Using Bees To Effect Vengeance

I get to be as self-indulgent as I want without wasting anyone's time. Guilt-free solipsism -- excellent!

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Sunday, July 11, 2004
I've always been pretty disorganized, but my new gig would tax almost anyone's ability to keep track of their to-dos. Dozens of clients, all of whom have multiple short-term, medium-term and long-term projects associated with them, plus all of the internal issues, projects and emergencies that require my involvement.

Anyway, since day one, I've been casting around for a system that could help me stay on top of everything I need to do. Email is the center of my work day, and organizing the to-dos that came in via email was OK, but consolidating email items with requests that come in via phone, in person, and via the intranet and then keeping all of that current... created problems I could never quite crack.

Add to that the myriad undone "action items" in my personal life, and I was left with a perpetual sense of anxiety about all the things I had to do and was failing to do. I have a feeling I'm not the only one who goes to bed each night and wakes up each morning with that one (no comments about my wife, please).

I still haven't quite cracked it, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel finally. The catalyst was an article in the Atlantic by James Fallows that piqued my interest in a book called Getting Things Done. The piece is a profile of the book's author, David Allen, and a lot of what he said resonated very strongly with my predicament. His prescriptions made a lot of sense, and after reading the book, I'm sold.

As Fallows points out, Allen has a number of little tricks that can make a big difference, whether or not you drink the Kool Aid and implement the whole system. I've made a few little changes, and am already more productive and -- just as important -- feel more confident that I'm on top of everything I need to get done. I highly recommend reading the article, and heartily endorse the book as well. For a taste, you can read the article and then check out Allen's web site.


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