When Technology Overwhelms, Get Organized

Although David Allen’s article in the business section of the New York Times – When Technology Overwhelms, Get Organized  – was targeted to workaholics who cannot keep up with the bombardment of email, project deadlines, text messages, meetings – so that they “can’t get any real work done” – the challenge to be productive and streamlined enough to have time to think could apply to anyone – employed or otherwise occupied.  Allen’s maxims work simply:

  1. Capture everything in writing, but don’t stop at the list.
  2. Decide what each item means to you, and if any actions are required.  “Any action that cannot be finished in two minutes should be done in the moment.”
  3. Organize remaining items into a to-do list that you park in a convenient spot.
  4. Regularly review and reflect on your commitments and interests to update your list.
  5. Finally, do it – now, if you can.

No longer plagued by a restrictive work schedule, I still have the work ethic.  Organizing gives me that spring cleaning restorative, but taking on projects that are meaningless may not be satisfying, e.g., creating a database of programs presented at a local lunching group – no one really cared.  Allen’s directives focused on the value of organizing for one’s self – with the caveat that functionality follows productivity.

The inspiration led me to reorganize the No Charge Bookbunch website – a little – reviewing titles, reorganizing genre, creating links.  The result?  I found some old favorites I had forgotten I’d read, edited some reviews that needed the red pen, and generally felt better at the end – and then closed my computer for a day, and took a walk.

According to Allen, “making life less stressful” is not about “downgrading to …something simpler…but to participate productively {in the world of technology} and not be paralyzed by it.”