GTD Gremlins


In a fortuitous accident I discovered Tak Anderson’s Blog post, My GTD Moleskine Hacks.  I was curious, since I’m a notebook freak and always looking for new ideas.  I also wondered what “GTD” was all about.

One thing led to another and I ended up listening to Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (GTD), by David Allen on audio CD from the County of Los Angeles Public Library.  I’ve been using journals, blank books, composition notebooks, etc., etc. to take notes, keep lists and try to stay organized. Tak’s blog and GTD gave me lots of new ideas on how to use my notebooks to stay on top of things.

I’m reading Getting Things Done for a second time this month and implementing things one by one, step by step, one day at a time, like a clutter junkie. Last week my friend Bill told me that the personal label printer really was essential, so I put in my order for a DYMO LabelWriter 450 Label Printer (See all Labeling Software)
.  I printed out labels for a tickler file system and set that up in my desk drawer this morning.   I’ve been modifying the way that I use my notebook to capture every stray thought and make a note of next actions.  My brain may not be empty yet, or my mind like water but I’m making progress.

I have been looking for a book like this my whole life. I’ve read countless “get yourself organized” books, attended seminars, purchased planners, PDAs, and on and on. . . Whew! The harder I try to get organized with these these tools the more disorganized I get.

These always seems to be a dark and dreary basement teeming with gremlins lurking in my subconscious whose mission is to sabotage my best intentions. And these gremlins always succeed.

What is the worst and most frustrating gremlin? The Amnesia Gremlin. Organizational experts recommend making a to-do lists and sorting them according to priorities. The Amnesia Gremlin Is the one who makes you forget to check your list until it’s too late. Then he wakes you up at three AM on the day after the deadline to give you the raspberry and a major dose of insomnia.

Almost as bad is the Distraction Gremlin who works in partnership with the Procrastination Gremlin. Once your to-do list is written out in perfect penmanship and sorted according to A, B & C priorities, the Distraction Gremlin whispers in your ear saying, “All those As, Bs & Cs look too boring with their tedious priority ratings. Let’s do some of the fun things down at the bottom of the list instead.”

This sets you up for the Procrastination Gremlin who gets in the act and whispers, “Don’t worry, you still have plenty of time to get to those As & Bs. And
nobody really cares about those Cs anyway”

David Allen is the Gremlin Slayer. He is the only get-organized guru who has studied these hidden gremlins. His simple solutions gracefully neutralize the gremlins. I would describe them here, but I’d have to post a spoiler alert.

I highly recommend this book to anyone suffering from gremlin sabotage. It has been a big help, a career-saver and a life-saver.

More books from David Allen:

Blank Journal: Raccoon
by Marlene Greene
Powells.com
Moose Blank Journal
by Nodin Press
Powells.com

Get a new book review each day from Powell’s Books.