Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Tuesday October 03 2006

At the end of last week I had a fascinating conversation with my very good friend Adriana the Media Influencer about a book that she has recently come by.

imageAdriana’s problem, among others, is that she gets stressed.  She is now Media Influencing away on about seven different fronts, on some of them earning quite big fees which she is anxious not to alienate, and her brain gets too full, and she starts to sleep badly, and her coat starts to lose its shine and to fall out in tufts, etcetera etcetera and so on and so forth.  A collaborator who met up with her recently noted the symptoms and sent her a copy of Getting Things Done by David Allen, and she was enthusing about it.

Getting Things Done.  That’s an appropriate message to stick up here, near to the beginning of my new Blog Year.

This posting by me, here, is basically me reminding myself to take a look at this book - which is, I see, a Penguin, so presumably widely available here.  It is also me practising what, to judge by what Adriana was saying, is one of the techniques that Allen recommends, which is to write something down in a form that will always be readable by me in the future, thereby enabling me to stop worrying about remembering it in the meantime.  (In my career counselling, I also recommend written lists, in great matters and in small matters.  Lists make it less likely that you will completely forget something big when trying to arrive at a big decision.)

However, my problem with lists, and with written notes to myself of any kind, is that they immediately get lost.  I have never been able to file such attempts at memoranda in any form other than as a thinly disguised rubbish tip.  (Which meant that my academic career, such as it was, was a permanent shambles.) Until . . . blogging!  My various blogs have been my first filing system(s) that has(ve) ever worked!  As I will never tire of saying here, my most important reader here is me.

Personal blogs, of the most despisedly personal kind, are a superb way of relieving this kind of brain overload anxiety.  If you have a personal blog, use it to remind yourself about things you don’t want to forget, and maybe even have a special category for such stuff.  Have you a half-baked thought in your head, but no time in the meantime to continue with the baking?  Blog it.  (Maybe others can get baking.)

Do you despise self help books like this one by David Allen?  Despise away. Are you enraged by the utter unpredictability of the postings here, occasionally so good you have to keep coming just in case, but usually stupid, guaranteed only to amuse or assist me?  Rage on.  If I have a thought that I want to park without losing it, in a way and in a place that doesn’t mean me having to keep it in my head in the meantime, here is where I am liable to park it.  It’s my thought, and it’s my blog.

Unlike with real parking, you can attach written messages to a blog posting without doing any lasting damage.

I feel better already.

Well, it isn’t really self-help in that sense, so no need for anyone to despise, unless they’re the kind of person who despises e.g. the London A-Z. Like the A-Z, Allen’s book is just common sense expressed properly for the first time. I’ve been working along my own adaptation of his approach for almost two years now, and really appreciate its adaptability and ease of use. There IS, or WAS, a kind of cultish thing going on around it for a while, but enough people have now read the book to damp all of that kind of embarrassment down.
Better than the book is the “Getting Things Done - Fast” talking book. I can lend you a CD of the mp3s of it - strictly lend, you understand, unless you were accidentally to copy it.

Posted by James Hamilton on 03 October 2006

Without having any interest in the product except as a user I can strongly recommend a programe called Info Select. Find something on the Internet you want to keep? select the key bit and click and it is copied across. You can add notes, web pages, e-mails in one glorious heap but you can still find all of it later.

http://www.miclog.com/

It also improves with age - the more you throw at it, the more useful it becomes in finding links between all sorts of things you did’t know were linked…

Posted by ian on 05 October 2006
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