But about what you’re not doing… Yeap. Precisely.
These GTD tips are just short sentences synthesizing in a very simple way some of the GTD concepts I found interesting or somehow become especially close to me. There are already 3 other GTD tips available. All these tips are coming in just one line of text. The whole one-liner concept comes from the early stages of bash programming in Linux, when programmers started to write incredibly complex or useful programs in only one line of code. There are times even right now when I look for some specific one-liner in bash that could save me dozens of minutes of maintenance performance on my servers.
For now, let’s stick with our GTD tips. Today: it’s not how you feel about what you’re doing, but about what you’re not doing…
One of the most interesting things I’ve incorporated in my behavior from the GTD system is the way I feel about things I’m not doing. You can only do one thing at a time, you know? Even your brains works in sequentially patterns, one thought after another. At a very high speed, I agree, which can make you think sometimes there is some form of parallelism, but I assure you, the thinking is always done in a sequential way: one synapse after the other. But because you’re not keeping everything in one place, as GTD requires, and your Inbox is not zero, you tend to split your focus among different thoughts. Trying to organize as you go. Or even worse, trying to do many things at once. That’s right, most of the time you try to focus about what you’re doing, but you can’t really make it because you’re thinking at something else. Something that you’re obviously not doing at that specific moment.
The consequence of this pattern is something trivially simple: you really can’t do your job anymore, or at least between the initially agreed parameters. Or, in a more corporate-like form: your productivity is dramatically declining. All of this because your focus is somewhere else.
How you can get your focus back? GTD has an answer: by doing your daily review. And your weekly and monthly reviews. Remember, in those reviews you are actually processing everything that’s in your system: from ideas to tasks, from appointments to bills that you have to pay, everything. Why you do that? So you may know what’s on your plate. So you may focus on the regular tasks, being assured that everything that could turn into a potential distraction, is settled, processed and ready to be done, when you would like to do it…
Doing your review is the cornerstone of a mind like water state. During this review you take a snapshot of your reality and start drawing on it. The next day you take another snapshot, a fresh one, which includes and integrates the drawings from yesterday. A fresh one, ready to host your drawings for today. If you would draw on the same old snapshot every day, your drawings will soon become fuzzy, overlapping and you’ll spend more and more time wondering what’s done and what’s not done in the picture.
Being in the flow means knowing everything you have to do, not necessarily doing everything you have to do…
In the last few days I’ve experienced this in a very strange form. Because of some changes in my business, my work volume dramatically decreased. And I woke up with a lot of free time. Time for me. Not for job. Not for family or friends, who already have their places settled, but for me. And in the beginning I felt a little anxious. Didn’t actually know what was bothering me: I checked my email every half an hour, but all the messages were answered, I looked on my desktop and there was no new file to be processed. And still, I felt a little nervous and somehow worried.
So, after a while I realized that I was anxious because I was thinking of what I’m not doing, instead of enjoying my present state of affairs. I was experiencing the old habit of working ten hours instead of two. I was projecting myself in an imaginary and much busier office, while my real office was telling me: it’s ok to relax, you’ve done your job for today.
And when I realized that, I also realized what would be my next blog post. Of course, about this new gtd tip that we’ve talked today ;-).
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