A Crash Course In The Long-Lost Art Of Adaptation

One of the biggest lies of my life was this one: if you do your job constantly, if you listen to your folks obediently, nothing bad will happen to you. All you have to do in order to live a happy life is to play by the rules and everyone around you will do the … Read more A Crash Course In The Long-Lost Art Of Adaptation

7 Things I Learned From My 5 Year Old Girl

A few weeks ago it was Bianca’s 5th birthday. As always, each year I write a post about what I learned from her during the last year. If you want to read the previous posts, here they are, in order for one, two, three and four year anniversaries. 1. Diplomacy Is Easy Last year Bianca’s … Read more 7 Things I Learned From My 5 Year Old Girl

You Steal My Jacket? Blood In Your Face!

When I was younger, I had a little bit of a restless life. I had what the vast majority of people knows as “a lot of fun”. Which translated in drinking 5 days out of 7 each week, the rest of 2 being reserved to women. Sometimes the ratio being drastically reversed in favor of … Read more You Steal My Jacket? Blood In Your Face!

System Overload

How many times you’ve started something “without thinking”? How many times you just dived in, thinking that “things will arrange somehow”? How often you embarked on new projects just by passion or enthusiasm, without any type of assessment? I know I did it a lot of times. So often that I was on the verge … Read more System Overload

Staying GTD Over The Hype

Two or three years ago, a strange topic about organization skills, de-cluttering and mind like water exploded on the Internet. It was about GTD, or Getting Things Done, a methodology for boosting productivity invented and shared by David Alled in his book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity [aff link]. This phenomenon lead to a sudden surge of new blogs, with 43folders.com of Merlin Mann becoming the icon blog for this trend. Soon, other useful and very popular blogs appeared. At that time even yours truly was a GTD wannabee and one of my very first posts in this blog – and one of the most popular, I must say – was about GTD for people in transition countries. GTD posts and blogs where spreading over the internet at light speed. It was the Golden Era.

But now the hype is over. Merlin Mann has switched his 43folder.com and we must re-learn how to use what was once the Internet Bible of the common GTD’er. Icon GTD blogger Brett Kelly handed over his popular GTD property Cranking Widgets Blog to a new voice, Andy Parkinson and in recent posts claim he cured his addiction for this technique.

GTD hype is over for good. But the benefits are here to stay. In this post I’ll outline what was left from GTD in my productivity rituals after the drop of the hype.

GTD Leftovers

There are at least 4 different things that somehow survived the golden era of GTD in my organizational behavior. Let’s take them one at  time:

Emptying your RAM

And getting rid of  “open loops”. In GTD terminology an “open loop” is a thought that is not solved, hence keep popping up in your head all the time. Solving this “open loop” is a matter of taking it out of your head and storing it in a trusted system, for further processing. This is something I kept and found extremely useful.

I don’t know about your brain, but my brain is not a rolodex for sure. I prefer to use my brain for doing creative stuff like writing, coding or something like that. I also use it for learning, either by absorbing information, either by experiencing. I don’t want to be bothered in these processes by unsolved “open loops”.

Next actions

I kept the habit of breaking projects into “next actions”. In GTD jargon, a “next action” is the next physical action required to move forward a project and it doesn’t have nothing to do with the logical structure of the project, most of the time. For instance, if your project is to change your plumbing, the next action will be “look up phone number of the plumber in the agenda @phone” and not “call the plumber”.  “Call the plumber” comes next to “look up the phone number”. Pretty logical, of course.

Next actions are a fantastic glue to my flow. After I created and constantly sustained the habit of breaking my projects into next actions, something nice happened: I started doing stuff instead of organize my day all day long.  It’s not rocket science, but it’s effective.

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Depression – How To Un-Handle It

That’s a delicate topic, I admit. Depression is one of the most delicate topics in the world, because it involves sharing the deepest parts of your being. And because it brings to the light feelings of shame, guilt and sadness. I never met any human being who was comfortable to those feelings…

For me, depression, despite its medical definition, is more of a state of rejection, of meaningless time and a lack of value. A state of withdrawal and surrender, a state of worthless actions and a wish to put an end to everything. Depression is just an enormous hole filled with lack of self-esteem and respect, lack of trust in you and anything. I’m not a doctor, and even if I do like to manage multiple skills I don’t intend to become a regular one, so take these definitions as my own personal view of depression and not as a medical approach.

Because I don’t put depression on the doctor’s plate, by the way. I take depression as a sign of imbalance in your whole being. It is not an illness, it is just the fact that some parts of yourslef are in need to take a break. To let go of the pressure. Maybe you asked to much. Maybe somebody else asked too much of you. Maybe you feel anger because you can’t get what you want, or because you had it once and now you lost it. Maybe you just need to rest for a while and your environment can’t let you do that. Whatever the form, the substance is the same: repressed, fermented emotions that are exploding inside and are looking for a way out.

Avoiding The Inevitable

Letting it out is the best thing you can do. Just be aware of the danger that this flow of emotions could take with it, though: it’s like a river that can take your house if you’re not paying attention. But you can’t stop it. That’s the biggest and most hurting mistake I’ve made. You can’t resist it and you can’t escape it. You must let it go, otherwise it will eventually overflow you by accumulation.

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