One Bag Nation

I’m too busy Getting Things Done to get anything done.

Posted on: March 25, 2008

I’m revisiting David Allen’s (in)famous book as a way to finally tame my out-of-control lists and stacks and piles. With all the online support out there via blogs (43 Folders,Zen Habits, etc.) I thought it might just work this time. But I’m struggling.

I understand the thinking behind organizing your lists in terms of “contexts” (at the phone, at the computer, etc.) but I can’t quite get my life – or how I think about my life – to fit into this model. I keep wanting to write my lists based on roles (Stephen Covey is still in my head) or projects. So for three days or more I’ve been struggling with what list categories to use and what to write on the tabs in my Filofax  . . . meanwhile the piles and post-its continue to grow.

Some of my struggle is due to perfectionism; the lists have to be “just right” – in more ways that I’m willing to admit here.  And it’s at times like these that I feel sure I suffer from ADD; I completely lose focus, my brain shuts down and I begin to panic.

I will, however, GET THIS DONE this week. I will choose 6 words to write on the tabs and give it a try – it’s only paper, and I can tweak it, right??


2 Responses to "I’m too busy Getting Things Done to get anything done."

I think that “it’s only paper and I can tweak it” is a positive way of looking at it. I’ve noticed that the really productive people I know are much more decisive than I am, whether it comes from self-confidence or not being so obsessive. But the bottom line is that they don’t let things not being perfect stop them. They are willing to assume that if they make the wrong choice, they can fix or change it later — the text, the furniture, the color of the wall, the outfit, whatever. I am trying to absorb that approach myself, but it’s not easy.

I think I’ve finally given up on Getting Things Done. It just isn’t a good fit for me.

I’ve been reading Zen to Done (from zen habits) and I found a new product that I hope will help (you can see it at

Being decisive (or indecisive) is definitely at the core of some of this for me. Living in the Gray – as I call it – is a blessing and a curse!

I do believe I’m getting better in this regard – and it sounds like you have good insight into it as well.

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