Archives for the month of: July, 2008

[No.2 in a series of posts taken directly from David Allen’s Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done]
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. – Albert Einstein

“Stress comes from unkept agreements with yourself. You can relieve that stress only by canceling the agreement, keeping the agreement, or renegotiating it. But you can’t renegotiate agreements with yourself that you forgot you made. Because psychic RAM has no sense of past or future, things filed there push on you to be done all the time. They must be made conscious and kept so, to alleviate the pressure.” – David Allen

It’s there, isn’t it? Floating around in that pool of grey matter in your head. Sure, you aren’t thinking about it now. But trust me, it will come up in your thoughts sooner or later. Something to do with the car maybe? Or was it something your manager asked you to do? We have limited capacity to store things in our conscious thoughts, what Allen terms “psychic RAM” making the analogy to computer RAM. The key to “knowing what you’re not doing” is to capture it somewhere and then be sure to review it. When you review it you is when you can renegotiate it. If you don’t trust that the “it” is somewhere and you’ll be able to review it and renegotiate it – you will feel stress. – Gary

[No.1 in a series of posts taken directly from David Allen’s Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done]

All intellectual improvement arise from leisure. – Samuel Johnson

“Completion of open loops, whether they be major projects or boxes of old stuff we’ve yet to purge and organize, prepares the ground for cleaner, clearer, and more complete energy for whatever shows up. We’re often not sure what’s next or what to tackle. At that point, just clean or complete something – something obvious and in front of you, right away. Soon you’ll have the energy and clarity to know what’s next, and you’ll have cleared the decks for more effective responsiveness on every front. Process your in-basket, purge your emails, or clean your center desk drawer. You’ve got to do it sometime anyway.” – David Allen

One thing people tell me that the get from their “to-do” lists is the satisfaction of being able to cross out an item. That sense of completion, no matter if the task took 1 minute or 100, provides a boost of adrenaline to your spirit and prepares you for the next thing. The opposite holds true when you get in to work in the morning and your email in box takes a few pages to scroll through, you have a stack of “to read” material on one side of your desk and a stack of project files on the other. That can truly sap away all your enthusiasm for the day. So I believe Mr. Allen’s point here is to shake it off and just do something and complete it. Get that boost of energy to move you on. – Gary