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Justin Jacoby Smith is an organizer, web geek, Buddhist, and poet.

Blindfolds, Snowmobiles & Resenting The Work

Back to Work is revisiting David Allen's Getting Things DoneMerlin said something in the newest episode that got my wheels turning. I think one of the reasons we can feel resentful of the avalanche of projects we're confronted by is that when we signed up for this stuff to enter our lives, we didn't really think through the implications of what it would mean to say "yes" to Another New Thing. Now we're confronted with this mountain of tasks and deadlines and requirements--remember, things that *we have said "Yes" to*--and we're looking for someone else to blame or resent. Someone else to blame, mind, for our own irresponsibility in thinking through outcomes and/or our own unwillingness to keep track of our commitments and our available attention.

We have to do all this stuff now, but so often we fail to realize that we already had to do this stuff to be living and working well--we just didn't see it all in front of us before. It's like we've been walking up the side of a mountain with a blindfold on, stumbling and not getting anywhere useful, and then suddenly the blindfold comes off and we see the difficulty of the terrain: there's a path ahead, and it's traversable, but now we're aware of the magnitude of the challenge. We're capable of plotting a way forward, but we also now have more reasons to be afraid.

So do you wanna waste time kicking at the snow and blaming other people and feeling this sense of useless dread at the size of this mountain? Or do you want to get climbing

Nobody's bringing you a snowmobile, man.

There's no app or inspirational desktop background that's gonna do the work of getting you uphill. You just have to climb, and sweat, and probably slip and fall more than once. At least now you can see where you're going. At least now if you lose your footing, you can see enough to know which way is up.

GTD isn't for everybody. Maybe you're perfectly capable of being a fully-functional human being who hits all her deadlines, finishes all her projects, and feels fulfilled as a person at the end of the day.

But there are people, like me, who this really works for. And I think the GTD approach is something anyone can benefit from, even if you only try it long enough to throw out the 90% that doesn't work for your lifestyle or work flow or personal habits. Take a look at the basics. If you've got the time, check out the last few episodes of Back To Work for a review.