January 19, 2009

The Post Where I Show That I Am Absolutely Nucking Futs

The most sure-fire way to ensure I will not accomplish something is to tell people that I will do it.

Logically, the exact opposite would occur. I would feel responsible to complete the project, go to the whatever, buy the widget, see the movie, write the blog post. However, in reality, if I tell you I will do something, I won’t do it.

Several weeks back, I said that I had a post to write about the thrills of homeownership. Of course, I never wrote it.

However, due to my new to-do listing, I keep being confronted by the fact that I owe the internets a blog post regarding the big hole in my backyard. I have pictures of it. I have thoughts and angry funny comments stewing in my brain, yet my stubborn side doesn’t want to put it down on paper.

Instead, let’s talk about this to-do list project.

First off, I am a major stress-aholic.

I take on way too many things and then freak out about them.

If my home, life, car, relationship, pets, clothes, backyard, aren’t in tip top shape, I worry about them.

If there is something I can worry about, I will.

I always have things on my mind. Things I MUST COMPLETE NOW OR DIE. Things I MUST CLEAN OR DIE. Things I MUST DO TO SLEEP AT NIGHT OR DIE.

I may be a bit psychotic. (If Not Craig is reading, I would appreciate your silence. K.Thx.Bai.)

I also read a lot of blogs. And some of those blogs frequently mention, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. A book - slash - way of organizing - slash - living by David Allen.

Recently, the stress of buying a home, planning a wedding, having a puppy that likes to destroy furniture, clothing and various cleaning implements all while peeing on my brand new floors 10 times a day, became a bit much for me. I decided to check out the book.

Of course, like any internet addict would do, I also googled “GTD” as it is known by its followers (yea, fo realz, I swear it has a cult following.) and read many, many things about it.

I then began to use one of the most highly recommended applications.

Remember The Milk: this is an online to-do list. You can email to-do’s to the list, you can have daily reminders emailed to you, you can set the tasks to recur on whatever frequency you so desire, you can postpone, you can organize your to-do’s into all sorts of lists. It is an incredibly useful tool.

I began using RTM like mad. Adding all sorts of tasks. Things big like “Plan a wedding” and things small like “Watch Glenn Beck 1/19 on Fox” Important events like changing the air filters in my house and fertilizing the lawn and getting the dog his shots. The ever-critical items like dusting the tops of my kitchen cabinets. I have been adding huge tasks and ridiculous minutiae to my RTM page.

Then, as is my modus operandi, I worried that maybe I wasn’t listing all the things I needed to remember. I thought of a ton of things while driving home from work. What about those tasks?

The point of GTD [for die-hard GTD’ers, I am a newbie, so I will be oversimplifying I am sure (for non-GTD’ers, see it is a cult – I am fearful of being caught and exposed for my lack of GTDing-ness.)] is to get things out of your head and onto a list of action items, any little task, idea, desire, needs to be captured so it is not swimming in your brain, making you panic at the thought of forgetting the thought. So before I even finished the first chapter of GTD, I thought I was going to be a big failure because I wasn’t capturing the items that happened to occur to me when I was over 2.5 feet from a computer (which only occurs during my commute, because I have an illness.)

In order to stop the panic attacks, I searched for something to capture these driving induced to-do’s and I found Reqall. Which may very well be 100x greater than sliced bread AND New Kids on the Block combined.

You call ReQall. And speak, tell them what is worrying you, what amazing task you must accomplish, like “Look for Yoda’s vet records and ensure that she will not die due to being vaccinated 10 days late.” Then Reqall transcribes what you said and emails it to you, so you can add it to your to-do list.

I know I am sounding like such a freak already, but I swear, this is a true story. One night I got home and checked my email to find 10 Reqall messages from myself. Ya’ll, I live 20 miles from my office. I apparently called in tasks every 2 miles.

The super awesome added bonus to Reqall is that if you don’t speak clearly, or have an accent, or a static-y connection, Reqall provides built in entertainment. Apparently, I need to write a blog post on the poll on the arts and remember to take TV dinner store tomorrow.

All in all, this freakish behavior of mine is getting my life organized, my head is feeling less full of stress and garbage and overall worry about ensuring that I check the whirlpool tub's shutoff system three months from now.

I haven’t instituted most of the GTD actions, primarily, because I haven’t read more than half the book yet. However, perhaps, the action of reading about organizing my life, has created a calm in me. Simply getting all the craziness out of my head and into a nice little program that I can check at work and at home, at 3:00 AM and 3:00 PM, has helped me chill a bit.

I will keep you posted on how I do with GTD in the future. If I join the cult and if they have a cool handshake or maybe robes. And by saying I will keep you posted, I mean you will never hear me talk about this again.


Aoj and The Lurchers said...

OK. That's scary.

See, what I want to know is do you actually DO the things that they remind you to do? I have things pinging up on my computer screen all day reminding me to do things and I still don't do them.

I think that's even scarier. Or just plain lazy.

sophie said...

I had a hound dog mixed breed puppy that I thought I was going to kill during his pre housebreaking days. He was stubborn and evil and the pisser of the universe. I got the book "How To Housebreak Your Dog in 7 Days." It took a few more than 7 days, but we saw progress pretty quickly. That might help with some of your stress. Good luck!

Pamela said...

awwww heck. I signed up for the FlyLady and have deleted every darn Email they send. And there are oodles of them.

Good luck!

dannielo said...

For implementing GTD you can use this web-based application:


You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
A mobile version is available too.

Retrohipster said...

RTM has an app for the iPhone. Do you have to pay for the service on the web? I will have to add checking out that book to my list which is insufficiently managed by my work Outlook account, so I can't look at it while I am at home. Not very useful I must say.

Have you put "Go to Missouri" on it yet?

Kaytabug said...

I will check out the requal or whatever it is called. I totally come up with things while I am in the car. Now if they would make something for while you are in the shower!

I have to admit that it would be nice to do away with paper lists that just get lost anyway. Here's to follow through!!

Sauntering Soul said...

First off, I apologize that I'm so late in commenting on this.

How have I never heard of GTD? I should have been one of the founding members of this cult because I suffer from the same things you do. I'm definitely going to check this out.....after I finish some of this crap that's been sitting on my desk for several days.

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