I’m kind of having a blast from the past these days. I remember reading time management books and a lot of other management books some 25 years ago when I was a lowly secretary. While other women’s hearts get all aflutter at the idea of a bouquet of red roses or a sweet note left for them on their mirror, mine beats faster standing in line at the local McDonald’s watching employees helping each other fill orders, watch the fries, responding to empty dispensers. Or working in an inspiring and efficient work place as outlined in umpteen management books. Back then, I so longed for the power to try some of the suggestions but I had no one to boss around.
Well, at some point I knew that I would never use the management skills offered in the books because I wasn’t going to become a manager. Years later, however, a system appears that doesn’t target people in management, but anybody who has to make a lot of decisions and work on a lot of projects. Listening to Merlin Mann’s interviews with David Allen tells me a couple of things: Today’s work place has changed and there are very few secretary to delegate things to. The work place demands that workers be more self-sufficient and also independent. The other thing is that today’s time management systems are not just about work, but about your whole life, including carving out the time to figure out who you are and why you’re here.
So I bought the abridged audio version of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” to get me started with reducing the overwhelm I’ve been feeling at work. Laying in the bath tub with my iPod plugged into my ears, listening to a lot of common sense, I also heard David Allen say something else: It’s ultimately about who you are, and where you want to be as a spiritual person. He did not use those words, but he did suggest them by saying there is more to life than just reducing work piles and achieving goals; you’re trying to reduce the work and achieve goals so you can explore yourself. And in one exchange with Merlin Mann in the podcast (iTunes link), he said that the nice thing about the GTD-system is that if a regular worker implements it, it can positively affect the rest of the team or department and inspire the manager to adopt it.
These thoughts echo many other teachings I’ve been exposed to including spiritual teachings which basically state get yourself healed, and the world will instantly be a better place.
Here at home I will also try to practice the system. It will dovetail nicely with FlyLady’s system because they don’t clash and both ultimately have the same message: Get what you need to do done without feeling overwhelmed or overworked.