care of in 3 mins or less. This could include an email, call, changing a light bulb. Anything. If you are standing there looking at it and it would take you less than 3 mins. You do it. You can even do it while going through the big dump of ideas in the previous paragraph.
So there. Look at your list. 3 mins or less. Do it.
Go kick Monday in the nuts.