Beautiful fall is here, and procrastination can be hard to beat. I revisited Getting Things Done for extra bit of inspiration.
I love this time of year! A couple of weekends ago, the blue sky and crisp fall air inspired my family to go apple picking for the first time in seven years. My kids were SO happy. I got carried away and even agreed to make an apple pie using a whole basket of freshly picked apples. We’ll see how that turns out!
Apple picking with my kids (Photo Credit: Chong Oh)
GTD (Getting Things Done)
I’ve been super busy with work and personal projects. In a comical loop of procrastination, I picked up the classic book on productivity and organization, Getting Things Done. It’s like watching exercise videos at home with a glass of wine, instead of working out. Actually, I’ve done this many times over the years in the spirit of learning the moves first for when I have energy to do it. Haha!
I was gifted this book about ten years ago by iMentor’s board chair, John Griffin. Honestly, it’s not a well written book. It's so detailed and boring. But there are some concepts in the GTD (Getting Things Done) system that changed the way I organize my work and life for better, helping me to do more and focus on the right things.
If you are a current or former client, I have three copies of the book I can send by mail or Audible. If you are patient enough, you can pull out some helpful concepts. Let me know!
Getting things done by David Allen
Some ideas that really helped me:
Capture everything—Even fleeting or trivial ideas should be captured in one place, whether it’s a notebook or phone, or wherever. Everything from “buy batteries” to “create a work plan for big work project x.” The idea is to empty your brain of thoughts and ideas and make room for more creative space, without worrying that you are dropping something important.
You don’t capture everything, so you do everything—Categorize your captured ideas into: do; delegate; later; delete; etc. You only do what you want or need to do.
Make your to-do list items actionable—If you put down “Birthday party” on your list, you’ll waste time and energy every time you see that item, as your brain wonders exactly what needs to happen. But “find a date that work for husband, daughter and her best friend,” and “brainstorm and choose a theme” are actionable when you have a moment to execute your to-do's.
Make different levels and types of lists—Some examples include: Delegate; Monthly; Weekly; Daily; Someday; Fun; etc.
Following up “Delegate” with “Waiting for”—Keep track of items you’ve delegated to others so that you can follow up appropriately without constantly worrying about it. This simple idea revolutionized my work and home life!
Review and revisit lists regularly—Ask big questions to make sure what’s on your list is what you really want short term and long term.
Also check out the following GTD related pieces that may inspire you to get to work:
By The Book podcast episode where two millennial hosts “live by the book,”—in this case the concepts from David Allen’s book—for two weeks, and share what worked for them and what didn’t.
Tim Ferris’s podcast interview with David Allen. This one is super long, so only listen to it if you are very interested in the man behind the system. He’s SO different from who I imagined him to be! Rather than an efficiency obsessed corporate warrior, he’s actually a former hippie (and a business school graduate) who wants to get things out of the way so he can go out and do what feels fun, creative and important to him.
If you are a fan of the system and want to level up, there's a new GTD workbook. I just got mine.
Now I must get back to work! In the meantime, please see below for some great events coming up, and let me know if you decide to go.
Row New York
10/21 – First annual Kimjang event for Korean American Story.org. Kimjang is a fall Korean family tradition where all the relatives and neighbors gather to make enough kimchi - a spicy, fermented cabbage and radish Korean food staple - to last the winter. As a kid, I used to love going to it at my grandmother’s house. At this event, you learn how to make kimchi and get to take a jar home. Don’t wear white unless you want orange pepper sauce stains, and be prepared to leave smelly.
10/30 – My friend Amanda Kraus’s fierce rowing organization, Row New York, is raising funds at its annual benefit for a new boat house. The benefit will also honor Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote Eat Pray Love, and also my favorite book, Big Magic.
11/15-11/17 – I will be attending the second annual Tide Film Festival, which highlights emerging filmmakers of color. I will have two extra tickets if you would like to come to the opening night with me. Here’s my write up on last year’s event.