Getting Things Done
An Eye Opening Experience
Alexander Gordon Jahans
My day started with frustration. I had been greedy the night before and had not saved a youtube video to watch during breakfast and my morning cuppa. I frantically scanned for something short and light to watch. Just my luck that the next Jonathan Creek in my “Things To Watch” queue was a two parter. bugger. I made do with a Hello Internet and was inevitably frustrated when I didn’t have the time to finish listening before I had to go out.
Mum was early as usual so we began with a visit to Costa. I will never like coffee. Even iced caramel lattes taste like charred dirt.
Then to the Doctor’s so I can get my testosterone jab. I cannot wait until machines take over that particular job. There is nothing less wanted than a cheery smile and small talk accompanying a painful injection so crucial to one’s sense of masculinity. I would legit rather a scowl and insult. At least I could feel outraged by abuse. The cheery small talk makes the awkwardness and embarrassment so very potent. Particularly when your mother is in the waiting room to save you walking back with your back on fire.
A shop trip was made tolerable and necessary by the reminders I implemented as part of my very first dip into the Getting Things Done mentality the night before by firing off an email the night before about sugar, diet coke and bog roll. The email might not have been seen by mum but the bothering to send it meant the action was filed under my memory under the context of shopping with mum. Knowing there is plenty of sugar for tea, diet coke and bog roll is a tremendous weight off the mind.
And then the rest of the day was screwed over by my deciding to 1. Create a short video about my reactions to recent news and my own situation. Said video was 2 hours long took hours to render and has literally only just finished being precessed by youtube for viewing as I begin writing this.
The day waa also ground to an clanging halt by a friend messaging me when I had used up my days energy, needed to recover and prioritised her over seeing to my mental health and thereby being able to better reply in future at a later time.
Then I tried to sleep, was distracted by a distraction fic idea featuring Amy Pond (Thank the gods for her) then gave up and watched some youtube videos. I remembered this time to save a couple of good youtube videos for later then got distracted by tumblr.
Then I remembered to read that next chapter of Getting Things Done.
This sort of unsatisfactory day is just what I would normally call life because I - What’s that phrase pretentious beatniks use? - live in the moment. I like to be present and deal with what needs to be done as it needs to be done.
I do the job that’s in front of me and generally consider that since every element of my life is something I do because I want to do it any actions that involve people come first. Fuck me right. My friends come first.
Except it doesn’t just extend to friends and family. It extends to anything. I am not quite as bad as my Ex who insisted we watch all of the stargate franchise in its entirety one episode after another without pausing to even watch other franchises as a little light relief but I’m not exactly great.
There is joy to be had in a good binge watch, in a splurge of skyrim or a day of just writing a short but if your life is nothing but binge it means nothing and there is nothing worth doing that you want to do. Bit of a problem when your only actual chance of long term survival requires relying on and navigating a precarious position within bureaucracy that you despise and are horrified by. My long term survival is an arduous task so I need to stop treating my life and enjoyment as something disposable because if it is, if I truly should burn up everything just for work then I may as well commit suicide right now and be done with it.
No. Getting Things Done has shown me the light. It is a system for determining and reviewing next steps. Something that I can already see proving invaluable to my long term survival and navigating that bureaucracy. It’s all too easy to tell someone to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, to tell yourself to just try harder, but knowing the technique makes all the difference.
Think about the quest, level and perk system in Skyrim. There is a grand vision and lot of places to take things but it’s always clear what the next actions are. Leveling skills leads to perks, perks are clearly sign posted as to what they lead to. The quests thast allow you to level your skills tell you basically what you need to do then give you an indicator of what to go. In other words you are given a direction and a focus.
In so much of my life I don’t have so much as a direction of where to go and what to do at any given time. I literally just do things as they come to me. Which means I make an unfulfiling and inefficient mess of things. It’d be like if you never glanced once at your quests and just tackled whatever crossed your path as it came to you. It may be fun for a bit and then you end up collecting bear belts.
I shall follow the advice set out in chapter two of getting things done and create a weekly review of things that need doing but I think I will change the way I consume media and talk to my friends as well.
No more watching youtube videos as soon as they are published. I will save them until suitable watch times for example breakfast or before bed.
No more grinding myself into dirt because friends want to chat aimlessly when I am spent. better to save the conversation for later when I actually have energy to add stuff.
There are different contexts depending on energy level and mood that require different kinds of entertainment and activities.
And of course if I apply the Getting Things Done philosophy to work then I can incorporate that in as is appropriate.
First the first time in my life I feel like I beginning to understand just how the fuck I’m supposed to go about things. I have all these ideas at the moment but it’s a sort of quantum foam of potentiality and who knows what it will collapse into but it will collapse. I’ll make sure of it.
Now as much as I may dearly want to write that distraction fic about Amy Pond I think I need to get some food and watch that Jonathan Creek.