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Time Stuff

I haven’t been able to shit straight lately for work pressure and family life.  I’m a kinda of believer that you make your own time… you have the ability to slow down and speed up according to the activities you are undertaking.  Quite what that means practically I’m not too sure.  Quite how I convey that to my employers I’m even less sure.

Rather belatedly I’ve found use in David Allen’s book Getting Things Done [so popular it seems to have coined it’s own verb acronym – "to GTD"].  Which allows you to do what it says on the book cover.  Mr Allen has got a lot of cred from the blogger world – which makes me wonder to what extent most blogger types are not actually hopeless organisers and ENTP types [like me].  But David’s book works.  If you can spare the time to read it then do.  If you can’t then take note – the big things to remember are:

1. List all the jobs you have to do
2. For every job describe each task needed to complete that job
3. For each task see if there are any actions that you are unable to do for any reason or which require other resources to complete – list them.
4. When you’ve finished a task / action then tick it off.

By identifying and then writing down specific actions you put things in the "hard drive" of your memory [allen’s metaphor not mine] and are better able to concentrate on the actions in the uncluttered RAM of your head.  Simple stuff with potentially profound implications for your whole work / life balance.  Unless you get complacent after week one and go back to the world of cramming everything into RAM and going into meltdown again.  The book should come with electro-shock treatment to condition you into following his process.

And whilst I’m on the topic of organisation and time management I’ve been trying out Backpack and Basecamp [and all that clever 37 signals stuff] lately.  These products and ones like them sell you the potential to organise your life.  But from my experience they can’t deliver on it.  Only you can do that.. Basecamp merely helps you to move things around more efficiently – it doesn’t help you with what you’re  actually moving around, mores the pity. 

In loo of a proper post the other things of late that have been stored in my off-site memory to come back to later are:

1. Time, again.  A discussion on Radio 4 the other day on short-termism got me wondering whether we could plan for generational change.  One comment about the way Daoism and its generational, long-term view has helped to culturally move some Asian economies to think about improving things for their children’s children was quite profound.  Or I thought it was.  Could we do that?  Could we sacrifice our relative affluence and luxury knowing we were building the foundations for a better society?  I think it’s unlikely but part of me believes that we can be sold the idea of hard work to make things better in this country and to move away from a privatised, individualised nation.  But it’s a vision that lasts longer than a government term of office so it would require the political will which is quite another matter.  Some brands have managed to create a long term plan by clinging to a vision – perhaps politics and nationhood can learn from them?

2. A mish-mash [with apologies to Things mag].  Peta getting a lot of viral attention for their milk ad which had me really weirded out [i can think of no  English equivalent to sum my feelings up] / Business 2.0 talking about how Google will never conquer local search because small businesses need to be sold to, but I think this ignores the fact that readers are migrating away from bigs books in droves so local companies will have to adapt /  Awards – with Saatchi and Saatchi annoucing their world changing innovation awards – which were actually pretty cool – and Yahoo! annoucing their not as cool best websites award – which seems so lame now, so 90s – why not let users decide? / And I guess I’m also kind of miffed because Etsy didn’t get into either award – I think they’re quite brilliant – not least because they’ve cracked the problem of ordering handmade goods online: if you can’t guarantee what you want is what you’ll get from handmade goods – then package it and conceptualise it as magic – Alchemy. Surprise! Genius.