Saturday, January 27, 2007

Clearing the Mental RAM

Getting Things Done by David AllenI've been reading another good book lately. It's called "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" by David Allen. I checked it out from the library and, ironically, didn't get a chance to crack it open until just recently. Unfortunately, I ran out of time to read it before it came due, so I don't know how it ends (don't anyone spoil it for me!). Still what little I was able to read gave me a number of ideas to apply to my own organizational system.

Similar to one of the sections in Jack Canfield's "Success Principles", Allen maintains that the incomplete tasks in our life rob us of the finite resource of mental cycles. Just like a computer running Windows, we build up so much junk in our minds, that it takes up too much space in our mental RAM and therefore stops or severely hinders the valuable work that we should be doing.

Many of us have had the experience of being "in the flow" while we are working on a project, only to have some random thought on a completely unrelated topic bring the whole train to a screeching halt. According to Allen, we are trying to remember all of these random tasks in our active memory. Unfortunately, our brain thinks that anything in our active memory is something that needs to be worked on. The idea is to move all of this "noise" into an external system so we don't have to think about it anymore.

Allen, who has helped many a corporate president get themselves organized, has come up with just such a system. It takes us from the beginning where we collect all of the incomplete things in our lives all the way through implementation and maintenance of a system to keep track of all of our projects and activities. I managed to read until about halfway through the process before I had to return the book and now I'm thinking that it will probably be in my next order from Amazon.

Wish me luck as I clear out all the cruft in my life.

So, what organizational system have you found or created for yourself?


Debby said...

I'm sorry, but as your mom I should not poke fun! BUT the title of the book is "Getting Things Done" and you didn't get the book done! Greg, you are the best because you make me smile!

Unknown said...

Yes, I did that intentionally, to be ironic. ;-)
Actually, I think it just underlines how badly I need the book.